Survivor: Ghost Island premieres tonight on CBS. Read a live recap and join the discussion here.
Tonight, the 36th season of Survivor premieres. The twist this time is Ghost Island, the graveyard for bad Survivor decisions. These include hidden immunity idols and advantages that were misplayed. A Jeff Probst voice-over tells us that the castaways this season will have the opportunity to “reverse the curse.” Afterwards, it’s time for the marooning.
The castaways greet Jeff on the beach, and he tells them about Ghost Island. We hear a confessional from Kellyn, and she admits she’s worried about making a bad game move that could cost her the game. Afterwards, the tribes are told to elect a representative to lead their tribe. Malolo elects Brendan; Naviti elects Chris. Jeff tells them they must choose people to handle the physical and mental parts of the challenge. Brendan chooses Michael for the physical part and he chooses Laurel for the puzzle. Chris chooses Sebastian for the physical part and Desiree for the puzzle. The tribe that wins will get items to help camp life easier, such as a shelter making kit. The tribe leaders will also have a choice. If they lose the challenge, they will lose their fishing kit. However, they have the option to forfeit within a time limit. If they forfeit, then they save their fishing gear getting taken away by the winning tribe. If they lose, then the winning tribe will get the fishing gear. However, the winning tribe will get eggs to cook if there is a forfeit.
The challenge begins with Michael and Sebastian going through obstacles to retrieve keys buried in the sand. It’s fairly even between both men, but Sebastian eventually takes the lead. Soon enough, both Desiree and Laurel begin working on the puzzle at the same time. While time is close to running out, Chris forfeits the challenge. Malolo wins reward! Jeff asks Naviti if anyone disagrees with the choice to forfeit, and Domenick raises his hand. “I don’t lie,” he says.
The tribes make their way to camp. The Malolo tribe gets acquainted with each other. Michael is 18 years old, but he tells everyone he is 23. He believes he’ll lose credibility if everyone knew he was a lot younger than everyone else. Elsewhere, we see Donathan meet his fellow cast members, including Gonzalez and Laurel. He’s amazed to expand his horizons since he claims there isn’t a lot of diversity where he’s from in Kentucky.
Over on the Naviti tribe, Kellyn describes Survivor as a unique opportunity for her, especially after getting divorced and returning to graduate school. We also see Domenick meet his tribe members before he discusses his life struggles in a confessional. He says after his daughter’s birth, he got his life straightened out. Elsewhere, we see Sebastian and Chris wander off and talk game. They agree to work together, but their other tribe members notice their absence. They want to vote out Domenick if they were to lose immunity. Chris believes Domenick is gunning for him since Domenick made it clear he believes Chris made the wrong decision to forfeit the challenge.
Back at the Malolo tribe, Jacob walks alone in the jungle to look for a hidden immunity idol. He’s a superfan and he’s been watching Survivor since he was 4 years old. However, his other tribe members notice his absence; they’re suspicious he’s looking for an idol. In his confessional, James says no one should do anything to put on a target on his or her back, and Jacob just did that.
Meanwhile on the Naviti tribe, we hear a confessional from Wendell. He had a good job, but he gave it up to pursue his dream to design furniture. Afterwards, we see Wendell ask Sebastian his thoughts on the game. Sebastian says Domenick is the target if they were to lose. Wendell tells him to keep thinking about it, but we next see Wendell approach Domenick and share this information with him. Wendell is hoping to build loyalty with Domenick. Domenick believes it is Chris that is gunning for him, which does not surprise him.
