Survivor SA: Philippines

Survivor SA: Philippines — “I’m Not Here to Make Sense”

Logan Saunders recaps the premiere of Survivor South Africa: Philippines ahead of episode 2.


Committing to three Survivor franchises simultaneously seems a bit extreme, but it is nearly a unanimous vote on the Internet that the season premiere of South Africa’s own Survivor revival is superior to both Survivor Ghost Island AND Survivor NZ.

All I can say is this: Thank god we have a couple of months before we have Survivor Aus’ triple header weeks to prevent us from having six Survivor episodes to watch each week.

Little is known about the format of Survivor South Africa: Philippines heading into the season. All I know is my buddy Warren isn’t a contestant, there’s going to be idols, and there are eighteen people. And presumably no Outposts.

Let’s rip into it. . .wait, wrong franchise.


The host of Survivor South Africa is some guy named Nico. Now all I am going to think about is GTA IV.

This is like an overdose of Survivor.

Nico says the contestants come from all walks of life.

NICO: An investment advisor. A mining technician. A pasta. A social media influencer.

A pasta? We have freakin’ noodles on this season?!

Katinka is a social media influencer who does the most deranged impression of a dumb blonde.

Ace thinks he’ll be an underdog because of his appearance.

Neil will cut anyone down in his way.

Katinka’s confessional would fit in more with New Zealand.

SEAMUS: I’m not here to make friends.

Sigh. Cliches already.

Tevin defines this appearance as his final exam.

Everyone points out the random man in the suit and tie. He looks like a lawyer or a really well-dressed bodyguard. Someone gives him a major evil eye. Another has a very intense look on her face.

The intense woman is Palesa who wrote a school exam three days after giving birth, and finished school in “record time”. Can Guinness verify this?

Werner is a pastor and expects people to trust him.

Jeanne is a radio producer and wants everyone to underestimate the short chubby woman.

Just like Survivor NZ, we’ve got eighteen castaways to compete in the Philippines.

There are “individually assigned parcels” with each person’s name on it. No schoolyard pick. They are all pre-determined. One tribe is blatantly named Luzon. Is that allowed?

CHANE: My nerves are shattered.

The guy in the suit is Martinez. Wait, Marthunis. He is a MENSA member.

The dude in glasses has a very deep accent.

Nico identifies Murishca as being nervous. She jokes she is nervous because people won’t be able to pronounce her name. Nico doesn’t expect her to pronounce his last name. She nails it.

Tom in the cowboy hat is happy that there is Neil on his tribe to ensure he isn’t the only bald fellow on Luzon.

It’s a classic Survivor startup. Supplies are on the boat.  They have two minutes to compile the supplies. As for the rice? It’s on the beach. The first tribe to get there claims the rice.




It’s the typical scramble. Nobody gets injured. Bread rolls fall into the water. Jeanne jumps onto the Luzon raft until she realizes her tribe is Mindanao. That’s a first. We see her slow-motion ninja jump. Seeing Rosie O’ Donnell jump is exactly as you think it would look.

We are introduced to Stacey-Lee on Mindanao; she is a competitive woman with a Quebecois accent. Isn’t this South Africa?

Mindanao is first to the beach. They get to the mat and now have to make a human pyramid to untie a bag. Katinka is the one untying. Luzon reaches the mat a few minutes later. Chane is doing it for Luzon.

Katinka eventually succeeds as Mindanao wins reward.

Both tribes are thrown maps to their camps. We have yet to see somebody hit in the face with the map.























A full intro! It is particularly intense.




One of the women wants to look around but Marthinus shuts her down saying they need to find the water well and build a shelter.

Tevin plans to never tell anybody what he is thinking. Marthinus commands somebody who has knowledge of building houses and/or infrastructure to lead the construction of the shelter. He is so doomed in this game.

There is a snake on a nearby tree. Marthinus loves snakes but doesn’t want to die because of a bite when he has a family at home. Jeanne defends the snake’s rights, but the man in the suit wielding the machete overrides hers and the others pleas as he kills it in one sweeping motion. MENSA!

Tevin can’t figure out why Marthinus is going against everyone’s wishes within the opening hours of the game. He wants to guarantee Marthinus’ elimination and goes up to everyone saying Marthinus discreetly put something in his bag during the marooning.

Why ya overplayin’, Tevin? Marthinus is already an easy target. Why create a lie that can easily backfire on you? It’s clear Marthinus doesn’t have the social skills for this game.

JEANNE: I am literally going to come across as a man hater on this show. Oh well.

