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Survivor 27: Blood vs. Water – Ep 1 – Don’t Let That Fool You!

Season 27 begins – a season with more twists than a Chubby Checker biopic. With more unexpected developments than an episode of Breaking Bad. And with the promise of some new unexpected dynamic between contestants – possibly the most in a long time. It is hard to predict what we see as the weeks go on, mainly because the contestants have so many new things to consider – they likely had all of their pre-show plans tossed out of the window.

Perhaps not all of them – upon reading some other blogs this morning, there seems to be the ongoing trend of returning Survivors building alliances before the cameras begin rolling. We saw allusions made to that in the Boston Rob/Lex classic rivalry the first time the show employed this dynamic. We essentially saw it last season with Cochran/Dawn. So, to some on this season, while the twists have made their plans more difficult, they may have been able to salvage some of it by keeping some of their pre-show plans alive. The question is – did their loved ones stick together as well?

Anyway, let’s just get the twists out of the way. This season, as previously stated, we have a returning Survivor and a loved one. They arrive in 10 pairs and spend their first night by themselves on a portion of beach with no supplies. How nice. And how utterly boring it turns out. The show agrees and edits this sequence into a quick montage. The pairs join Probst on the beach and instantly learn that they will not be paired up into five groups of loved ones for each tribe. Instead, we are basically getting Fans vs. Favorites III. The returning Survivors vs. the new Survivors. Next twist – each group is kicking someone out right now. Next twist – they are not actually departing, but heading to the Return of Redemption Island. Next twist – the loved one can switch with the first boots and take their place on RI, while their loved one takes their place on a tribe where they are in a clear minority. All of this in the first several minutes. Way to turn into Basil Exposition, Probst!

So, what came of this whirlwind of changes from the start? Well, the family tribe kicked out Rupert’s wife. Why? No real idea why – other than perhaps they wanted to throw Rupert off his game. Their mistake – Rupert has no game. Never did. And he proves it when Probst asks him about switching places. He moves forward before Probst can tell him the consequences – Laura is now going to be with a tribe of returning players with a gigantic, tie-dyed target on her back. But at this point, his ego can’t backtrack from the heroic gesture he has already made. By taking her place, he has likely doomed both of them. Now he has to not lose many duels to come back, and she has to quickly integrate herself into a tribe where she is a clear cut first vote. The likeliest scenario is that either he’s gone quickly, or they will wind up dueling each other before long. So, five minutes in and Rupert has already screwed up strategically. That was a friggin record.

The favorites voted Candice out of the tribe to start with and while I thought at the time that it was due to her incredibly untrustworthy first two forays into the game, it was likely something simpler and a lot dumber. Originally, RC and her dad were supposed to be on the show, but her dad failed a medical test at the last minute. That meant that Candice and John were flown in at the very last minute to play. They got no backstage interactions, and were just party crashers to this group. Interesting though that John was spared – likely due to him being a big guy. Also interesting – John had the where-with-all to NOT do anything stupid and switch places with her. So, he is actually in good standing on his tribe, while she will try to dig out of the hole she’s been placed in. Also, ALSO interesting – Candice and Rupert played together for many days in Heroes vs. Villains, and so it seems, Candice hates him. For a moment, my distaste for her is lifted just a teeny bit for that. Unfortunately for her, she is doing all of the RI chores while he finally smartens up and rests his bones for the duel.

I was very surprised to see the Faves elect to go in this direction and take her out rather than instantly toss Colton onto the trash heap. It’s as if they didn’t watch One World. Actually, they probably didn’t. Not many did. At least Kat and Monica should have kicked him to the curb. Instead, arguably the most horrid player in the show’s history gets to stay. And if you recall, while he was a cancer to the tribe, he was also fairly useless in challenges and at camp. That does not seem to have changed – based solely on his paddling problems and his method of sawing bamboo…with the saw aimed directly for his crotch. I was hoping we would have very little Colton, and was bracing myself to having to endure another season of The Rupert Show. At least, so it seems, that will be reversed.