Screaming at the Screen - Damnbueno's Survivor 45 recaps/ analysis
Survivor déjà vu
By Damnbueno | Published: September 28, 2023
Survivor 45 Episode 1 recap/ analysis

Survivor deja vu

Welcome back to another season of Survivor, and another season of Screaming at the Screen - my spontaneous reactions and opinions furiously typed out as I watch each episode.

Just like last season, I didn't keep up with a lot of the preseason coverage. As I type this an hour before the premiere, I know almost nothing about this season's cast except one of them looks like Kane from last season, Brandon is a huge superfan who has been trying to make the cast for a long time, and Bruce (who knocked himself out of the game diving into a wooden obstacle course) is back to give it another shot.

This season's players have had the opportunity to watch at least three of the "new-era" 26-day Survivor, and some of the new twists that might be thrown at them. So what do I expect this crew to know?

  • 1. Don't get on the boat. Most of those who get sent on a journey return under a cloud of suspicion.
  • 2. Keep a low profile. All four "new era" winners (Erika, Maryanne, Gabler and Yam Yam) kept their heads low until very late in the game.
  • 3. Stay out of the Sweat vs Savvy challenge if you can. You need an alliance first.


And for Bruce? You should know Probst loves you. Nobody comes back for a second shot if Probst doesn't think you'll be good for ratings. So if he starts praising you during challenges, you should start holding back. If the others know Probst is drooling over you, they'll probably want you gone sooner rather than later.

If I made Survivor predictions (I don't) I'd predict Bruce would be the latest Alpha Male to leave right around 10th place.

But that's not a prediction (wink wink, nod nod).

And away we go ...

Hey there's Napoleon Dynamite with the first confessional.

Drew, first confessional

Emily: "If I'm not gonna win, I wanna be first out." There's a reason this quote made the final cut.

Sifu? That sounds a lot like Sekou from Cook Islands. He was also a musician. He was also first out. Hmm ...

And Sean looks like Brad from Cook Islands.

Dee looks like Jenna from Ghost Island. Maybe this season should have been called Survivor: Déjà Vu.

Brandon is giving me Jacob Derwin vibes as he's the over-excited Superfan. Jacob fell on his face.

Uh-oh Bruce. Probst is already gushing over you. You need to deal with that.

Emily, talking about Bruce

Emily has an excellent point about Bruce being more mentally prepared than everyone else. But she's an idiot for talking about it so soon. If you're that willing to call Bruce out, everyone else will think you'll do it to them too.

Red is the Reba tribe? Isn't she a judge on The Voice this season?

Bruce, don't dive off the boat. You're not good with diving into things.

Too late. He's diving into the bin.

I haven't seen an Afro like Kaleb's since the Jackson five busted out.


Bruce's tribe is slowest getting their key. Is he sandbagging already?

Brandon picked the wrong leg to run. Didn't Jacob suck in his first challenge too?


Napoleon, uh, I mean Drew seals the win, and he's celebrating like he just won the talent contest with his cool dance moves.

J. Maya: "Reba is stacked." Really? I'm gonna have to start watching The Voice.

J. Maya is gonna need a nickname. That's too hard to say (and type) over and over.

Drew just gave a great confessional. It was informative, funny, and brief. Is he gonna be this season's best narrator?

Bruce: "I don't wanna be the leader." Smart thought. Bad idea to say it out loud. Nobody will believe you.

And right on cue Kendra says: "The first thing Bruce does is start giving orders."

Kendra, on Bruce

Emily is gonna talk her way out of this game. But I don't make predictions.

And just like that, Emily has her tribe suspicious of Sabiyah and Caleb while they're away doing Sweat vs Savvy. Didn't I tell you not to get on the boat? Both of these pairs are gonna be more physically exhausted than everyone else, AND under the most suspicion.

Brandon: "I'm not dead yet." I LOVE Monty Python. He'd better stay off the cart if that's an option.

Sweat vs Savvy

Sweat vs Savvy is now Sweat AND Savvy? And its head to head? Interesting twist, but I don't think it'll make a big difference for the players.

Emily reminds me of Elie from season 43. She's not nearly as smart as she thinks she is. And there's no subtlety to her game at all.

Hannah reminds me of ... Hannah from Millennials vs. Gen X. I wonder if she'll take a half hour to cast her first vote like, well you know, Hannah did? But this season's Hannah's high-pitched squealing is annoying.

Kendra is a very aggressive player. She's already throwing names out. She should have read my Alpha Males column.

Emily: "I don't know what to say to these people." Its a social game. If you're playing with five French people, you'd better start talking about French stuff. At least try to fake it. Emily is expecting them to placate her.

Austin finds the Beware Advantage. In the immortal words of Devon from HHH, "This is NOT an Advantage." Put it back!

Austin finds Beware Advantage

Austin opens it. Dumbass! Its like this guy can't hear me ... through the TV ... six months after he found it.

Uh-oh, I see an obstacle course with stuff to crawl under. Bruce, do it in this order. 1. Stop. 2.Drop, 3. Then crawl under. Last time you forgot the "stop" part. But you can shut 'em down and open up shop if you want to.

Drew, first confessional

Probst: "Keep your head down!" Probst heard me.

Belo and Reba win Immunity, and Lulu is going to Tribal Council. Emily's opening quote is sounding ominous now.

Hannah tells Brandon she wants to go home. Brandon, even though you want someone to relate to, you should let her go. Hannah will NOT be a good long-term ally.

Hannah and Brandon

And now Brandon is telling everyone he's a liability? He's not a good long-term ally either.

Emily thinks Kaleb and Sabiyah are natural allies? Don't say it ... don't say it. I thought we'd gotten past that.

We've seen this kind of pre-tribal setup several times before. It works. I have no idea who's leaving. Being unpredictable is a good thing.

Tribal Council is starting with 10 minutes left in the episode. Well, we're probably not seeing a tie vote.

Look at all those spy shacks at Tribal Council. Are Boston Rob and Sandra watching from above again?


Emily calls out Sabiayah and Caleb at Tribal Council. Emily is really bad at this game. Nobody wants to be called out. Nobody wants an alliance partner who calls people out either.

Hannah "I don't wanna be here. I might quit." Hannah might have just saved Emily from her comeuppance this week.


Hannah quits. I hate quitters. Now I feel like I've just wasted an hour and a half.

The only question I have is will Probst tell the other two tribes Hannah quit, or will he let them think she was voted out? I'd like to see him keep his mouth shut and let the players make that call. But I know that won't happen.


Well that sucked. I was enjoying this episode a lot until Hannah quit. I was hoping Emily's way-too-aggressive play would spell her immediate comeuppance. She has pretty much torpedoed herself. If her tribe doesn't vote her out, her tribemates will tell the others about how untrustworthy she is - either at a swap or a merge. I think Emily might have played herself into a finals goat already. But since the other two tribes can sit someone out, and Brandon looks like he'd cause a loss even if his tribe was at full strength, I think Lulu is headed to the next Tribal Council.

What do you think? Have Emily, Brandon and Kendra already signed their death sentences? Has Probst already killed Bruce's chances? Will Napoleon, I mean Drew get everyone to vote for Pedro? Let me know in the comments.

damnbuenoDamnbueno got his nickname in 8th grade Spanish class when his friend shouted out "You're pretty damn good at Spanish." The teacher insisted he say it in Spanish, so the friend said "Esto es damn bueno en Espanol." The nickname stuck. These days, when he's not forgetting his 8th grade Spanish, Damnbueno is indulging his obsession with all things Survivor. Reach him in the comments section here at True Dork Times.