Survivor: Winners at War - FINE! I'm going to blog on this ONE season

A day or two before the premiere of the 40th season of Survivor, I commented on someone's post about it. It was actually an author that was talking about watching it and the previews. A mutual friend, another author I have worked with, asked if I was going to blog about it.

The thought has crossed my mind, but only this one season of all winners. This one special season. Not taking it on as a new thing to blog about every season. The big snag: Survivor is a Wednesday night show. I'm never home on Wednesday nights. After church, a friend and I have a standing dinner date. Sometimes, I don't get around to watching for days. That makes it a bigger challenge to blog about weekly.

I am so absolutely behind on blogging--I have so much I want to go back and back post. Stuff I still want to post from back in the fall (for what reason, I don't know other than OCD) that I will promote through my PR page on Facebook for one thing to get a little more attention for some books that need some love. (I need to give up on some things. Let it go.) So much to do. While I am watching, I need to be crafting. I need to work on my expenses for my taxes. If all else fails, I need to be doing some work (like right now as I type this).

A couple of people said they would read it when I posed the question on Facebook if anyone would indeed read it. After all, my readership on my Bachelor blogs has tanked. Why should I believe in the power of two readers?

This week, I put off watching the episode until I made up my mind if I was going to blog it or if I had time to get my laptop out while I watched. I put it off Thursday. Nope on Friday. Saturday, I told myself. Nope. Sunday night. Going to watch it, but no, I won't blog about it. I didn't need one more thing on my list.

Then, I started watching. There was commentary I wanted to make. Things I wanted to point out.

So here we go.

I didn't get up and go get my laptop, so here I am actually on Monday night after blogging on The Bachelor, watching part of the show again to remember all I wanted to say. I'll actually schedule it show up on the blog the night it aired to make the weekly post consistent. As I type this, I'm not sure I'll get the post finished before I sign off for the night or my laptop battery runs out of juice. If it comes to that, I'll just have to finish it later.

I'm going to try my hardest not to give a blow by blow recap, but instead share some highlights. It's way too hard to blow-by-blow with Survivor. I will, however, get a little detailed this first episode. Maybe, maybe not.

As the two boats full of players arrive on the island, there's some reminiscing to be done there on the beach and lots of clips of contestant interviews.

A few highlights of note:

Ethan (from way back in season 3 in Africa) has been through a lot since his time on Survivor. Any fan knows he battle cancer.

Sandra feels betrayed by Boston Rob not telling her that he was going to be on this season. After all, they just spent 39 days together as mentors last season. As I recall, she didn't exactly tell him. What's good for her doesn't work for anyone else. As if we didn't already know who Sandra was going after, we do now.

There's a little bit of memory sharing between Jeff and some of the winners on the beach. It's a really big deal, of course, for Boston Rob and Amber to both be on the season. It has been twenty years since Amber's first season on the show, way back in season 2 in Australia. Then, iPhones didn't exist. iTunes weren't even a thing yet, Jeff points out. Amber was 20 when her season was recorded. She's 41 now.

After a toast to the season, Jeff hands out the buffs. They may have arrived on one boat of men and one boat of women, but that's not how they will play. Teams have been decided. They have to pick up the buff with their name on it.

I have to admit right here, I don't remember some of these people. This isn't because I haven't watched the show for twenty years. The first season it came on was in 2000. The summer after I graduated college in May. The radio station I listened to was always recapping on Thursday mornings. I didn't catch it that first season because I was at church on Wednesday nights when it came on. I didn't set my VCR back then. I may not have watched as Richard Hatch won that season, but I sure heard about it. Eventually, the season would air on some cable network, and I watched it then. (For a while I had numerous seasons saved on VHS. Tons of tapes I tossed when I moved seven years ago and didn't take them with me.)

No, I started watching in season two where all the women fell in love with Colby Donaldson. It makes me sad he didn't win any of his three seasons so we could be watching him now.

The people I remember are all the old school people. The classic players. The ones from recent years haven't stuck all that well. I normally couldn't tell you who won the last season by the time the new one starts if I am 100% honest about it. 

These days while I'm watching it, I'm multi-tasking or scrolling on my phone, and I just don't get in as deep as I once did. 

At any rate, it's crazy to think the show has been on for FORTY seasons over TWENTY years.

Now, back to the tribes. I don't know how to spell the tribe names, so I'll just give you the team colors.

Red Team:

  1. Amber
  2. Sandra
  3. Sarah
  4. Tony
  5. Wendell
  6. Tyson
  7. Yul
  8. Sophie
  9. Adam
  10. Kim

Blue Team:

  1. Rob
  2. Parvati
  3. Jeremy
  4. Natalie
  5. Ethan
  6. Danni
  7. Nick
  8. Ben
  9. Denise
  10. Michele

This season, each contestants will start with a currency knows as fire tokens. When they are voted off, they have to will their fire tokens to another player before they head off to the Edge of Extinction  for a chance to get back in the game. Tokens can be used to by food and comfort items but we'll find out other things that can be purchased as well.

This season, the cash prize is also $2 million. I don't know if any of them are truly interested in the money. This is for bragging rights.

And there's no time for dilly dallying around. It's time for a reward (flint)/immunity challenge right off the bat.

In pairs for each team, the players swim out to a pole to get a ring. Then, the teams pull everyone along in an effort to get to their team flag pole first. The first team to three wins.

