It’s Season 40, y’all, and I cannot stress enough how excited Brianna and I are for this season. Survivor night used to be sacred in my house when the girls were young and Brianna has never missed a single season.
Diving back into island waters felt like slipping on your most comfortable loungewear. As the show opens I felt myself scanning the boats for recognizable faces and despite my hiatus, there were a plethora of them to be found. I grew more elated with each pan of the camera. With all women on one boat and all men on the other, I was prepped for a Gals vs. Guys season, but Survivor is never that predictable.
Cut to a lone man standing on a sliver of a sandbar. The man whose name is more synonymous with Survivor than even Boston Rob’s…Jeff Probst. His glee was as palpable as my own when he surveyed the cast of winners from previous seasons. Obligatory “How does it feel?” questions to some who haven’t made a career of the game led to a toast that warmed my heart like a campfire tickling the edges of a marshmallow. “A drink before war is always a good idea.” Glasses are flung behind them and the game is on.
It immediately starts with an immunity challenge between the newly formed tribes of Dakal in red buffs ( Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra, and Tyson) and Sele in blue buffs (Natalie, Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, Jeremy, and Adam.) I’m not sure if the choice of Bloods and Crips colors was intentional, or just the universe winking at as us through the producers’ subconscious intents.
The challenge seems simple enough. Two members from each team swimming out to a pole where a life ring awaits and swimming back to the pole with their teams’ buff color. Don’t be fooled, however, these are all winners and the battle with each other and the waves is epic. Team Dakal pulls out the victory, which means Sele is headed to tribal council with our first elimination already on the horizon the next evening.
Back at their own camps, the players resemble an ant colony who’ve been working in sync for years. Shelters are being erected and the value of the fire token they each received is revealed. Also coming to light are their individual thoughts on how to play against other winners. Do they stay with what got them their prizes or do adjustments need to be made?
Rookie move of the night goes to Denise and Adam for their Hansel and Gretel hike to the well. Too much time away from camp and failing to drop bread crumbs leaves their tribe assuming that machinations are afoot, which they were. They instantly have laser sights set smack in the middle of their foreheads.
Not to be outdone, Ben falls under Rob’s mysterious powers of persuasion and he spills his guts about the proposed plan to take out Rob. Anyone who knows Rob is aware he won’t make it an easy task. I’m feeling like I’ve been away too long though, because I did not see the Natalie blindside coming at all. It was a smart move to break up her alliance with Jeremy, but now he possesses another fire token she bequeathed him. We’ll have to see if it gives him an advantage.
At the next immunity challenge it seems like Denise’s curse of being at every tribal council is going to infect Sele, but their amazing come from behind victory saves them and breaks her streak. Dakal is now having to evaluate who their biggest threat is.
My mind is blown, because logic to me would dictate that Sandra (the only player to ever win twice) seems like a lock, but she slips the snuffing of her torch. In her place stands Amber due to the perceived Poker alliance that arose from an off-handed comment made by Tyson during a tournament with Rob, Kim, and Jeremy. Tyson saves himself by joining the other side, but will it harm his alliance with Rob if they both make it to a merge? We’ll have to wait and see.
For an inside look at the episode from Brianna’s and my perspective, be sure to check out our minicast. We’ll be breaking down all of the episodes this season and we’d love for you to be a part of our tribe! Click here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/new-minicast-survivor-winners-at-war-season-40-episode-1/id1482301675?i=1000465913572