Expectations were through the roof Wednesday night when 20 former players hit the "Survivor: Second Chance" beach, both for the returning competitors and the audiences that voted them onto the island. We all came into the season wondering how past experiences were likely to shape a new chance — would contestants play the same or a different style of game? After reading our analysis below, go and make your "Survivor" predictions for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate. It's fun and easy, so get started by scrolling down to predict which castaway will be kicked off the island next.
Old School vs. New School
One of the prevailing themes of the premiere was the idea of “old school” vs. “new school” mentalities. Jeff Varner, narrating this theme for much of the episode, felt caught in the middle between the “old school,” described as the players who focus on building the shelter and maintaining the quality of life at camp, and the “new school,” defined as the players more likely to start the social and strategic game immediately, walking the beach and disappearing to strategize secretly in small groups. Connecting to both sides, Jeff — if his vote is to be believed — ultimately sided with the “new school” group, joining Kelley Wentworth, Peih-Gee Law, Shirin Oskooi, Abi-Maria Gomes and Spencer Bledsoe against the “old school” group represented by veterans Terry Deitz and Kelly Wiglesworth, resulting in the early elimination of Vytas Baskauskas. Whether the two alliances continue to vote along these lines is yet to be seen, but with similar divisions seeming to happen on the opposing tribe, we will surely see the conflict of “schools” be a continuing narrative.
The Outsider Complex
One of last season’s overall themes became the struggle of outsiders, represented by Shirin, fitting in with the rest of their tribe. We know that Shirin was able to ride the waves deep into the game last time and parlayed her earned good will among fans into a trip back to the show this season, but can this season’s first self-described outsider also make the most of it? Stephen Fishbach was worried he’d be on a tribe where the type-A men align with each other, and all signs point to this being his lot in the game. With Joe Anglim, Jeremy Collins and Andrew Savage forming an immediate threesome, Stephen, unable to connect with the men on an athletic, physicality-focused level, is left wondering where he’ll fit in. With the Bayon tribe winning immunity we have yet to see how these dynamics will play out for Stephen, but I suspect the outsider complex is bound to impact his or someone else’s game soon.
Risks and Rewards
By far the most exciting twist producers could have thrown at the second chancers is news of hidden immunity idols left for the taking during challenges, and after Kelley Wentworth discovered the first clue we already got to see how the twist could impact the game. While Kelley was able to grab the idol undetected (kudos to her!), the chances of other contestants being caught making their own attempts at an idol still exist and I CAN’T WAIT to watch it go down. The idol twist exemplifies one of "Survivor’s" major themes from any reason — evaluating whether the risk is worth the reward. In Kelley’s case, she was willing to risk being caught making a selfish move and potentially targeted for it by her entire tribe in order to gain the reward of a secret idol to eventually save herself. Other risks/rewards we were clued into that might play out this season include Abi-Maria risking drama at camp for the reward of throwing someone else under the bus and Jeremy risking aligning with physical threats for the reward for them “shielding” his threat level. If there’s anything "Survivor" veterans do well it’s take risks, so this should be a very interesting topic to watch as the season progresses.
Who's going home next? Making your "Survivor" predictions is fun and easy. Just log into your Gold Derby account (or you can register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google) and then start casting your votes. Every time someone logs their predictions, the racetrack odds of the contestants are automatically updated.
Remember that coming out on top doesn't just mean answering that week's questions correctly. You also have to use your three big bets (500 points and two of 200 points) strategically to score the most game points. If you bet on a longshot who pulls off an upset, you can really rack up the points, so don't take them for granted.
Gold Derby users just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it's important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts throughout the week, just click "Save Predictions" when you've settled on your choice.
Get started by making your prediction as to which castaway will be voted off the island next by using our easy drag-and-drop menu below our podcast with the latest castoff. And be sure to sound off on the current season of "Survivor" in Gold Derby's reality TV forum.
Photo Credit: Timothy Kuratek/CBS