Survivor tribe solved the puzzle before the challenge even began

The Savaii tribe’s comeback in the immunity challenge during Wednesday’s episode of Survivor South Pacific happened because the tribe figured out the puzzle part of the challenge before the challenge even began.

First, some background: After Probst gives his brief introduction of a challenge, the cameras stop and he, challenge producer John Kirhoffer, and a CBS standards and practices representative walk through the challenge with each tribe separately; the CBS rep makes sure Probst says the same thing to each tribe so neither has an advantage. They can ask questions and have a lot of time to strategize, since they stand off to the side while the other tribe gets the tour. (I’ve reported more in-depth about the challenge process, from conception to rehearsal to final run, if you’re interested.)

EW’s Dalton Ross asked Probst about Savaii’s comeback, and Probst acknowledged that “The pre-challenge walk through is critical because if you are aware you can pick up clues to how the challenge is going to play and also who should do which portion,” but he also says, “As for studying a puzzle, we don’t give them enough time to figure out anything truly significant, but in terms of gaining an edge? Absolutely.”

But the Savaii tribe had enough time to figure out something very significant: how to solve the puzzle. That’s according to Jim Rice, who wrote on Twitter, “We had that puzzle figured out before Probst said go, knew what to do, 0 hesitation, 0 wrong moves.” He’s responding to Probst’s comments and adds, “no love.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.