She would not do well on Survivor NZ–The sausage fest from down under!

The men are building the shelter, but Jeanne challenges this as she wants to make a fire. Werner wants to create a diversion so he can look for an idol or a clue. Nobody follows him while everyone else is debating who is going to do what.

Werner finds a pouch in an empty tree. It is a picture of a platform from the next immunity challenge. Soooo there are definitely hidden immunity idols in Survivor South Africa.




Tom is elated and wants to call his wife about his adventure. It’s a long time until the family visit, man.

SEAMUS: First day on Survivor is a lot like losing your virginity. Hella nervous but mostly excited and the only thing on your mind is that you last longer than the other.

Wow. Somebody compared Survivor to sex on the very first day. I say Seamus should change his name to Seaman.

Seamus proceeds to strip to his boxers. Who is this guy? Everyone is laughing at him.

Tom points out to the players that everyone is scared of being the boss, but does it anyway. Ace and Seamus laugh about Tom attempting to be the alpha male. Vusi is amused too. Neil is the other alpha male.

NEIL: Ace is a total misfit in the game. I don’t know what skills he brings.

Social skills, social skills.

Chane notes Tom is indeed the guy wanting to be the top guy. He casually chats up with him while Tom constructs the shelter.

Seconds later, Josie and Ace walk to the water well. Josie has a good vibe from him.

JOSIE: I think for you-you’re someone whose word means a lot to you. . .I won’t lie to you. One hundred percent.

That’s a lot based off of knowing a guy for only a couple hours and this being their first shown private conversation.

JOSIE: I trust you to the end 150 percent. You are safe. I promise you.

Well, someday 39 alliances are indeed made on day 1.

Annalize loves that Tom makes her laugh after scaring her with a fake bug.

ANNALIZE: You are a problem child!

Most children aren’t bald.

Annalize wants banana bread and pineapple.

Neil thinks Seamus is too focused on the game as he sees him disappearing into the jungle with people numerous times. Seamus and Josie agree to align.

JOSIE: Both from Durban. He and I bonded but it’s early days.

SEAMUS: I don’t care about what they do for a living or how many kids they have. I don’t give a rat’s. . .whatever.

Ass. The word he was looking for was ass.

Seamus and Annalize chat at the water well. She doesn’t trust him.

ANNALIZE: I am definitely his friend. . .for now.

So ominous.

Vusi and Seamus have a conversation too. They think no one else will align with Ace. Therefore, they can guarantee his loyalty by saving him at Tribal Council.

SEAMUS: Every villain needs a minion and I think Ace is the first one.

The first day isn’t even over, buddy.

VUSI: This is too early. It’s the first day!

Vusi has a good read on the game.




The women think the men are taking too long with constructing a shelter that is far too large. They talk about cuddling being inevitable.

JEANNE: Mommy is gonna snuggle with you, boy!

MARTHUNIS: You guys are all jokes, eh.

I want Marthunis to tell a joke. He needs his own stand-up act.




Marthunis has a huge headache and vomits as Werner watches. What an odd pastor as his tribemate vomits all over the pasture. Tevin describes Marthunis as a green code patient–stable, fine, but dramatic.




Marthunis doesn’t want a challenge today because he is very ill. Tevin jokes about the psychology of Marthunis with PK Fire.

There is Tree Mail! Send one person to Outpost!




Nah, just kidding.

Marthunis is lost with the amount of knowledge that others have about Survivor. The tree mail sounds like it will be fire-making. Jeanne and Stacey-Lee are the only two who have been exposed as making fire with flint. Jeanne is annoyed with herself because she never ever wanted to be the person to put herself in the hero or goat role on the first day.




Ace and Tom volunteer.

SEAMUS: The people we chose was no mistake. . .Tribal always turns to the people who messed it up which is great for me.

Neil is happy Tom is confident with making fire because he has no intention of exposing himself this early.

Neil is an extremely perceptive player. All of his observations about the game and his tribemates have been spot on.



Luzon tells Nico they had zero sleep. Mindanao essentially agrees.

For today’s challenge, they’ll have four players go out to the structures in the water to retrieve bags and sticks. They’ll go in pairs.

Two tribe members will construct poles and use it to retrieve a key from inside of a cage. Unlock the padlock which gives them access to the flint inside. Take the flint to the fire-making station where the last two tribe members will need to make a fire to break the rope, and light their torch. The first tribe to do so wins immunity.

A very Thai-esque tribal immunity idol is up for grabs. It’s also a mini pole which is odd. They’re also playing for a fire-making kit.

