Survivor Introduced A New Twist, And Former Contestants Have A Lot Of Thoughts

survivor's jeff probst
(Image credit: CBS)

Survivor has introduced a steady stream of new wrinkles and decision-based scenarios over the past few seasons. Last night saw the beloved reality show roll out its latest tweak, but unlike some of the recent changes that weren’t very well received by fans, this one got extremely positive feedback. Both former players and fans took to social media to give it a thumbs up, and I’m right there with them. The rules for the Beware Advantage this season are fantastic.

Let’s back up and talk about what changed. During Seasons 41 and 42, Survivor hid a ‘Beware Advantage’ around camp. If a player found it and opened it, they were told they had lost their ability to vote, but it would be restored and they’d get an immunity idol once someone on all three tribes had found their camp’s advantage and said the extremely weird phrase at the Immunity Challenge. Fan reaction seemed mixed, as it was fun to watch the players try to say things like “I’m as confused as a goat on astroturf” without other players catching on, but it was also a bit annoying that its activation was so reliant on things happening at other camps.

This season, the show reintroduced the Beware Advantage, which was no big surprise, but when Cody opened it and was told he lost his vote, the requirement to get it back and receive an immunity idol was very different. He needed to convince every player on his tribe to give him a bead from their Survivor bag. He could give them any reason or justification, but they had to give the beads willingly. 

Cody, probably the season’s most eccentric character, asked each of the players if he could have their beads to tie into a hat he’d already been working on. One by one, they handed over their beads to help him with his makeshift project, with only Noelle holding out because she was using hers as a bracelet. The tension was huge, and fans could not get enough of it on Twitter. Neither could former contestant Stephen Fishbach. Here’s what he said…

The twist seemed to be extremely popular among former contestants, many of whom tweeted their support and/ or messages about how much they enjoyed watching the drama unfold. The central theme to many of these tweets seemed to be that the twist worked so well because it set up a wrinkle but still kept its ultimate success or failure within the control of the actual contestants playing the game. One of the primary problems with the Season 41 and 42 advantages were you had no idea how long it might take the opposing tribes to just randomly discover the hidden advantage. It could be multiple tribal councils. Or, in the case of the hourglass, the twist fundamentally wasn't fair.

Former Survivor winner Adam Klein touched on that in his take in which he called the new rules “brilliant.” Here’s a look at his tweet…

Part of what worked so well about the twist also was how much intrigue it left for viewers. As per usual with Survivor, the editing was handled very skillfully so we knew what the plan was heading into tribal council but weren’t 100% sure on whether Cody was able to pull off the execution until the votes were actually being read. 

I spent much of the time at tribal trying to stare at Noelle’s wrist, and it turns out I wasn’t the only one. Former contestant Brice Izyah also said the same thing…

Of course, it’s also worth pointing out that, apart from the intricacies of how the twist worked, a lot of the feedback was also about how spectacular the hat itself looked. I mean, for an arts and crafts project on an island without supplies, Cody nailed this. It looks really, really good, or as one fan put it, it looks like Nordstrom would sell it. High praise…

Survivor 43 has only dropped two episodes so far, as we're smack dab in the middle of the fall premiere schedule for TV. They’ve both been really good. If you’re someone who is on the fence and watches some seasons but not others, I’d highly encourage you jump in and catch up. There seems to be a good cast, and it’s likely we’ll be in for a really good season.

Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.