Last night on CBS, we had the premiere of ″Survivor Cambodia – Second Chances″. The premise for this, the 31st season of the series, is bringing back 20 previous contestants, picked for the first time by the audience, to have a second shot at fame and glory. The players range from Kelly Wiglesworth, who lost in Season 1 to Richard Hatch by just one vote, to Joe ′#Joega′ Anglim, who became a fan favorite in Season 30. Joe amused many of his fellow castaways when talking about how he grew up watching Survivor with his dad. Many of the players have not been on since the series began over 15 years ago.
As a fan since the very beginning, I am very happy to have the series back. Especially now that I am actively avoiding watching Fox News as well as coverage of the Marxist Pope′s visit to America. Who needs that? So, before I go much further, I shall declare SPOILER ALERT in the event you have yet to watch Episode One recorded on your TiVo or DVR.
So our host with the most, Jeff Probst, started off dividing the group of 20 players into two ′tribes′, Ta Keo and Bayon, named after Buddhist temples. Probst then handed the gang their first challenge. On one ship, players had to grab whatever they could to improve their survival and load the goodies onto a raft. Once each tribe′s raft was full and all players on board their rafts, they then must race to a second ship which held a huge sack of rice. As Ta Kao finished their initial looting first, they began heading towards the second ship. Kelly Wiglesworth jumped off and began swimming, covering water faster than the raft. But Bayon was not far behind and once they got closer, Joe dived in to overtake Kelly. Seeing this, Kelly′s teammate, Woo Hwang, dove in and beat them both, winning the rice for Ta Keo. Go Woo!
Both tribes then headed for their respective camp sites and began setting up shop. With 15 years of Survivor tactics, we see things breaking down into two sub-groups, Old School and New School. The Old School players work hard around camp, building shelters, etc. The New School players start off socializing right away. Some choose to just flake off on the beach. Others try to be less obvious about their early scheming. Those who had weak social games in the past tried to improve while others just kept on being jerks and idiots.
Over at Bayon, Stephen Fishbach once again finds himself among a bunch of Alpha males and struggles to make any positive impressions. The guy couldn′t even break a tree branch with a hatchet! Meanwhile, his fellow Bayonian, the Alpha male Andrew Savage, toppled a tall tree all by himself! Ugh! Over at Ta Keo, Abi-Maria Gomes started her usual whining, this time about a missing bracelet which was later found in a bag belonging to Peih-Gee Law. While that ruckus was going on, Vytas Baskaukas was busy trying to charm the ladies with feats of yoga and holistic massages. The Alpha males and females of Ta Keo took note of both episodes.
By Day Two it was pretty clear that Bayon had its act together and was doing well. Joe had managed to make fire on the first day, so no worries there about cooking or having drinking water. Ta Keo tribe was still a mess with more foolishness by Vytas and Abi. Jeff Varner, whom is a veteran of Season 2 from Australia, was overloaded with strategies by Spencer Bledsoe and Shirin Oskooi. Kelley Wentworth discovered a clue to where an immunity idol was hidden. However, retrieving the prize from a prop in the upcoming Immunity Challenge would be difficult as others may see her do so.
Day 3 arrives and the Immunity Challenge. It is the same first challenge from Season One. The tribes must swim, pulling a large raft sporting a fiery urn, lighting smaller urns suspended over the water along the way. Ta Keo had a big lead thanks to Keith Nale dropping Bayon′s torch in the water. Keith managed to relight the torch, but it was barely lit and made lighting other urns harder. Once the tribes reach the beach, they must carry the fire raft and place it on four stands. Under one stand is the Hidden Immunity Idol, which only Kelley knows about. After that, one player from each tribe must assemble a ′reacher′ tying together bamboo sticks and use it to grab a key behind a gate. The first tribe to unlock the gate and light the final fire urn wins Tribal Immunity.
Ta Keo has a big lead when Kelly Wiglesworth starts working on her tribe′s reacher. Joe Anglim does likewise when Bayon reaches the beach. Meanwhile, Kelley Wentworth looks for an opportunity to grab the Hidden Immunity Idol. She finally does so as all eyes are on Kelly and Joe as they try reaching their keys. Kelly fails and must make he reacher longer. Joe built his as long as he could and starts to work the key towards him. Spencer takes over for Kelly, but it is too late. Joe succeeds and Bayon wins the first Immunity Challenge.
Jeff Probst then throws Ta Keo a monkey wrench. They′re going to Tribal Council immediately! No chance to organize or coordinate a vote. However, the tribe is already pretty much split between booting either Vytas or Abi out first. Tribal Council had no real surprises. Most of the discussion centered on how it felt being back in The Game or how The Game is different this time around. When they do get around to personalities, it becomes obvious that Abi and Vytas are on the chopping block. After voting, Jeff starts counting ballots. Its a 4-4 tie between Vytas and Abi when Probst reads the last two ballots, both for Vytas. The ugly yoga instructor is given the boot. The tribe has spoken. Oh, how I missed that phrase! Spoilers for next week show Abi making more enemies.