'Survivor' Season 41 premieres with Eric Abraham and Sara Wilson voted at back-to-back Tribal Councils and new immunity twist revealed
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/23/2021
Survivor 41 premiered with the Yase Tribe voting out Eric Abraham and the UA Tribe voting out Sara Wilson at back-to-back Tribal Council sessions as well as a new immunity twist and a "protect vs. risk" game only three castaways could play during Wednesday night's special two-hour episode on CBS.
Abraham, a 51-year-old cyber security analyst from Atlanta, GA who currently resides in San Antonio, TX, was voted out of Survivor on Night 3 of the game instead of Tiffany Seely, a 47-year-old teacher from Forest Hills, Queens, NY who currently resides in Plainview, NY, who appeared to only receive one vote from her tribemates at the first Tribal Council of Season 41.
Sara, a 24-year-old healthcare consultant from Sherman Oaks, CA who currently resides in Boston, MA, was voted out at the second Tribal Council of the season instead of Brad Reese, a 50-year-old rancher from Shawnee, WY, and Ricard Foye, a 31-year-old flight attendant from Lynnwood, WA who currently resides in Sedro-Woolley, WA, who each appeared to receive one vote.
TheSurvivor broadcast began with host Jeff Probst teasing a more dangerous 26-day game than ever before in which the castaways will have nowhere and no time to hide.
"Small tribes, no rice, penalties for losing, and you've got to earn everything -- and even then, dangerous [and] unexpected twists could take it all away," Jeff gushed of Season 41.
The 18 new castaways gathered on a boat in Fiji and all seemed excited to socialize, play and compete after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Shan bragged, "A lot of people think pastors can't play this game or they can't play this game well because they're soft and they want to take the high road all the time."
"Listen, I am the mafia pastor, okay?" she insisted. "I am half-Italian and half-Jamaican -- that means I am cutthroat, okay?! I will pray for you and walk you out the door at the same time! I have no problem doing that."
Jeff greeted the castaways and Naseer Muttalif, a 37-year-old sales manager from Sri Lanka who currently resides in Morgan Hill, CA, said he learned to speak English by watching Survivor, beginning with Season 21.
Heather Aldret, a 52-year-old stay-at-home mom from Charleston, SC, revealed she's been a fan of Survivor for 20 years and the show has become a tradition in her family.
The castaways were already split into three tribes on Day 1: Yase Tribe wearing yellow, Luvu Tribe wearing blue, and UA Tribe wearing green.
The Yase Tribe was comprised of Abraham; Tiffany; David Voce, a 35-year-old neurosurgeon from Highland, CA who currently resides in Chicago, IL; Evvie Jagoda, a 28-year-old PhD student from Westchester, NY who currently resides in Arlington, MA; Liana Wallace, a 20-year-old college student from Evanston, IL who currently resides in Washington, D.C.; and Xander Hastings, a 21-year-old app developer from Jacksonville, FL who currently resides in Chicago, IL.
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The Luvu Tribe consisted of Naseer; Danny McCray, a 33-year-old ex-NFL player from Houston, TX who currently resides in Frisco, TX; Deshawn Radden, a 26-year-old medical student from San Bernardino, CA who currently resides in Miami, FL; Erika Casupanan, a 32-year-old communications manager from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada who currently resides in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Heather Aldret, a 52-year-old stay-at-home mom from Charleston, SC; and Sydney Segal, a 26-year-old law student from Los Angeles, CA who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
The UA Tribe was made up of Sara; Brad; Ricard; Genie Chen, a 46-year-old grocery clerk from Los Angeles, CA who currently resides in Portland, OR; Jairus "JD" Robinson, a 20-year-old college student from Oklahoma City, OK; and Shantel "Shan" Smith, a 34-year-old pastor from Toronto, Canada who currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Jeff shared with the castaways how they were about to embark on a shorter, "relentless" game with "no time to breathe." He also said they'd only have one pot, one machete, one flint -- and that's it. They'd have no rice or food as well as no other supplies.
