Ashley Underwood was a participant on the CBS hit reality show, Survivor: Redemption Island, and was the third runner up in Season 22. Beyond reality TV, Ashley is a former professional basketball player, former Miss USA contestant, and a registered nurse. Check out her website at www.ashleyunderwoodonline.com, and follow her on Twitter at @AshleyUSurvivor.
Welcome to yet another season of Survivor!! I am SO excited to be blogging for you all…so make sure you tune in every week to read about my thoughts/opinions throughout the season! There are some really crazy twists right off the bat in which the two tribes must share ONE beach (hence the title “One World”) … the castaways must choose whether they want to share food, materials, information, and much more! Not to mention, the tribes will be separated into men vs. women, which is not a new Survivor entity, but still throws an interesting layer into the mix!
Prior to tonight’s premiere, I did a little homework on each of the castaways … Based strictly on the CBS videos, which really doesn’t give you a true assessment of who these people are, I did find myself naturally drawn to some and of course, annoyed with others. After watching, I’ve gotta say, I wasn’t far off with those pre-judgments.
I’m always anxious to see how host Jeff Probst, along with the castaways, will make their grand entrance. For my season, we arrived in dramatic fashion via a military helicopter with Jeff sitting on the back, legs dangling in the air. I must say, I was less than impressed with this season’s arrival; a truck? Really? I’m far from a television mastermind, but I feel like I could have come up with something a little more creative. With that said, once Jeff divided the teams into their respective tribes of the men vs. the women, what he did next was great. The castaways were allotted just 60 seconds to strip the truck of whatever was on board. Almost immediately, Michael starts stealing items from the women – and of course, in true female fashion, the women label the men “cheaters.” Ummm, don’t they know they’re playing the game of Survivor? Only the most successful players have cheated, lied, and back stabbed. I’ve gotta hand it to Michael — strategic move from the start; he’s a thinker, and I dig it.
The Salani (female) tribe and the Manona (male) tribe, set out to find camp. Alicia says she, “can already tell who the strong female players are by how they carry the materials.” Is she really basing someones strategics on how they carry a bag of coconuts? She kills me. Sabrina, on the other hand, I LOVE! She is super chill, very strong, and a quiet leader. I liked her before the game, and I like her even more after watching tonight’s episode. She does not come off to as threatening to the others, but you can tell, she’s got a great hold on the game.
The castaways arrive at camp to see both tribal flags on the same beach, and the look on their faces says it all. Genius. I am LOVING this twist. They get right to work gathering materials and looking for a good spot to set up camp. On the Manona tribe, attorney Matt has taken on somewhat of a leadership role. I am not down with his arrogant ‘tude, and I love that Colton, the openly gay 21-year old from Alabama, pegs him immediately calling him “arrogant and condescending.” Colton is dramatic, extreme, hilarious, and needs to stay FOREVER. I just love him. He immediately bonds with the girls (shocker), and is already feeling on the “outs” with his own tribe.
A major part of this episode was centered around the importance of FIRE. It is literally the key to survival. On my season, we didn’t have fire the first two days and many of us were dehydrated – complete with muscle cramps, hallucinations, and vomiting. It makes a HUGE difference in the first few days of camp life. The men had fire almost immediately on day one, whereas the women could not get it together. They (Christina and Monica) eventually cut a deal with the men; woven palm fronds in exchange for fire. Ahh, Survivor deals make me laugh. But onto more serious matters … Did Jay inhale helium prior to the filming of this episode? Is that real life? Thank GOD he has a Southern accent … I would feel terrible.
Tarzan vs. Troyzan
I’m always intrigued when contestants don’t want to be called by their own names … and throw out some sort of nickname that, let’s face it, never quite fits the mold (Unless you’re “Cochran” … who I very openly love). This brings me to the first example from this season, Gregory “Tarzan” Smith. Maybe I’m ignorant, but I really don’t get it. Troy “Troyzan” Robertson … still don’t get it. I mean, yes, it makes more sense (I guess), but why the obsession with Tarzan? Meh … over it already. When these two jungle-boys come together and encourage the women to pole dance in exchange for fire, I cringe. Totally inapprop.
Day 2 begins with Sabrina “casually” searching for the hidden immunity idol, and of course, she stumbles upon it. In true Survivor fashion – here comes another twist! If you find a hidden immunity idol, you cannot keep it for yourself – you must give it to a member of the opposite tribe. Major strategy involved in this – and after thinking it through, Sabrina approaches Colton to tell him of her finding and eventually decides to give him the idol. HUGE advantage for Colton at this point!
The first immunity challenge is always nerve-wracking…heck, EVERY immunity challenge is. I remember being SO nervous for them; first of all you haven’t eaten, you’re exhausted, and you have to participate in a challenge that is no joke. I know everyone watching at home “can always do it better,” but trust me, I’ve played Division 1 basketball, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and nothing compares. With that said, when Jeff introduced the first challenge I thought it was fairly “fluffy.” Well, I was wrong. The contestants were instructed to jump from a platform onto a net from 25 feet up, walk across a balance beam, over a rope bridge, and raise the tribe flag. The men got off to a great start…women, not so much. Drama ensued when Kourtney landed awkwardly on her wrist, forcing Jeff to stop the competition while medical came to assess the situation. The doctor, Ramona (who is absolutely amazing by the way), takes Kourtney out of the challenge, thinking the wrist may be broken. Jeff then declares that the men have technically won immunity by having a two person lead .. but extends an opportunity for them to finish the game. After a short deliberation, the men choose to take immunity, which leaves the women completely surprised. Ladies, you’re hot, but wake up. They’re not gonna opt to give you all a chance to win, if they can be GUARANTEED immunity. That shouldn’t be a shock.
The girls are headed to tribal council, and with Kourtney injured and the rest of them unsure of her status, a lot is left up in the air. At tribal, Alicia tries to call Christina out for striking the “fire deal” with the boys. I love that Christina gets all loud and tells her to “shut up!” I’m not gonna lie, I’m diggin’ it!! Just when tribal was getting somewhat interesting, Jeff steps in and reveals that Kourtney’s wrist is in fact broken, she will need surgery, and will be out of the game – hence, no one will go home. Tonight was an easy vote, but Jeff assures the girls, it only gets harder from here. Ain’t that the truth!
What do you think of the new twists this season? Who is your favorite thus far? Share your comments and join me here every week for my Survivor: One World recap! Also, follow me on twitter, @AshleyUSurvivor!
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