By Rupert’s beard, we’re back! Dang it, wasn’t it just Season 30 a few minutes ago? How the heck are we about to start Season 32 of Survivor? Time continues to march on, and believe it or not, “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” – Season 32 of the greatest Reality TV show of all-time – begins tonight with a 90-minute episode (on CBS of course!). It will be the show’s second-ever “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty” theme, where the tribes will initially be split into those three categories of contestants. This is an all-new cast of 18 players, although a few (like Big Brother contestant Caleb and former NBA star Scot Pollard) may look a bit familiar.
The network and the show are not hiding the fact that Survivor: Kaoh Rong was an absolutely brutal season. Injuries were first teased at the last Live Reunion Show sneak-peek of this season, and once again, medical evacuations are shown in the preview of tonight’s premiere episode (see the video above). This season actually took place before Season 31 – both shot in Cambodia – as the producer’s chose to instead rush the “Second Chance” season to the air this past Fall to capitalize on the momentum it had created following the second chance fan vote. It’s the first time ever that they have “skipped” a season and aired it out-of-order.
It’s unknown (unless you’re into spoilers…) how many injuries and how often they will happen, but there is a great chance that they will affect the outcome of the game like never before on show. 32 seasons in, and this season will act as a stark reminder that Survivor is real…at least when it comes to the living conditions of the cast-mates and the harsh environments in which they inhabit during filming.
Hopefully though, medical evacuations will not be the only thing that Kaoh Rong will be known for when all is said and done.
Here is the official synopsis for tonight’s premiere episode, from CBS:
Episode 1 – “I’m a Mental Giant” – Castaways embark on the most grueling 39 days in Survivor history and test whether brute strength, looks or smarts will be the attribute that helps capture the title of Sole Survivor. Also, one castaway deals with excruciating pain when a bug gets stuck in their ear, on SURVIVOR, when the Emmy Award-winning series returns for its 32nd season with a special 90-minute premiere, Wednesday, Feb. 17 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Analysis. Man, I usually hate medical evacuations, not only for the afflicted player, but because of how it usually screws up the strategy of the game. So on one hand, I am happy that CBS and the show are being up-front with our expectations. Medical emergencies are just a part of the game, always have been, but maybe just more so now. Will there be a series of fluke injuries? Could this just be the clutziest group we’ve ever seen? Are all of the injuries due to the harsh environment, caused by bad weather, or just the awful conditions? It appears the tone of the entire season will be set tonight, with the whole “bug gets stuck in their ear” thing about to play out. Usually if your ears are ringing on Survivor, it just means someone is talking about you. This season, it could be a creature trying to burrow its way into your brain. Yikes.
Aside from injuries, we know that the “super idol” will also be introduced this season, where if two hidden Immunity Idols are combined, the users will be able to cast their vote after the votes have been read. Much more speculation to come on this, as new twists always bring with them several questions as to just how they will work practically within the game.
But let us hope for the best as these 18 contestants begin their journey, knowing that not all of them will make it through. And let’s hope that none of the injuries are anything major or life-threatening as well.
All of this injury talk does have me a bit on-edge…a bit less relaxed and excited…than I usually am heading into a premiere. Do you feel the same? Will this initial mindset factor in to how we view the season once it is all over? Bruised, battered or broken, Survivor: Kaoh Rong hopefully will still give us everything we hope for: Good strategic game-play, memorable players and moments, shocking Tribal Councils and a worthy winner.
Make sure to check out the 90-minute Premiere episode tonight on CBS and come back here later for my full recap, analysis and of course, my exclusive interview with the voted-out castaway tomorrow!
Important Note! Be sure to subscribe to this column (above) or follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli. This week – and every week throughout the season – I will post an Episode Preview article (like this one) every Wednesday morning. Then after the episode airs (usually by around midnight EST), look for my full episode recap as well as my analysis of what just happened in the episode. Finally, you won’t want to miss my exclusive one-on-one exit interviews every Thursday afternoon, with the person who was just voted out. Following me on Twitter or subscribing (where you would get email alerts every time a new article posts) are the best ways to stay tuned-in with all things Survivor as we progress through the season…and thanks for reading!
Also, next week I will be speaking to XfinityTV.com’s Survivor Guru, Gordon Holmes, podcast-style. We will recap and discuss the events of the Premiere Episode and chat about all things Survivor. You won’t want to miss it!