One Contestant Had To Drop Out Of The Game In Survivor's Craziest Episode Yet

For the past 16 years, few TV shows have lived up to their names quite as much as CBS’ hit reality competition Survivor, as all 31 previous seasons of the show featured contestants that, in the end, all survived the seemingly neverending challenges. But tonight’s Survivor: Kaôh R?ng episode, titled “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” came about as close as ever to failing to live up to that track record, as three different contestants succumbed to the intense heat and required medical attention, with one having to say goodbye for good.

Here’s how it happened: The episode’s first challenge consisted of an obstacle course with a final stop at a sand pit where the contestants needed to root around to find balls, and while none of that sounds bad on paper, this was happening in 348-degree heat. Okay, so it was only around 118 degrees, but that is clearly too hot to make anyone do anything but give up all sense of comfort.

The first person to go down was the Brains tribe’s Debbie, whose discomfort was obvious as she began showing signs of heatstroke. Luckily, though, she didn’t have anything too serious to worry about, and her symptoms started to die down once she got up close and personal with some cold water. Plus, she was a total trooper throughout the experience.

That was just the first part. In the meantime, Beauty Tribe Caleb also collapsed, and his situation was the most worrisome of the three. He was having serious trouble breathing and his cognitive functions were getting wonky, so he wasn’t exactly the most responsive to the medical team’s questions. In case anyone thought that maybe he was playing it up for the cameras and his fellow contestants, Caleb ended up having to be airlifted away from the production, and he was officially taken out of the competition. (You can bet he’ll be back for “revenge” in a later season, assuming there are any.)

Did I mention that the Brawn tribe’s Cydney ALSO passed out around this time? She was in worse shape than Debbie was, and it took a while for her to cool down and regain her bearings, but she wasn’t at all as bad off as Caleb. Also, there was another challenge after this. Eesh.

You can check out part of the admittedly hair-raising episode below, though it’s definitely worth it to sit down with the entire episode to witness Survivor at its most harrowing.

Past seasons have definitely seen Survivor tribe members going beyond their means and sometimes needing medical help. But I can’t recall a single challenge – or more appropriately, a single devastatingly hot day – that took three people down in rapid succession like that. While it can’t be denied that the ordeal made for interesting and intense television, we’re just happy that everyone was okay.

Survivor (opens in new tab) airs Wednesday nights on CBS. Be sure and put the air conditioner on before you start watching. Just in case.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.