Survivor recap: Island of the Idols introduces huge twist for Season 39

Elaine And Elizabeth On Survivor
Elaine Stott and Elizabeth Beisel on Survivor: Island of the Idols. Pic credit: Robert Voets/CBS

Survivor: Island of the Idols has debuted and the 90-minute season premiere served to introduce the new theme and 20 new castaways hoping they could win the $1 million prize.

Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine will star as the mentors this season. They will provide advice and test castaways on what they have learned. As Rob explained it, there will be a lesson and then a chance to demonstrate what they had learned.

It seems that getting to spend time with one of the mentors has to be earned, with the chance to then win an advantage (like an idol) or a disadvantage (losing their vote) was at hand.

Survivor 39, Episode 1 recap

The episode jumped right into things, with the 20 castaways already split into two tribes and shown arriving at their camps. There was no intro music or meeting with host Jeff Probst. This forced them to get right down to business. The two teams are the Vokai Tribe and the Lairo Tribe. Here is a breakdown of the two tribes and cast bios.

Vokai was able to get fire quickly, giving them a huge advantage moving forward. Janet Carbin was the hero of the tribe for the moment, which might prove important for the 59-year-old contestant.

Some moments were spent on Kellee Kim professing that she was a germaphobe, Ronnie Bardah deciding he needed to target Elaine Stott because he thought she had the backstory to win, and Dan Spilo making some of the women uncomfortable with his back rubs and need for human contact.

The Season 39 cast meets Jeff Probst

It wasn’t until Day 3 that the two tribes finally got to meet the host and be welcomed to the show. It took place at a challenge, which was clearly going to set the tone for the rest of the episode. Immunity and a reward (flint) was on the line at the first challenge.

The Vokai Tribe won immunity. Their members are Lauren Beck, Molly Byman, Janet Carbin, Kellee Kim, Jason Linden, Jack Nichting, Noura Salman, Tommy Sheehan, Jamal Shipman, and Dan Spilo.

The Lairo Tribe lost. Their members are Ronnie Bardah, Elizabeth Beisel, Missy Byrd, Dean Kowalski, Tom Laidlaw, Aaron Meredith, Vince Moua, Karishma Patel, Elaine Scott, and Chelsea Walker.

Time to meet Rob and Sanda on Island of the Idols

For losing, someone from the Lairo Tribe had to go to the Island of the Idols. They all looked very worried and a name was randomly drawn for the quest. Elizabeth was chosen to go meet the idols.

Elizabeth was extremely excited to get to the island and meet Rob and Sandra. She chatted with them a bit and then Rob taught her how to make fire. Sandra gave her additional advice on it. It was then time to test what she had learned.

Elizabeth was given the chance to prove her skills in a fire-building challenge. She could win an Immunity Idol or lose her vote at Tribal Council. She lost the challenge to Rob, possibly learning a very valuable lesson. As a result, she was sent back to her camp without a Tribal Council vote.

First Survivor: Island of the Idols Tribal Council

The Lairo Tribe faced the first Tribal Council of the season. The first person voted out was Ronnie Bardah.

Survivor: Island of the Idols airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.

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