Survivor: Philippines is finally here! For season 25, the show shakes things up just a little bit with splitting up the castaways into three smaller tribes and also bringing in three former players that were medically evacuated in seasons past. Two other familiar faces some may know have come aboard to play the game, former baseball player Jeff Kent and of course, Facts of Life star Lisa Welchel. These 18 castaways have 39 days to prove they can become the sole survivor.
The three veterans arrive by boat to join the others. Mike Skupin from season two joins the Tandang tribe. He said that this would be the team that he would have picked to be on. Jonathan Penner joined the Kalabaw tribe, and Russell Swan is on the Matsing tribe. The others seemed to have mixed feelings on these three guys, but most of them were happy to see them as they might get some pointers on making fire and how to play the game.
Jeff Probst told them that they had 60 seconds to grab as many supplies as possible and load them onto their raft. It was chaos as usual. Jeff Kent said that he heard his knee pop while trying to get into the raft. By the time he arrived at the camp, he was limping a bit but is trying to hide it as much as he can. He is hoping to keep his identity hidden because of the money factor but one of the girls, Dawson, recognizes him but doesn't say anything just yet.
Russell Swan decided that he didn't want be a leader this time around. However, he was still pretty good at barking out orders already. Him and Malcolm worked together to make a fire. The others were impressed as they are off to a great start.
Over at the Kalabaw camp, Jonathan's tribe mates decides that they would rather have one of the newbies win instead of him, so his head is on the chopping block already. Penner is out hunting for that immunity idol first off. He looks everywhere and finally finds the clue hidden in their supply of rice. Back at Matsing, Russell gets a pleasant surprise when he also finds the clue while he is scooping out some rice. Zane gets suspicious and figures that Russell might have already found the hidden idol. Speaking of Zane, he seems to hit it off with everyone on his tribe. He has made alliances with all of them. Will this be his downfall?
Mike has also made an alliance with the three younger members of the Tandang tribe. That leaves Lisa out of the mix. She is also trying to keep her TV show stardom hidden, but this comes off as being sneaky and the young ones don't like it. Mike goes to Lisa and tells her that he knows who she is and encourages her to tell the others as it might be helpful for her in the long run. She still wants to keep it hush-hush for now. Mike says that he doesn't want her to get voted off, but he needs to play the game. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Will Mike have a change of heart and side with Lisa later on?
Everyone knows that Mike Skupin was medically evacuated after falling in the fire and now everyone knows why. This guy is accident prone! He got a cut on his head, a cut on his foot and almost cut off his finger while cutting up some coconut after only two days. Will this guy make it without getting taken out again? That remains to be seen at this point.
It's time for the first immunity challenge. The castaways are paired up to grab paddles, unlock a chest, haul it to shore and solve the puzzle. The first winning tribe will get a complete fire kit, the second gets a flint, as well as immunity for both tribes. The losing tribe gets nothing except and will be heading to tribal council. Russell plays leader and decides who gets to do what. The Matsing tribe ends up losing the challenge. Someone will be going home.
Let the strategizing begin! Russell admits that he was wrong in barking out orders. Zane tells them how he had to be pulled along during the challenge and is really out of shape, so maybe he should be sent home. Angie is annoyed with Russell because he chose her to do the puzzle when she told him she is better at running and bad with puzzles. She wants Zane to stay.
During tribal council, Denise was asked by Jeff about the returning players. She said that she has mixed feelings. Zane compared it to an onion. He said that when you peel back the layers, you start to cry...okay. Russell admitted that he made a huge mistake trying to be a leader once again. Zane told Jeff that he is the weaker player. This seems to be Zane's strategy as he tries playing the poor, weak tribe member that is not a threat. However, his strategic move did not go as he planned. Zane was the first one to have his torch snuffed out.
Next week on Survivor: Philippines, Penner is desperate to find the immunity idol and Lisa feels very alone and left out. Will the former child star be able to get her act together and start playing the game?
What did you think of this season so far? Do you think Mike Skupin, Russell Swan and Jonathan Penner have what it takes to outwit, outplay and outlast this time around?