"Remember how you saw Stephenie dislocate her shoulder and [host Jeff Probst] remarked how she injured herself in the very first round of the very first challenge. Well, that was true, but it wasn't the round you saw," Entertainment Weekly reporterDalton Ross, who witnessed the challenge firsthand, reported Friday.
"The actual first round (that you did not see) featured the exact same match-up [Heroes LaGrossa and Cirie Fields vs. Villains Parvati Shallow and Danielle DiLorenzo] and it was actually a Heroes victory. Not only that, but the injury appeared to occur while Stephenie was slapping the mat with her extended arm to give her team the win. So, the round you saw presented as the first match-up was actually a rematch that Stephenie was participating in after she had already dislocated her shoulder! (How tough is she?) So, the injury happened in one place, but was edited into another."
In addition, Ross said the entire "first team to three wins" rules that were presented to viewers also weren't accurate and the challenge took "much longer" than it appeared on CBS' Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains broadcast.
"In reality, the teams actually played all the way to five," he wrote.
"Remember how the Villains went up 2-1 after [Benjamin "Coach" Wade] dragged [Colby Donaldson] back to the Villains mat? In actuality, the Heroes had a whopping 4-0 lead when that contest took place, and that Coach victory merely got the Villains back to 4-1."
Ross said that was "just the tip of the out-of-order iceberg" before explaining the "convoluted and confusing" way things actually went down.
"The first-round match-up you saw with Stephenie and Cirie vs. Parvati and Danielle was actually round six and got the Villains back to being down only 4-2," he wrote before explaining how LaGrossa's actual injury unfolded.
Despite the not-exactly-up front way the premiere episode was presented, Ross said the end result was still the same.
"There is no monkeying around when it comes to Survivor challenges. The teams compete and the winner is the winner. Nothing is rigged," he wrote.
"When you saw people winning rounds, they were winning rounds, maybe just not in the exact order it actually happened. Like all elements of the show, the producers just often record much more than can actually show so then have to figure out the best way to condense it all. (For example, the one round where Coach dragged Colby to his mat took over nine minutes by itself. It was an epic duel that was mesmerizing to witness, but simply too long to show in its entirety) And Stephenie did injure her shoulder in that competition against those same players, just not in the round they showed us."
However Ross admitted he was "surprised" how the footage was ultimately edited for viewers.
"Watching Stephenie dislocating it as she won, and then coming back to compete after injuring it was pretty dramatic in itself," he wrote. "Again, just not enough time."
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