Season 31: Episode 1 - Second Chance
Posted on Sep 23, 2015 11:00pm

Jeff Probst, the host admits that SURVIVOR is the most physically demanding and emotionally taxing game on television. The reward of one million dollars is massive though and includes a high that may never be repeated. For those who lose, the consequence is often a relentless nightmare of what ifs that never ends … until now. For the first time, the fans got to vote and choose 20 former players that will compete in this season. America chose the following people to get a second chance to finish what they started.

Abi-Maria Gomes from Survivor: Philippines (Season 25) Andrew Savage from Survivor: Pearl Islands (Season 7) Ciera Eastin from Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Season 27) Jeff Varner from Survivor: The Australian Outback (Season 2) Jeremy Collins from Survivor: San Juan del Sur (Season 29) Joe Anglim from Survivor: Worlds Apart (Season 30) Kass McQuillen from Survivor: Cagayan (Season 28) Keith Nale from Survivor: San Juan del Sur (Season 29) Kelley Wentworth from Survivor: San Juan del Sur (Season 29) Kelly Wiglesworth from Survivor: Borneo (Season 1) Kimmi Kappenberg from Survivor: The Australian Outback (Season 2) Monica Padilla from Survivor: Samoa (Season 19) Tasha Fox from Survivor: Cagayan (Season 28) Peih-Gee Law from Survivor: China (Season 15) Shirin Oskooi from Survivor: Worlds Apart (Season 30) Spencer Bledsoe from Survivor: Cagayan (Season 28) Stephen Fishbach from Survivor: Tocantins (Season 18) Terry Deitz from Survivor: Panama (Season 12) Vytas Baskauskas from Survivor: Blood vs. Water (Season 27) Woo Hwang from Survivor: Cagayan (Season 28)

The castaways have traveled to Cambodia and begin their adventure by touring the country’s villages and amazing Angkor Wat temple. They each have their plan to get to day 39 and win SURVIVOR this time. Wiglesworth admits, “Fifteen years ago I was in Borneo, first season and I almost won.” Losing by one vote has bothered her for all these years. So, she is ready to use her smarts and strength to finally win this time. Tasha doesn’t plan on being nice like she was her last season. She comments, “I’m here to win a million dollars and when it’s all done, I’ll pray for forgiveness.” Next the castaways board boats and travel along a river where they enjoy the natural beauty and bordering villages of Cambodia. Jeff greets everyone as their boats pull up to a large ship where he is standing. He reminds them that this is a unique season because they are all returning players who failed to win their first time and now they are being given a second chance. In addition, the audience members that watched them their first time out specially chose them. Joe is excited to be on SURVIVOR again, especially with players that he grew up watching. Jeff instructs them to put on their buffs and informs them that they will be separated into two tribes. Wiglesworth, Woo, Shirin, Peih-Gee, Vytas, Abi, Deitz, Jeff Varner, Spencer, Kelly Wentworth are on the Ta Keo tribe. While Ciera, Tasha, Fishbach, Savage, Jeremy, Monica, Kass, Joe, Keith and Kimmi make up the Bayon tribe. Jeff then tells them that the boat he is standing on is filled with supplies that will make their life easier back at camp. On his go, they will leave their boats and race onto his boat to gather as many supplies as they can. There is a twist though, a hundred yards from the boat that Jeff is on is another boat, which contains one large bag of rice. First person who retrieves the bag wins it for their tribe. Their dilemma is how much time do they spend on Jeff’s boat gathering supplies versus when do they get off the supply boat and release their raft to go retrieve the rice off the other boat. Jeff then gives the go for them to start scrambling for supplies. All 20 castaways quickly jump into the water and swim to the supply boat. They climb up the rope ladder and start gathering fruit, baskets, chickens, firewood, pots and other supplies. Some people get on the rafts and start organizing the supplies that their tribe mates are gathering. After gathering a good number of items, Ta Keo decides to stop and head out first to go get the rice bag on the other boat. Bayon wants the rice too, so they all get on their raft and try to get to it before Ta Keo. Wigglesworth decides to swim to the rice boat versus get on the Ta Keo raft. She is a strong swimmer and takes the lead. Joe decides to swim for Bayon, since their raft is lagging behind Ta Keo. Woo then jumps in the water for Ta Keo. Woo makes it to the rice boat first and wins the bag of rice for his Ta Keo tribe. Jeff then instructs both tribes to head to their beaches on their rafts.


