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Survivor: Philippines – Premiere – The Strangest Game of Chess. Ever.

Happy 25th Surivor!! Now you can rent a car. In all seriousness, we have embarked on the 25th season of Survivor – Quarter Quell (Hunger Games Spoiler Alert within) as I said in my preview. And the 90 minute episode was full of interesting moments. Expanded Survivor episodes (which lead to only one elimination) can tend to drag at times, and this one did a bit, but for the most part we got our money’s worth to open the season. It started like every other season with gorgeous shots of the islands, of animals, storms, Probst. And of 15 people sitting on a boat with various supplies. If they didn’t see both the addition of additional players and a water marooning, then they have never seen this show before. Only once before has Survivor had an odd number of players (Fiji), and that was due to a very last second quitting by a player before the cameras rolled.

The biggest takeaway I got from this episode – people are not as star struck with these returnees as they were with Rob, Coach and Ozzy. And only one of the returnees seems to have a good plan. However, instead of the returnees, we have a couple of potential stars brewing among the newbies.

Before Probst even joins up with the 15 people on a boat, we hear from six people in confessionals. Baseball player Jeff Kent knows all about pressure, and we get clips of his days with the SF Giants. Former child actress Lisa Whelchel wants to not be considered Blair, she wants to be Just Lisa. Which will coincidentally be the title of her new talk show. And tire repairman Zane had the first of several odd moments when he talked about his Frankenstein tattoo and said that he, like the monster, could pick flowers with you or strangle you. Um. Great. It’s a date.

The other three are from our returnees. Russell Swan said Survivor kicked him in the chops the first time, after he passed out from dehydration. Jonathan Penner can taste and see the victory – no word if he can hear it, feel it or smell it. Michael Skupin doesn’t see his fire accident as a failure, it is part of him now. Unlike his hand skin, which no longer is a part of him. By the way, he played this game so long ago that one of his tribemates was nine years old when that episode aired.

Probst starts to chat with the newbies and alludes to the hard core nature of the game and the past injuries before bringing in the three extra players. Roxy even recalls Swan’s accident, not realizing the irony that he will be soon joining her tribe. Probst hammers home the need to keep these guys around because they have something none of the others do – experience in the wild. Except for Malcolm – who apparently lived in Micronesia for a year teaching English to Micronesians. There will be HIIs in play, and hilariously as Probst points out how important they are, we cut right to Penner nodding his head. He knows this to be quite true.

The tribes have one minute to clear off the boat with all of the crap they can gather. Penner is in classic form already mouthing off to Probst, “Before what happens?” There is fruit, chickens and tons of supplies. I think the tribes better watch their chickens, we know Penner likes to steal them. The big event here is that Jeff Kent tumbles over the side, spilling the tribes supplies into the water, and as we later learn, injuring his knee in the process.
Probst did say the show was rough, Kent.

From there, we go tribe hopping leading up to the challenge. So let’s focus on each tribe one at a time.

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