“Survivor” is Back: Season 46, Episode 1, Reviewed

Vaughn Armour ’25 reviews the premiere of the new season of “Survivor,” including a brand new game, easily defeated player, and failed alliance.

“Survivor” is Back: Season 46, Episode 1, Reviewed
A brand new card game was featured in the first episode of Season 46, testing players’ strategic and bluffing skills. Graphic courtesy of Nina Aagaard ’26.

“Survivor” is back! On Feb. 28, “Survivor,” the hit social strategy reality show, released episode one of season 46. It was a two-hour premiere, so there is plenty of “Survivor” goodness to recap.

After arriving via boat, the castaways competed in their first reward challenge for their flint and other basic supplies. It was an obstacle course, in which the castaways had to army crawl through a mud pit and then under a bar through sand. At the end of the course were heavy puzzle pieces they had to haul back to the starting point. The Siga tribe (Ben, Charlie, Maria, Moriah, Tim) was the first to start the puzzle. Despite this lead, Nami (Hunter, Liz, Randen, Soda, Tevin, Venus) completed the challenge first and won the flint.

Sega got second place, earning the choice between a “Savvy” or “Sweat” task to win their supplies. They took Savvy, leaving Sweat for Yanu (Bhanu, Jelinsky, Jess, Kenzie, Q, Tiffany).

Jelinksy and Q volunteered to do the sweat task for Yanu. They were given two small leaky buckets to carry seawater about 50 yards into a massive urn. When Q dropped the water in for the first time, he realized that this really would take several hours, as the challenge note said.

Ben and Charlie volunteered to do the Savvy task for Siga, which was a confusing math puzzle they never got close to finishing. They gave it their best effort, though — adding, subtracting and multiplying until the end.

The Siga duo worked for one and a half hours, but the hourglass spooked Jelinksy. He thought “several” meant seven, when they’d ostensibly only have about four. He told Q that he didn’t think they could finish the task and chucked the hourglass onto the beach — shattering it into pieces. He quit. Later, Jelinksy expressed confusion over Jelinsky’s definition of the word “several” as “seven.” Maybe they wouldn't have been able to fill the urn, but the decision to quit early frustrated Q.

Meanwhile, Nami bonded under a beautiful rainbow. My favorite part was when Tevin and Hunter discovered their shared love of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Later, Hunter admitted to Brandon that he felt outside of their high-energy tribe. He is from a quiet town in Mississippi, so the cheering and yelling was overwhelming for him. During this conversation, Tevin was warm and understanding, appreciating Hunter’s honesty genuinely. They formed the “Andy Griffith alliance,” which I am incredibly excited to see in action. Tevin is an outgoing actor, while Hunter is an introverted teacher. They’re quite different, but they mesh well together. Their friendship is very wholesome.

Back at Siga, another alliance started to form. Kenzie brought Jelinsky, Tiffany, and Q in to create a very quick foursome.

On Nami Beach, Randen caught Venus looking for an idol. This confirmed his prior belief that Venus would be a threat in the game. In a conversation with Soda, he compared her to iconic social player Parvati Shallow (Survivor Cook Islands, etc). Day 1 is too early to throw someone under the bus, so Soda trusted Randen less after that. She brought this information back to Venus. Randen brought those two women closer together and lost trust with both of them with one comment — not great.

Later that day, a boat arrived at each camp. One player from each tribe had to board and go on a journey for a potential advantage. Jelinsky went for Yanu, Maria for Siga, and Tevin for Nami. The game for the advantage was a “Survivor” first. Three cards sat on a table, face down. One had a torch, one had a vote card, and one had a skull. Maria drew the torch and had to reveal that she had chosen it. She then had to guess which of the other two had the vote card. By random draw, Tevin had it. If Maria picked Tevin, both she and Tevin would get extra votes, and Jelinsky would lose his vote. If Maria chose Jelinksy, he would get the extra vote, with Tevin and Maria losing their votes. Maria played this beautifully, guilting Jelinksy into admitting he had the skull. Jelinsky gave up for the second time in the premiere episode — he does not do well under pressure. He lost his vote and gave Tevin and Maria extra power in the game.

Back at camp, Jess struggled with a lack of sleep, and Tiffany found a beware advantage with Kenzie. She immediately opened it, to find a box with a note saying the location of the key would remain a mystery until her tribe lost an immunity challenge. Until she found the key, Tiffany’s vote was lost.

In the challenge, the tribes had to drag a 15-foot, 500-pound gecko through an obstacle course and then complete a puzzle. It was hilarious and awesome — immediately one of my favorite challenges.

Nami was again the first tribe to the puzzle, but they finished the job this time. Sia finished second, sending Yanu to tribal council.

At Yanu’s beach, Tiffany quickly deciphered a message to find her idol in a massive rock structure. She told Kenzie, but hid the information from the other members of her alliance (Q and Jelinsky). The Yanu foursome was already faltering. Soon after, we learned that Q already regretted his alliance with Jelinsky. Q values dependability, so in his mind, someone who quit twice deserved to go. The other option was Jess, who was struggling to fit in and adjust to the lack of sleep and food. In the end, Q convinced Tiffany and Kenzie to take out Jelinsky. It’s pretty funny that this alliance didn’t last a single vote, but it was funnier watching Jelinksy in this episode. It was one of the most epic one-episode flame-outs I’ve seen on the show; I loved every minute of it.