Survivor: Second Chance
September 23, 2015 7:39 PM - Season 31, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Survivor is BACK for its much anticipated 31st season, Survivor: Second Chance.

I am watching the episode RIGHT NOW and don't want to risk googling for more info or links right now.
posted by phunniemee (16 comments total)
This episode is so hard to watch because at this point I would be Very Happy to see any one of, oh, probably ten of them. Every camera shot it was like "oh her! she's my favorite! ... no, him! he's my favorite!"

Tasha, Jeff Varner, Shirin, Spencer, Jeff Varner, Savage, Jeff Varner, Fishbach, Kelly W, Jeff Varner...I'm so excited. Some of my favorite players ever and they're all here. I can't even root for one team over another because they split up the people I love. THIS IS SO HARD. MAYBE THE HARDEST THING I'VE EVER DONE. And I'm including yesterday when I had to tell my DVR not to record ANTM because there was a time conflict with Survivor. At least my priorities are straight. I'm so glad Varner, Spencer, and Shirin are on the same tribe. I hope they make an alliance because man, that would be 3 of my super favorite people all in one little unit.

There's no one here I hate. A few people I don't like (Abi, Keith) and a few people idgaf about (anonymous brunette, Other Kelly), but no one I hate. Best season ever.

Such a great juxtaposition with Vytas laying his flirt on whatsherface and calling himself a sweetheart to the camera while Shirin is there hauling 3 peoples of wood. A+ story editors.

OH GOD YES I've been writing this AS I watch and Shirin, Spencer, and Jeff Varner are all there talking to each other now and YES THIS IS MAKING ME SO HAPPY. PLEASE SURVIVOR GODS LET THIS HAPPEN.

Props to Other Kelly for that stealthy idol grab at the challenge. Props to Probst for the no-warning tribal council.

Things I like about this season that didn't even occur to me would be a thing I'd care about:

-Everybody is older now. Everyone on their first cast is the hottest, fittest, most bathing-suit-ready possible version of themselves, and now they're all older and saggier and chubbier and they look way more accessible. It's nice having realistic-looking people on tv.

-Abi's sticking around for at least one more episode, providing at least 3 more days of opportunity for some trademark Jeff Varner pot stirring. I don't like Abi but boy do I like watching Jeff start some shit.

Final opinion: good episode, great season potential, I am very satisfied.
posted by phunniemee at 7:53 PM on September 23, 2015

Kelley nabbing that idol was so intense!! I actually like the concept of hidden idols if this is how they're hidden.

Really don't agree with voting off Vytas though. The first couple votes should really lean towards keeping the team strong and in good spirits, I think. Taking out threats this early seems counterproductive.

This season definitely has abundant potential.
posted by dogwalker at 9:36 PM on September 23, 2015

Please Jeff Varner please stop strategically buttoning your shirt your dadbod looks delicious.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:24 PM on September 23, 2015

The challenge was so exciting to watch, from start to finish. Vytas getting ousted first was a surprise but I enjoyed the departure from the traditional "so-and-so made us lose the challenge" decisionmaking at first tribal council.

I really appreciated that they did an old-fashioned Survivor title sequence featuring each of the castaways. Apparently that was only for the premiere episode though.
posted by trunk muffins at 8:20 AM on September 24, 2015

Great episode. Love the added tension of having the immunity idol at tribal council.

Did you guys see the pre-season clip where everybody is denying they had pre-season alliances, and then Varner comes in and is totally honest about exactly who he's be plotting with over telephone? It makes it pretty clear that Varner's "Aw, shucks, I'm just a naive old-schooler" business is a masterful act.

I'm rooting for him, Kelley Wentworth, and Fischbach -- although to my crushing disappointment, Fischbach seems to have a pretty strong loser's edit right now.
posted by yankeefog at 9:21 AM on September 24, 2015

Really don't agree with voting off Vytas though.

I think this was one of those cases where they chose to make a compelling episode instead of giving us all the facts. They talked about the "old school" and "new school" but it wasn't clear how much that mattered until they counted the votes. The name also doesn't help because Vytas and Woo are part of the "old school", so it's more a euphemism for people who work on the camp and people who relax. (No judgement for the "new school" from me. Once you have shelter and food it's time to work on that social game.)