The challenge commences!

Marthunis is in the first pair.

Seamus is first to the platform. Marthunis is second. Katinka is in last as Josie is slightly ahead of her.

Seamus is back first which triggers Neil to run out. Werner can go out for Mindanao. Nico isn’t good at providing annoying commentary.

Annalize is third to grab a bag and passes everyone else. Werner is terrible with untying knots. Once Annalize returns they notice she didn’t grab the sticks. Neil sends her ass back to the platform. She still unties it before Werner.

Werner is worse than me with knots. Sad piano music plays. Rain starts coming down.

NICO: And they have to make fire.

Yes, it’s rainy and windy. This could be disastrous.

Subtitles are provided for us–as to which of South Africa’s ten official languages are being used is beyond me.

Luzon is first to start building the poles.Werner unties the bag.  Mindanao begin assembling about a minute or so later.

NICO: Only two people constructing on those poles. Only two people [they have three]. It’s the two girls.

(NEIL returns to the table.)

NICO: Neil, get back! Neil! Neil get back! NEIL! GET BACK!

Neil retrieves the key for Luzon. PK has the key seconds later. It’s a dead heat.No pun intended as Tom and Ace and Jeanne and Stacey-Lee start on assemblling their fire. . .in the rain.

TEVIN: Make the tinder as dry as possible.

MARTHUNIS: Don’t tell them what to do. They’ve got this.

Marthunis: The only person who can tell somebody what to do by telling them not to tell somebody else what to do. And keep a straight face the whole time.

Mindanao creates a lot of smoke and a small fire. It’s a lot of smoke. Tom and Ace have nothing. Suddenly a spark. Tom’s face is turning into a beet.

Vusi is physically disturbed. I think he is gonna cry. Mindanao’s fire grows and grows. The rope snaps! Stacey-Lee lights the torch in slow motion as Jeanne keeps her shoulders stable. Rosie O’ Donnell helps win immunity for her tribe!

If this were Ghost Island, the Luzon name curse continues AND WHERE DID PK’S South Africa flag come from?!

TOM: Today I was handed my own butt by two women who beat me at making fire. It was most definitely a humbling experience.

Perhaps Jeanne can cuddle you to make you feel better?




Jeanne has never been more ecstatic than anything in her life. Not even cuddling the whole tribe.

TEVIN: I think Jeanne is going to think she controls this tribe. . .her ego literally shot up to the roof.

Better her than Marthunis. . .or actually, both are entertaining as leaders.

Jeanne and Stacey-Lee make fire with the flint at camp. Two-for-two.




Neil doesn’t believe Ace is making much of a contribution and is the target as we watch Ace awkwardly leap up to chop banana leaves with a machete.

Neil keeps sticking his neck out by rounding up groups of people to eliminate Ace. Sigh. I take back what I said about Neil.

Seamus and Tom shake hands to eliminate Ace. This seems too easy.

Seamus, Chane, Annalize, and Josie talk at the water well. Seamus pushes for Tom to go tonight. Chane is adamant that it is too soon to eliminate Tom, but Seamus is firm that himself and Neil can finish building the shelter.

CHANE: I have an alliance with Seamus, Annalize, and Jody.

Two days and Josie is Jody for now. That should be fun when writing her name down at Tribal Council.

Seamus goes up to both Palesa, Ace, and Vusi that Tom shall be blindsided. It shall be a 7-2 vote.

Chane and Seamus float in the water thinking about Tom’s elimination.




Stacey-Lee wants to catch a fish.

JEANNE: Catch a fish

Treat yourself

Then win Survivor

The three keys to winning Survivor. Jeanne’s book is just starting.

Werner predicts things will heat up. Seconds later Marthunis fights with Tevin and PK as they get into a heated confrontation about how to properly construct the shelter. PK throws the hammer away and goes away after hearing Marthunis’ lecture.

PK is alone with Stacey-Lee.

PK: I spent two hours doing that.

STACEY-LEE: I know you were doing that.

PK: I don’t know why he’s acting like the mayor. . .wish we had lost the challenge to send him home.

Tevin leads a troop to search Marthunis’ bag for a clue as Marthunis swims. Instead of a clue, they find a pep talk who wrote for himself about his family and how to get to the Final Three. That’s better than any idol clue I can think of.

PK: I feel bad for going through his property only because we didn’t find anything. . .would I do it again? Yes, I did.

By Kiwi standards, he feels “a wee bit bad”.

