Season 37 of CBS’s landmark reality TV show “Survivor” premiered Wednesday night with an exciting new “David vs. Goliath” twist of biblical proportions. One tribe consists of underdogs who are used to overcoming obstacles (the Davids) while the other includes over-achievers who’ve lived their whole lives with inherent advantages (the Goliaths). So which tribe won the first head-to-head battle of this “equal opportunity game,” as host Jeff Probst calls it, and who was voted out first?
Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Survivor” recap of Season 37, Episode 1 to find out what happened Wednesday, September 26 at 8/7c. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite castaways on CBS’s reality TV show, who annoys you the most, and who you think will join the “Survivor” winners list. Keep refreshing/reloading this live blog for the most recent updates.
8:00 p.m. — “Previously on ‘Survivor’!” In last season’s finale, history was made when Wendell Holland and Domenick Abbate tied for the win. Per the “Survivor” rule book, in the event of a tie in the Final 3 then the third finalist becomes a jury member and casts the tie-breaking vote. Since Laurel Johnson cast her vote for Wendell, he was named the winner of the $1 million prize. Will “Survivor: David vs. Goliath” be as exciting and unpredictable as “Survivor: Ghost Island”? Let’s find out!
8:01 p.m. — One of my favorite parts of a premiere is taking note of which players get screen time and, more importantly, confessional time. The first to speak tonight were, in order, Christian Hubicki (nerd story), Elizabeth Olson (humble childhood) and Pat Cusack from the David tribe and Natalie Cole (business leader) and Angelina Keeley (intellectual) from the Goliath tribe. Expect at least one of these players to be one of the main storytellers of the season and to go pretty far in the game!
8:06 p.m. — Naturally, once Jeff clued the players in to the tribe themes this season he had them speak to that theme and explain the pros and cons of being labeled a David or a Goliath. Both tribes felt like they had the advantage (for different reasons), but it was wrestler John Hennigan that came off as the most cocky about being a Goliath, much to the chagrin of a few David players.
8:09 p.m. — Playing on the premise that the Goliaths are the favorites, Jeff asked that tribe to choose the two Davids they think are the weakest man and woman on that tribe, selecting Christian and Lyrsa Torres. They then got to choose the strongest man and woman from their own tribe, selecting John and Alison Raybould. Then, in order to tilt the scales back to the David tribe they were tasked with choosing which path each tribe takes in the looming challenge, ideally choosing the most difficult path for the Goliaths.
8:11 p.m. — The path of the challenge were balance (a beam over water, a plank bridge or a two-person track), agility (net tube, rope tunnel and crawl-under) and puzzle (15-piece cube puzzle, 8-piece slide puzzle or sand bag transferring). At the end of those three stages, the first team to reach a shelter-making kit would win that reward for their tribe. With those choices, the Davids selected Goliaths to run planks, net tube and the cube puzzle. For themselves they selected the beam, crawl-under and the slide puzzle.
8:13 p.m. — In the challenge, Lyrsa and Christian made it through the beam quickly, leaving the Goliaths behind on the plank bridge. The crawl-under proved a tougher hurdle for them than they expected, but still managed to get through before the Goliaths, who made up some time, got through their own second stage. With both teams at the puzzle stage, Davids finished the slide puzzle super quickly and won the challenge!
8:18 p.m. — Upon arriving at the Goliath beach, Mike White‘s tribe immediately recognized him as previously competing on “The Amazing Race” and as a Hollywood writer. What they might not know already is that he’s a superfan of this show. Tribemate Dan Rengering wasn’t shy about telling everyone that he’s a cop, something most cops choose to keep secret during their time playing the game. Furthermore, Dan immediately starts flirting with Kara Kay who flirts right back. To call this tribe overconfident would be an understatement–they’re breaking all the rules! Cops and quick showmances out in the open? Oof.
8:21 p.m. — At the David beach, Gabby Pascuzzi and property manager Pat take the lead in getting the tribe started on building their shelter. My first impression of this tribe is much like Gabby’s, that they have the advantage in that they’ll bond more quickly and work harder to achieve their goals, small and big, than the Goliaths will. Christian was slightly put off by the leadership Pat showed and thinks that everyone else was uncomfortable with how hard he was pushing them as well.
8:27 p.m. — The Goliaths didn’t slouch on building their shelter either, but at 57 Natalie was feeling like the odd woman out among a relatively younger tribe. Industrial engineer Natalia Azoqa was impressed with Natalie’s strength, but turned off by what she called Natalie’s “barking orders” at the tribe during the shelter-building.
8:30 p.m. — One of the first to start alliance talk was 19 year old Jessica Peet on the David tribe with Carl Boudreaux and Davie Rickenbacker.Elizabeth and Lyrsa also made an alliance based mostly on the concept that because they’re so different that they think they can go undetected for a long time. Later, Christian and Gabby bonded over being nerds and made an informal alliance as well. That’s a lot of pairs so I’m eager to see how they form together for a larger majority faction!