Jeff then tested the brand new tribes, each comprised of six people, by making them search for color-coded paddles. Once a team found its six paddles, the members must work together to paddle a raft around a buoy and ultimately return to the boat, where a flint would be dangling overboard.
The first tribe to reach the flint would receive the aforementioned minimal supplies while the other two tribes would enter the game with nothing.
Those two losing tribes would have an opportunity to earn the supplies again once at camp, but the challenge or task ahead would cost them valuable shelter-building time.
Yase fell into an embarrassing last place because they couldn't find their sixth paddle on the boat, and UA ended up winning the first challenge.
The UA tribe started building their shelter on Day 1, and Brad said he was used to working with his hands and used to watch Survivor with his beloved father, who recently passed.
JD was thrilled to make fire on Survivor after practicing at home for months with any materials he could find.
Meanwhile, the Yase tribe walked up to a giant hourglass and triangle frame on the beach.
The tribe was asked to choose one of two tasks to complete: "Savvy" or "Sweat."
The "Savvy" tribe could attempt to solve a visual riddle, counting the number of triangles within a triangle. However, the tribe would only get one guess.
"Sweat" required the tribemates to gather enough ocean water to fill two large barrels. The players learned it would take several hours to complete this task. Also, the two tribe members to take on this task would be separated from their tribemates the entire time.
The tribe had four hours to complete either task, and if they failed, there would be a penalty. They would also not receive their victory supplies until after the first Immunity Challenge.
Voce hoped to count triangles, but instead, he went with the majority and agreed to collect water.
Voce ended up being the self-declared "moron" running back and forth on the beach with Xander while the rest of their tribemates got to strategize and look for idols.
Liana and Evvie quietly discussed how Voce and Xander would be connected and bonded after their task and so it would make sense to target one of them first.
Liana said she felt a sense of "genuineness and authenticity" with Evvie, and so the girls immediately teamed up and trusted each other. Evvie, however, attempted to hide her intelligence from the tribe so she wouldn't be viewed as a strategic threat right off the bat.
Tiffany had also been thrown under the bus due to the paddle issue at the start of the game, but she boasted about being a strong and resilient woman who could end up being the "Sole Survivor."
And over at the Luvu Tribe, Deshawn and Danny volunteered to do "Sweat" without much of a conversation.
Meanwhile, Genie shared how she's been married to a woman for eight years and has a very supportive family.
And Ricard revealed he left a 22-month-old daughter at home as well as a husband who's working and is a transgender pregnant man.
Ricard noticed JD was "intense" and trying to play a hard game right off the bat. So he questioned whether JD would be trustworthy, and Shan and Sara apparently felt the same way.
But Shan promised JD that she'd have his back going forward and would share any and all information with him.
At Luvu's camp, Danny and Deshawn were looking for hidden Immunity Idols instead of doing their water-carrying task -- and Naseer caught them red-handed.
Naseer admitted he was "disappointed" to see that because he had promised there would be no strategy talk until the two working guys could rejoin the tribe.
"They're going behind our backs, trying to find an idol. One of them has to go!" Naseer said, before sharing the news of Deshawn and Danny's betrayal.
Naseer also didn't think Danny and Deshawn were going to finish the water task in time, which would result in the whole tribe being punished and facing the consequences of having no supplies.
After hours of hard work, Deshawn and Danny finished the job, as did Voce and Xander.
Deshawn was immediately warned that Naseer had mentioned voting one of the two water-carriers out, and Deshawn thought it was "insane" to even consider since the two men had just won his tribe a machete among other prizes.
"He has to go," Deshawn noted of Naseer.
On Day 2 at Luvu, Sydney said she has traveled to 49 countries and competing on Survivor just made sense to her.
A messenger then arrived in a boat with a letter.
The Luvu tribe discovered one person must board the boat, go on a journey, make a decision and then return to camp. Naseer didn't want the target on his back, and neither did Danny.
Instead of debating all day, Danny volunteered to go on the exploration.
