So there we have it, the first two episodes of Survivor UK on the books in decades. Can we all just have a second to take that in?
As we know, Survivor hit screens in the US and became the biggest reality show the world had ever seen, becoming a huge cultural moment, breaking TV viewing records, and becoming a mainstay of TV channels around the world. Except, well, in the UK, where Survivor just… kind of briefly happened and then didn’t happen anymore, so to see it back on prime-time TV has been a really exciting moment for Survivor fans across the country.
Anyways, enough about the past, let’s take a look at episode 2 of Survivor UK. Any hopes that we would be seeing an epic UK version of the Survivor intro are quickly dashed as we skip over any intro credits and head straight into camp life on the Caleton tribe on the morning after the Tribal Council the night before.
Although only four days into the game, the dynamics of Caleton seem to be taking shape after their first Tribal Council. Shai confesses that it felt scary seeing his name appear at Tribal and says that he wants to keep a low profile moving forward so as not to give other players a reason to target him.
Meanwhile, Tinuke and Nathan are on their way to forming the season’s first alliance. They both share that they feel a bond with one another and agree that they should work together moving forward. Their discussion is cut short though, after Shai comes into earshot, and it becomes clear that they want to keep their bond on the down low.
As a whole, the Caleton tribe seems happier than we have ever seen them, even though half of them seem to be sporting some pretty rough sunburns, which feels very appropriate for a TV show full of Brits on the beach. After finally getting flint from attending their first Tribal, Tinuke manages to start a fire, which brings a lot of optimism as they enjoy a breakfast of rice and beans.
Over on La Nena, the tribe’s vibes are great, with the castaways all in good spirits after winning the first immunity challenge. We see them placing bets on who they think went home on the Caleton tribe and singing a beautiful rendition of Glamorous by Fergie. However, the good vibes can’t go on forever, and Ashleigh reveals that she is concerned about her position in the tribe due to a hand injury she sustained in the first immunity challenge.
We get a little intro package from Doug, and watch out, people, it looks like we have our very own Ozzy on this season, as we learn all about Doug’s love for fishing.
Speaking of fishing, we head over to the first reward challenge, where both tribes will battle in a head-to-head brawl to win some fishing gear for their tribe. Joel puts his spin on a Probst classic with a “Come on in, everyone,” and La Nena sees Caleton for the first time since Richard was voted out.
Whilst not surprising to see that a host of Survivor is going to perform as a version of Probst to some extent, it feels like Joel has gone down the route of Probst inspiration rather than straight-up Probst imitation. I have to say, after hearing that Joel would be hosting, I was pretty concerned that he would feel really out of place, seeing as he’s mainly been all over the super sleek and shiny family-friendly side on TV, but he does feel like a decent fit for the action taking place on Survivor. However, if the cheesy jokes and voice-over segments were to disappear from the episodes, I wouldn’t be too mad about that.
There seem to be some surprised faces amongst La Nena members, saying that they expected Richard to stay as he seems so friendly. However, when Lee has his time to speak, he decides to go down more of a cocky route, deciding to boast about La Nena’s back-to-back wins.
As the challenge begins, things get hot and heavy as we see players lube up and down in slo-mo shots before throwing themselves down a slip-and-slide. Round by round, the players take each other on with some pretty full-on wrestling in the sand, and it’s great to see that these players are not holding back at all when it comes to giving their all in the challenges. First up, we see Christopher drag himself across the challenge course to secure a point for his team, but Matthew puts up a pretty strong fight.
Some of the other rounds were a bit of a blowout out, though, with Rachel comfortably beating Ren to level things up. When Lee manages to snag the bag easily when up against Shai, his cockiness comes out to play again, deciding to tease Shai before securing his point. It doesn’t seem like Lee can reign in his competitive side that he’s learnt from boxing, which will likely cause him problems down the line.
Eventually, it comes down to a battle of the big boys, with each tribe’s most hench guys, Nathan and Doug, going head to head. This is by far the most brutal fight we see in the challenge, with both guys getting tossed and turned all over the place, but ultimately, Doug takes the win for La Nena, making it three wins in a row for the blue tribe.
Back at La Nena, Doug is keen to provide for the camp and put his fishing skills to use. We also see the first instances of strategy talk, with Christopher and Hannah having a one-on-one game chat discussing how Ashleigh may be a liability with her injury. Now, I thought it seemed like these two may be quite tight, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, with Christopher almost instantly throwing Hannah under the bus as he spills the beans about his convo with Hannah to Ashleigh, Ren, and Doug.
Ashleigh may have a small alliance brewing, but unfortunately, she also has her name being thrown around, with Sabrina claiming that Asleigh is clearly the obvious choice to go home should La Nena go to Tribal.
Beyond game talk, we also see that the players are building feelings of frustration, with Pegleg finding Rach annoying, Rach finding Sabrina annoying, and Ashleigh being annoyed in general about her injury. Despite their great success in challenges, it’s clear that tensions are definitely brewing at camp.
Moving on, we are now at the Immunity Challenge, and it’s a classic Survivor ‘swim out to unlock a box’ type of deal. La Nena runs into a disaster, with both Rach and Sabrina unable to untie one of the crates. Sabrina decides to sub out and let someone else take her place whilst Rach sticks at it. All the while, Caleton has pulled ahead and nearly finished the challenge by the time La Nena is back on the beach. Despite what looks like a potential comeback, Caleton secure their first win of the season and couldn’t be happier to avoid that night’s Tribal.
Post-challenge, Sabrina apologizes for her and Rach’s performance, much to Rach’s frustration. Rach and Ashleigh, both feeling vulnerable, agree that voting for Sabrina will be the best course of action for them. They pitch the idea, with Doug voicing concerns that should they target Sabrina but fail to oust her, it could cause a lot of problems.
Interestingly, Doug publicly declares that he is straddling many groups and mentions how he is the swing vote. It’s clear that Doug is very much in a position of power in the tribe and has access to a lot of information. He talks with Sabrina as they discuss potential plans for the vote, but once again, he seems to keep his options open.
Heading into Tribal, it’s clear that the targets remain Ashleigh, Rach, and Sabrina. At Tribal, we see some sparks of tension between Lee and Rach as Lee makes a dig at people’s performance in the challenge. However, Rach bites back, and the two bicker over the technical differences between asking to do something and volunteering to do something. Beyond that, nothing too major is revealed, with the first two Tribals of the season seeming more of a Q&A with Joel and players talking directly with one another rather than players having dynamic and revealing conversations as a wider group. Hopefully as the season progresses, we will see some juicer Tribal Councils.
Eventually, it is time to vote, and as the votes come through on the world’s most flimsy bits of parchment paper, it becomes clear that Doug the swing vote swung over to Ashleigh and Rach, voting out Sabrina from the tribe.
Sabrina seemed disappointed to be voted out but conceded that, at the end of the day, it’s a game. Rach and Ashleigh both had two votes against them, with Pegleg and Lee opting to vote out Rach and Hannah and Sabrina taking a shot at Ashleigh. With such a divided first vote, it will be fascinating to see how the remaining eight La Nena members deal with the fallout. Oh, and next time on Survivor… hidden idols are in play!