Survivor is upon us again, but this time with a bit of a break from the ordinary. This season, they are bringing back 18 castaways from the previous Survivor editions. From the commercials, articles and interview videos, it looks like they are all itching to come back and prove they truly have what it takes to be the sole survivor.

Up until now, the Survivor seasons have followed a general path of progression as follows: The castaways are shipwrecked and must complete the task of building a fire and shelter to protect themselves from the elements. This is where we first see the different personalities emerge as several castaways jockey for position as the Alpha leader of the tribe. Over the next week or so, the tribe divides itself into several factions: Those that control the alliances, those that are willing to vote the way their alliance wants them to, those that are annoying and the majority of the castaways and viewers want gone as soon as possible, the buff men who are there for their physical strength and not much else, and finally, the women who are strictly there to look pretty in a bikini. In the regular seasons of Survivor, the annoying lazy ones are usually first to be eliminated followed closely by a few of the nice but average personality ones, as they usually make up the majority of the tribe and there isn’t a need for all their votes. Then comes the merge, as it always does. At this point, the buff men are eliminated as they are not needed for their physical strength anymore. We are in the homestretch and the ones controlling the alliances are getting a major ego at this point. They can taste victory just around the bend. However, as in almost every season, the castaways that are still around, realize they are getting picked off one by one, and will band together to oust the connivers that are running things! Which brings us to the denouement of Survivor, which now consists of people that didn’t play the game that well, who merely ran for cover while everyone was taking out their biggest competition. We as viewers are left with a less than exciting ending and the main question is “who is the most deserving of these undeserving castaways and will they get the votes to win?

Radically different! This season of Survivor is going to blow that previous path of progression out of the water. Sure there will be the same jockeying for position, but everyone is going into this game already knowing the nuances of the other castaways. They know the weaknesses and strengths of everyone and are planning on using that knowledge to manipulate and control everyone else. The problem being, the rest of the castaways have the same plans as well, which can only result in a cataclysmic fight for dominancy.

Victory will come down to whomever can adjust the fastest to the every changing twists and dynamics of the game. Since everyone is out to win and from the sound of it, run the alliances, there will be no such thing as followers or people who ride the coattails of the others. Because of that, each castaway is essentially on his/her own and cannot fully rely on a weaker person to back them up in an alliance. Therefore, the key to survival this time around is not necessarily in getting alliances (which are always handy) but in being able to adjust and roll with the punches…constantly re-evaluating your position and those around you.

I wonder though, how much the prior Survivor seasons will have an effect on the castaways. I’ve noticed that the former cast mates have been evenly divided amongst the three tribes, but what happens if and when they merge together? Will they have an instant bond with their former tribe mates, or will their new tribe’s bond outweigh the old one? Will knowing your enemy be your downfall as they might have changed their game plan altogether? Also a concern, is anyone that may be harboring a grudge against their former cast mates. For example, it was common knowledge that Rudy couldn’t stand Jenna’s incessant chattering. This season, they are on the same tribe. Will this friction have an effect on the tribe’s ability to cohere and emerge victorious at the challenges? Or Tina & Jerri from Australian Outback. They were mortal enemies, yet they are now finding themselves having to work together as one.

Various hypothesis have emerged as to how this Survivor will play out with three tribes & two extra castaways, all in the same time span. Will the winning tribe get to choose which of the other two tribes must go to Tribal Council? Will both losing tribes go, and if so, for how many episodes? When will they merge, or will they? One thing is for sure, this season of Survivor will be riddled with twists the likes of which we’ve never seen before! It will keep the castaways guessing from one moment to the next, never being able to plan on anything!

Overall this season looks like it’s shaping up to be as good as the hype that precedes it, and I am sure we will not be disappointed. The previews suggest we see even more skin from Richard Hatch and a less trusting Rupert Boneham. One thing I’m looking forward to is the match up between the two Robs. While Boston Rob seemed just a lazy slimy wannabe-ladies man last time, I have this feeling that he has learned from his mistakes and will be a force to be reckoned with. If he and Rob C. can band together (keep your biggest competition close at hand), I feel they could go a long way! As always, look for a caustic Susan Hawk, an abrasive but adorable Rudy Boesch, and more Podunk stories from Big Tom.

Rabbit’s All-Star Picks: Rupert Boneham, Jenna Lewis, Ethan Zohn & Shii Ann Huang will be final four.

As always, the opinions and theories commented above are the expressed opinion of the writer and are not to be taken as fact in whole or in part.
Survivor Sunday is moments away! Are you ready for the most twisted devious outrageous Survivor ever???

Silly Wabbit, signing off.