“Survivor” Premiere Recap: “Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers”

Truth rating: 10
Survivor Premiere Recap

By Shari Weiss |

Survivor Premiere Recap


“Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers” premiered on Wednesday. Get the full recap and find out who was eliminated first!

As Gossip Cop reported, host Jeff Probst revealed the theme for season 35 during last season’s finale back in May. CBS even aired a teaser introducing some of the contestants, who were grouped into categories based on how their personality traits are perceived by others. Notes the network in a recent press release, “Heroes are used to being heralded for their achievements, healers receive gratitude for their work and hustlers must earn respect from others. These castaways will be forced to compete against each other with the same ultimate goal: to outwit, outplay and outlast each other in an attempt to become the Sole Survivor.” Filming took place in Fiji with 18 competitors in all. They were divided into three tribes of six and all were vying to win the reality show’s signature $1 million prize over the course of the 39-day competition.

The Heroes, on a tribe called Levu, features Alan Ball (NFL player), Ben Driebergen (Marine), John “JP” Hilsabeck (firefighter), Chrissy Hofbeck (financial analyst), Ashley Nolan (lifeguard) and Katrina Radke (Olympian). The Healers players, assigned to the Soko tribe, are Jessica Johnston (nurse practitioner), Roark Luskin (social worker), Cole Medders (wilderness therapy guide), Joe Mena (probation officer), Desiree “Desi” Williams (physical therapist) and Mike Zahalsky (urologist). And the Hustlers, on the Yawa tribe, include Patrick Bolton (small business owner), Alexandrea “Ali” Elliott (celebrity assistant), Simone Nguyen (diversity advocate), Devon Pinto (surf instructor), Lauren Rimmer (fisherman) and Ryan Ulrich (bellhop). Presumably, these distinct groups will merge at some point down the line.

The first episode of the new installment, titled “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Confident,” began with the contestants, all strangers, on a ship off the Mamanuca Islands. Probst explained the divisions between the tribes and had a few players introduce themselves before they had to get as many supplies as possible from the ship into tiny boats. Then, upon reaching shore, the first tribe to light a torch would win a “massive fire-making kit.” The second tribe would score flint and the third would get nothing. In the chaos, Ryan, the bellhop from the Hustlers, found a “secret advantage” package. The Healers won the challenge with the Heroes close behind, while the Hustlers were, quite literally, “lost at sea.”

The Healers quickly bonded as they arrived at their campsite, though probation officer Joe was already plotting how he could manipulate his team mates. The Heroes started talking alliances immediately, with Alan, Ben, JP and Ashley forming a “core four,” while Chrissy and Katrina were relegated to the “mom squad.” At the Hustlers camp, Ali wanted to make a big rebound and aligned herself with Patrick. And Ryan stayed quiet as his tribe members wondered who found the advantage, which was revealed to be an “Immunity Super Idol,” to be used to save someone after the votes are read at the first Tribal Council.

On Day 2, Mike of the Healers feared being voted off first and went looking for an idol, prompting Joe to confront him. Ryan told fellow Hustler Devon about his idol, assuring him that he would use the immunity power for the surfer if necessary. Alan was concerned that two of his Hero alliance members, JP and Ashley, were building too strong of a bond. To rattle them, he accused them of hiding an idol. As JP actually stripped to show he didn’t have anything, Ashley thought Alan was losing his mind.

On Day 3, the tribes faced their first Immunity Challenge, for which they had to race up and then down a mini rollercoaster before choosing a maze to get atop a tower. Healers got their balls through their maze first, followed by the Hustlers. They therefore won immunity and, by default for coming in third, the Heroes would face elimination. Chrissy broke down over the loss and even vomited. And unbeknownst to her and the others, since Ryan’s tribe was safe, he now had to pass on his immunity idol to one of the players in jeopardy.

The “core four” on the Heroes were ready to ax Chrissy or Kristina, but Alan wasn’t committed to the alliance and went to the two women, who wanted to work with him and Ben to get out Ashley, who was still linked with JP. Ben felt caught in the middle, not sure which side to pick. Meanwhile, Chrissy found Ryan’s anonymously left idol in her bag, and was prepared to use it for herself if need be. At the ceremony, Chrissy admitted she felt like the outsider and even said she felt threatened by Ashley, JP, Ben and Alan.

Ashley and Alan sparred over her closeness with JP, and she rejected Chrissy labeling them a “power couple.” Alan wasn’t buying it, saying, “I know what I know. I’m not crazy. I’m confident.” He further confessed that Chrissy was an early target, and Ben said the plans were all “up in the air” now, with “damage control” needed no matter the result. When the votes were cast and tallied, Olympian Katrina was voted out five to one. Chrissy could have saved her with the idol, but said nothing as her pal’s fire was snuffed out. The preview for next week indicates Chrissy will turn to Ben to form a new alliance.

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