The red team will win three to one.

Now, observations, now that these players are older and wiser, they thankfully knew to pack swimsuits that were going to be a little more practical for the challenges than the first time around.

Some of these people are looking old, much like scrolling through my friends on Facebook. I know I have to be looking that way these days. I did pull out one of the going crazy gray hairs atop my own head yesterday, so I admit my age.

All of this has nothing to do with the moment during this challenge that hit me and made me decide I would go ahead and blog some this season. No, what I noticed was the absolute looks of pain and concern as Rob and Amber's teams competed against each other. They wanted to cheer one another one. They cringed as the other got beat up in play. You could tell the real emotion there you don't get out of the other stupid reality show I blog about. Where Boston Rob would normally play for blood, it's going to be harder for him this time. When they make their way to their camps, Yul realizes how long it has been since he played. He's going to swiftly see the difference between old school and new school play. There's a whole lot more twists and turns in later years in order to keep the show fresh. It's going to be a struggle for the players of old who played a more pure, traditional game.

The red team gets to work on building their shelter. Wendell didn't want to be responsible and build shelter again (as the master furniture builder). He wants to go idol hunting.

Sarah and Amber get water where Sarah says she is surprised Amber is here with four little ones at home. Amber said it was an easy decision to be there, but hard to leave the girls at home. Tyson gets really emotional talking about making Daisy Chains for his daughters as they would countdown the days he was gone.

Never a Tyson fan before, it was nice to see the nicer, kinder side of him. Bonding over their children and how their lives have changed is a nice change to all this reality competition.

Though I obviously have no children, I could identify better with the late 30- and 40-something players who have seen some life and understand what life in the real world is like instead of being jaded 20-somethings.

Meanwhile, Sandra is just as much Sandra as she ever has been. She brags on about being the Queen of Survivor. Everyone wants to be like her. She's the only one to win twice. She's the best. If people were wise, they would try to get her out first.

On the other beach, Rob knows he's at a disadvantage losing the first challenge. He's a target. He was just on a season where there was a giant idol of him. As best I recall, I didn't like Rob the first time he played back in Marquesas. He has grown on me over the seasons, and I adore Boston Rob now. He's never going to make it to the end, but I really want him to.

Parvati hasn't played in 10 years. As a wife and mom now, she's not going to be able to use her flirting game. She left her 10-month-old baby back home. Think about it. She may not be home for her baby's first birthday. Maybe I will like her more this time around because I've always disliked her.

Ethan hasn't one since 2004 when he played at 27. He's happy to be alive and there. His seasons were definitely no frills.

On both teams, payers are hesitant to go off on their own for too long. People are going to think you are idol hunting. It's a struggle that Amber faces. She feels she needs to idol hunt because people are going to want her and Rob out.

Yul points out to Sophie that Kim played poker with Rob, Tyson and Jeremy. Tyson commented on this televised poker game that if they ever ended up on an island together, they would be the poker alliance. This is assumed to be an alliance whether they actually agreed to it or not. It's going to be brought up time and time again.

A somewhat unlikely alliance, Rob tries to team up with Parvati.

Ethan, Danni, Ben and Nick talk about how it would be best to get Rob off early. Ben can't keep his mouth shut and spills the beans during a walk along the beach with Wendell and Rob. Michele and Nick come up on this too. Rob tells Ben he's not so sure about him since he's stumbling over telling him the truth. Rob confronts Danni, and then she even agrees to work with him after bringing up his name. Maybe Rob can charm everyone. I still don't think he has a chance.

However, there are other names on the tribe being tossed around. Denise and Adam are being thrown out as possibilities because those two were out looking for idols. They claim they got lost looking for the water well, but no one believes them. Jeremy and Natalie were tight going into the game. They may need to be broken up.

Adam turns attention to splitting votes on Jeremy and Natalie. He goes to Ethan. Ethan goes to Parvati and Rob. Parvati goes back to like everyone else saying Rob doesn't have a preference. Parvati with Ben, Natalie, Jeremy and Danni are talking about Adam.

Parvati and Rob are trying to decide if everyone is dumb or scared. Those two are trying to figure out if they are getting punked.

Rob is already showing signs of his tank top sunburn. He's showing off his dad bod now.

So... tribal council #1:

Jeff tries to chat it up with everyone. Ethan and Rob talk about how fast the game moves now. Jeremy tries to play the "I don't remember" card when it comes to talking about who went off idol hunting first. Denise admits her stupidity of wandering off. Adam says they don't need to worry about he and Denise who met yesterday when there is so much past relationship there.

Natalie doesn't want to be voted off first like her sister did once upon a time. (They were also on Amazing Race - I remember more of them from there.)

Every person is scared to say something and is afraid of becoming a target. As Ethan talks, Jeremy leans in to ask Ben if Rob and Parvati started something. Ben is beginning to think so. Somebody is slow.

It's time to vote.

(That's enough - two votes aren't read.)

Jeremy and Michele seem clueless. Ben tells Jeremy they'll talk later.

Natalie bequeaths her fire token to Jeremy before heading off to Edge of Extinction.

That's where I'm going to call it a night. That's the first of two hours, I need to get to bed early and I'm about to start getting battery warnings.

I'll post about the second hour as soon as I get a chance.