The moment we’ve been waiting a year and a half on is finally here. “Survivor” is back! The upcoming 41st season is being billed by host Jeff Probst as “the dawn of a new era” for the long-running reality show, with a shortened shooting schedule, a faster pace, more dangerous challenges, harsher conditions, and more advantages and twists — including a new Tribal Council twist called the Shot in the Dark, which you can read more about here.
The two-hour premiere kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific with 18 new castaways split into three tribes of six apiece. Follow along with our live episode recap below but be warned of spoilers.
DON’T KEEP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED FOR THE ‘SURVIVOR 41’ PREMIERE
All times Eastern.
8:00 — Gang, I didn’t fully comprehend how excited I was about “Survivor” coming back until sitting here waiting for the show to start. I am SO EXCITED!
8:10 — After Probst directly addresses the audience to welcome us back, we get a behind-the-scenes peek at them setting up the intro, which is very cool. Then the 18 castaways are brought in on boats. There is a native Sri Lankan who learned English partially from watching “Survivor,” which is incredible.
8:15 — They are starting with one pot, one machete and one flint and that is it. No rice. They are given their paddles and sent into the water to get to shore. The first tribe to retrieve their flint in the water earns the rest of the supplies. The other tribes will have to earn their supplies back at camp. Hilariously, Luvu doesn’t get their boat unclipped and is rowing nowhere. Meanwhile, Yase can’t find their sixth paddle and never even make it into the water. So Ua wins! If you need to know the tribe breakdowns, they are here.
8:20 — Back at camp, Yase and Luvu can either try to solve a visual riddle or two tribe members can complete a physical, water-lugging cast. If they complete either one, they get the machete, pot, and flint. Yase’s neurosurgeon David wants to do the riddle, but the rest of them want to do the physical one and David gets “roped into” doing the water activity (except he basically volunteered). Luvu decides to do the physical one too, Deshawn and Danny decide to do it.
8:30 — At Ua, Genie talks about being gay and how her very traditional family accepted her when she came out. Ricard gets emotional about leaving his transgender, pregnant husband at home with their 22-month-old daughter. Wow. Meanwhile, at Luvu, the water-carriers start looking for an Idol during the water-carrying challenge. Dudes. No. Naseer sees them and tells the rest of the tribe about it. Ooooh, that’s not great. He suggests the other four of them (himself, Erika, Sydney and Heather) just keep it simple and stick together if they lose the challenge. He even says “final four,” but nobody really jumps to agree to that.
8:40 — Meanwhile, at Yase, Evvie and Liana make an alliance because Evvie says the two guys doing the water challenge (Xander and David) are going to be bonded, so she wants to find her person. Meanwhile, Eric suggests to Evvie that Tiffany is the weak link, but Liana tells Tiffany and the three ladies might be working together now. And over at Ua, Jairus is playing really hard, really fast and people are definitely noticing. Shantel, the “evil” pastor, is also playing hard but she’s being much sneakier about it (at least, that’s what the editing would have you think). And at Luvu, Sydney tells Deshawn that Naseer ratted them out and now they want to vote him out. Um, yeah, Naseer should have been a little sneakier about trying to turn everyone against the two other guys.
8:45 — Above is the triangle riddle. I got 41 triangles, but I agree that the tribes made the right choice doing the physical activity. Anyway, the next day, each tribe has to send one person on a boat to make a decision, but they don’t know what it is. Luvu sends Danny, Yase sends Xander and Ua sends Jairus (who goes by JD). At the summit, they are instructed to get to know each other as they climb a mountain. Danny is apparently telling people he played college football for LSU (which he did), but he is leaving out the fact that he also played in the NFL (Cowboys and Bears) for five years. He wasn’t a big star, but he did play.
8:55 — The three men are offered an advantage but they encounter it separately. If they all choose “protect your vote,” nothing changes. If all players choose “risk your vote,” they all lose their vote at the next Tribal. If there is a mix, the ones that choose “risk” get an extra vote and the ones that choose “protect” keep their regular vote. Ooooh. We only get to see Danny choose “protect.”
9:05 — Back at Luvu, Danny comes completely clean with his tribe about what went down. He also does a great job of explaining. Xander… does not quite do as good of a job, but he still manages to convey what happened. We also see that he chose “risk” and to his credit, he does own up to risking it, spinning it as doing it for the tribe, like they can use his extra vote if there is a tribe swap or whatever. Then JD manages to be The Worst telling his version of the story, but eventually gets to the punchline. However, he either purposely or accidentally tells the incorrect info about the prisoner’s dilemma thing and he also lies and tells them he protected his vote, which he did not. So, Xander and JD have an extra vote and Danny does not.
9:10 — At the immunity challenge, Ricard speaks up about using the word “guys.” He is married to a trans man and that makes sense. Probst praises him for standing up for what he believes in. Then they get to the new twist, the Shot in the Dark. At Tribal, you can decide not to vote and draw for a 1-in-6 shot at safety. You decide in the voting booth and no one will know what you did until just before the votes are read. Hmmm.
9:20 — The first challenge is up now. The tribes must scale a net wall, dig under three logs, load a sled with heavy puzzle piece bags. Two tribe members clear the track of sandbags, then they hoist the bags up a platform, then two tribe members solve a puzzle. All of the tribes get off to a strong start, but then Luvu makes some big errors with the directions and falls way behind. But they get back in it during the “hoist” portion of the challenge.
The puzzle solvers are Erika and Deshawn for Luvu, Sara and Shantel, and Evvie and Liana for Yase. Incredibly, Erika and Deshawn make an epic comeback and win it, so it looks like Naseer lives to fight another day.
9:30 — Back at camp, the Yase men are talking about voting out Tiffany. Evvie acts like she’s going along with it, but she’s not. She and Liana want to keep Tiffany, so Evvie goes to work on getting Eric out. Then over at Ua, Sara is sure she’s going home because she screwed up the puzzle, but, like, everyone is so suspicious of JD, I don’t see how it’s not him. But Brad comes right out in front of the girls and says they need to go because they screwed up the puzzle. Wow. Sara is not wrong in saying he’s playing the game like they played 20 years ago. Then Brad runs to JD and tells him that it’s his name on the chopping block! WTF, Brad!
9:45 — Yase’s Tribal is up first. Not a lot happens during the discussion portion, then during the vote, Xander gets his “extra vote” slip. It says the last time he can use it is at final six. We don’t see anyone’s votes. The votes go Tiffany, Eric, Eric, Eric, and Eric is the first person voted out.
9:55 — At Tribal, JD is sticking to his story that he didn’t risk his vote. Then Probst asks Sara and Shantel about the puzzle and they basically say yeah, they screwed up. Then as JD starts talking to Jeff, Shantel, Sara and Ricard start pow-wowing about if they’re still voting for JD. Sara then calls out Brad for saying her name to her face and then suddenly the vote changes in the moment to Brad. But then Shantel and JD decide voting out Brad is a terrible idea and Tribal then devolves into chaos. I really, really hate that they get to just do whatever they want at Tribal now. But anyway, everyone puts their Shot in the Dark die in their pocket and it’s time to vote. Does anyone actually use their Shot in the Dark? Also, during the vote, JD gets his extra vote.
10:00 — Nobody plays an advantage or an idol. The votes go Ricard, Sara, Brad, Sara, and Sara and she’s out.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on CBS. The 42nd season will air in the spring of 2022. Seasons 43 and 44 are casting now, so if you’ve always wanted to apply, now is your chance!