Watch Full Episodes on CBS All Access
Season 32: Episode 1 - I'm A Mental Giant
Posted on Feb 18, 2016 12:00am


Jeff Probst, the host, points out that eighteen strangers are on a boat cruising through the waters of Kaoh Rong in Southeast Asia. The area is beautiful, but can be punishing with high temperatures and humidity. This will prove to be the most grueling 39 days in SURVIVOR history. The eighteen castaways have already been divided into three tribes based on the qualities they most rely on in their daily lives. Peter Baggenstos is a 34-year old ER Doctor from Minneapolis, MN is part of the Brain tribe. He admits, “Being an ER doctor, it’s going to be difficult for me to not show how smart I am and to express humility, but I can’t deal with ignorant people.” Scot Pollard , a 40-year old Former NBA champion from Carmel, ID is a member of the Brawn tribe. He comments, “If you show weakness, bye bye.” Nick Maiorano is a 30-year old Personal Trainer from Redondo Beach, CA and is on the Beauty tribe. He boasts, “My looks will definitely help me. Thirty-nine days and a million bucks in my pocket at the end.” Everyone scrambles when Jeff Probst rings a bell on the boat and gives everyone just two minutes to gather whatever they can from the boat. Caleb Reynolds, a 28-year old Army Veteran from Hopkinsville, KY immediately cuts a rope and releases his Beauty tribe’s raft into the water. The Brawn and Brains tribes do the same. Everyone now quickly grabs whatever they can of the fruit, chickens, pots, baskets and fish traps scattered on the upper deck of the boat and throws them onto their tribe’s raft in the water below. Joseph Del Campo, a former FBI agent from Vero Beach, FL admits, “This to me is going to be the ultimate challenge. So I’m pumped for this.” He is manning the Brain’s tribe raft and organizing all the items that his tribe mates are throwing off the boat. Tai Trang, a 51-year old Gardener from San Francisco, CA is trying to gather and protect the chickens running around the boat. He reveals, “I love all living creatures.” Jeff then tells everyone that time is up. So, they quickly grab their last items and jump off the boat. The six members of each tribe climb onto their tribe raft and start paddling to their camps. Jeff reminds them that after 39 days only one of the now 18 people will be the sole survivor and win the million dollar prize.


The Brawn tribe is the first to land on their beach. The six Brawn tribe members are:

Alecia Holden, a 24-year old Real Estate Agent from Dallas, TX Cydney Gillion, a 23-year old Body Builder from Douglasville, GA Darnell Hamilton, a 27-year old Postal Worker from Chicago, IL Jennifer Lanzetti, a 38 –year old Contractor from Salt Lake City, UT Kyle Jason, a 31-year old Bounty Hunter from Detroit, MI Scot Pollard, a 40-year old Former NBA champion from Carmel, ID

Cydney admits, “Paddling in and looking at my Brawn tribe, it feels like home.” They’re all glad to have made it to their camp and start working together to unload all their things off the raft. Next, they take a break and introduce themselves to each other. Jason comments, “A lot of people find me intimidating. They judge me because of how I look.” Little do they know that Jason is also a gentle loving dad to two daughters, one of whom has autism. Everyone gets to work to build their shelter. Scot admits, “We’re not beautiful. We’re not smart, but we are strong.” They all help to chop bamboo, pull down branches and set up camp.


Over at the Brains camp, all six of them are standing on the beach getting to know each other. The six Brains tribe members are:

Aubry Bracco, a 29-year old Social Media Marketer from Cambridge, MA Debbie Wanner, a 49-year old Chemist from Reading, PA Elizabeth Markham, a 27-year old Quantitative Strategist from New York, NY Joseph Del Campo, a former FBI agent from Vero Beach, FL Neil Gottlieb, a 38-year old Ice Cream Entrepreneur from Sausalito, CA Peter Baggenstos, a 34-year old ER Doctor from Minneapolis, MN

