Logan Saunders recaps the premiere of Survivor: David vs. Goliath ahead of episode 2.
SURVIVOR 37: CHAMPIONS VS. CONTENDERS II: DAVID VS. GOLIATH
Premiere Recap: “Once You Crack You Don’t Go Back…Literally”
In another attempt for US Survivor to copy the superior Aussie version, we have a theme completely poached from the Survivor down under as we have a rebranding of Champions vs. Contenders.
A tribe of Davids who share one thing in common: Sharing a lot of traits with David from Millennials vs. Gen X and have a whole season surrounding his own traits of overcoming adversity.
Elizabeth gave birth in her cowboy hat. You can see the umbilical cord in it when she puts it on her head.
We switch to the Goliaths. Natalie Queen Cole has people who would literally take a bullet for her. Holy crap. Who surrounds her? The Secret Service?
Angelina’s life has been amazeballs.
Who will be the most cunning? Pat Sajak says you don’t judge a guy with two neck tattoos by its cover.
. . .No intro whatsoever.
Our two tribes board Probst’s yacht. John Hennigan grunts when he boards the ship.
Angelina thinks her own tribe is stacked with beauty, brains, and muscle. The other tribe’s entrance makes her giggle.
ANGELINA: I want to take full advantage of that.
Just wait until you see the tribe of my fellow Canadians on season 39.
Probst talks about what skills people have had on Survivor. Social manipulation skills. Computer hacking skills. Nunchuk skills. Winners of Survivor use skills.
The theme is revealed.
Nick is first to be called upon by Probst. Nick grew up in a trailer in the “holler.” Jeff Foxworthy of all people taught me that term.
Nick is a public defender who grew up in rural Kentucky. Why can’t we ever have a rural Kentucky contestant on a CBS show who is the biggest hotshot ranching millionaire be cast? We need somebody from rural Kentucky who is like a ridiculously wealthy rancher or a retired executive within the Big Pharma industry. Just sitting on millions of dollars with classy servants while diving into their cash like Scrooge McDuck.
Gabby says something.
John is called upon by Probst. He brags about being a pro wrestler. Friday Night Delight. Mayor of Slam Town. He also has a degree in geology. Just another pro wrestler who likes rocks, and I’m not talking about his abs.
Alison is defensive about saying she has a strong work ethic.
Probst is not denying work ethic. He wants to compare Pat’s story to Alison’s story.
Alison is a doctor. Her dad was a doctor.
Pat’s mom was paralyzed when he was nine. His dad was the sole breadwinner. Med school wasn’t an option. College wasn’t an option.
Probst says whoever uses their advantage to the fullest will win this game.
GOLIATHS: Pick the weakest man and weakest woman on the Davids.
MIKE WHITE: We’re going to pick Purple Hair and Big Bang Theory.
Mike White, stop making jokes, man. I have spent the past decade joking about how close you and your dad came to dying on multiple seasons of The Amazing Race. Not to mention you were the dude who talked Probst out of doing Redemption Island for San Juan Del Sur over Thanksgiving dinner.
And don’t get me started on being part of the Winners + Cesternino CBS Roundtable a couple years ago.
Translation: Lyrsa and Christian.
GOLIATHS: Pick your strongest.
John and Alison.
DAVIDS: Picking the obstacles for each tribe.
STAGE 1: Balance: Beam Over Water, Plank Bridge, or Two-person Track.
STAGE 2: Agility: Net Tube, Rope Tunnel, Crawl.
STAGE 3: 15-piece Cube Puzzle, 8-piece Slide Puzzle, or Transport 30 Sandbags Across Platforms.
The first tribe to complete all three stages earns massive shelter making kit.
GOLIATHS: Planking, Net tube, then the 15-piece Cube/Block Puzzle.
DAVIDS: Water Beam, Crawl Under, 8-piece Slide Puzzle. Christian seems indifferent to the slide puzzle.
This is our first Survivor challenge on a freakin’ ship.
Goliaths shout the Davids are going to fall in. Mike White cringes. He has no idea what he has got himself into. If only Jack Black could be his substitute once more.
Davids finish stage one quickly. Time for the Crawl Under! Pat shouts to push with his feet.
Goliaths are done stage one. They are going through the net tunnel quickly. Davids complete stage two seconds ahead of Goliaths.
