HOLLYWOOD—Can you believe it, 46 seasons, that is where we currently are on the latest season of the reality competition “Survivor.” I will admit the past few seasons have not been the most entertaining for me, so I’m hoping 46 delivers some fun gameplay because seeing contestants steam roll to the end is never exciting TV.

Hate to say it, but I think it might be time for Jeff Probst to return solely as a host and not a producer. The constant twists and advantages thrown into the game is stifling the gameplay and I’m eager to see returning players after not having any since the fantastic ‘Winners At War.’ We have 18 new contestants and unlike previous seasons, I’m going into this new cast completely blind, so I was eager to see who would stand out in the premiere episode, ‘This is Where Legends are Made.’

After the first few introductions, Tiffany, the artist grabbed my attention, as well as eccentric salon owner, Kenzie who looks like she will be a ball of energy. We have three tribes: Nami (Tevin, Soda, Hunter, Liz, Randen and Venus),  Yanu (Bhanu, Tiffany, Jess, Kenzie, Jelinsky and Q) and Siga (Charlie, Ben, Tim, Maria, Moriah and Jem).

I feel like Jeff Probst just does too much as a host; he needs to dial it back a tinge. First challenge feels like the easiest we have seen in years. The Sweat and Savvy task is back as well, which was fun the first few times around, but has become a bit stale. Hunter was looking like a beast for his tribe helping his fellow tribe member with that puzzle piece. Nami was the first to finish earning their tribes supplies, as Yanu and Siga continued to battle on the puzzle for second place, with Yanu finishing last.

Siga could choose between the sweat or savvy task. That might have been a bad choice for Siga because they struggled just as much as Yanu on that puzzle. At Yanu, Jelinsky and Q took on the sweat challenge where they had to gather water in a bucket leaking holes, but these are the two strongest guys on the tribe so it makes sense for them to tackling the challenge. Bhanu has good energy and it is contagious back at his camp, where at Siga the brain challenge was not an easy one, it involved deciphering a complicated puzzle, that Ben and Charlie decided to tackle, which included a puzzle of numbers, but ONLY six numbers will unlock the box, but all they had to do was dig under the box to find what they needed, so they lost the challenge.

At Nami we have a few characters with Tevin who was annoyed by Liv, but there was friction with Jelinsky and Q, where Jelinsky threw in the towel on the challenge which seemed impossible and looking at things I must agree, I hate to say it. Make challenges that are possible, not impossible. Ben is doing his best to keep the energy strong at camp, but I loved seeing Moriah open up about her struggles and it seems like the ladies are going to be a threesome, but there are three guys as well.

Jelinsky and Kenzie bonded over their tattoos and Kenzie was building her tribe, but Jess was the odd one out. So that’s a dangerous foursome of Q, Jelinsky, Kenzie and Tiff. Hunter did not love the camp singing, but he bonded with Tevin. Tevin is a chameleon; he’s a dangerous player. Charlie admitted that he has grown up sheltered and that was refreshing that “Survivor” is opening his eyes to new people. I have to admit, things have shifted for me in regards to Charlie, who they wanted to pull in, but it raises the question as to rather Charlie could be trusted, but Tim spotted the ladies already whispering very early on.

Venus didn’t like being coined as the ‘Princess’ and she started to search for an idol to ensure her safety in the game. Randen started to point his target at Venus considering her as Pavarti, and Soda was not liking that and alerted Venus about that. So we have the infamous ‘journey’ where an advantage is likely, which saw Maria, Jelinksy and Tevin.

I love this twist because it is a game of persuasion, that the person with the TORCH card you need to bluff or convince the others, and Tevin had the Vote Card, and Jelinsky had the Skull Card. Jelinksy you were not convincing at all. Maria trust your gut because you are right. Oh, I liked Maria’s tactic, and Jelinsky folded like it was nothing. I loved what Maria did, Jelinsky not so much. You don’t know these people and Maria might NOT make it to the merge.

Jelinsky this is a terrible look, and NO ONE ON HIS TRIBE was happy. Yeah, I can see him as a first boot. Maria revealed that she has an extra vote, as it worried Tim who was concerned about the ladies having too much power. At Yanu, their camp was failing apart, and Jess was spiraling a bit because she was not able to sleep. Ugh, could we see a possible quit in the first episode. I was worried about Jess, but her laughter changed things for me. Bhanu was searching for an idol, but he was not the only one, but it was Tiffany who located the Beware Advantage and she was ready to play.

So just like that Tiffany and Jelinsky cannot vote, but if they immediately lose the Challenge Tiffany can come back and she will have a key to unlock the Immunity Idol; it works to just win Immunity and everyone is safe. I was concerned we might not get an Immunity Challenge at first. Yeah, this gecko challenge is a lot tougher than expected. Nami is a beast as they made it to the puzzle first, with Yanu finally getting their gecko over the ladder. Nami was first to complete the challenge, with Siga and Yanu, but Jess was proving to be a puzzle beast, but Jelinsky was just terrible in the challenge and all around this episode. If he doesn’t go home I will be stunned.

Jelinsky is one of the worst players I’ve seen in a long time. Tiff went back to obtain her message and she has to crack a message to find a key to the idol or she still doesn’t have a vote. Tiff solved that puzzle very quickly and she was looking for that key and she found it. My intuition was right about Tiffany, she is here to play people. Kenzie knows Tiff has an idol, just as Q starting to push for Jelinsky to get the boot. This feels like one of the nicest Tribal Councils I can recall in years. Let the battle begin as Jeff called Jelinsky out on his antics that cause him to lose a vote.

Jelinsky is digging his own grave and this is horrid strategy and gameplay. Jess and Jelinsky are both driving me crazy at this TC. Jelinksy pleaded his case, but Jess is not convincing me that she has her head on straight, but the tribe sent Jelinsky packing, his actions proved to be his downfall in the game. Fun episode, but I want a vote that doesn’t seem so obvious until next Wednesday “Survivor” die-hards!