Liz reveals, “The Brains tribe is definitely my tribe. That’s the attribute that I actually think is valuable.” She feels her tribe will have an advantage, since they will be able to use their brains to think of many different ways to solve problems and challenges. Debbie points out how similar Peter looks to the President of the United States, Barack Obama. Peter admits that he hears that a lot. Debbie lets everyone know that as a Captain in the Civil Air Patrol, she has extensive training in building shelters and making fires without flint. She has held a variety of jobs in her life. Debbie admits, “So, at 49 I bring a lot of worldly experience with me.” Her tribe mates are glad to hear this as they begin setting up their camp. Neil attempts to start fire by rubbing two pieces of bamboo together following Debbie’s instructions. He reveals, “I’m quirky and incorrigible and eccentric, but Debbie has a whole different level of craziness.” After putting a lot of time and effort into trying to start fire, Neil begins to doubt Debbie’s expertise. Debbie then takes over and tries it herself. Neil comments, “Looking back at past season, it seems like the really smart folks at least have some form of kryptonite. So, I’m a little concerned about being on the Brain tribe.”


Over at the Beauty camp, they are all working well together to collect materials and build their shelter. The six Beauty Tribe members are:

Anna Khait, a 26-year old Professional Poker Player from Brooklyn, NY Caleb Reynolds, a 28-year old Army Veteran from Hopkinsville, KY Julia Sokolwski, a 19-year old College Student from Boston, MA Michele Fitzgerald, a 24-year old Bartender from Freehold, NJ Nick Maiorano, a 30-year old Personal Trainer from Redondo Beach, CA Tai Trang, a 51-year old Gardener from San Francisco, CA

Nick comments, “We’re all excited. We’re all happy. We’re all smiles and we work well together around camp.” Michelle is impressed with Tai as he climbs a coconut tree and provides them with coconuts and palm branches. Tai doesn’t consider himself beautiful, so he is confused how he ended up on the Beauty tribe. He comments, “I think my personality can come out. We all have beautiful inside and outside.” While the guys are working with the bamboo to build the shelter, Anna, Julia and Michele are together on the beach weaving palm fronds for the roof. The ladies are having fun talking about the guys and admiring their looks. As a bartender, Michele is used to being social and building relationships quickly. She is getting along well with Anna and Julia. Michele comments, “Girls kind of go with girls, so that alliance felt really natural to me.” Michele, Anna and Julia wonder if the guys are planning on building an alliance together too. Meanwhile, the guys are also talking about the girls as they build the shelter. Caleb starts hacking away at the base of a palm tree to create a notch to hold one of the bamboo pieces for the shelter. Tai asks Caleb to be gentle and not kill the tree. Even though Tai loves all living things and hates to see any of them hurt, he realizes that he needs to pick his battles and not upset his tribe. Tai reveals to his tribe mates that he is originally from Vietnam, which is very close to where they are now. He hopes that his familiarity with the terrain will help him find food for them. Tai came to the US as a refugee from Vietnam after the war. He comments, “Through a lot of my life, there are a lot of things that I have survived through and I think I have an advantage.”


Back at the Brawn tribe, Jennifer is cutting wood. Darnell and Cydney are trying to make fire and Jason and Scot are building the shelter. Meanwhile, Alecia is just watching everyone else work hard. She tries to cut a palm frond, but quickly gives up when she realizes that it’s hard. The heat of the day and the hard work is starting to take a toll on the others, but they keep going. Jason is frustrated seeing Alecia not contributing and decides that she should be the first to go. Away from camp, he talks to Scot. Jason gets Scot to agree to vote out Alecia first. Scot welcomes Jason into an alliance with him and Jennifer. Jason admits, “The truth is I want as many alliances as possible.” He then makes a separate alliance with Cydney. Later, Jason meets with Jennifer and confirms his alliance with her and Scot. Darnell and Cydney are still working on the fire. Darnell tells Cydney that he will watch out for her and keep her informed about all the things going on. Cydney recommends they align with Scot and Jason and get Alecia and Jennifer out first. Darnell admits, “I most definitely trust Cydney.” Later, the Brawn tribe teases Darnell as he goes into the ocean to relieve himself in plain sight of the camp.