We’re on stage three–and Christian is done in less than five seconds. Wow. That must be one of the quickest Survivor challenges ever.
PROBST: That was a blowout.
Review Survivor: Guatemala and Jamie trying to cut the rope. Then get back to me.
We discover Christian wrote slide puzzle solving algorithms.
Probst chucks a map at Christian. He catches it thanks to physics.
Mike White goaltends Kara and snags the map in front of Kara.
Christian is criticizing his own performance with the slide puzzle. We get a funny series of fade-in and fade-outs with his confessional about what other strategies he could have used.
Mike White talks about being a non-beautiful dude in Hollywood (Peter Griffin calls people like that “normies.”) Mike wrote School of Rock. Nacho Libre. No Oscar for him.
Daniel talks about being a 340-pound fat kid after getting McDonald’s discounts in her first few years as a police officer. He becomes a brief NutriSystem commercial. Natalie thinks Daniel is very fine. Kara also thinks he is very fine too. Angelina also thinks he is very fine. They’re drooling.
Daniel’s dog is named Kara. Kara talks about herself as Supergirl. Daniel believes Kara is everything he wants in a woman.
DANIEL: Blonde and beautiful.
That’s the most Goliath-like response to a woman I’ve ever heard in my life.
Daniel wants the showmance. He drinks water with Kara.
Pat is in a major leadership position in camp life. He is self-made. Blue collar. He could’ve been on the show seven seasons earlier.
Pat’s face is beet red. Everyone else is already annoyed by him, including Christian. Christian is not fond of Pat shouting his name in a professional setting.
PAT: I’m sweating like a pregnant nun in confession. . .I’d give my left nut to be thirty-six. . .I’m gonna take my shirt off to let the fat fly. . .once you see the crack you never go back. . .you dirty bitch. . .
Wow. This is the one permutation where Christian wasn’t going to be the most annoying person on the tribe.
Pat likely deals with a very specific group of people. He likely hasn’t been in a super diverse setting where people take a while to warm up to more vulgar and inappropriate jokes. It’s not like living in the Okanagan.
Natalie observes everyone else is 25 while she is 57. Mike White looks like he is 57.
The whole tribe discusses the shelter. Natalie asks Natalia to slow down and directs everyone.
NATALIE: Lady. Hello!
On the first day that sentence comes out. This isn’t good.
NATALIE: Let’s keep it pushing.
Pat and Natalie are really falling in line with basic human nature which continues after 37 seasons of Survivor. It’s practically the biggest Day 1 Rule that was established after two seasons of Survivor: Don’t be the leader.
PAT: We’ve got trees in New York…we’ve got the best-colored foliage in the nation.
I’ll take his word for it.
Pat is in a super precarious position chopping down a piece of a tree while balancing on another one.
Jessica is lying about her age just like Michael from last season. She is a nineteen-year-old pretending to be twenty-two. Jessica is eager to make a ton of alliances.
Jessica aligns with Carl. Carl reminds him of one of his daughters.
Carl and Davie are walking together and align too. They talk about Pat being annoying and laugh about him. Carl sees so many pairs retreating into the jungle together.
Lyrsa and Elisabeth establish trust with one another.
CHRISTIAN (to GABBY): I’m a little bit of a weirdo. If I get a little too saucy with the science stuff. . .
Gabby is a technical writer. She loves Christian. The Nerd Whisperer. She is drawn to Christian. They like each other for their brains and insecurities.
Mike White talks about Mexican wrestling with John. John talks about mocking Naho Libre wrestlers. John goes through over eleven nicknames.
George Bushy of Tushy.
Shamn of Sexy
Ambassador of Abdominals
Mr. Ab-Raham Lincoln
He is playing as John. Sorry ladies. No Shaman of Sexy.
Angelina is creeped out because Natalie is STARING at everybody. She finds it odd. It is spoken about openly.
Mike White retreats to the water well in the pouring rain. The others are calling out for Mike.
“He has been gone for a long time!”
They catch onto his schtick. Natalie uses a cane to tail Mike into the jungle.
While the two biggest targets are outside of camp, they discuss a name to eliminate. Mike is threatening and slick. Natalie contributes nothing.
Natalie catches up with Mike saying he has a target on his back. He claims he was looking for shoes.
