'Survivor: Ghost Island' recap: Stephanie Gonzalez voted out of Malolo Tribe
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/01/2018
Survivor: Ghost Island voted out Stephanie Gonzalez during the first half of Wednesday night's special two-hour premiere episode on CBS.
Gonzalez, a 26-year-old in graphic sales from Ocala, FL, was voted out of her Malolo Tribe on Night 3 of the game through a 5-1 vote at Survivor: Ghost Island's first Tribal Council session of the season.
A couple of votes were not shown, but they presumably went to Gonzalez as well. As for Gonzalez, she voted for Donathan Hurley, a 26-year-old caretaker from Phelps, KY.
The premiere episode began with Survivor host Jeff Probst saying Season 36 is all about 20 new castaways attempting to "reverse the curse of some of the worst decisions in Survivorhistory."
The castaways were separated into two tribes of 10 -- Naviti, wearing purple, and Malolo, wearing orange buffs.
Upon arriving on the beach, Jeff instructed each tribe to pick a representative. Malolo selected Brendan Shapiro, a 41-year-old physical education teacher from Herndon, VA. And Naviti chose Chris Noble, a 27-year-old male model from Florida Keys, FL.
Brendan and Chris then each had to choose one castaway who might be great in the physical aspect of a challenge as well as one person who, at first glance, appeared to be great at puzzles.
Brendan opted to have Michael Yerger, an 18-year-old real estate agent from Knoxville, TN, do the physical part and Laurel Johnson, a 29-year-old financial consultant from Philadelphia, PA, do the puzzle.
Chris picked Sebastian Noel, a 22-year-old fishing guide from Melbourne, FL, to do the physical aspect and then Desiree Afuye, a 21-year-old student from Newark, NJ, for the puzzle.
The participating castaways were required to race through a series of obstacles to dig up keys, and once they had all three keys, the puzzle solver must use the keys to unlock pieces that would solve a puzzle.
So what were they playing for? After Jeff explained each tribe would receive a much smaller ration of rice this season compared to previous editions, he announced that the winning tribe would receive a very extensive fishing kit as well as a massive shelter building kit.
The losing tribe would only get rice; however, Jeff explained that Chris and Brendan were allowed to "forfeit" in the middle of the competition if either guy feared his puzzle solver was going to lose.
By forfeiting -- which had to be done before an hourglass filled with sand ran out -- that tribe would at least get to take fishing gear back to camp.
But there was also a consequence to forfeiting: The opposing winning tribe would additionally receive 20 eggs as well as a flint to bring back to camp.
In the end, Chris gave up on Desiree's puzzle skills and forfeited the competition just as the sand was running out so that his tribe would at least receive fishing gear.
Malolo therefore received all of the luxuries, and when Jeff asked the Naviti tribe whether anyone would've handled things differently from Chris, the only person to raise his or her hand was Domenick Abbate, a 38-year-old construction supervisor from Nesconset, NY.
On Day 1 of shelter building at Malolo, Michael told his tribe that he's 23 years old because, being only 18, he worried his age would ruin his credibility. Gonzalez also insisted to the cameras there's a lot more to her than just being a girly-girl.
At Naviti's camp, Chris and Sebastian walked off together and immediately bonded over their love of Florida and shared hobbies. They made a pact to work with each other and make the merge as a team. Two guys also agreed that Domenick was "kind of crazy," and Chris suspected Domenick was gunning for him.
On Day 2, Jacob was thinking Donathan or himself would be the tribe's first target because neither of them was fit or strong.
Jacob therefore went off looking for a hidden Immunity Idol, and James Lim, a 24-year-old business analyst from Los Angeles, CA, pointed out that Jacob was "playing too hard right out of the gate" and you never want to be the person who stands out this early in the game.
At Naviti's camp, Wendell Holland, a 33-year-old furniture designer from Philadelphia, PA, bonded with Domenick over their building and construction skills and interest.
To solidify trust and loyalty, Wendell warned Domenick that Sebastian had brought up his name in conversation, but Domenick assumed Chris was behind it.
On Day 3, the two tribes met Jeff for the first Immunity Challenge of the season.
The tribes were required to race across a net bridge and work together to retrieve two bags of rope. They must then use that rope to pull a sled loaded with puzzle pieces and then solve a cube puzzle. Naviti was also playing for fire in the form of flint.
Jeff then revealed the losing tribe would have to send one person over to Ghost Island but the person would be selected by the winning tribe. That person would not attend Tribal Council and, as a result, be safe from the vote.
In the end, Naviti won immunity and decided to send Jacob -- who also volunteered since he knew he was a voting target -- to Ghost Island.
Jenna Bowman, a 23-year-old account executive from Detroit, MI, told the cameras that Jacob's exit "screwed" her tribe because he was the obvious choice for the vote.
Once on Ghost Island, Jacob viewed numerous original Survivorrelics, and he was given the option to play a "Game of Chance."
Jacob could wager a secret advantage as long as he was willing to wager his next vote. In other words, Jacob had a 50/50 chance at receiving an advantage, but if he didn't choose correctly, he'd lose his vote at the next Tribal Council.
Jacob decided to take the risk, and he chose correctly! He then received the "Secret Legacy Advantage," which Sierra Dawn Thomas had inSurvivor: Game Changers.
Jacob was able to give the advantage to someone on the opposing tribe so they could form a potential alliance later in the game, and he decided to give it to Morgan Ricke, a 29-year-old marine animal trainer from New Albany, IN, on Naviti because she seemed spunky and energetic.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez discussed with her tribemates how Donathan did not pull his weight or perform his best in the Immunity Challenge. She said he had a great heart but somebody needed to go -- and they needed to keep the tribe strong.
The group discussed voting out Gonzalez, a physical threat who was outgoing and would be a strategic threat, or Donathan, who was weaker in challenges but could be controlled and nurtured. Michael wanted to keep Gonzalez to maintain strength, but the tribe appeared to disagree with him.
At Tribal Council on Night 3, Gonzalez argued that she's excellent at puzzles but was not chosen to perform. Michael then revealed that if a person missed a conversation at camp, he or she was in trouble.
That's when Gonzalez realized she may be on the chopping block, because she had not been a part of many conversations. Gonzalez then stood up in the middle of Tribal Council and began whispering to several castaways, including Brendan and Michael. Whispers then broke out in a ripple effect.
It then became time to vote, and after Gonzalez's torch was snuffed, she walked out of the game and said, "Sad."