The 35th season of CBS’ landmark series “Survivor” began Wednesday night with 18 castaways divided into three tribes based on their perceived traits as “Heroes,” “Healers” and “Hustlers.” Unlike last season’s cast of game changing all stars, Season 35 brought fresh blood to the reality TV competition with all-new players. Our combined predictions gave early odds to Cole Medders (a Healer) as the favorite to win and Katrina Radke (a Hero) as the most likely to be eliminated first. So, how good is our pre-game intuition? There’s only one way to find out!
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Survivor” recap of Season 35, Episode 1, titled “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Confident,” and then sound off in the comments section about your early favorites and who you think can go the distance to win the $1 million cash prize and title of “sole survivor.” Keep refreshing/reloading this page as we’ll be updating live.
7:59 p.m. – One my favorite parts of any season of “Survivor” is the opening because I always have so many questions! Will the castaways be brought in by helicopter or boat? Are they already divided into tribes and wearing the color of their buffs? Which player was dumb enough to arrive in a three-piece suit or high heels? And, of course, from what spot on the island will the camera track away from when Jeff Probst utters his iconic line “… and one Survivor” just before the theme music kicks in?
8:01 p.m. – They’re arriving via ship! Jeff is on a rock/mountain/cliff! Aaaaah. Here we go!
8:02 p.m. – One of the “winner edit” clues super fans regularly point to is that the winner typically gets a confessional in the premiere. With that in mind, how important is it that Chrissy Hofbeck gets the first one? Her biggest worry going into the game is her castmates finding out that she already makes a bunch of money.
8:05 p.m. – Ryan Ulrich is a Hustler, but he’s already talking about how he’ll defer to his tribe mates for physical challenges. That’ll be put to the test instantly because they’re about to jump overboard and go into their first reward challenge where the prize is fire! There’s also a “secret advantage” hidden in the supplies. I was hoping we wouldn’t have too many of those this season.
8:06 p.m. – Ryan finds the secret advantage!
8:08 p.m. – Healers got off to an early lead in the challenge and kept it, winning the first prize, a massive fire already burning at their camp when they arrive. Heroes come in second, winning flint to start their own fire. The Hustlers, never even made it to the beach so they’ll arrive at camp empty handed.
8:10 p.m. – Welp, Jessica Johnston is already drooling over Cole. No showmances! Meanwhile, Joe Mena is already referring to the other Healers as his “victims.”
8:12 p.m. – On the Heroes tribe, JP Hilsabeck, Ben Driebergen and Ashley Nolan made a “core four” pact with Alan Ball, but Alan has his eyes on JP and Ashley who he’s already thinking about betraying.
8:15 p.m. – Ali Elliott is doing a lot of the narration at the Hustlers camp. Her first move is to bond with Patrick Bolton, who is already wondering who got the clue off the boat. His tribe mate, Ryan got it, but keeps it to himself. It’s a new Immunity Super Idol, to be played after the votes are read at tribal council. But there’s a twist, it must be used at the first tribal council so if the Hustlers don’t lose immunity Ryan will have to bequeath it, anonymously, to someone on the losing tribe. Whoa.
8:20 p.m. – Based on the advice of his 10 year old son, Mike Zahalsky is already looking for a hidden immunity idol. This could bite him in the ass… quickly. Oh look! Joe is already onto him!
8:23 p.m. – Ryan makes moves to build a connection with Devon Pinto by telling him, truthfully, about the special idol. Devon is into it and declares, “we’re gonna cause chaos together.” Yay, I love chaos.
8:24 p.m. – Alan approaches JP to force him to prove that he doesn’t have a hidden idol. I agree with Alan that the pairing of JP and Ashley is dangerous, but this is way too early for him to be trying to manipulate the situation to make his point. This isn’t the kind of chaos I like! This is non-sensical! And OMG JP is showing his bare butt.
8:30 p.m. – Time for the immunity challenge! It’s a race including a cargo net climb, a wagon ride down a slide and three different mazes, which will be chosen by each tribe based on when they arrive at them. First two to finish their maze earn immunity and the third tribe will vote the first player out. Jeff also lets us know that we’re returning to the old tie vote system that we left behind for just last season.
8:32 p.m. – Hustlers are first down the slide, but the other two right behind them and Heroes get to the mat first to choose their maze.
8:34 p.m. – All three tribes begin working on their maze around the same time. They all have to get three balls through the maze and into a hole to win.
8:34 p.m. – Roark Luskin leads the Healers to their first ball in, followed by one each from the other tribes. Then Healers gets their second in.
8:35 p.m. – Healers get three in first and win immunity! One left for each of the others.
8:36 p.m. – Hustlers do it! That means two things: Heroes will go to tribal council first and Ryan will have to give one of them his idol. Aaannnnd Chrissy is down on her knees for a quick vomit.
8:42 p.m. – At the Heroes tribe, Ashley is lamenting that Alan’s drama the night before makes this vote less easy than it should have been. Shortly after, Alan suggests Chrissy as the one to go, but he’s prepared to play the middle by going to Chrissy and Katrina to go against Ashley and JP. Looks like they’ll attempt to rope Ben in to vote out Ashley.
8:44 p.m. – Ben seems to be the voice of reason on this tribe. Though he’s willing to play the middle, he knows that keeping the tribe strong is most important this early in the game. That makes it sound like he’d be willing to side with Ashley and JP to vote out Chrissy. BUT wait, Chrissy has a gift in her bag because Ryan sent it to her! This could be very dramatic. She can save whoever she wants after the votes are read!
8:49 p.m. – The first tribal of the season is about to go doooowwwn. Commence drama.
8:50 p.m. – Ben gets the first question from Jeff, it’s about how exciting it is to be on the island. Chrissy is already talking about how the “core four” are obviously siding with one another. Of course she goes there–she’s safe no matter what!
8:50 p.m. – Ashley and Alan going at it. Now the “power couple” discussion is happening. This is way too early for this to be up for discussion. Alan is overplaying this big time.
8:52 p.m. – Ben’s trying to convince Alan to vote out Katrina or Chrissy instead of Ashley or JP. They don’t know Chrissy can stop it! Who will Chrissy vote out if she saves herself?
8:53 p.m. – They’re already voting, but we’re not seeing any of them as they write them. Jeff reads the votes: Katrina, Ashley, Katrina, Katrina, Katrina.
8:54 p.m. – OMG Chrissy doesn’t save her! Smart move, I think. She would have put a massive target on her own back and had to send a stronger physical asset out instead.
8:57 p.m. – As always, we get to see the votes right after the preview for next week’s episode. Everyone voted Katrina out, including Chrissy. So no surprise there that she didn’t save her. And on next week’s episode, we get a glimpse of the three power couples on each tribe–though there’s a new one with the Heroes (spoiler alert, it’s Ben and Chrissy!)
Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs every Wednesday on CBS. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and eternal bragging rights. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.