MIKE: I didn’t feel like I needed it, I just wanted it…I am being hoisted by my own petard.
Good luck explaining that sentence to Keith Nale.
Contestants are drinking water dripping from trees. A Survivor first. Jessica refuses to drink it.
Everyone else keeps working on the shelter. We are seeing the elements. Elizabeth says it is inbred within a David to talk about each other. Did they really have to give the country person who gave birth into a cowboy in a confessional about “inbreeding”? Are you kidding me, editors?
Nick wants a flock of sheep to follow him in this game.
NICK: It’s too easy to get people to trust you on Survivor.
Nick aligns with Elizabeth and Christian. The best way to solidify an alliance is to name alliances.
NICK & ELIZABETH: The Thoroughbreds.
After so many years of BB, The Amazing Race, and Survivor, how many non-ridiculous alliance names are left?
Carl can’t stand lazy people due to his job as a hardworking truck driver. Nick is indeed the Lazy Ass.
Pat was annoying, but everyone has mad respect for Pat’s effort in putting the shelter together. Pat and Carl align over their hard work ethic.
Natalia and Kara make an alliance. They want to make their move on the idol. Angelina keeps an eye out as the female idol seeking odds are increased.
Mike is looking for an idol too with both hands.
Everybody else just throws up their hands to seek the idol. Target on Mike White’s back is erased. Jeremy refuses to work because of the idol seeking efforts. John says power is in a Goliath DNA.
This feels like The Amazing Race.
Kara, Daniel, and Natalia were searching for it. Daniel, the non-Geology Guy, saw a cool rock with purple string. He draws Kara and Natalie to it. He found an idol and made a threesome with the “two most beautiful girls in this whole entire game” because of it.
DAVIE CAUGHT A FREAKIN’ OCTOPUS! SCREW YOUR OCTOPUS, TOM WESTMAN! IT’S A MOTHERF—ING OCTOPUS!
Davie loves zombies and Mario Kart. He is a Blerd–a Black Nerd.
Davie slaps himself during a confessional. Is it real? Is this octopus real?
The pouring rain is punishing Jessica. She says aloud she feels pitiful for crying in front of everyone on day two. Someone tell Dreamz this is a pure soliloquy.
Bi tells the others in the shelter she was in an abusive relationship for five years where she was beaten daily and had no one to step in. She went to the hospital monthly. Bi says some sweet words for Jessica and domestic abuse.
NICK: It’s not how I usually talk to people. I’m not one to open…I have a story. I didn’t feel comfortable telling it…When everyone else talks about their most traumatic moment, it lets me let my guard down and open up.
Night comes, and Nick reveals his mom died due to an overdose three years ago. It’s strange to see these emotional bonding moments on contemporary Survivor. Hopefully, this trend continues without the stories hitting us over the head.
TRIBAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE #1
Pouring. Rain. It’s windy too. Perhaps the rainiest challenge I have seen since Survivor: Samoa.
A lot of squinting eyes. Elizabeth leads the excitement. The immunity idol is in mint condition for now.
Sprint through an obstacle to a sandpit. Dig under a log. First through has a machete. Chop a rope. Release a ladder. The second tribe is penalized and must untie knots.
Survivor Pole Vault. Use it to cross from one very high platform to another.
Then work together to solve a giant number puzzle.
The first tribe to solve it wins immunity. The reward is fire in the form flint.
This looks like a physical disaster. John is tackling Davids down to build a lead. We see some brutal kicking. Pat is physical too.
It doesn’t matter as both tribes finish the first obstacle simultaneously. Alec and Carl are digging in the sandpit. Alec is through and chops the machete with a single chop.
Carl is fading quickly. Natalia pole vaults like a Marianna and/or Julia.
Carl is done. He just wants to faint like Mike White’s dad.
Goliaths finish pole vaulting before the Davids get there. All of them slide down the net.
Davids are instructed by Probst to take it easy on the pole vault.
Daniel gets impatient with John handling the pieces and rips it from Shaman of Sexy’s hands.
Carl completely wipes out on the net. I am surprised a bunch of people trip over him in a domino effect.
Alison is the caller for Goliaths puzzle.
Christian is the caller for Davids puzzle.
Davids catch up to Goliaths. This is the closest to a rainout I have seen in Survivor. It is coming down ridiculously hard. Goliaths finish two rows. So are the Davids.