It’s time for the immunity challenge. Both tribes must make their way through an obstacle course and retrieve two bags of ropes. They must use the ropes to attach a net of puzzle pieces to a sled, and then pull the sled toward them over rails to where the other puzzle pieces lay. Afterwards, they must solve the puzzle. The first tribe to finish will win immunity. The losing tribe will go to tribal council. In addition, one member of the losing tribe will be sent to Ghost Island. The challenge begins, and Naviti takes a lead. Working on the puzzle for Naviti are Kellyn, Wendall, Bradley, and Domenick, and working on the puzzle for Malolo are Michael, Laurel, James, and Jacob. Naviti solves the puzzle first. Naviti wins reward! After the challenge, Jeff asks Jacob his thoughts. He says this challenge does not negate the fact that the Malolo tribe is one of the best tribes of all time. Jeff says it’s a big statement, but Jacob stands by it. Jeff then asks Naviti to send someone to Ghost Island, and they choose Jacob. Jacob grins and says they fell into his trap. He’s safe from tribal council tonight as he’ll spend the night on Ghost Island. Before the commercial break, we hear a confessional from Jenna. She admits Jacob would probably have been the one voted out tonight if he didn’t get sent to Ghost Island.
We see Jacob take a boat to Ghost Island. He’s eager to find out what awaits there. He finds the shelter, and he notices all the relics from past Survivor seasons surrounding him. He finds out that he’s been given a choice to gain power. He has to choose one bamboo piece. One has a secret advantage inside it; the other will steal his vote away at the next tribal council. Jacob chooses to risk the chance, and he wins the Legacy Advantage. This was the Legacy Advantage from Survivor: Game Changers that was originally discovered by Sierra. It can only be played when there are 13 or 6 people left in the game. He has to send it someone on the opposite tribe, and he chooses Morgan. He’s hoping to meet up with her at the merge and work with her.
Back at the Malolo tribe, they’re trying to decide whom to vote out. Gonzalez believes Donathan is the weakest, and Donathan wants Gonzelez gone too. The other tribe members debate between the two. Stephanie J believes Donathan is weaker than Gonzelez, but she believes she can nurture him into a loyal ally. Gonzalez, on the other hand, is someone she believes will be a threat down the road. Stephanie talks to Michael about it, and he would rather vote out Donathan to keep the tribe strong. He thinks Gonzalez is someone that can go later.
It’s time for tribal council. Stephanie says the game starts now before Jeff asks about Ghost Island. Gonzalez says it’s exciting, and she’s eager to hear what Jacob will have to say about it. She also claims Jacob is a bit of an oddball around camp, and Jeff realizes Jacob would’ve been an easy vote. Jeff asks Laurel what do they do now that Jacob is no longer an option. Laurel says that she wants to keep the tribe strong, and Donathan admits that he’s worried since he isn’t one of the stronger people on the tribe. Donathan hopes his relationships will help him continue on in the game, but he admits his lack of experience with diverse people might put him at a disadvantage. The talk goes back to the challenge, and Gonzalez wishes she would’ve worked on the puzzle. Jeff asks about alliances, and Jenna says it’s just been a large group. Jeff says alliances will come soon, and Michael agrees. He says loyalty hasn’t been proven yet though. Before they cast their vote, Gonzalez gets up and whispers in Brendan’s ear. She asks him who is he voting for, and he says Donathan. She asks the same thing to Michael, and he also says Donathan. Soon, everyone is whispering to each other except for Donathan. Jeff points out how he is even leaning away from the whispering. Afterwards, it’s time to vote.
Jeff tallies the votes. The first vote is for…
Gonzalez is the first person voted out of Survivor: Ghost Island.
Back on the Naviti tribe, the paranoia is getting to Domenick. He watches everyone sleep before he wanders off into the jungle to search for a hidden immunity idol. Even though it’s nighttime, he manages to stumble onto the hidden immunity idol. The following morning, Domenick opens the package with the hidden immunity idol inside and sees the idol in his possession was the one held by Andrea when she was blindsided in Survivor: Caramoan. Later on, we see Morgan receive the Legacy Advantage. She’s excited to have been given this secret advantage.
On Ghost Island, Jacob comes up with a lie to tell his tribe members about Ghost Island. Instead of admitting he got the Legacy Advantage, he plans to tell them that he received a regular hidden immunity idol. He even fashions a fake idol out of some beads. He doesn’t know where he stands in his current tribe, so he is hoping to bluff his way through tribal council if Malolo loses immunity again.
