Big Trek, Big Trouble, Big Surprise is the season premiere of Survivor: Guatemala.
Jeff Probst walked into a clearing of Maya ruins that were thousands of years old.
|“||Hidden deep in the jungle, these ruins are a monument to a once powerful and sophisticated civilization... the Mayans.||”|
The sixteen castaways divided into two tribes, Yaxhá and Nakúm, were seen walking through the thick, luscious jungle under the instruction that they going to an unknown destination with no idea what surprises awaited them.
The warring tribes met Jeff Probst. He welcomed them to the game, provided their tribe banners, and explained that waiting at their campsites were items similar to the ones that the Mayans used - as well as one extra "tool" to aid them in this game.
|“||These are two proven Survivor players, they've been through this experience, they know how to make fire, they know how to source food, they know how to build shelter.||”|
As they reach the base of the temple, Jeff hands a Nakúm buff to Bobby Jon, while Stephenie joins Yaxhá.
|“||All the girls were crying when they saw Stephenie because that's their hero, how am I gonna win a million dollars now that she's here?||”|
|“||We're really happy with Bobby Jon on our tribe. A man is as stronger than a woman and he makes things easy on the eyes around the tribe, so that's always fun.||”|
After Stephenie and Bobby Jon met their tribes, Probst explained that both Bobby Jon and Stephenie were fully fledged members of their respective tribes, stating they can use their skills to further their tribe in challenges or be an easy first vote off the first visit to Tribal Council. He then outlined the details of the Reward Challenge, a grueling 11-mile hike through the jungles of Guatemala with the finishing line the better of the two camps available and a share of flint, while the losers will trek to a lesser camp without flint.
Waiting at the starting line were several amenities such as water, corn, and other items to take with them on their trek, although they were advised to take only what they can carry if they wish to reach the finish line faster.
During the trek, Nakúm's eldest member, Jim Lynch, took on the orienteering as he directed Blake Towsley acting as the point man. With Yaxhá trailing, Gary Hogeboom was immediately thrust into the leadership position which made Rafe Judkins quite happy, as he would not take an early target on his back for being outspoken.
|“||On Survivor, the leader always gets voted out first, it was clear that Gary would be the leader. He's taller than everyone, he's gray haired... he was our leader, no question.||”|
At a point during their trek, Gary was asked about his work back home where he lied, claiming to own a landscaping business unawares of his true profession. However, after Gary retired from the NFL, he did become a landscaper.
|“||... fifteen years ago I was in the NFL for eleven years.||”|
Fearing that he would be a potential vote-off based on his history, he chooses to hide behind the alias of Gary Hawkins. With Gary and Stephenie leading Yaxhá on their trek, they hit a roadblock and realized they made a bad decision and went the wrong way, they went back around on themselves and attempted to pick up from their last point.
By sundown, Nakúm was showing great progress. But the men begin to show signs of weakness when Blake gets struck by the local fauna.
|“||... one of those trees that look like they have spikes on them broke on Blake's shoulder. It's one of those reality checks!||”|
Margaret uses her skills as a trauma nurse to aid Blake to a better state, but with him being taken down a few notches, it could affect their hike. Meanwhile, Yaxhá continues on, but due to several younger members trailing behind, decide to bed down for the night and continue the hike at sunrise for fear of losing Nakúm, who they believe to be in the lead.
On Nakúm, Blake again is still affected by being hit by the thorny plant and was continuously vomiting. Margaret deduced that it's an involuntary reaction to the thorns and the tribe decide to bed down as well and await sunrise. With the first day on Survivor: Guatemala over, thirty-eight days remain.
At the Yaxhá makeshift camp, Amy O'Hara awoke to the screams of a howler monkey, citing it reminded her of the movie Predator. Brian Corridan urged the tribe to continue their hike, while Jamie Newton opted to stay for "another ten minutes". His request was turned down, as the tribe continued on.
Coming to a clearing, Yaxhá spotted Nakúm walking down a dilapidated road. With Yaxhá quickly catching up, Nakúm kicked into high gear to increase their lead.
|“||We just wanted to get them off our tails!||”|
–Cindy, on Yaxhá on their heels
Stephenie urged her tribe to push onward, but with Lydia Morales and Amy struggling behind the pack, their attempt to catch their rivals faltered and lost their sight of the yellow tribe.