Goliaths have four rows. So do the Davids. It is close.
Goliaths win immunity! I can’t tell if any of the Davids are crying or if it’s the rain.
Mike White releases a Ric Flair-esque “WOO!” upon victory.
The rain suddenly stops as the Goliaths exit the area. Probst has a talk show moment with Pat.
Lyrsa doesn’t trust Nick because he hasn’t done anything in challenges or at camp. It’s a supposed tribe consensus. Rain starts coming down really hard once more. Trees are ready to snap.
It is super stormy. Rough waters.
Suddenly someone is twitching and on a stretcher. I hear Dr. Joe. I sat next to Dr. Joe at the Koah Rong finale. I was on TV grinning like a smug bastard for a few seconds.
It’s Pat. The pain is in his back. Nobody has been medically evacuated since Kaoh Rong. We are told it happened in an unaired clip where the boat crashed onto a wave. They heard a crack.
The tribe is sitting on the shore of a beach. Probst is running over. Pat is barely conscious.
Pat begs not to leave.
“You can’t take me. You can’t take me. I can’t leave.”
You’re closer to a Grim Reaper taking you than a torch guiding you to Tribal Council.
And there is still another boat ride to Tribal Council. Do you really want that, Pat? Really?
Luckily we call in a chopper rather than a boat. Probst waves in the tribe to bid farewell to Pat. This is ridiculously emotional. The heart rather than the artery is being removed from the tribe. Davids are going to be an absurd mess starting next round.
Everyone mourns over the loss of their tribal leader who was guaranteed to be safe tonight. Jessica is having a meltdown.
Probst ties it into the David vs. Goliath theme which makes me laugh out loud. We must push that narrative.
Will they get handed flint? Not personally, but one will await them at camp.
An unaired boat crash eliminated somebody from Survivor. It took thirty-seven seasons for that to happen.
AND IT CRASHES AGAIN! NOW WE LOSE ELIZABETH! A FETUS ROLLED OUT OF HER COWBOY HAT!
Nah, just kidding. It’s the end credits.
Next Time on Survivor: There’s a new war, a new target, and a new man in charge.
Pat will dust the sand off and get back on the horse as a David. Good for him.
That premiere was…surprisingly good. We watched players bond and see both tribes handle their respective leaders and how respect is earned by your peers. Much like Aussie’s Contenders vs. Champions, this premiere really examined the background of players on both tribes.
Nick should be dead in the water.
As many jokes as I make about Mike White, at least the competitive and power-hungry edge on the Goliaths took over.
Although Probst denies a hard work ethic differentiates the two tribes, we definitely saw it in the premiere. Davids wanted to build the best damn shelter and bond on a personal level while Goliaths went on goofy idol hunts and watching John talk about his nicknames. There’s also silly little showmances going on there.
Are showmances happening on Davids? Nah, they’re too serious for that, bro.
Whether you find Davids’ serious personalities to be compelling rather than being La Mina’d. Time will tell.
Jessica is not doing as well as last year’s teenager. She is really sticking out as not being able to cope with the conditions. I think she’ll be out soon.
I think a winner is going to be a Goliath. They will be less loyal, but I think they’ll take advantage of the Davids down the road with some bluffs. The Goliath women sans Natalie seem like they will be strong players in this game.
Now watch Davids take out the Goliaths over the next ten rounds and all be the Final Nine together.
P.S. I feel bad for Pat. Really bad. He was perhaps the most interesting character pre-season and gets one of the unluckiest breaks the game has ever seen. Hell, it wasn’t even the game–it was a boat ride which they have done tens of thousands of times over the past 37 seasons. I feel like he would’ve easily made the merge. He had too much charisma and loyalty to be viewed as a guy who needed to go home early. He played well to his strengths even if his social banter wasn’t the most sophisticated. He’ll be missed.
P.P.S. I wonder if Mel White would’ve been medically evacuated before Pat if he were cast instead? I think he would have. The number puzzle would’ve killed him or having to lift the pieces for that 15-piece cube puzzle. The osteoporosis would have made it tough for his wrists.
P.P.P.S. This season really did get off to a rocky start. Geez. I like this group, though. They’re an oddball group. I don’t think the audience will like them too much because we don’t have any huge characters, but the people do feel real.