As the Beauty tribe is busy setting up their camp and getting to know one another, three chickens escape from their basket. The entire tribe chases after them. Nick admits, “We’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off and we’re wasting calories, but you desperately want those chickens.” After much effort, they recovered two of the three chickens. Tai suggests that they tie the chickens together with rope and let them roam around a little, while at the same time restricting how far they can go. Anna likes how Tai respects the animals and other living things. She helps him tie up the chickens. Anna comments, “Tai is someone that I can definitely work with.” She is in an alliance with Michele and Julia, but they need one more person to have a majority in the tribe. Anna hopes that Tai will be the fourth member of their alliance. Later, Anna asks Julia what she thinks about Tai. Julia agrees that he would be good in their alliance. Anna and Julia trust each other and vow to work together in the game. Julia reveals, “I definitely want to stick with Anna and pull in Michele. I think the three of us could do really well.” She then tells Anna that Caleb was on Big Brother. Anna is pleased to find out that Caleb was very loyal to his alliance on Big Brother. Later, Caleb talks to Anna and Michele and admits to them that he was on Big Brother. He hopes that it will not hurt his game. Anna assures him that they are smarter than that. Caleb then climbs a tree and chops down palm fronds for the shelter and then starts a fire for the Beauty tribe by rubbing bamboo together. After proving his physical strength, Caleb comments, “I believe I’m probably mentally stronger than anyone in this game.”


Aubry, Joe and Debbie are hard at work at the Brains camp cutting the bamboo for the shelter. Although Joe is 72 years old, he is in good shape. He plans on using his intuitive skills that he learned as a hostage negotiator on the FBI to help him through this game. Joe reveals, “I think I can be able to make it through that gauntlet to be the sole survivor.” Debbie takes her turn at cutting the bamboo and decides to use an axe versus the saw. She feels like she and Joe are the hardest working people around camp and the ones focused on surviving in nature. Debbie comments, “Joe and I plan on sticking around for a very long time.” Meanwhile, Liz and Neil are cooling off in the ocean while discussing their tribe mates. They both agree that Debbie’s constant talking is annoying. Neil is worried that Joe and Debbie will hurt them in challenges, because they are older. He proposes that the four “children” in the tribe form an alliance and vote out Joe and Debbie first. Liz agrees and feels that she, Neil, Aubry and Peter will work together well. Neil proposes his plan to Peter. Peter agrees with Neil about Debbie and Joe and gladly joins the younger alliance. He comments, “Joe and Debbie are low hanging fruit, so they’re going to be eaten first.” Neil and Peter decide to wait to see how Joe and Debbie do in the challenges, to determine who will go first.


It’s now day 2 and the Beauty tribe is gathering bamboo and palm fronds. As everyone is headed back to camp, Tai takes a detour to look for a hidden immunity idol near tree mail. He doesn’t have a clue, but he keeps his eyes out for anything unusual. Along a dirt path, Tai sees three small trees freshly planted in the middle of the path. He quickly pulls the trees out of the ground and starts digging where they were planted. Meanwhile, Michele, Julia and Caleb wonder where Tai is and suspect he may be looking for an idol. They head over to tree mail to see if they can find Tai. Tai has now pulled out his second tree and is furiously digging. He is getting nervous that the others will find him. Anna and Nick are walking in the jungle, when Anna sees Tai patting the ground and gets suspicious. So, Nick and Anna approach Tai and he quickly admits that he is looking for a hidden immunity idol and asks them to give him a little more time to look. Anna admits, “Yesterday, I felt comfortable with him, but now I don’t trust you for a freaking second.” Nick and Anna head back to find the others, while Tai continues his search. Tai is upset that he got caught looking for an idol. He admits, “I screwed everything up. It’s not good for me at all.” Nick and Anna talk to Caleb, Michele and Julia about Tai. They all feel that there is a good chance that Tai now has a hidden immunity idol and agree to vote him out first, if they have to go to Tribal Council.


