Comprised of the first six eliminated contestants, they returned to compete against the Drake and Morgan tribes in a special Immunity Challenge in an attempt to continue their pursuit of the million dollar prize and the title of Sole Survivor.
The Outcasts surprised the Drake and Morgan tribes by showing up as a third tribe who would then compete in a high-stakes special Immunity Challenge. If The Outcasts win the challenge, both Morgan and Drake will go to separate Tribal Councils and must eliminate one of their own, while the departed castaways will then vote two of their own back into the game and will be immune at the next Tribal Council they attend. However, if The Outcasts came in second, they could only vote one member back into the game and only the losing tribe would have to vote someone out. If they finished last in the challenge, all six Outcasts will permanently go home while their opposing tribe will vote someone out of the game.
After a close race between Drake and The Outcasts, The Outcasts, fueled by their desire in collecting revenge after getting voted out by the remaining players, managed to do the unthinkable, as they won against the two tribes, giving them a chance to get back into the game. After the two tribes' Tribal Councils, with Drake's Shawn Cohen eliminated and Morgan's Osten Taylor quit, The Outcasts went to Tribal Council. Jeff Probst stated that for the first time since the show's inception, a tribe was excited to go to Tribal Council. The host gave the eliminated players a chance to plead their case as to why each of them deserved to return in the game, after which the tribe will vote for two people back into the game. In the end, it was decided that Burton and Lillian will return to the game.
After the special vote, Jeff handed the two returnees a canister holding two buffs, one for Drake, and one for Morgan. The luck of the draw sent them back to their old camps. The two were then given individual immunity at the next Tribal Council to give them a chance to re-assimilate themselves within their former tribes.
The Outcasts twist received mixed reactions from both contestants and fans alike. As implied by cast members Andrew Savage and Osten Taylor, they showed complete distaste for the twist. Various forums and fans also expressed their disappointments about the twist, stating that it completely hurt the show's integrity by deviating its premise. Survivor host Jeff Probst also revealed that he also hated the twist, but was only overruled by executive producer Mark Burnett. In 2011, Probst stated that the concept of "resurrecting" contestants would be rehashed in the show's 22nd season, Survivor: Redemption Island. Furthermore, how the eliminated contestants were sequestered was not fully explained, with some fans speculating that the sequestered contestants were actually living comfortably while biding their time until the day they actually reveal themselves to the tribes, giving them an unfair advantage against the remaining contestants, who directly suffered the elements. In "What the...? (Part 1)" however, Jeff Probst stated that The Outcasts were also deprived of nutrition during their sequester time.
Years later, many fans began to praise the twist as it gave all those eliminated a fair opportunity to come back as opposed to what some would deem "unfair" duels used at Redemption Island.
The Outcasts tribe was the first tribe to be created in-game which wasn't a merged tribe. Although not shown, The Outcasts were formed on Day 3 after Nicole Delma's elimination.
According to the challenge tracker of the now-defunct Survivor: Pearl Islands website, the challenge was considered to be an Immunity Challenge. Had Drake or Morgan won the said challenge, The Outcasts would only vote one person back into the game had they finished in second place, while the losing starting tribe would go to Tribal Council, vote someone off.
The Outcasts are the only tribe in Survivor not to have an official buff. The only object that identified the tribe were mere purple cloths and bandannas painted on by The Outcasts, some with skulls and crossbones and "Outcasts" written in white.