HOLLYWOOD—I am used to getting my “Survivor” fix twice a year, but the pandemic placed the reality competition series on ice for nearly 18 months. The latest season of “Survivor” was a mixed bag. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either, but it’s not a season I will go back and watch again, it was literally too many damn twists for my liking. So I am pleased to have “Survivor 42,” I know it sounds weird, and I almost wish we got back to the themes that have made the series so intriguing to say the least people. That theme helped provide a certain dynamic to each season.

This time around ‘The Monster’ as Jeff Probst likes to continually tease is back, with 18 contestants broken up into 3 tribes. So we’re looking at a fast paced game and I hope this season we see less twists than what we had last season because none of them were utilized all that well in the game. Idols have to have a time limit because saving them until like the final 6 or final 5 just seems to stifle game play in my opinion. So who are the standouts in this two-hour premiere people?

Per usual , Jeff had to narrate things and we have the multiple idol navigation twist again, and we have new twists, guessing we will NOT learn about them right away, but as the season moves along. Few standouts, Maryanne seems like she is going to be a character full of energy. Mike is another interesting character, who seems like a big strong guy, he is, but there is more to Mike than meets the eye people.

Our tribe breakdowns are as follows:

-Taku (Maryanne, Jonathan, Omar, Lindsay, Mayra and Jackson)

-Vati (Daniel, Hai, Lydia, Mike, Chanelle and Jenny)

-Ika (Tori, Drea, Zach, Rockstory, Romeo and Swati)

Just like last season, there is no food people, you are bare bones and a twist happened ASAP, all three players had to make a decision: grab the paddles or untie knots to garner an advantage. Lindsay, Drea and Hai decided to go for the advantage to build trust amongst them so they can get to the merge with ammunition. Great diversion amongst the three getting dirty, bloody and so much more and their tribe members did not suspect anything.

Taku looks like a cohesive, strong team so far, but it’s only 1 episode people. Daniel’s shoulder looks seriously injured people. However, it was Ika who managed to edge out the win to get a pot, flint and basic supplies. Wow, are we about to see a contestant be taken out of the game within the first 20 minutes. Luckily, Daniel’s shoulder was dislocated, but it was popped back in. Time to get to know the tribes people, as Tori is lying a bit early in the game, and she is bonding with Zach and Swati. Wow, a tribe division with 3/3 already: Rocks, Drea and Romeo vs Zach, Tori and Swati.

Over at Vati, Lydia is starting to prove a bit much for me, she might be annoying. Mike made it clear he didn’t want to be put at the risk of not being able to communicate with the tribe and decided the puzzle was the way to go. This tribe is going to be full of chaos I can already see it people. Taku decided to have half work on the puzzle and half work on building the camp. So with the triangles it is a total of 51, which both teams got correct.

Rocksroy you are being a bit too aggressive and that is not going to bold well with the rest of the tribe; people don’t like to be bossed around people. Even Drea realized and let Rocks know to chill just a bit. We learn about the Amulet Advantage, which I totally did not understand it at all. Having the Amulet becomes more powerful if the other players are NOT in the game. Why? With 1 amulet it’s an idol, 2 amulets a steal the vote, with all 3, I don’t even remember.

Wow, Jackson dropped a bomb letting his tribe know he was transgender and the struggle he dealt with letting his parents know about the process. He bonded with his father during that crucial time, and ultimately his mother died. Just a heartbreaking story, but so damn inspirational at the same time America. “Survivor” does an excellent job with the storytelling aspect of its contestants; a lot of reality competition shows can learn from “Survivor” people. Chanelle picked up that Hai and Lydia were a duo, Daniel and Chanelle are a duo and Mike and Jenny are a duo. Another interesting dynamic on a completely different tribe people.

Damn this premiere episode is about to bring me to tears. First Jackson’s tale and now we learn Daniel had leukemia and he beat it. The inspiration people it’s amazing TV people. Romeo is doing some great work bonding with Zach. Tori your tribe suspects you are up to no good, and this is a different “Survivor,” the idols are not just out there like before people. Zach alerted Tori that Drea had been throwing her name out there and she realized she had some work to do.

Another twist people, really, we don’t need it, Maryanne decided to take one for the team for Taku, while Jenny journeyed for Vati and Drea was off for Ika. Ugh, “Survivor 41” all over again, let’s hope this doesn’t happen every episode this season people. I knew there was a reason I looked Maryanne; the girl is rootable, but I did not see any bonding between Drea, Jenny or Maryanne at all. So Drea and Maryanne risked their vote, while Jenny played it safe. Drea is here to play, girl is gathering up all those advantages people. Wait, what is going on, Jeff showed up at Vatu’s camp so this is NOT GOOD PEOPLE and Jackson had to chat with Jeff. We cannot lose this character this soon in the game after the story he shared. Lithium came up, and it was something he used to battle the stress and his ability to sleep.

Wow, Jackson is being pulled from the game. This is an absolute bummer after he shared an amazing story and this is a character we need on our TV screens people. “Survivor” really?! That reaction from Maryanne and the rest of the tribe said it all people. Are we even getting an immunity challenge this episode, because we’re 80 minutes in and nothing yet? So we are indeed getting an immunity challenge and Vati and Ika were stunned to learn that Jackson was pulled from the game.

Jeff discussed the Shot in the Dark die which had NO IMPACT last season because no one used it people. Got to admit this Immunity Challenge was not entertaining to watch at all people. Vati and Taku were off to a head start on the puzzle, while Zach and Swati tried to play catch up. Jenny is a beast when it comes to puzzles people. People should be afraid of her. Taku won first place, and Jenny put the nail in the coffin to send Ika to Tribal Council people.

Zach please don’t be that hard on yourself; you were working on the puzzle, but you guys were behind already. Tori making a proclamation about the idol is good/bad, just as Zach realized that Tori threw him under the bus and Zach pegged that. Like I said, Ika is going to be a hot mess people. Tori and Drea want Rocksroy out, Rocksroy and Swati want to take out Zach, and I have no clue what Zach and Romeo want to do. Romeo DID NOT want Rocks out of the game, he wanted Tori. Where is the fight Zach?

I don’t expect this to be a too exciting Tribal Council because we only have 10 minutes left in the episode so it feels rushed to a degree. Touting Zach as a super fan Jeff is NOT helping Zach’s case. Zach and Tori butted heads and it was clear these allies quickly turned to enemies. Tori comes across like a frazzled player. I’m not sure how long she will last in this game people. It is obvious: Tori or Zach people. At least Zach played his shot in the dark people. Drea got her extra vote and she was quite happy with the result.  Of course Zach was not safe; it would have been amazing if he was. So obvious and whimper of a TC in my opinion people.

I’ll admit it the premiere was excellent up till the point that Jackson got pulled from the game then it all fizzled for me. However, there are characters I like hear so I’m hoping the level of cutthroat gameplay is higher in “Survivor 42” than it was in the last season. Until next Wednesday “Survivor” fanatics!