On the one hand, Kelly might the weakest member of the "old school" so maybe it would make more sense to vote her out instead of Vytas, Woo or Terry. On the other hand, Vytas wears his tight boxer briefs all day and tries to flirt with the women who clearly aren't into it. Combine that with a snap tribal council instead of a day to argue it out and both sides vote for the obvious annoyance.
posted by Gary at 10:26 AM on September 24, 2015

I'm 100% cool with the Vytas vote if for no reason other than the object lesson in "women can see right through your lame pandering, bro."
posted by phunniemee at 11:21 AM on September 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

I think this was one of those cases where they chose to make a compelling episode instead of giving us all the facts.

Yeah, that definitely seemed like the case here. The "new" vs "old" labels are confusing and also looked overhyped by the editing, compared to how the dynamics were playing out in realtime there.

Which also reminds me to ask if anyone has said how "snap" the tribal council really was? Clearly it was darker and people had changed clothes, I think. So there was at least some small amount of time, no?
posted by dogwalker at 11:44 AM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Really don't agree with voting off Vytas though. The first couple votes should really lean towards keeping the team strong and in good spirits, I think.

I am generally very much in favour of keeping the strong in pre-merge, but Vytas' towering ego and ostentatious peen were so anoying; if I was one of the women I would have booted him, too. Abi is great because everyone can agree on how annoying and useless she is, so it's like a vote in the bank if they lose another challenge.

Will be very interested to see how Kelly Immunity Idol goes; I felt like her idiotic Dad really cruelled her last time.
posted by smoke at 5:21 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Vytas needed to go; he was clearly not good for the spirit of the team. Gah, what a creep.

They obviously let people clean up and change before council, but not sure if that meant they had time/opportunity to talk. The editor is perhaps the biggest and best player of the game.
posted by nubs at 9:42 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

You're dealing with players who have been there before, and know how to play the game (even if, in these particular instances, their first times didn't work out so well). Having the idol at the challenges, and the snap tribal, are great examples of the producers making sure these veterans remain off-balance. Nothing's worse for Survivor ratings than a predictable outcome.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:19 AM on September 25, 2015

I mentioned in the recent Survivor thread on the blue that there is no other show in my opinion that does a better job than Survivor at showing human nature in its purest form. Rarely is that more evident than in returning player seasons, where you inevitably get the narrative of people coming in with the attitude of, "I've learned from my mistakes, I've changed, I'm going to do things differently this time now that I'm older and wiser", only to have the person fall back into familiar behavioral patterns rather quickly. Colton being the most obvious recent example during the first Blood vs. Water season, but also last night with Abi Maria cultivating needless hostility more or less immediately after landing at camp, all while mentioning in confessionals about her plans of keeping her temper in check this season since it was her Achilles heel her first time playing.
posted by The Gooch at 8:22 AM on September 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I PVRd it and just got to it this morning. Couch, coffee, waffles, episode 1. It was a beautiful morning. I've watched every season, so I should know all of the contestants, but so many of them have slipped out of my mind. I appreciated the reintroductions at the beginning. Others - like Kimmi - I swear were just on a couple of seasons ago. I'm muddled in my middle age. And it IS great to see the older players on, many looking less airbrushed than they did the first time around.

Jeff V., despite his protestations, seems to be playing very well. I have high hopes for Fish too, this week's asides seem to be pushing his demise so hopefully that means he'll be around for a while.

There was also a lot of editing around Kelly W. Just because she's the earliest player? Or are they getting lots in because she's heading for he chopping block early? My goodness she's fit - that swim was ridiculous.

I'm more excited about this season than I have been for ages. The alliances and maneuvering promise to be epic. Fun fun fun.
posted by Cuke at 10:07 AM on September 26, 2015

Abi is an insane narcissist so I'm happy to keep her around forever. I'm disappointed to learn about pre-gaming, it does make the "reality" less real to know that more of the game is staged & the contestants are roleplaying for the cameras to disguise that.
posted by scalefree at 10:55 PM on September 26, 2015

Scalefree, I'm really sorry to have taken away some of your pleasure in the show by linking to that video!

If it helps, I gather that the pre-game alliance stuff becomes much less of a factor after the first few days, as people are forced to respond to the various surprises the game throws at them. As Mike Tyson once said about a different, nearly as brutal sport: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
posted by yankeefog at 7:19 AM on September 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's all good. If it's going on I'd rather know than not.
posted by scalefree at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2015

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