Some time later, Bobby Jon began getting cramps in his leg and became dehydrated which surprised Cindy as she believed he was more equipped to play Survivor due to his experience in Palau.
As Nakúm reaches a river with the two tribe boats, they were instructed to paddle to a small wooden pier "south, south-west" where they would find the better Mayan camp. Halfway out from the beach, Yaxhá appears and immediately jumped into their boat to give chase.
Approaching the dock, Judd jumps out and immediately regrets the decision, for he landed on very viscous mud.
|“||We get to the dock, and old Judd gets out of the boat... he had a premature evacuation *laughs* and gets into this mud, it's almost like quicksand!||”|
Bobby Jon struggled again with dehydration and was stuck in the boat itself. Knowing he had to suck it up against the excruciating pain, he went out of the boat anyway and limped to the finish line.
Jeff Probst congratulated Nakúm on a job well done and provided their tribe flag and flint. As Yaxhá approaches, their defeat comes with a crushing home truth as to their hike not being done yet.
|“||Close gets you nothing on Survivor - you got a lot more paddling to do.||”|
–Jeff, on telling Yaxhá to paddle to their camp of lesser value
Later that day, the men of Nakúm showed no signs of improvement. Bobby Jon begins to show signs of a seizure but is helped through by Margaret and Brooke Struck. However, the women show surprising signs of adapting and are able to recover from the grueling hike.
|“||Palau was recess compared to Guatemala.||”|
|“||These guys are as strong as oxes and they're all down!||”|
Tree Mail arrived at both camps in the shape of an ore.
|“||Your first two days were grueling,
But now is no time to rest
–Brianna (reading Tree Mail to her tribe)
Stephenie immediately began providing her previous experiences to her team and how to deal with the pressures of continually losing Immunity Challenges. On Nakúm, however, the mood gets worse due to their ailing health and the possibility of them losing.
The tribes assembled for their first Immunity Challenge, where Jeff revealed that if Yaxhá wins the challenge, they would receive flint. At the Immunity Challenge, Yaxhá maintained a healthy lead throughout, while Nakúm struggled with pushing their boat up the beach leading to Jim Lynch tearing a muscle in his bicep, resulting in a makeshift sling being made for him. Yaxhá claimed Immunity and much needed flint; a first-time Immunity victory for Stephenie - while Bobby Jon is no stranger to losing.
Back at Nakúm, Margaret checks on Jim's injury and the tribe tends to their chores. But an almost nervous Brooke mentions to Danni that Bobby Jon was the worst of all the men who were hit by the hike.
|“||... I'm having doubts that half these people are even gonna make it!||”|
|“||When there's at least three people absolutely flat on their back, a third of your team is out, strategizing a little bit tough||”|
With the men all vulnerable, they hike to Tribal Council. At Tribal Council, Jeff noted that they were at an authentic Mayan ruin where tribe chiefs settle any queries in their city. Jeff questioned the tribe about the hike and how the men were struggling with dehydration, eating and being beat down. Danni mentions she was surprised at the men's strength deteriorating but defended them by saying they carried a lot more weight than the women. Jim was questioned about his arm and that this injury will hurt the tribe, Margaret stated she was worried about putting the tribe in the winning position but will try their best to align their priorities and keep their well-being in check.
In the end, being the oldest and most ailing of the men, Jim became the first person voted out after a unanimous 8-1 vote. After Jim walked away, Jeff gave advised them to maintain their competitive spirit without losing their well-being.
|“||You have thirty-six more days out here, and it seems like the dilemma for this tribe is how to give it your all without destroying yourself in the process.||”|
–Jeff's warning to Nakúm
Challenge: 11-Mile Hike
While bringing all their supplies, the tribes must race through the Guatemalan jungle to reach a Mayan pyramid. First to reach the ruins wins reward.
Reward: The winning tribe will live at the ruins and will also receive a piece of flint.
Challenge: Paddle Battle
Using their canoes, the tribes would paddle out to buoys in the lake to retrieve a torch hung from each buoy. Racing back to shore, four members would run to the top of the hill and begin hauling up the canoe with a rope. The remaining tribe members would rotate logs underneath the canoe, allowing it to roll up the hill, much like the technique the Maya used to move large items. Once the canoe passed a finish line, each tribe's remaining member would run to the top of the hill with the torch and light the victory cauldron. First tribe to light the cauldron wins Immunity.
