Last night the ninety minute premiere of Survivor: South Pacific aired on CBS. Two former Survivor staples and two-time previous game players Ozzy Lusth and Coach Wade are back to square off with the newbie castaways on an episode aptly titled “I Need Redemption.”
Right off the bat, we meet John “Cochran” Cochran who has watched every season of the show, and even wrote a prize winning paper on it while in law school at Harvard. Native American Elyse isn’t much into the outdoors, but she’s hoping her heritage will work to her advantage, and then there’s Rick a rancher from the Midwest. Stacey is a funeral director and mortician who promises to be nosy and while pretending to play nice. Russell Hantz’s (a former Survivor with multiple games under his belt) nephew Brandon likens himself to Hitler’s nephew and vows to change the perception of his family’s name. Maybe not the most accurate of comparisons, but he doesn’t want his fellow castaways to know that he shares the blood of a Survivor competitor who wouldn’t have won any popularity contests.
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Think you could survive another season of competition and deprivation in the wild? CBS hopes so! Survivor: South Pacific is returning for its 23rd season!
The drama begins in Samoa, as the 18 castaways are divided into two teams, the Savaii Tribe and the Upolu Tribe, both named for Samoan islands. The cast will include 16 Survivor novices and two former castaways back for revenge, another chance at famewhoring, and a million dollars.
This isn’t the first time CBS has employed this trick, as Season 21, Redemption Island mixed in two experts with the pack of amateurs castaways. Even though several of the cast members are first timers on Survivor, many have “experience” with reality tv – and you know what that means: they know how to cause D-R-A-M-A!
CBS has released the names of the 16 newbies this week and plans to release the names of the final 2 contestants later in the week. No ideas yet of who it could be! I’m hoping for Richard Hatch, if he’s not back in prison! Also one of the new contestants, 19-year-old Brandon Hance, is actually the nephew of villain Russell Hantz!
Borrowing another twist from Redemption Island, the eliminated castaways aren’t immediately vanquished, but instead go to “Redemption Island” (the place, not the season) where he or she will face off against the next person eliminated by Tribal Council. The loser of the duel will then be sent home, while the winner remains in the game until the next person voted off arrives, where the cycle begins anew until ONE eliminatee, referred to as the Sole Survivor, is left standing. The Sole Survivor will then return to the game to compete for the million dollars. I guess, no one is truly safe in this edition!
The 90 minute season premiere airs Sept. 14 8/9c on CBS. The cast bios and photos for the 16 new contestants are below!
UPDATE – Ben “Coach” Wade and Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth are rumored to be the two returning cast members.
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The game began with the final and very anti-climatic Redemption Island challenge. Playing for an opportunity to be voted off again by Rob Mariano were his zombies Andrea, Matt, and Grant alongside Mike. Andrea made it very clear going into the game that she was the “under under dog” so of course the challenge was one that was geared for her she was able to win. It was a challenge which required balance, and after Grant, Matt, and Mike lost balance in that order, Andrea won her shot back into the game.
While it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Rob’s groupies Ashley and Natalie to team up with Andrea and vote off Rob one of the men, they simply failed to use their brains as Rob was able to convince them, quite easily, to vote off Andrea. Rob was so confident in his mind control over his cult members that he even contemplated not playing his idol. Ultimately he did though he didn’t need to as the others voted off Andrea.
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The next to last episode of this season’s Survivor: Redemption Island begins with Ashley relishing in the blindside the Ometepe served fellow tribe member Andrea. Meanwhile, once the newest cast-off arrives on Redemption Island, Andrea somehow tries to gain sympathy for her recent betrayal while blaming Matt for her decision to vote against him. Needless to say, Andrea is getting zero love from the folks she has sent to Redemption Island before her.
The duel among the Redemption Island crew involves navigating a handle through a long maze of tiles (similar to a Cracker Barrel game, if I recall) and then completing a puzzle at the end. Ralph starts off strong and is the first to finish the maze. GO RALPH! Andrea is so far behind on the maze, mumbling and grumbling the entire time. Much like with past duels, Mike wins, with Matt a close second. Fortunately for Andrea (and unfortunately for me), Ralph can’t get the puzzle together and is sent to the jury.
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Steve called Phillip crazy, because you know, he kind of is, and Phillip decided the word “crazy” was racist and equivalent to the n-word. Here’s to hoping Kelly Bensimon isn’t reading this and getting any ideas.
