A new season of ‘Survivor’ is upon us! Meet the new castaways and keep up with everything that goes down in the ‘Survivor: Ghost Island’ premiere here!
This season’s 20 Survivor castaways are split into two tribes to start out the game: Naviti (Purple) and Malolo (Orange). The twist for season 36 is the addition of Ghost Island, which brings back infamous Survivor relics that were used poorly the first time around, in the hopes that new players can “reverse the curse.” Right off the bat, the tribes have to pick one person to represent their tribe. Brendan is the choice for Malolo, while Chris takes the reigns for Naviti. The guys have to pick one person from their teams to run the physical part of an unknown challenge and one to run the puzzle portion. Michael, who’s only 18 but says he’s 23, and Laurel are chosen for Malolo, and Sebastian and Desiree are picked for Naviti.
There’s an immediate twist, though. Jeff Probst reveals that each tribe will automatically get a machete, pot, small portion of rice and fishing kit. The winning tribe also gets a shelter building kit, while the losing tribe loses their fishing kit. However, the team leaders can opt to forfeit the challenge at the puzzle if they feel Laurel and Desiree won’t complete it in time. In that case, they’ll keep the fishing kit, but the other tribe will also get 20 eggs and flint. Clearly, this season is going to be all about making BIG decisions. Both guys struggle with the physical portion of the challenge, but Sebastian finishes a bit ahead. At the last second, Chris decides to forfeit the challenge to keep the fishing kit, which gives Malolo the advantage to start out. Domenick is not shy about the fact that he’s not happy about Chris’ decision.
Sebastian and Chris form an immediate bond at Naviti, and they waste no time choosing Dom as their first target. However, Dom finds an ally in Wendell, who warns him of Sebastian and Chris’ motives. At the grueling immunity challenge, the teams have to race through a series of obstacles to retrieve bags of ropes and puzzle pieces, then pull the heavy pieces on a sled…twice…before solving the puzzle. Naviti finishes first, which means they get to choose one person from Malolo to go to Ghost Island and avoid Tribal Council.
The group chooses Jacob, who purposely opted to be a big mouth after the loss in hopes of heading to exile. It was a smart decision on his part: The tribe was probably going to vote him out anyway. At Ghost Island, Jacob receives a clue to “follow the fire,” where he finds a “Game of Chance.” If he wins the game — which is literally just choosing the correct bamboo chute — he’ll gain power. But if he loses, he won’t get to vote at the next tribal.
Jacob luckily makes the right choice, and gains the Legacy Advantage that Sierra first found on Survivor: Game Changers. Remember: Sierra told Sarah about the advantage, and was then blindsided by her and voted out of the game. Now, Jacob can reverse the curse by gifting the Legacy Advantage to someone on the other tribe, and he chooses Morgan (it can only be used when there are 13 or six people left in the game). If it ends up being the wrong choice, though, the curse will live on!
Back at Malolo, the vote is between Donathan and Gonzalez. Of course, the focus is on keeping the tribe physically strong, which would put Donathan at a disadvantage. However, Stephanie points out that social game is just as important. Gonzalez freaks out at tribal when she realizes there were some conversations she may not have been part of, and she begins whispering with Donathan and Michael, setting off a chain of quiet conversation, which Donathan is not included in. But in the end, the vote is unanimous for Gonzalez, and she’s sent home.
At Naviti, Domenick gets a bit paranoid, but solves the problem by wandering off in the pitch black and, miraculously, finding Andrea’s hidden immunity idol, which she had in her pocket when she was voted out of the game in season 26. Meanwhile, Jacob makes a fake immunity idol at Ghost Island, and shows it to his whole tribe, but many of them aren’t convinced that it’s the real deal.
In order to gain Chris’ trust, Domenick makes a fake immunity idol, too, and he wraps it up in the note he got with his real idol to make it more believable. When Domenick promises to use the idol for Chris if he needs it, Chris is a bit skeptical and admits he doesn’t trust his tribemate.
At the immunity/reward challenge, the tribes have to swim out, grab marked buoys, and then shoot eight of them into a basket. James struggles to unload the final round of buoys for Malolo, while Donathan doesn’t even want to try. As Naviti continues to extend their lead, Donathan finally faces his fears and gets the job done. It’s too little too late, though, as Naviti scores all their baskets before Malolo can even make one. This time, they send Donathan to Ghost Island. In Donathan’s urn, he gets the message that he won’t be playing the game of chance on Ghost Island.
Despite James’ poor performance, the majority of the Malolo tribe members still want Jacob out, and they form a plan to vote for him, but throw a few votes James’ way in case the idol is legit. Stephanie gets close to Jacob in an attempt to learn more about his idol, and he spills everything to her. Jacob wants Michael out, and Stephanie seems to start considering it, even bringing the idea to other tribe members. In the end, though, the group sticks with the original plan, sending two votes James’ way, but ultimately voting Jacob out.