Additional Stipulation: If Yaxhá wins, they would get flint.
|Tribal Council 1:|
Jim (8 votes)
Blake, Bobby Jon, Brandon, Brooke, Cindy, Danni, Judd, Margaret
Margaret (1 vote)
|“||Jim, you're an amazing man. If I have half the energy and zeal for life you do at sixty-three... what more could I ask for? Um, we all got a little sick. Hopefully, the dehydration is something that the other can bounce back from. Um, while it's not a bone sticking out of your skin, I think that bicep is debilitating enough that, uh... I don't know how effective you'll be. I think that our team is strong enough that we can have a real chance at winning every single event. I think that, today, we just stumbled because of what happened yesterday. But, uh, as great of a man as you are, I know you're hurt real bad. You wouldn't say anything about it... that was impressive. Um, we're all gonna miss you.||”|
|“||(voting for Jim) Man, why did you have to go get yourself hurt? You're the wisest one of the bunch, and you're one tough dude. If it wasn't for you, there's no way we'd be in the place that we're in right now at our camp.||”|
|“||Jim, you've got a lot of heart, a lot of character, a ton of precedence. You're more of what the world needs today. Hope your arm gets better.||”|
|“||Jim, thanks for helping us with the jungle. And I know you're a fighter, and I know you don't wanna quit, but I have to make this vote thinking of the team for long term.||”|
|“||I'm sorry, Jim. I could see in your eyes how much you wanted this, and, uh, you're one of the toughest guys I've ever met. So, I'll, uh, talk to you later.||”|
|“||Jim, you're a great fella and a great player, and you gave so much to our team. I know you understand exactly why we're doing this, so thank you for everything. God bless, and good health, okay?||”|
|“||Jim, you're one of the toughest dudes I met.||”|
|“||Tonight, my vote's for Jim. We kind of talked about this before. We all have to come here tonight, so I think we all understand why. I just hope that you get better, so that you can enjoy all the adventures that life has in-store for you. Thanks for the game with us and leading us through the jungle.||”|
|“||Margaret, I love you like a sister. You're a tough competitor. You're intelligent. You're a wonderful leader. If I'm able to stay in this game, I know you're gonna be my greatest competition. Love you.||”|
|“||Well I'm not particularly surprised by the outcome of all this given the difficulties of this game and being an elder guy. I am proud of what I did at my age. I like to motivate people to get on and do things. You know do something for yourself. I don't blame the guys for voting me out. And I wish them good luck and hope nobody gets hurt.||”|
Still in the Running
- This marked the first time a standalone Reward Challenge was conducted in the first episode. All previous premiere episode rewards had been as part of combined Reward/Immunity Challenges.
- Jim's vote against Margaret was not revealed to the tribe.
- In Jim Lynch's exit interviews, he appeared wearing a sling.
- This episode marks the first time in her two seasons that Stephenie LaGrossa has been immune from a vote.
- Jeff's statement that Stephenie was at every Tribal Council her original season is technically incorrect, as she was absent when Willard Smith and Ian Rosenberger were voted out. However, the former was as part of a Double Tribal Council (which she did partially attend), while the latter was not held in the Tribal Council area (which she would've attended under normal circumstances). Stephenie was still present at Tribal Council at least once in every episode of her original season.
- This marks the first time there are both new players and returning players in the same season.
|Survivor: Guatemala Episodes|
"Big Trek, Big Trouble, Big Surprise" · "Man Down" · "The Brave May Not Live Long, but the Cautious Don't Live at All" · "To Betray or Not to Betray" · "Crocs, Cowboys and City Slickers" · "Big Ball, Big Mouth, Big Trouble" · "Surprise Enemy Visit" · "The Hidden Immunity Idol" · "Secrets and Lies and an Idol Surprise" · "Eating and Sleeping with the Enemy" · "Everything Is Personal" · "Price for Immunity" · "Big Win, Big Decision, Big Mistake?" · "Thunder Storms and Sacrifice" · "Reunion"