In a new interview with PEOPLE following his elimination on the show, the 51-year-old (he’s only 51?) former NFL Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle discusses his time on the show, how his faith helped him, and touches on the whole Phillip issue. Excerpts from Steve’s interview below –
Did you ever play up your “weakness” for strategy? No. I wear my feeling on my sleeve and if I was saying that I was feeling it, I was feeling it. But I’d also get out of it pretty quick; it just depends on when it was. It’s an emotional, physical, and mental roller coaster the whole time you’re out there. One minute you’re starving and the next you are saying, ‘Okay, I’m just not going to eat today.’ And you just deal with it and get over it. It’s pretty amazing just keeping the faith and setting short term goals and getting through it.
Does faith play a large role this season? God’s been a big part of my life and I attribute everything to God. Julie had walked away from God and was going through a really terrible time with her divorce and the foreclosure. Mike and I just spent time talking to her and she re-dedicated her life so it was a pretty big topic out there. Plus lying around all day and night, you really get in to what your soul is all about when you’re around each other 24/7. We were going through some pretty crazy and difficult times together and having faith just really helps a lot so we talked about it.
Phillip alluded to being in on the joke that he is “crazy”. Do you believe that? Any great actor couldn’t act it 24/7 for a month. The real you is going to come out sooner or later and its just really exposing him for who he really is. I highly doubt that he was a special agent or anything like that. I called him “crazy” and all of a sudden he thought that that meant the N-word. I just think he’s mentally and emotionally unstable and I think Jeff did a good job exposing it. I’ve gotten great response from my family, friends, and teammates. The guy is who he is. I think he’s just a few bricks short of a whole load. He’s a bit loony.
Meanwhile on tonight’s all new episode of Survivor, Andrea takes part in her first Redemption Island duel. Back at camp, one castaway plots making a big move that could prove to be costly. The episode airs at 8/7c on CBS.
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON STEVE’S INTERVIEW? DO YOU THINK PHILLIP IS REALLY CRAZY OR JUST PRETENDING TO BE?
This week’s Survivor: Redemption Island was a slight roller coaster of emotions (don’t judge me), what with the Ometepe turning on one of their own, the castaways’ family members making an appearance, and Phillip revealing that he’s a genius. Ralph and Steve arrive on Redemption Island, and it’s becoming clear that the jury could be full of Zapatera. Ometepe Mayor Boston Rob reveals that he’s pretty confident that his followers friends are too slow and stupid kind to reach the conclusion that the smart thing to do would be to vote him off if given the opportunity.
Tree-mail arrives and the group revels in the chance to watch videos of their family members, and who can blame them after 30 days? In the first four person duel, Matt, Mike, Steve, and Ralph must battle it out using metal balls to break tiles. The loser will be sent to the jury–duh–but the winner? He’ll get to spend time with a family member in person. After four rounds of this primitive game of ski-ball, Mike wins, and Steve is sent packing. My eyes may have gotten a tad misty when Mike’s mom comes out of the jungle (fine, judge away). THEN, in a SO VERY WRONG scenario, Jeff Probst gives Mike three choices. Mike can a) spend some time with his mom; b) forgo his family time and allow his fellow Redemption Island roommates to hang out with their loved ones; or c) stiff it to his bunk mates, send his mom back into the jungle, and give the family time to the group who voted him off in the first place. In a shocking (sweet? strategic?) move, Mike chooses the third option, making the Ometepe happy (and hopefully grateful without short-term memories), Ralph angry, and his mother proud. Honestly, I don’t think his move was strategic…I just think he’s just genuinely that good of a guy.
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On this week’s Survivor, “A Mystery Package,” the Murlonio tribe reigns supreme as the final two Zapatera members, former NFL player Steve Wright and farmer (and my favorite) Ralph Kiser, are sent packing for Redemption Island. PuppetmasterBoston Rob Mariano continues to pull the strings which will likely ensure him a spot in the finale, seeing as his minions can’t think for themselves.
Last week, Julie’s flame was extinguished, but not before she admitted to burying Federal Agent (?) Phillip’s shorts where they will never be found. Fortunately, the “mystery package” was not the viewers having to watch Phillip tool around in his pink tighty-whiteys (tighty-pinkys?) for the entire episode–this undercover specialist has a dream in which his grandfather comes to him and leads him to his missing shorts. Lo and behold, he actually finds the spot, digs and digs, and retrieves his shorts. Thankfully. He can’t wait to face Julie wearing said shorts, and compares it to a scene from A Few Good Men. “You know what I want to say to Julie? What did Jack Nicholson say to Tom Cruise? ‘You can’t STAND the truth.'” Eh, close enough, Phillip.
Matt, Mike and Julie make the trek over from Redemption Island to see who will be second loser the next member of the jury. Matt admits that he feels at peace, and if God thinks it’s his time to go home, he’s ready to leave. He glances quickly (and not too kindly) at that chick who threw him under the busAndrea, who later remarked that it seemed like he gave her a dirty look, but she could be reading into it. Yeah, that’s it. The three compete in a battle to the death, or “shuffleboard” as the geriatrics call it. Sadly, Julie just can’t slide the disk across the board, so puck it, she’s the newest addition to the jury.