Marthunis sees his bag is not in the same position and the lid is open. He openly accuses the men of searching through his bag. After a few seconds they come clean and all joke about it. This worries Werner who EATS HIS OWN HIDDEN IMMUNITY IDOL CLUE out of fear of his bag being searched.

He ate a clue! Who eats a clue?! Werner The Clue Eater!




Chane pulls Annalize aside. They want an alliance with Tom and Neil. Who should be their fifth to take out Seamus? Ace. They shall pull in Ace.

Chane leaves it up to Annalize to rope in Ace.

Back at camp, Seamus wonders where “Ace Venture Pet Detective” is. Such a topical reference.

Ace admits he is skeptical of Seamus to Annalize. He gives his word to her.

Chane tells Tom the truth about what is going on. Tom is hesitant to eliminate Seamus. This is his only out, man.

CHANE: Just you and Neil thought that’s where we’re going–Look for fish, please!

Yeah, keep your head in the game, Tom! Look for fish! That’s the important thing right now!

Tom is very silly as he goes into the jungle and confronts Seamus about the plan to vote him out, and that the whole blindside is foiled. Seamus defends the trust he has for Ace. Seamus knows he has to change.

Seamus goes up to Vusi, Ace, and Josie. He wants them to go after the other four. This is pure chaos.

Chane, Annalize, Neil, and Tom gather. Chane is upset the blindside was blabbed.

Seamus is in the water with Palesa. It’s the swing.

Ace walks up to Chane, Neil, Annalize, and Tom as they beg for his word to knock out Seamus.

SEAMUS: I’ll be heartbroken if I am voted out first. I would hide under a rock.

ACE: I doubt it. I’d highly doubt it.




Ace wakes up in the early hours of the night with Tom. Tears streak down his face and Tom sees this.

TOM: He was so torn about what he said to me and what he said to Seamus. If he was here to play a cunning and devious game, that wouldn’t have got to him so much. It got to him because he’s a decent human being.

The way Tom says it sounds like he is in a fantasy movie filmed in the Middle Ages.

TOM: Do what’s in your heart, Ace.

Tom knows to back off of Ace when things are going outside of the game. That wasn’t a strategy. Ace is truly hurting from this early dilemma.




Alright, we need to go to Tribal Council soon. They eat a mixture of lemon, pineapple, and clam. What an odd breakfast.

TOM: Literally the ace I don’t have up my sleeve is Ace.

So that’s what he was thinking of the whole time last night.

Seamus has Tom in his crosshairs as Tom whistles Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

Josie pitches to Ace that Tom is an unknown while Seamus’ position is very predictable and they know 150% where he stands in terms of knocking out the big guys pre-merge. Ace has no idea what to do.

Everyone has a big sombrero for some reason and I don’t know why as they hike to Tribal Council.




The rhythm of Nico’s voice makes me giggle. Palesa says mosquitos are eating her for three meals a day. It’s like my ex-girlfriend around mosquitos.

PALESA: I have bumps in places where bumps shouldn’t be.

NICO: For what it’s worth, I have been eaten by them as well.

So formal, Nico. Come hither, sir!

This group is a bit more open with talking about alliances in contrast to the Kiwi crew. I like Neil’s golfer hat.

Neil feels the way that the division that was created in the tribe was very negative, and Seamus brought people’s character into the open which let him change his day 1 opinions of everyone on the tribe.

Tom refuses to sacrifice his honour.

Rain comes down again. There were about twenty other questions about it being Friend Island, but it was unnecessary. Let’s vote.

Seamus is shaking his head; Ace is perplexed.


TOM: You crossed the line, bud. Let the chips fall where they may.

SEAMUS (in a super awkward camera angle) votes TOM.

SEAMUS: Your social game is just too good.

Which is not the type of person you go for on day one. You’re supposed to just play along for the first couple rounds. Seamus should be done.









Love the pun.






Yeah, it makes sense. In other news, this tribe is divided. Dude played too hard too early. Ace knows he can trust the other four a lot more. You think Seamus is predictable? Neil and Tom are far more open with their game. Hell, Tom asked Seamus why the vote was against him.

Tom has a very cartoonish reaction to Nico’s announcement of flint being provided.


Next Time on Survivor South Africa: After a surprising Tribal Council, Josie feels betrayed by Ace. Ace gets a new lease on life. And paranoia sets in.

Seamus is a huge fan and is heartbroken to be out first.

SEAMUS: I should’ve realized that people didn’t want to play the game hard.

I think ‘hard’ isn’t the word; reckless is the word. Much like losing his virginity, Seamus didn’t know what he was doing the whole time.

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