‘Survivor’ season 38 premiere recap: 4 favorites return in ‘Edge of Extinction,’ but who’s voted out first? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

Welcome back to “Survivor,” Joe Anglim, Aubry Bracco, Kelley Wentworth and David Wright! In Wednesday’s premiere of Season 38, subtitled “Edge of Extinction,” these four returning castaways joined up with 14 all-new players for what’s sure to be one of the most unpredictable seasons ever. (Get a closer look at all 18 contestants.) How did the new Extinction Island twist play out, and whose torch ended up being snuffed by host Jeff Probst at tribal council?

Below, check out our minute-by-minute “Survivor” recap of Season 38, Episode 1, titled “‘It Smells Like Success,” to find out what happened Wednesday, February 20 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 ultimately join the “Survivor” winners list. Keep refreshing/reloading this live blog for the most recent updates.

8.00 p.m. – “Previously on ‘Survivor’!” The 37th season ended with Nick Wilson winning the $1 million check by a vote of 7-3-0 vote over Mike White and Angelina Keeley. That season’s theme was “David vs. Goliath,” with Nick being the last remaining David facing off against two Goliaths. Nick became the 22nd man to prevail, while women have accounted for 15 victories. Who will join this esteemed list for “Survivor: Edge of Extinction”? The journey begins now!

8:01 p.m. – The first players we heard from this season were newbies Wardog and Wendy Diaz, as well as returning member Joe. Will these be the main storytellers of the season that make it deep into the game? Jeff also introduced us, the audience, to this season’s new twist–Extinction Island where voted out players can opt to go to for a second chance to re-enter the game.

8:02 p.m.Lauren O’Connell was excited to see both Joe and Kelley among the returning players, expressing a sentiment that was generally shared among all the newbies. One of the biggest criticisms of mixed newbie-returnee seasons is that the newbies fawn over the all stars, making it easier for the all stars to do well in the game. the other is that the all stars take up a lot of the season narration because editors are used to them as personalities and know that the audience has an invested interest in them already. How well do you think these returnees are going to fit in?

8:05 p.m. – After sending Kelley and David to the Manu (Blue) tribe and Aubry and Joe to the Kama (Yellow) tribe, Jeff had everyone race to fill their tribal boats with as many supplies and food as they could before rowing to their camps. In the chaos, Keith Sowell exposed himself as a poor swimmer and Ron Clark managed to pick up an advantage without anyone else seeing.

8:08 p.m. – At camp, Kelley was determined to start an alliance early on with the goal of establishing genuine relationships with everyone in order to course-correct the mistakes she made on her previous seasons. David on the other hand was still concerned with figuring out how he fits into the tribe and when the right time to speak up is.

8:10 p.m. – Wendy was quick to open up about her Tourette’s, admitting that she has difficulty connecting with others, but also expressing a warm and jovial personality that is, honestly, a breath of fresh air! On the other tribe, Joe wants to shed his reputation as “Joe Amazing,” but realizes that he has so much to offer and would be doing his tribe a disservice by not being a leader among them. Aurora McCreary was one of his tribe mates that was excited to work with him.

8:13 p.m. – Ron was happy with his tribe and thought they seemed like they’d be strong going forward. His personal strength was increased by his secret advantage which directed him to dig a hole near tree mail where he found an envelope with an “Advantage Menu” inside. The menu offered him: 1) steal a reward from the tribe, 2) get an extra vote, or 3) get individual immunity to be announced before votes are read and his choice would only be available up through the third tribal council. A MENU?! Okay….. I see we’re going advantage crazy again this season!

8:18 p.m. – Together, Joe and Aubry knew to be cautious about their status as returnees, planning to lay low as long as possible so that they can strike later when the time is right. Gavin Whitson and Eric Hafeman were not so cautious and after bonding with one another decided that they want a newbie to win, but that they’d keep Joe around as a shield and would instead target Aubry to vote out as soon as possible.

8:21 p.m. – On the Manu tribe, Reem Daly was getting singled out for two different reasons: Keith already started to see her as a mother figure and being a self-described “mama’s boy” wanted to connect with her while Lauren expressed frustration with her for the same reason. When Reem took Keith and Wendy out in the water for swim lessons the rest of the tribe noticed that the three were bonding and immediately decided that there was a clear split among the tribe.

8:27 p.m. – For the first challenge of the season the two tribes raced through an obstacle course that includes ropes, balance beams, slides and of course a slide puzzle. First tribe to finish would earn immunity as well as reward in the form of flint to easily start a fire back at camp.

8:30 p.m. – After two obstacles the two tribes were keeping at the same pace until Manu slipped behind on the balance beam portion due to errors by multiple players. David and Lauren managed to get across first, but by that time all of Kama had already finished and were advancing to the next stage.

8:32 p.m. – When giving the balance beam another go, Kelley took a nasty fall and bashed her head on the beam, apparently bleeding according to the commentary by her tribe mates. But she continued to run the course as Kama reached the last stage, the slide puzzle. When Manu reached the puzzle, Kelley was one of their players actively working on the puzzle and sure enough there was blood all over her forehead! That heroic effort was great to see, but ultimately Kama finished the puzzle first and earned reward and immunity!

8:39 p.m. – Back at camp, Reem called out the “blatant split” in the tribe in a conversation with Keith, Wendy and Rick Devens. Reem wanted to target Kelley and Lauren, seeing that they were already vibing too strongly with each other. Feeling like Rick wasn’t receptive to what Reem was saying, Keith knew that he had to start playing for himself so he went to the other tribe members and exposed Reem and Wendy to them as trying to get Rick to go against Kelley and Lauren. At that point, it became a decision between Wendy or Reem. But Wendy was willing to stand up for Reem and argued for loyalty and giving her a chance.

8:42 p.m. – Wardog and David left a conversation with Wendy and considered whether it might be smarter to eliminate Wendy instead because of how stubborn she was being about voting out Reem. At the same time Wendy went to Reem and told her that her name was on the chopping block. Reem used that as an opportunity to pitch her case and attempt to throw Kelley, who was hurt at the challenge, under the bus.

8:48 p.m. – At tribal council Jeff wanted to know how the tribe split and gelled in the first few days. He noticed that Reem already seemed “annoyed,” to which she spoke up about her name being thrown out there. Her and Kelley then went tit-for-tat over reasons why names were up for elimination and Reem claimed that it was probably age discrimination in her case.

8:51 p.m. – The discussion continued with Wardog weighing in that Reem can be “too much,” to which Reem got incredibly defensive to the point that she started putting words in everyone’s mouth. Again, Wendy stuck her neck out to defend Reem, something I don’t think is a very smart move and would be justifiable cause to vote her out instead of Reem.

8:54 p.m. – After discussing literally only Reem for the entire council, Jeff tallied and then read the votes aloud: Reem, Kelley, Wendy, Lauren, Reem, Wendy, Reem, Wendy and Reem, making her the first to be voted out.

8:56 p.m. – But when leaving the tribal council, Reem came to a fork in the road where she had the opportunity to go left and leave the game permanently or go right and get on a boat to Extinction Island where she’d get the chance to remain in the game. Not surprisingly, Reem grabbed a newly lit torch and took the boat to what was a dark and deserted island with just a dilapidated shelter and not much else! Omg…..

Here are the answers to Gold Derby’s contest questions for “Survivor” Season 38, Episode 1:

Who will be voted out at tribal council? Reem Daly

Who will win Reward? Kama

Who will win Immunity? Kama

Will a hidden idol be played? No

Will anybody quit or be medevaced? No

SEE exclusive predictions: Who will win ‘Survivor’?

Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs 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.

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