Andrea feels some guilt for breaking Matt’s spirit “on a human level, not on a game level” (thanks for the clarification), which causes her Ometepe buddies to question her loyalty in the event Matt comes back from Redemption Island. With that in mind, the cast heads to a log roll competition for the immunity challenge and reward–chocolate cake and ice-cold milk. After two nail-biting rounds of the castaways tap dancing on a log, Grant Mattos and Ralph are left to vie for immunity. Grant wins, inviting Boston Rob to sit next to him in the cafeteria and braid his hair join him for cake. He also shares his loot with Andrea in hopes of making her feel secure before her tribe turns against her and throws her under the bus.
Jeff Probst gives the remaining group a “mystery package” which is a twist that will be revealed at Tribal Council. I can’t help but wonder if Jeff didn’t just wrap up a brick to mess with these folks. Steve tries to get the Ometepe girls to join him and Ralph in their attempt to vote off Boston Rob. Ralph, through the magic of subtitles, believes he will be voted off. (I LOVE him. Being from the South, I sometimes wish I had someone translating for me a good bit of the time.) Smart cookie, that Ralph.
At Tribal Council, Ralph is voted off to no one’s surprise. However, the “mystery package” is opened and (HOLY TWIST!!) there will be an immediate immunity challenge followed by another vote, giving the crew no time to discuss alliances. This must have been the retirement home episode, because after the riveting game of shuffle board, this immunity challenge is basically a dumbed down “Simon Says” with camping images printed on tiles. Boston Rob wins immunity, and the lone Zapatera Steve goes to join Ralph on Redemption Island.
I highly doubt veteran Boston Rob will be going anywhere anytime soon. I mean, if so, who will be around to pull the strings of his tribe members? Not everyone can form a clique as easily as a 10th grade mean girl, so I have to give Rob major props. And in the event he is voted off soon? Fear not, folks…he’s covered.
After four seasons of Survivor and two seasons of Amazing Race (with wife and fellow Survivor winner Amber), Rob is teaming up with monster truck guru Dennis Anderson. People.com reports that the two “will challenge each other to circumnavigate the globe using 80 different methods of transportation with the caveat that each cannot repeat any way twice” in the History Channel’s new series, Around the World in 80 Ways. Rob cites his time on Amazing Race as fueling his love of travel. The appeal of this show, however, takes a unique approach. Rob reveals, “Around the World in 80 Ways is completely different from anything I’ve done before in that this show will be a celebration of transportation throughout history.” While Rob admits he will miss his wife and young daughters (and hopes that none of the modes of travel will cause claustrophobia), he is very excited to begin this new adventure. I wonder what kind of strings he’ll be pulling then…
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON LAST NIGHT’S SURVIVOR & THE RECAP? ARE ROB’S MINIONS THE WORST PLAYERS TO PLAY THE GAME?
In a new interview with PEOPLE, the 25-year-old waitress discusses why she chose to align with known villain Russell and stay loyal to him, plus the reason she let it all out when leaving Redemption Island. Excerpts are below –
Did you know aligning with Russell would put you on the wrong side of the numbers? I had no idea the sheer panic that his presence brought to the other tribe mates. I didn’t understand it. I mean, I know he had this reputation, but if we had kept winning we wouldn’t have had to worry about it. Then we get to the merge and you can get rid of him if you really can’t stand him.
You could have jumped ship when you knew Russell was going down. I didn’t want to come off fake. I didn’t want to be like, “Everything’s fine.” My feelings were hurt. He was part of my alliance and now I have to try and be two-faced with these people and say, “I’m glad we got rid of Russell! Things are better around camp.” I just couldn’t do that. I thought maybe they would respect my loyalty.
You definitely made all your feelings known when leaving Redemption Island. I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to cry. But I couldn’t hold it back, and I was like, “Well, I’m already crying, let me say everything that’s on my mind.” I felt so much better after letting Rob know that [Zapatera] can’t be trusted. I don’t want them to succeed. When I take losses in real life, I feel like I’m a lot more graceful. But this isn’t real life – it’s a game.
A new episode of Survivor airs tonight on CBS at 8/7c during which the tribes will be merged, and someone from Redemption Island will get to return to the game! It seems like the decision by the Zapateras to chose strength over loyalty (David over Sarita) right before the merge might come back to hunt them.
TELL US – DID THE ZAPATERA TRIBE MAKE AN ERROR BY CHOOSING DAVID OVER SARITA? ROOTING FOR MATT TO COME BACK INTO THE GAME?