Survivor is back! On Wednesday night’s Premiere Episode of “Survivor: Kaoh Rong,” the show’s 32nd incarnation, we got to meet the 18 all-new contestants vying for the million dollar prize. Like most premieres with new casts, much of the time in the episode was dedicated to introducing us to the contestants, and it actually did a really nice job of doing so…some got a bit more screen-time than others (Jason), but it didn’t seem like anyone was over-looked. Pretty much all 18 got a few moments to make their marks. So does this new cast have potential? How did the show go? Is “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” destined for greatness?
Don’t read this if you haven’t yet seen the most recent episode, as spoilers are to follow. Get caught up on Episode 1 here.
On the heels of last season’s way-way-way-better-than-average “Second Chance” edition, I think it’s fair to expect somewhat of a let-down with Kaoh Rong. This season also has the added anxiety of knowing that there will be multiple medical evacuations, so it is a bit grating and uncomfortable (for me at least) to watch, knowing that at any minute, things can go bad. Probst set the stage right at the beginning of the episode when he told us this was the “most grueling 39 days in Survivor history.” And despite the phrase “in Survivor history” coming out of his mouth way too often over the years, we have to believe him this time for sure. There were several minutes of the premiere dedicated to the harshness of the environment (Jason’s instant sunburn, Aubry’s panic attack), but having a worm burrow into your ear on Day 2? That’s unprecedented awfulness. Am I the only one on edge this season, not wanting to be subjected to a blunt, shocking turn-of-events that may leave someone seriously injured? Survivor looks to be a more-tense-than-usual experience this go-around.
As for the cast, there is definitely some promise on all three tribes for memorability. Like every season, there are a few stand-outs and a few that you know have no chance of winning. Of course anybody can “go far” in the game under the right circumstances, but usually after just one episode, at least a handful of contestants can be ruled out as potential winners. Included in that group has to be Deb (the token “annoying talker”) and Alecia (the token “ditsy blonde”), who instantly have no shot at winning. On the fence are Tai and Aubry, who clearly are off on the wrong foot but I wouldn’t count either of them out just yet. On the flip-side, Neal and Liz seemed like they have the potential to form a pretty potent duo, and if Anna, Julia, Michele and Caleb can stay intact headed into the merge, they will be an incredibly fierce team to go up against. Jason, Jenny and Scot seem like a strong early trio, but something tells me it will be hard for a tattooed bounty hunter a seven-foot-tall giant to “fly under-the-radar” or sneak deep into the game. Those huge targets might spell victory for Jenny if she can latch on and ride their alliance…and keep insects from eating her brains. But getting rid of Darnell ahead of Alecia might also show a major lack in judgement from them, and Scot already noticed Alecia’s ability to scheme. Would you rather have a schemer in the game over someone who pledged his undying loyalty to you? Apparently they do.
Hanging over the head of all of this are the inevitable injuries that will plague this season like, well, the plague. When will they come? Who will they affect? It will take much more than brains, brawn or beauty to navigate through this season.
Please check back (or subscribe at the top of this article), because you will not want to miss my exclusive one-on-one exit interview with Darnell Hamilton tomorrow (up by Thursday afternoon). So join me tomorrow and be back next week for another Episode Preview on Wednesday morning followed by another full Episode Recap and Analysis Wednesday night!
Be sure to check out one of my favorite Survivor sites as well, SurvivorFever.net.