Xander was up for the adventure on the Yase Tribe, and Evvie was happy about that decision because she thought he'd have trouble lying to his tribemates upon his return.
And the UA tribe drew rocks, which determined JD must go on the boat on behalf of his tribe.
The three castaways were taken to another beach, where they were instructed to follow a path up to the summit of a hill and get to know each other along the way. The walk was apparently so exhausting that JD fell to his feet, despite being a two-time state track champion.
Once at the top of the summit, the players had to separate and make a decision before returning to camp.
Each of the three players had to choose "Protect Your Vote" or "Risk Your Vote."
If all three players chose protect, nothing would change -- nothing lost, nothing gained. If they all chose to take the risk, all players would lose their vote at the next Tribal Council.
If there was a split decision, the players who chose "protect" would be unaffected, nothing lost and nothing gained. But the players who chose "risk" would receive an extra vote at an upcoming Tribal Council for his tribe.
Xander got the vibe that the other two men were going to play hard, but Danny chose to "protect" his vote in order to not lose loyalty from his tribemates. He thought it was the smartest decision to make this early in the game.
Since Xander chose "protect," if one or both of the other castaways chose "risk," they would each receive an extra vote at an upcoming Tribal Council session of Survivor 41.
When Danny arrived back at Luvu's camp, he was able to be totally honest with everyone about his choice and ultimate decision. Everyone bought Danny's story since he shared so many specific details about his experience without messing up.
Xander told his Yase tribe upon his return that he risked his vote to hopefully give his tribe an advantage down the road, adding that he was willing to put his neck on the line for them.
And at UA, JD let his tribemates go through his bag, and he informed them that he chose to protect his vote because he didn't want to screw anything up for anyone else.
Ricard didn't believe JD at all, but JD was convinced everyone had bought his story.
On Day 3, the three tribes met Jeff for the first Immunity Challenge of the season.
Ricard admitted to Jeff that he didn't like the host's typical pre-challenge phrase, "Come on in, guys," saying it should be changed. Jeff agreed and decided to change it to "Come on in!"
Jeff went on to unveil a new twist at Tribal Council called "Shot in the Dark."
If a player goes to Tribal Council and fears he or she is in danger and is without an advantage or an idol, the castaway could place a "shot in the dark" die inside a container, choosing not to vote.
Instead of voting, that castaway could reach into a bag and draw for a one-in-six shot at safety that night at Tribal Council. It was essentially a "Hail Mary" chance, with Jeff explaining that if such a person is truly in trouble, his or her vote probably wouldn't have mattered much anyway.
Jeff said this decision would be made in private in a voting booth and so no one else would know until just before Jeff reads the votes aloud.
Jeff also tossed each tribe a bag they could open up at camp later on.
For the Immunity Challenge, each tribe was required to race over and under a series of obstacles in order to reach a sled, which tribemates must load with very heavy puzzle pieces.
Then, two tribe members must move very heavy sandbags at the same time. Once the track was cleared, a tribe must push the sled down the track and transfer the puzzle pieces into a crate, which would be hoisted to the top of a very tall tower, where two players would solve a large puzzle.
The first and only tribe to finish would win immunity, and the two losing tribes would attend Tribal Council, meaning two castaways would be going home.
"In addition, the two losing tribes will have to forfeit their flint," Jeff announced. "You will get a chance to earn it back at the next Immunity Challenge... You have to perform every single day or you could be gone [in a snap of the fingers]."
Luvu had a steady lead but didn't put all of their sandbags on the sled, and so they had to go back and were set back as a result. UA therefore jumped ahead of the two other tribes.
Shan and Sara worked on the puzzle and essentially ripped through it together, but they left some puzzle pieces in their bag and lost some time because of it.
Meanwhile, Liana and Evvie worked on the puzzle as well as Deshawn and Erika.
In the end, Deshawn and Erika solved the puzzle first for Luvu, who won the Immunity Challenge. The UA and Yase tribes would therefore be going to Tribal Council, and without flint.