The Ta Keo tribe members cheer and greet one another as they arrive at their beach. Woo admits, “Spotting our flag, I wanted to cry I was so stoked.” They all start bringing the supplies they gathered from the raft to their new camp. Wiglesworth suggests they start building their shelter. Terry, Woo, Vytas and Spencer agree and work together with Wiglesworth to design and build Ta Keo’s shelter. Wiglesworth comments, “There doesn’t get to be anymore old school SURVIVOR than me.” She hopes that the rest of her tribe will appreciate her work when they have a place to sleep and shelter from the rain. Terry admits, “It’s been a long time since I played and I believe there’s a huge difference between old school and new school.” As he chops bamboo for the shelter, the new school people are pairing off and going on walks to talk strategy. Terry knows he needs to concentrate more on his social game this season than he did in the past. Spencer compliments Terry on his survival skills and his past performances in challenges. Terry tells Spencer that his kids recommended that he align with Spencer. Spencer and Terry shake hands and agree to work together in the game. Spencer reveals, “I’m a new school player, but I’m an every school fan.” His plan this season is to talk more with people, so he knows what they are thinking. Meanwhile, Abi-Maria is desperately searching for her bag. She put her bracelet in her bag and then hung it on a tree and now it is gone. Abi-Maria asks everyone in camp if they have seen her bag. Vytas is amused and annoyed that Abi–Maria is making such a fuss over her missing bag. Abi-Maria does not want to lose her temper like she did in her last season. She admits, “It’s so hard for me not to pull out the fangs.”


Over at the Bayon tribe, everyone is getting along and working together to set up their camp. Keith is working with Joe, Jeremy and Savage to build the frame for their shelter. He admits, “I never thought I’d make the cut, but here I am.” Keith is happy to be back on SURVIVOR and wants to make it to the end this time. Jeremy immediately seeks out the people that he wants in his power alliance. He starts by making sure that Keith is on his side, since they were both on the prior season SURVIVOR: SAN JUAN DEL SUR together. Next, he checks in with Tasha and gets her support, since she is one of the strongest females in the game. Jeremy talks to Savage next and is pleased to get him on board. Later, Jeremy talks to Joe, who is also a physical threat in the game. Jeremy is thrilled when Joe joins the alliance, because he can use Joe as a shield. Jeremy comments, “We’ve just got to stick together and get each other’s back.” Joe knows that people feel he is a big threat and would rather work with the other alpha males than go after them. He reveals, “In the case of like Jeremy and Savage, I think we all are kind of on that same page of let’s help each other.” While Savage is chopping down a coconut tree and getting the praise of the women, Stephen is feeling like the odd man out when he can’t even break a small tree branch into two pieces. Stephen felt this same way on his first season. He comments, “Either I’m going to be totally in charge of my tribe or I’m going to dramatically overplay and flame out really quickly.”


Back at the Ta Keo tribe, a lot of work is still going on to set up their camp. Vytas makes it a point to check in with the women on his tribe to see how they are feeling and let them know how excited he is to be on the same tribe as them. In his first season, Vytas was put on a tribe with all women and was able to change their minds about voting him out. He comments, “I just manipulated some of their perspectives and that’s so much of what SURVIVOR is about and I’m good at that.” Vytas does not want to be perceived as a manipulator though. Shirin notices what Vytas is doing and doesn’t trust him. She reveals, “I want to pull away some clear people that I want to work with and just lock it down right off the bat.” So, Shirin meets with Spencer and Varner away from camp. She points out to them how many connections Vytas has in the game with people like Terry through his brother Aras and to Ciera because they played on the same season in the past. Varner is amazed at how much Shirin knows about the game and how quickly she is making alliances. He is used to the game starting off slower and already feels lost. Varner is just glad that Shirin and Spencer have chosen to work with him. As he approaches 50 years old, Varner comments, “The second half of my life begins with SURVIVOR: SECOND CHANCE.” Meanwhile, back at camp Abi-Maria finds her bracelet in Peih-Gee’s bag. She quickly tells everyone around her where she found her bracelet. Abi-Maria can’t figure why Peih-Gee would want to steal her bracelet unless she wanted to bring out her temper. She comments, “I can’t let this happen. It’s my second chance, I have to play smart.” Peih-Gee overhears Abi-Maria talking about finding her bracelet in her bag. She talks to Abi-Maria and assures her that she did not knowingly take her bag and bracelet. Not trusting Abi-Maria, Peih-Gee comments, “I learned you make friends, but you keep your enemies a little bit closer.”