Over at the Brains tribe, Aubry, Liz and Peter are out in the sun weaving palm fronds. All of them are sweating because of the intense heat. Aubry reveals, “I think this heat may be one of the biggest factors in this game.” She decides to take a break from weaving when she starts to feel weak and dehydrated. Joe tells Aubry to get in the shade and drink plenty of water. Aubry admits, “I started feeling a little wobbly and discombobulated and thoughts stopped moving in a linear pattern.” She goes to the shelter and asks Neil and Debbie to help her get fruit and more water. As she sits next to Debbie in the shelter, she starts to cry. Debbie sees that Aubry is suffering from dehydration, anxiety and heat exhaustion and gets her to lie down in the shelter. Debbie comments, “She was also absolutely overwhelmed with being thrown in a jungle with five strangers.” Aubry is embarrassed that she is breaking down in front of everyone. She comments, “This situation I’m in isn’t even about the environment. This is all about my own head.” Aubry is upset with herself for bringing this upon herself. Liz also tries to comfort Aubry and assures her that once she cools down and they have a fire to cook and things to eat, then life will be better. Seeing that Aubry is suffering from an anxiety attack, Liz comments, “I do think there’s a significant risk that she cracks again next time something doesn’t go well.”


As the sun sets on day 2, Jennifer has extreme pain in her ear. She feels like there is a bug in her ear that is digging deeper and deeper into her ear canal. While the rest of her tribe is sleeping in the shelter, she is pacing or doubled over in pain. Jennifer reveals, “It’s just disgusting hearing these little legs crawl around in your head.” She worries what kind of damage the bug may be doing to her ear. The next morning, Jennifer has gotten no sleep and no relief from the pain. Her whole tribe is concerned about her. Scot looks in her ear and can’t see anything moving, but her ear is bleeding. Jennifer admits, “It just hurts so bad.” Jason and Cydney bring tree mail and the tribe flag back to camp. Everyone is worried that Jennifer may be pulled from the game or not be able to participate in the upcoming challenge. Alecia comments, “I do very likely think today that if we lose, I could be on the chopping block, because they want a stronger team.” She hopes Jennifer will be able to help them in today’s challenge, so they have a better chance of winning. Jennifer lies down in the shelter, once again trying to get rest. Scot and Cydney spot a tiny worm crawling out of Jennifer’s ear. Scot grabs it and kills it. Jennifer is so happy to not be in anymore physical or emotional pain. As the Brawn tribe walks out of camp to the challenge, she admits, “I got this 39 days, no problem.”


Jeff Probst greets the contestants and introduces the first challenge. Both tribes will swim out to a boat. Once the entire tribe is on board their boat, one person at a time will dive down to retrieve paddles. Once they have all four paddles, they will race to shore, where they will convert their boat to a cart by attaching four wheels. They will then push their boat to the top of the beach. Once at the top, they will have to decide between assembling a puzzle or testing their dexterity by stacking balls while standing on a wobbly beam. The first two tribes to finish win immunity and are safe from the vote. In addition, they are playing for reward. The first tribe to finish gets a massive fire making kit, which includes wood, a tarp to keep the wood dry, lighter fluid, matches, flint and charcoal. The second tribe to finish wins flint. The losers win no reward and must go to Tribal Council, where someone will be the first person voted out of this game. Each tribe gets a minute to strategize and choose which person will do what job in the challenge. Aubry is determined to prove herself in this challenge.

The challenge begins and everyone jumps in the water and swims towards their tribe boat. The Beauty tribe gets in their boat first and Michele is the first one to dive down to retrieve their paddles. The Brains and Brawn tribes are close behind her. The Brawn tribe loses time when Darnell loses their mask as he dives in to retrieve their paddles. This makes it hard to see where the knots are that are holding the paddles. The Beauty tribe continues their lead, as they are the first ones to retrieve all four paddles and head back to the shore in their boat. The Brains tribe is in second after Aubry retrieves all four of their paddles. The Beauty tribe and now the Brains tribe struggle to get their heavy boats onto the shore. Meanwhile the Brawn tribe is still retrieving their paddles. Just as the Brawn tribe finally has all four paddles and arrives at the shore, the Beauty tribe finally lands their boat and starts converting it to a cart. The Brains and Brawn tribe land their boats just behind them. So, now it is anybody’s challenge to win. The Brains tribe chooses the puzzle and puts Aubry and Liz in charge of solving it for them. The Brawn tribe is now in second place and they also choose the puzzle, with Jennifer and Alecia as the solvers. The Beauty tribe has lost their lead and struggles to push their boat up the beach. When they finally get there, they also choose the puzzle with Julia and Anna to solve. Scot takes over for Alecia to help Jennifer solve the Brawn puzzle. The Brain tribe solves their puzzle first and wins immunity and the massive fire kit. The Brawn and Beauty tribes are in a tight race for second as they both come down to their last piece. In the end, Beauty wins out and takes the immunity and flint reward. So, the Brawn tribe must go to Tribal Council, where one of them will be the first person voted out of the game. Alecia is worried about Tribal Council, since she did not do well on the puzzle. She admits, “The only way for me to stay in this game right now is to try and get them to vote off Darnell.”


