The ‘Survivor’ Premiere Was Shocking, Bloody Chaos the Show Has Never Seen Before

The ‘Survivor’ Premiere Was Shocking, Bloody Chaos the Show Has Never Seen Before

After 44 seasons, no one would fault Survivor for having a predictable, if not boring, season premiere. Two decades on air can leave the well running dry, but here’s the thing, y’all: Survivor fans know better. You do not commit to watching 43 seasons over the course of 20 some-odd years because things have gone stale. Jeff Probst has made a deal with the devil, and in return, the devil was delivered.

You see, if there is one unimpeachable truth about Survivor, it’s that the long-running reality series has a way of reinventing itself. In past seasons, that comes in the way of returning players. Surprising twists. Tribes split by age (??) or race (?!). This season, however, the season premiere shocker comes in the form of three different players facing medical peril before the first tribal council. Even Jesus was like, “Guys, this is a lot of trauma for three days.”

By the end of Wednesday’s two-hour season premiere, Bruce Perreault was removed from the game and Matthew Grinstead-Mayle and Brandon Cottom nearly had their flames snuffed by the fickle hand of fate. For those who love statistics, there have only ever been 16 contestants evacuated prior to this season. So essentially, the 44th season premiere of Survivor tried to up that by about 20 percent.

To review for those who missed the premiere, the season opened up with a traditional competition where three tribes race through an obstacle course to collect puzzle pieces for a later stage of the challenge. The winners get flint, and apparently, the losers get a massive concussion.

Perreault opened up the challenge for his team, running to an army crawl-style mud obstacle, but instead of crouching and then crawling, Perreault opted to dive head first. Unfortunately, instead of diving into the mud, he dove immediately into the wooden platform above the mud, resulting in a brutal gash that continued to bleed throughout the challenge. It was enough blood that the competition had to be stopped so medical personnel could evaluate him. That was the moment that this season’s main character was introduced.

I have searched, and currently cannot find the name of the doctor tending to Survivor contestants this season, but keep an eye on him because at this rate, he’s going to get more screen time than Ellen Pompeo will this season on Grey’s Anatomy.

Perreault is temporarily granted clearance to continue the game, but before the first hour is over, he essentially collapses on the beach from what a viewer can only assume is a concussion. The good news, of course, is that the doctor reappears and removes him from the game for further evaluation, which is more than the NFL can say about its own protocol. The bad news is that this is hardly the last time we’ll see the Survivor doctor this episode, because these contestants are absolutely off their rockers.

In the next 20 minutes or so, Ohio barbershop owner and lovable daddy, Grinstead-Mayle decides that being on Survivor is not enough of an adventure; he needs to scale a rock face for no goddamn reason. To my knowledge, Grinstead-Mayle is not a rock climber. He’s not even much of an outdoorsman. There’s no clue or advantage up there, and yet, here he is, climbing an ocean rock for the thrill of it until a boulder gives way and he takes a tumble onto the jagged rocks along the shore, severely cutting his foot and dislocating his shoulder in the process.

And I want to level with you here: I would give my left arm to be on Survivor. I have watched this show for years. One time I met season two winner Tina Wesson in a Chili’s, and I cried so hard that I had to leave the restaurant. But if I did make it on the show with my left arm intact, the last thing you’re going to see me doing is scaling a rock wall for the thrill of it. Anyway, Grinstead-Mayle was equipped with a sling and permitted to continue.

At this point, you’d think we’re in the clear when it comes to medical emergencies, but there’s still about 30 minutes left in the episode, and Survivor is trying to choke people out this season. During the immunity challenge, former Purdue football player Brandon Cottom collapses from what appeared to be dehydration, proving that sometimes it’s better if you Purdon’t. Again, the onsite Survivor doctor is trotted out to assess the damage before ruling Cottom out of the challenge, but not the competition itself.

I don’t know what kind of contract this man signed before joining Survivor, but he should be given a raise because this is some E.R. level bullshit that he’s being put through. And it’s worth noting—for those who are asking, “Isn’t this show about voting people out at tribal council?”—a woman was eliminated from the game in one of the most epic, one-vote tribal councils that the series has ever seen. And yet, it pales in comparison to the multiple near medical emergencies that transpired over just 72 hours of this season.

Lord, be with these Survivor contestants as they eliminate 15 more in pursuit of being the last one standing. And may none of them be eliminated from blunt force trauma or severed limbs or explosions, because at this point, I’m not ruling any of that out.

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