On The Malolo tribe, the tribe greets Jacob when he returns. He’s surprised that Gonzalez was the first one voted out. Afterwards, he tells them about Ghost Island. He even shows them his fake idol, but Brendan asks Jacob about the note that usually comes with a hidden immunity idol. Jacob says he forgot the note at Ghost Island, and Brendan figures out Jacob is lying. He is certain that Jacob has a fake idol. He tells the rest of his tribe members to just vote out Jacob next, but they still want to make Jacob feel comfortable just in case.
At the Naviti tribe, Domenick wants to make amends with Chris. The two have a conversation and clear the air between them. However, in his confessional, Domenick says Chris doesn’t know who he is messing with. Later on, Domenick fashions a fake idol himself and shows it to Chris to build trust. He even shows Chris the note that came with the real hidden immunity idol. In his confessional, Chris admits that something feels off. He still doesn’t believe he can trust Domenick.
It’s time for the immunity challenge. They’ll have to race through a series of obstacles and dive into the ocean to release buoys. They must gather the marked buoys and then shoot them into a basket. The first tribe to shoot eight baskets will win immunity. Along with immunity, the winning tribe will get comfort items, such as pillows and a washboard. The challenge begins with Angela sitting out for the Naviti tribe. The challenge starts out fairly even, but it is Naviti that takes the lead when Morgan is the first to release the buoys. Michal releases the buoys shortly afterwards for Malolo, still making it a close challenge. However, Donathan and James struggle in the water trying to release the next set of buoys, allowing Naviti to gain a bigger lead. Donathan quits and sits on the platform, clearly exhausted. Malolo asks Donathan to try again and help James, but he says he can’t. After continued pleas from his tribe members, Donathan finally returns to the water. He even manages to release the buoys, but it’s too late as Malolo is unable to catch up to Naviti. Naviti lands all eight baskets. Naviti wins immunity! Naviti chooses to send Donathan to Ghost Island.
Donathan arrives at Ghost Island, but he does not get the opportunity to try and win an advantage. He smashes an urn that says he won’t get to play today. Donathan says his strategy is to just adapt and go with the flow. Back on the Malolo tribe, James apologizes to his tribe for performing poorly in the challenge. He says it’s a fact that he made them lose. However, Jacob is the target. They want to make Jacob feel comfortable, and we next see Stephanie talk to Jacob. She wants to get in his head, and she mentions the possibility of an upcoming swap. Jacob says they should try to take out one of the strong guys, and he throws out Michael’s name. He wants to vote him out tonight. He also wants to build trust with Stephanie, so he tells her the truth about the Legacy Advantage. Stephanie is now torn about the vote. She wants to work with Jacob, and she approaches Jenna about keeping Jacob and voting out Michael with Laurel and James. The four of them talk together, and Laurel mentions how the strong and beautiful people have already aligned. She thinks this could be the time to strike against them. Meanwhile, Michael is aware of a possible double cross. He’s suspicious that there’s a chance he could be voted out tonight.
It’s time for tribal council. Jeff’s first question is about the challenge. He points out James’s poor performance, and James says he let his team down. He admits he’s the reason the tribe is at tribal council right now. Jeff asks Jacob about people asking him about Ghost Island, and he says he told his tribe everything. However, Jeff points out that no one else on the tribe actually knows what happens at Ghost Island. Jacob says the game is more about trust and loyalty, but he admits it could be him going home tonight. He says he put work in today to help his spot in the game, but he’s aware it could be in vain. Jeff asks Michael his thoughts, and he says they need to focus on strength after back-to-back losses. Brendan admits that the game isn’t only about strength and relationships are more important. He says it is possible that a strong guy could be going home tonight, and Michael is worried about that too. As the voting begins, Brendan whispers to Michael that he thinks they’re getting set up.
Jeff tallies the votes. The first vote is for…
Jacob is the second person voted out of Survivor: Ghost Island.
And that wraps up tonight’s two-hour premiere of Survivor: Ghost Island. Thanks for reading, post your thoughts in the comment section below, and come back next week for another live recap.