Joe is working hard to try and make fire for his Bayon tribe. He has a crowd around him as he rubs two pieces of bamboo together. Kass admits, “A lot of people are here to prove something. I’m just here to win.” Stephen takes advantage of everyone watching Joe try to make fire and sneaks out of camp to look for a hidden immunity idol. He reveals, “I need the idol or I need to create a solid link with some people who hopefully won’t judge me for being the nerd.” Stephen hopes that people won’t suspect he is out looking for an idol. After much work, Joe finally starts a fire, which results in cheers from his tribe. Savage is especially impressed with Joe. He comments, “We thumped Mother Nature on day one by getting fire and that I think is a great sign of things to come.”


As the sun rises on day 2, Vytas and Wiglesworth are doing yoga on the beach, while the rest of the tribe is waking up in the shelter. Varner admits, “Day 2 and I feel like I’ve never played this game before.” He intends on playing hard this season. Peih-Gee and Varner head to the water to cool off. Varner takes this opportunity to find out which people Peih-Gee has seen forming alliances. She feels that the people that worked on the shelter have bonded and the people that have spent time hanging out at the beach have formed a second group. Varner labels the division as the old school workers versus the new school strategists. He has formed an alliance with Shirin and the new school strategists, but he is hesitant about turning his back on his old school comrades. Peih-Gee suggests they vote out Abi-Maria first. Varner reveals that Shirin wants to get out Vytas. He vents, “Old school, new school … what do I do?”


It’s now day 3 and the sun is rising at the Ta Keo camp. Kelley Wentworth is already awake and planning her day. She comments, “You don’t always get second chances and I’m not going to waste it.” Based on past seasons, Wentworth is confident that a hidden immunity idol is somewhere in or around her camp and decides to go look for it. She makes sure to pick up coconuts and palm fronds while she is searching, so her tribe mates will think she is just hard at work. Wentworth searches around many trees and rocks before she is thrilled to find what appears to be an idol wrapped up in fabric. She opens the package and discovers that it is a clue to an immunity idol. The clue tells her that the idol will be hidden at the next immunity challenge and shows her a picture of exactly where it will be. Now she has to decide whether she will dare retrieve a hidden immunity idol in front of everyone. Wentworth reveals, “If I get to the challenge and I feel like I can pull it off, then I’m going to try and grab it, otherwise it’s going to be super obvious.”


Kimmi and Savage bring the tribe flag and first tree mail into the Bayon camp. Kimmi reads the tree mail, which informs everyone that they will be competing in the first challenge ever done on SURVIVOR. Savage gives his tribe a pep talk to motivate them. Monica is concerned about being the smallest person on the tribe. She admits, “I just want to make sure that I hold my own.” While Joe is leading most of his tribe through yoga exercises to get them limber for the challenge, Keith decides to take a walk in the jungle. He comments, “Joe’s down there doing yoga and I don’t do yoga.” Tasha enjoys doing yoga with good-looking Joe as the instructor. She comments, “I think we’re in a good mental place to win this challenge.”


Over at Ta Keo, Vytas is showing Shirin some yoga moves while the rest of the tribe watches. Shirin reveals, “He can be so over the top. He’s so yoga.” Wentworth finds Vytas annoying as he tries to flirt by showing off his body while doing yoga, which makes everyone uncomfortable. She vents, “I want Vytas out. He’s dead to me.” Vytas tries to work with Abi-Maria next, but she wants nothing to do with him. He comments, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Abi whispered, ‘Hey let’s get out Vytas.’” Vytas vows to not get too comfortable like he did his first season. Next, he meets with Terry and Wiglesworth. Terry recommends they vote out Abi-Maria if they lose the challenge today. Vytas is glad to hear that Abi-Maria is a target, since she annoys him. He admits, “If the tide is going in Abi’s direction, I’m going to have to just like let it go.”


Jeff Probst greets the contestants and introduces the first challenge. Both tribes will race out to a raft, where they will light a torch. The torch will be used to light a series of fires and as they make their way to a stand on the beach where they will place their raft. Then one person from each tribe will use sticks and rope to fashion a long pole. They will use that pole to retrieve a key. The first tribe to use their key to open a gate and light their final fire wins immunity and is safe from the vote. In addition, they are also playing for reward. The first tribe to finish wins a massive fire making kit, which includes flint, kerosene, matches and a tarp to cover the wood. The losers will go to Tribal Council where someone will be the first person voted out of SURVIVOR: SECOND CHANCE. Jeff explains that this challenge is very special, since it is the first challenge ever run in first episode of SURVIVOR. He reminds Kelly Wiglesworth that she was there and lost the challenge. So now she has a second chance to win.