8:35 p.m. — Back at Goliath beach, Natalia continued to rail in on Natalie by telling everyone that Natalie just stands there and stares instead of helping. Natalia is being too open about who she’s ready to target which gives Mike the opportunity to run off on his own to look for an idol. The tribe isn’t that dense though, quickly noticing his absence and discussing putting a target on his back to take out first. Still, Natalia argues that Natalie is the better option to vote out first. So now we have two on the outs at the Goliath tribe and eight others bonding into a super-alliance.
8:43 p.m. — As the rain drenched both camps, Elizabeth spoke to the caring attitude that defines Davids because their shared experiences of struggling in life. Nick Wilson was much more interested in the strategy of the game though, forming an alliance with Christian and Elizabeth that they dubbed “Thoroughbreds.” By the end of the day, everyone was grateful for Pat’s leadership and Carl had singled out Nick as the laziest among them that should be the first to go.
8:46 p.m. — On the Goliath beach, Angelina was concerned with a stat that only 15% of hidden idols had been discovered by women so she set out to find it before one of the men did. At that point, Jeremy Crawford noticed that no one was back at camp building the shelter and were instead out looking for the idol so basically the entire tribe went on an idol hunt. Dan already had a secret though, earlier in the day he had found the idol (purple string wrapped around a rock off a path) and shared his discovery with Natalia and Kara. If that doesn’t seal them into a tight threesome then I don’t know what does! Poor others still looking!
8:50 p.m. — While Goliaths were busy looking for idols they won’t find, Davie was busy catching an octopus with the fishing spear at the David beach! A catch like that sets him up in a prime spot among the tribe, especially if he can continue to provide protein for his camp. Even with some food, the tribe was in the emotional pits huddled in their shelter with the rain and no fire. During that time Bi Nguyen and Jessica shared with the tribe their stories of surviving abusive and near-abusive relationships in their past. This tribe certainly bonded very early on and though Nick still felt out of place among them he eventually decided to open up about his mom’s overdose which was admittedly a huge step for him emotionally.
8:59 p.m. — And the torrential rain continued into day 3 for the season’s first immunity challenge! For the challenge the tribes competed through an obstacle course of sand-digging, a ladder, a swinging pole vault, net slide and a giant numbered puzzle. The winners would win immunity as well as a piece of flint in order to return to camp with fire-making status.
9:02 p.m. — In the first stage of the course the two tribes crossed paths which gave John the opportunity to tackle and hold back some of the Davids. Though that strategy ultimately didn’t get them a lead, Carl was the bigger detriment to the Davids when he was much slower to dig through the sand for his tribe. The Goliaths were all across the pole vault by the time the Davids reached it. On the puzzle, Alison took caller duties for the Goliath tribe and Christian assumed that position once the Davids reached it, too.
9:04 p.m. — Somehow the Davids managed to make up significant ground and reached an even pace with the Goliaths, finishing a second row of the puzzle right about the same time as them. Per Jeff’s observation, the Davids were working together much better than the Goliaths who were yelling at one another, but that didn’t stop them from ultimately defeating the Davids and earning immunity.
9:14 p.m. — Upon returning from the immunity challenge, we saw Pat brought in to the beach on a stretcher with the medical team attending to him as he struggled to breathe. We learned from Gabby that on their boat trip back, the waves were choppy and when they hit a wave and slammed down Pat fell on his back and was severely injured. Worried that he may have fractured his back, the medical technicians warned Jeff that he may not be able to continue in the game, but as we faded to commercial, Pat pleaded to not be taken out of the game…
9:20 p.m. — … But with so few minutes left in the episode, the writing was on the wall. Ultimately, Pat was in way too much pain for him to continue and so the only option was for him to be medically evacuated from the game as the rest of his tribe looked on in tears. It was a huge blow not only to Pat’s dreams, but also to the tribe as a whole that had seemingly built a strong bond with one another and who appeared to be centered around Pat as their leader. No telling how this will impact their ability to remain a cohesive unit going forward.
9:24 p.m. — As a brief upside for the suffering David tribe, Jeff told them that with the loss of Pat they wouldn’t have to attend tribal to vote anyone out and additionally there would be flint waiting for them at camp since they would have brought fire back with them from tribal anyway.
9:25 p.m. — The episode ended with a powerful confessional from Elizabeth, determined to keep fighting and reinforcing the strength that Davids have in life to overcome adversity. Could be a pretty telling clue to her own (long-lasting?) fate in the game as well as foreshadowing the struggle and ultimate winning of a David member? We’ll see! Can’t wait to see how it plays out next week and into the rest of the season!
Here are the answers to Gold Derby’s contest questions for “Survivor” 37: Episode 1:
Who will be eliminated? Pat Cusack
Who will win Immunity? Goliath tribe
Who will win Reward? David tribe
Will a hidden idol be played? No
Will anybody quit or be medevaced? Yes
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