Liana and Evvie apologized to their Yase tribe for the loss, but Liana said she and Tiffany wanted Abraham to go that night.
Meanwhile, Abraham and the men discussed targeting Tiffany in order to keep the tribe strong, especially since the current physical demand of the players was intense.
"Having strength is an asset while we can still preserve it," Voce told the cameras.
The guys shared their goal to take Tiffany out with Evvie, but Evvie didn't want to see the men pick off the women one by one. Voce and Evvie also agreed on how they loved Tiffany.
Evvie wanted to see Abraham go home instead so she could go deep in the game with Tiffany, who was kind of viewed as the mother-figure in the tribe.
Evvie warned Tiffany that Abraham was targeting her, but Tiffany trusted her gut that everything was going to be fine that night. She didn't want to be overconfident, however, and so Tiffany went searching for a hidden Immunity Idol.
Over at UA's camp, Sara had a feeling she was going to be her tribe's first target, and she cried about not being ready to get her torch snuffed yet.
But Ricard was worried about JD, and he shared his concerns with Genie, Shan, Sara and Brad.
Brad told the group that he wanted to keep the tribe strong and so his selections would be Sara and Shan -- and he said that right in front of the women's faces!
"Brad is playing the game like they did in 2000," Sara vented. "I'm thinking about using my 'Shot In the Dark.' Any single one of us has a one-in-six chance of immunity. It's something to change the way this game is played, I feel like."
JD was disappointed to hear Sara had thrown him under the bus, and Brad told JD that it made the most sense to go after Sara or Shan.
Shan made sure she was involved in every conversation, and so she learned Brad wanted Sara out while Ricard and Sara hoped to take out JD.
On Night 3, the Yase Tribe -- Voce, Abraham, Evvie, Liana, Tiffany, and Xander -- attended Tribal Council, and Tiffany gushed about her tribe being a pretty cohesive unit.
However, Tiffany accused Abraham of saying a lot of words without saying anything at all, basically not making sense. Jeff, on the other hand, complimented Abraham on seemingly knowing how to play the game because he talks without revealing any specifics.
Abraham made it known strength and power was important to them, and Xander insisted they weren't a "David" tribe, referring toSurvivor's David vs. Goliath season.
It then became time to vote, and Xander learned in the voting booth he had earned an extra vote for taking a risk on the summit. He could use the extra vote all the way until six players remain in the game.
Jeff went on to tally the votes aloud: Tiffany, Abraham, Abraham, Abraham, and Abraham.
Abraham said he "did not see that blindside" coming before Jeff snuffed his torch. He told his former tribemates to "enjoy this ride" although he was shocked about his elimination.
"I was blindsided! I didn't see that coming at all," Abraham admitted in his final words. "This is a great group of people. I wish them all the best of luck. This is a great game and I had a great opportunity to play it."
Jeff subsequently greeted the UA Tribe -- Brad, Genie, JD, Ricard, Sara, and Shan -- at Tribal Council.
Ricard said his tribe was "genuinely chill" and happy living together. Brad even said he'd trade his machete and pot to let the tribe stay together as a unit.
JD said his criteria for the vote fluctuated, and as he spoke, Ricard, Shan and Sara assured each other that they were good. The girls wondered if Ricard had changed his mind, and then Sara appeared to whisper, "I think he may give up his vote," in regards to JD.
JD told Jeff everyone's name had been thrown out at least one time, but Sara announced how her name had been brought up to her face by Brad.
Sara mentioned how she felt she was on the chopping block, and then Ricard walked over to JD and whispered Brad's name. But JD told Shaun that getting rid of Brad was "a terrible" and "awful" idea.
Shaun told JD that she was just worried about the two of them and they needed to work together.
"I am with you," Shaun assured JD.
"I'm willing to do whatever you want to do. Do you want Sara or do you want Brad? I will do either," JD responded. "Which one do you want?"
Shaun's response was not shown and then the castaways were ready to vote. Shaun told Sara not to play her die for a shot at immunity because she didn't need to.