As the Brawn tribe returns to camp, Alecia apologizes for not doing well on the puzzle. Darnell insists that he lost the challenge for them, when he lost the mask. He comments, “Growing up in Chicago, I was a lifeguard but I never knew sea water was that murky. Like you couldn’t see nothing.” None of his tribe mates strategize with Darnell, so he feels certain that he will be voted out tonight. Darnell assures his tribe mates that he will be loyal to them for the entire game, if they let him stay in the game. Scot and Jason tell Darnell not to worry, since they plan on voting out Alecia tonight. Scot reveals, “We got Tribal Council tonight and the two people on the chopping block, it’s Darnell and Alecia.” He prefers to vote out Darnell because he lost the mask and performed poorly in the challenge. Scot tells Alecia to calm down because she is not going home tonight. Alecia isn’t sure she can trust Scot. She admits, “If I can just try and be a master manipulator and then vote Darnell, then that’s the only option that right now I really have.” Scot notices that Alecia is talking to Jason about the vote. He comes over and warns her not to be constantly scheming and to just trust them. Jason asks Alecia if she or Darnell has an idol. She coyly replies that Darnel does not, but she may have one. Scot is upset that Alecia is not being open with him after he assured her that she is not going home tonight. Later, Jason confirms with Scot that they are voting for Darnell. He then tells Cydney to vote Darnell with them. Cydney reveals, “I prefer for Darnell to stick around because of our initial alliance. The more numbers I have the better it is for me.” She plans on voicing her opinion at Tribal Council.


Jeff Probst welcomes the Brawn tribe to Tribal Council and instructs them to light their torches. He tells them that this is part of the ritual of Tribal Council because fire represents their life. When their fire is gone, so are they. Jason tells Jeff that he is happy with this tribe mates except for Alecia and Darnell. Alecia does not like hearing this and doesn’t feel like she is the weakest one on the tribe. Darnell understands why Jason is disappointed in him, since he lost the mask and put them behind in the challenge, but he reminds them that he did work hard. Scot reminds Darnell that he volunteered to be the diver in the challenge and that he should have known to hold onto the mask. Alecia calls herself a “mental giant” and assures everyone that she is strong, she won’t give up and she will do better in challenges. Cydney thinks Alecia is just telling them what they want to hear. Alecia promises to be more positive and work harder. She also points out that unlike Darnell, she would have tried to retrieve the mask and not just let it go. Darnell reminds her that he paddled and pushed the boat, while she did nothing. He gets emotional as he tells everyone how badly he feels about losing the mask and disappointing his tribe. He promises everyone that he will be valuable in future challenges. Jennifer admits that she knows what it’s like to go through hard times and be tired of losing. Jason says that Darnell’s statements have made him question his vote tonight.

Jeff calls for the vote. The Brawn 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. Alecia and Darnell both receive 3 votes, which results in a tie. Jeff calls for a re-vote where Alecia and Darnell cannot vote, but everyone else can only vote for Alecia or Darnell. Jennifer, Scot, Cydney and Jason vote again. Jeff reveals the first three votes, which are all for Darnell. So, Darnell Hamilton, a 27-year old Postal Worker from Chicago, IL is the first person voted out of SURVIVOR: KAOH RONG. Jeff gives the remaining tribe members fire in the form of a flint.