The challenge begins and both tribes jump in the water and get to their rafts quickly. Each tribe works together to move their raft in the water to the first point that they have to light a fire. Keith is the torchbearer for Bayon and lights his torch from the fire bowl in the middle of the raft. Spencer is the torchbearer for Ta Keo. Both tribes are neck and neck after the light their first two fires. Keith drops his torch in the water after lighting his second fire, which extinguishes the flame. So, he has to relight his torch from the fire bowl on his raft, which slows his Bayon tribe down. Ta Keo takes the lead and get to the beach first after lighting the rest of their fires. Meanwhile, Bayon is still in the water trying to catch up. Ta Keo places their raft on a stand and heads over to the next section where Wiglesworth starts putting a pole together with sticks and rope. She wants to make it long enough and strong enough to reach a key and retrieve it for her tribe. Wentworth is excited to be at the stand where the hidden immunity idol is located, but she doesn’t find a good time to grab it without the rest of her tribe noticing. Bayon finally gets to the beach and Joe starts building their pole. He hurries to try and catch up with Wiglesworth, who has made a lot of progress on putting her pole together. Wentworth comments, “As much as I want the idol, I don’t want someone to see me get the idol because then they might target me. Wiglesworth gives her pole a try to see if it is long enough to reach the key. Unfortunately, it is short so she starts adding more sticks to it. Joe is furiously building Bayon’s pole. Meanwhile, Wentworth is closing watching everyone to find an opportunity to sneak back to the raft and get the hidden immunity idol. Joe then uses his pole to try and reach the key for Bayon. He struggles to reach the key and hook it. Wiglesworth has extended her pole and tries again to reach the key. As everyone is closely watching Joe and Wiglesworth, Wentworth takes this opportunity to grab the hidden immunity idol and hide it in her pants. She is so happy to have the idol without anyone noticing. Joe now grabs the key for Bayon and slowly brings the pole back trying not to drop it. Spencer takes over for Wiglesworth and tries to get the key for Ta Keo. In the end, Joe retrieves the key first, which gets his tribe through the gate and able to light their final fire. So, the Bayon tribe comes from behind for the first immunity win and the fire making reward. Wiglesworth is devastated to lose this Quest for Fire challenge again. Jeff informs the losing Ta Keo tribe that they will be going to Tribal Council immediately. They are shocked to hear this news. Abi-Maria comments, “We don’t have a second to talk about game play, strategy, nothing.”


Jeff Probst instructs the Ta Keo tribe members to light their torches. He reminds them that this is part of the ritual of Tribal Council because fire represents their life. When their fire is gone, so are they. Spencer points out that if you go home tonight, you feel you are letting down yourself, your friends and family and those people that voted to give you a second chance. Woo sees a division in his tribe of old school workers vs. new school strategists. Terry admits to being old school and concentrating on building the shelter first before talking to people about alliances. Peih-Gee admits she is working hard trying not to make the same mistakes that she did on her first season of SURVIVOR. Abi-Maria is proud that she has been able to control her temper this season and be more confident in her game. Wiglesworth feels the vote will be impacted by not getting a chance to go back to camp and talk before coming to Tribal Council. Varner disagrees and points out that everyone has been working hard over the last three days and knows whom they are going to vote for tonight. Vytas agrees that it is not a random vote tonight. Woo reveals that he does not know who he is voting for yet and looks at Vytas for direction. Abi-Maria sees this and accuses the men of working together. Vytas disagrees and states that tribe unity is the most important thing right now. Abi is nervous and would be heart broken if she is the one voted out tonight. Varner points out that SURVIVOR has changed a lot since season two and he is working hard to actively be a part of it and adopt the new method of playing. Jeff calls for the vote. The Ta Keo tribe members cast their votes. Before Jeff reveals the votes, he asks if anyone would like to play an immunity idol. No idol is played. Abi-Maria receives 4 votes. Vytas gets 6 votes. Therefore, Vytas Baskauskas from Survivor: Blood vs. Water is the first person voted out of SURVIVOR: SECOND CHANCE. Jeff informs the remaining tribe members that fire in the form of a flint is waiting back at camp for them.