A new season of ‘Redemption’?

| TV Editor

When “Survivor” first premiered, I hadn’t even started middle school. Now, I am a junior in college, and the show is back for its 22nd season. The people behind “Survivor” are doing everything they can to keep it relevant and interesting.

Welcome to “Survivor: Redemption Island.” This season, the “Survivor” brain trust did not simply recruit 20 newbies and force them to learn to live in the wilderness together. Instead, the producers cast 18 new contestants and brought back Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz, two of the best outwit-outplay-outlasters ever featured on “Survivor.” This is “Boston” Rob’s fourth season. In his second, he made it all the way to the end, but his future wife Amber ended up taking home the top prize (and Rob’s heart).

This is Russell’s third time around. His first two seasons aired last year, which makes him the first ever player to play in three out of four consecutive seasons. These two villains/master strategists now have the chance to redeem themselves and be “Survivor” champion.

But “Redemption Island” is not only a metaphor. It is a literal place. The contestants do not go home when they get voted off. Instead, they go to a special island where they have to live in isolation for three days. When the next player is eliminated, the Redemption Island tenant and the most recent evictee will duel to live on the island for three more days, and on the process goes. At a yet-to-be-disclosed time, the Redemption Island tenant will get to return back into the game to take revenge on those who voted him or her away. This twist changes the game dynamic. Do you still screw people over, or do you try to be kind so no one comes back to screw you?

The first episode did not feature any Redemption Island duels, which is disappointing, though expected. The duels will probably be the most exciting part of the show because it is something different for those of us who still care. If you are one of those people, catch “Survivor” on CBS on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

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