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'Survivor: South Pacific' Premiere: Never Suck at the First Challenge! (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 15th 2011 3:13AM
'Survivor: South Pacific' - 'I Need Redemption'
['Survivor: South Pacific' Season 23, Episode 1 - 'I Need Redemption']

Usually it's just a mess trying to figure out the new players on a 'Survivor' premiere, but 'Survivor: South Pacific' (Wed., 8PM ET on CBS) did a great job of spotlighting several of the outcasts. This despite having to give plenty of face time to returning 'All-Stars' Coach and Ozzy.

And just like that, I'm hooked for another season. I don't know how this show manages to stay so compelling. This time, I got completely wrapped up in the tribe dynamics and early alliances.

Sure, it helped that Ozzy and Coach were there, because everyone feels more comfortable rooting for or against familiar faces, but some of the newbies quickly stepped up and demanded to be noticed. Unfortunately, stepping up doesn't always work in your favor, as one tribemember discovered during the Immunity Challenge.

Right off the bat, the receptions Ozzy and Coach got when they got to join their tribes were very telling. Much like Russell Hantz's new tribe seemed disappointed to get him last season, Coach's new tribe was not only disappointed, they almost unanimously dissed him after he lost an opening challenge to Ozzy.

Luckily, some time back at camp seems to have healed that wound. But more importantly, he's done a good job of acting more normal, distancing himself from the Dragon Warrior of past seasons. This should do wonders to help his social game.

As for Ozzy, he's playing a more social game as well, but still proving to be just as powerful in physical puzzles. In that opening challenge he was supposed to do solo, it was cool seeing his tribe jump in and help him with the puzzle. Neither Coach or Ozzy are adept at those, so we truly could have been there all day were it not for their intervention.

Standout characters so far on Ozzy's Savaii tribe include Dawn and Mike 'Papa Bear.' They're the oldest two people in the tribe, which seems to have created an alliance of famliarity, and those can be powerful. That said, Dawn's nervous breakdown could have proved fatal.

And then there's superfan Cochran, who's watched every season of 'Survivor' and considers himself an expert on the game. That said, he's a pasty white geeky guy who was afraid to take his shirt off. He was quickly targeted as physically weak.

Over on Upolu, Russell Hantz's nephew Brandon is doing everything he can to hide the two tattoos on his body that show his last name, but this can't last. That said, he appears to be a very different guy from his uncle, so if they get to know him before they find out who he's related to, he may still be okay.

At the Immunity Challenge, it was truly a close battle between both tribes all the way to the end, which made Semhar's utter failure at the coconut/basketball shooting end portion all the more glaring. Had Savaii had someone else in there who could make even one shot, they would have likely won the challenge.

So Coach gets Immunity, but Ozzy is such a well-liked personality in camp, he was in no danger of being voted out as soon as possible, like Russell was last season. Instead, the targets quickly fell on Semhar and Cochran.

In the end, Cochran made a plea that he saw the perception of him and could prove himself more in camp; he hung in there already in the challenge. Semhar, meanwhile, appeared much more hostile. So the superfan got the support of his tribe and Semhar was sent to Redemption Island.

Oh yeah, that's back too so no one has been fully eliminated from the game just yet. The producers promised, though, that no more than two people would ever be there, so we wouldn't have so many people still in contention in the game going into the finale, to which I say thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Kelly Ann Rodgers

Ok... So, I started watching this... Well, REALLY started watching it, last season. I only caught glimpses here and there of other seasons.... or you know, a few episodes. This season proves to be one of the best already, I love it. Can't wait to see how it unfolds... and I ESPECIALLY can't wait for everyone to find out that a certain someone is related to none other than Russel Hantz himself!

September 16 2011 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ðan Sauvé

so nice to see Edna ask Coach if he needed help after the challenge he lost , she was the only tribe mate who didn't shun him

September 15 2011 at 6:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
: Ðan

so nice to see Edna ask Coach if he needed help after the challenge he lost , she was the only tribe mate who didn't shun him

September 15 2011 at 6:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I was hoping thy would vote the old lady off. People work so hard to get on this show, and to have one crying and whining is an insult to those who want to play. I was glad they didn't vote Cochoran off first. He wants to play so bad. He won't last, but at least he won't be the first voted off.

September 15 2011 at 9:58 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I can't believe this show is in its 23 season. I stopped watching it after the 2 season. I may watch it again if they ever get to Alaska or the South or North pole; now that would be a interesting show.

September 15 2011 at 7:11 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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