Breaking down the ‘Survivor 46’ premiere: Messy relationships and an epic flameout

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“Survivor” is back with a brand new season and 18 new contestants. For the second time in the history of CBS’s reality TV show, there will be 90-minute episodes throughout the entire season, with the premiere lasting two hours. That gives viewers more character game moments and tribe dynamics, which last week’s premiere set up very strongly, with seemingly solidified alliances and promising rivalries, while also giving us messy relationships and one of the most epic flameouts in a first boot in a while. As the three tribes form and the alliances begin on “Survivor 46,” read on as we break down the game and the premiere.

Starting with the Nami tribe, we were introduced to our first duo alliance of Hunter McKnight and Tevin Davis, connecting through their love of the classic 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show.” That was balanced with the mounting rivalry of Venus Vafa and Randen Montalvo after the latter caught her idol searching and ratted her out to Sodasia “Soda” Thompson, who immediately informed Venus. Then there is Liz Wilcox, who did not do herself any favors with first impressions by boasting her occupation as a marketing strategist and owning and selling companies, hinting at her financial status, so while this tribe has not yet lost any challenges, there are certainly many interesting relationships building up.

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Moving over to the Siga tribe, which has the season-recurring men vs. women opposition theme, with Maria Shrime Gonzalez, Moriah Gaynor and Jemila “Jem” Hussain-Adams forming an alliance, while Tim Spicer, Ben Katzman and Charlie Davis took note. But it seems that Charlie wants to work with the women going forward, giving them the majority, despite working (and ultimately failing to retrieve their camp supplies) with Ben on the Savvy puzzle challenge after coming in second to Nami in the reward challenge. And even though Tim and Maria initially bonded over being the only parents on the tribe, the former was worried when the latter gained an extra vote on her journey, recognizing the tribe split between the genders.

Finally, there is the Yanu tribe, which was mostly centered around the myriad of mistakes made by David Jelinsky, who volunteered with performing the Sweat challenge assigned by Siga, with Quintavius “Q” Burdette, and decided to bail halfway into the task – while also giving us an unforgettable moment of him hurling and breaking the hourglass sand timer. On top of that, he once again vehemently volunteered to go on the journey joining Maria and Tevin, where they played a simple card game of deception and all Jelinsky had to do was lie. Instead, he immediately caved in against the two with an ineffective poker face, causing him to lose his vote while giving both of them an extra vote, which obviously was not received well with his tribemates.

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However, he did establish a solid alliance with Q, Kenzie Petty and Tiffany Nicole Ervin – or so he thought, but more on that later. Meanwhile, the two women looked to have a solid bond together, with Tiffany wasting no time sharing her Beware Advantage to Kenzie, containing a locked box that she could only open if they lost the immunity challenge, which did not take long. Following the loss, she had to decipher a code that would reveal the location of a key to open the box that had the idol, a code she quickly cracked, also gaining her vote back. In the meantime, the two women and Bhanu Gopal were set to vote out Jessica “Jess” Chong for being the weak link and socially hard to read, but Q was adamant on eliminating Jelinsky, disgusted by his quitting mentality and lackluster performance, and was able to sway the rest of the tribe to blindside him out of the game after Jelinsky was confident that Jess would be the one to leave.

In terms of next week, the “Next Time on Survivor” promo showed a broken-down Kenzie, a pissed off Venus, and a potential conflict between Bhanu and Jess in a challenge. There is still a lot to explore with this season including Venus’s relationship with Randen, who comes off as untrustworthy to Soda, and whether Jess can regain some ground within her tribe. It will be exciting to see what will converge in the episode next week as we begin “Survivor 46.”

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