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Survivor season premiere recap: 'San Juan del Sur' first Tribal Council

Twins Nadiya and Natalie want to make up for being the first team eliminated on The Amazing Race.

Posted on

Monty Brinton/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

I can’t believe it. Either I wield some sort of awesome mind control power I never knew existed or this is a coincidence of epic proportions. Can I actually will things into existence? Is that what’s happening here? I have to ask, because regular readers of these here Survivor recaps are well aware that last season I dubbed a certain someone from Survivor: Cagayan “Boobs McGee.” It was a stupid nickname, to be sure, and once the season ended I kind of forgot about it. But here we are for the unwieldy-titled Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water and producers HAVE ACTUALLY CAST A BOOBS McGEE!!! (In the form of surgically enhanced contestant Julie McGee.) But see, now I can’t refer to her as Boobs McGee because that would just be confusing. (Chesty McChesterson, perhaps?)

In any event, this got me thinking: What else should I be wishing into existence? The annihilation of Redemption Island (which Probst had already told me would be back for this season)? DONE! No returning players? DONE! No contestants that had already been quoted making racist and homophobic remarks in a national magazine…? Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. It seems my awesome Jedi-like “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” powers have their limits after all.

So with that, allow me to thank you for returning for another season of Survivor recapping as we break down everything that happens every single week. I was also fortunate enough to once again travel to Nicaragua for the first few days of filming, so I can also offer a little bonus intel for you in that regard. Oh, also, before we get down to it: a reminder that we have both an exclusive deleted scene as well as Jeff Probst’s immediate post-Tribal Council thoughts in the video player at the end of this recap. In addition, Probst and I will be doing our weekly Q&As every Thursday morning, so check back for those as well as exit interviews with all the eliminated contestants.

Shoot, I also forgot to mention that… wait, what?!? I can’t hear you! All of a sudden there is some deafening noise coming from overhead! What is that?!? Look! It’s Jeff Probst in a helicopter! Just kind of joyriding out in Nicaragua, by the looks of it. Jeff is flying by all of the contestants as the nine pairs are dropped off all by their lonesome for Day 0, which seems a bit na-na-na-na-na if you ask me. Day 0 was implemented in the last Blood vs. Water season as an effort to familiarize viewers with the couples and figure out who was with whom before they were ripped apart. So we get a few seconds of Wes losing his striker, Alec cutting his hair for fire, and Baylor being scared of howler monkeys before we finally realize that the only reason Probst is in that damn chopper to begin with is so he can look like a complete badass by hanging outside while it dips at some insane angle for maximum badassery. Probst. Such a freakin’ pimp.

The pairs finally all congregate in what would have been called Redemption Island arena but now isn’t because producers scrapped that idea at the last minute and decided to bring back Exile Island (which has not been used since Tocantins) instead. Now the arena has no name whatsoever, which kind of stresses me out. I actually asked Probst while I was out there if they would now dub it “Exile Arena” and he looked at me like I was the world’s biggest moron, which is not the first time he has looked at me that way, incidentally. (UPDATE: The arena has a name! Probst now has a moniker for it, which he reveals in this week’s Q&A. Check it out there and see if you think it is less or more dorky than Exile Arena.)

NEXT: Why Exile is better than Redemption