“Survivor” Season Preview


Illustration by Sydney Fener

Georgia Goldberg

A new era of “Survivor” has begun. “Survivor” is a reality game show on CBS where players are divided into ‘tribes’ and have to survive off of natural resources with the only supplies provided–bags of rice, pots and tools.

Only one tribe can win “Immunity” at each challenge, meaning two tribes must go to Tribal Council after each event.

At its core, “Survivor” is a show intended to hold the viewer in suspense as the gameplay evolves and players face elimination; however, this season’s excessive and unnecessary sappiness distracts from the thrill of the game. Each player introduced themselves with a different sob story, and every challenge loss resulted in at least one person crying. If one wanted to watch people whine and cry on a beach, “Bachelor in Paradise” would be a safer bet.

While each season of “Survivor” includes a few new changes, the general structure of the show remains the same season after season, so how do the showrunners keep it fresh?

This season, host and executive producer Jeff Probst directly addresses the audience, taking them behind the scenes to see the game at work. Also, viewers get to play the new “Game Within the Game,” in which they have the opportunity to solve rebuses and word scrambles, becoming part of the game.

Additionally, each player receives a ‘Shot in the Dark’ die. If a contestant feels they are in great danger of being sent home at Tribal Council, they have one opportunity to play this die, forfeiting their vote and drawing from a bag for a one-in-six chance at Immunity for the night.

The season premiere also featured a dilemma for three players dubbed “Protect or Risk Your Vote.” A boat arrived at each camp and each tribe had to choose one player to be sent away on the adventure. The three chosen contestants each had the option to protect or risk their vote at Tribal Council. If all three “protected,” nothing in the game changed, but if all three “risked”, they all lost their votes. If the decisions were split, those who chose risk would gain an extra vote at any Tribal Council of their choosing, and those who chose to protect their teammate would not gain or lose anything.

In the premiere episode, the “castaways” were introduced in a challenge where they had to collect six paddles, jump into the ocean, climb onto a raft, paddle out to a buoy and come back. Yase, the yellow tribe, could not even manage to collect all their paddles. They spent the entirety of the challenge frantically searching for one paddle, but they were not alone in their confusion. Luvu, the blue tribe, managed to collect all their paddles and board their raft first but forgot to unclip the raft. They rowed and rowed, unable to move as they were anchored to the ocean floor. Quarantine was hard on all of us, but it clearly took a much bigger toll on the mental ability of the people who could not even realize their boat was still anchored in place.

With the green tribe Ua’s unequivocal win, Yase and Luvu had to complete another challenge back at their respective camps to earn their supplies. Both tribes were given a choice for their challenge: “Savvy” or “Sweat”. In the Savvy challenge, the entire tribe had to solve a “count the triangles” problem involving the counting of triangles-one that is surely ripped straight out of an Algebra 1 textbook. In the “Sweat” challenge, only two players from the tribe could participate. They had to fill two giant barrels with ocean water using small pots in a limited amount of time. Both tribes, remembering their trainwreck performances in the previous challenge, opted for the smarter “Sweat” option.

Season 40 was composed of possibly the 20 greatest “Survivor” players of all time, all previous winners, so it was surprising how impressive this new cast was. We have only received a slight glimpse into the players, but so many of them already show strong promise. Evvie from Yase will prove to be an incredible player in this game. She is currently getting a doctorate in the study of human behavior, and there is really no better way to become the “Ultimate Survivor” than understanding how your competition will act and react. JD, the resident “Survivor” superfan from Ua, knows the game inside and out. This is an obvious advantage, but it will also place a huge target on his back.

This is the magic of the show: finding interesting and compelling contestants, literally casting them into the wild and making us feel attached to their journey. Another great season of “Survivor,” long overdue after the pandemic blues, is ready for your viewing pleasure. No risking anything here by giving Season 41 of “Survivor” your vote.