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A returning favorite first off new season of “Survivor”

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Survivor Survivor

Tie-dye wearing Rupert exits “Survivor: Blood vs. Water”

“Survivor” is back. The CBS reality show, now in its 27th season, drops a group of strangers on a remote island where they must outwit, outlast and outplay one another in numerous challenges to become the one million dollar winner. Each week a player is voted off the island by their own tribe. But this season, the contestants are no strangers. Past players have returned to compete against none other than their loved ones. Once voted out, players have a chance to get back in the game though by winning a duel with a player from the other tribe on “redemption island.”

In the very first episode of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water,” the contestants were asked to immediately to send someone from their tribe to redemption island. The “loved ones” tribe picked Laura Boneham, wife of former player Rupert Boneham while the returning players chose Candace of “Survivor: Cook Islands” and “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” fame. But before the two could head out, show host Jeff Probst threw them a curve ball - Candace and Laura's loved ones could swap places with them if they wanted to. Rupert Boneham didn't hesitate to save his wife, while Candace's husband John opted to stay put. However, when it came to the duel, Boneham just couldn't keep himself calm enough to defeat Candace at balancing 10 wooden pots and therefore was sent home. I recently spoke with Boneham, who said despite the outcome he is still a fan of the game.

The Maine Edge: Rupert, I had no idea you would be the first one out.

Boneham: I would've bet a million dollars I wouldn't have been the first one out. But when they put a scenario in front of me where I have to decide if I love my wife or the game more, there is no contest. I love my wife. I'm going to take my wife out of jeopardy and put myself in jeopardy.

TME: Do you think if you hadn't swapped you both would still be on the island?

Boneham: We probably would both still be on the island. Laura probably would've made it through that challenge a little better than I. Her balance is better, her eye sight is better. She is able to keep herself a little more calm. I was so crazy going into that arena, I couldn't even find my wife for the first few seconds. Just like I told Laura before we went out to the game, the people who win challenges are the people who can keep themselves calm, and I was not able to keep myself calm. 

TME: How much has it changed since the first time you played?

Boneham: Ten years ago it was a different game. There weren't the extra little twists. There weren't hidden immunity idols, redemption island and all the stuff that is going on now. They didn't give you food on the first day. I have to say I liked it when it was more a survivor-ish kind of game - if you didn't have food and couldn't catch it, you starved. If you couldn't make a shelter or hut, you froze. I still love the game and would love to play it again but I do like the survivor side of the game more than the conniver side.

TME: What do you think will be the demise of the returning players?

Boneham: All of us returning players have never had someone out there that you truly love. It's not the same game as playing with a bunch of friends or strangers. It's going to be interesting to see if this scenario actually destroys relationships or empowers relationships. I'm glad to say my wife and my relationship is even stronger.

TME: What do the loved ones need to do to finally get a win or beat you guys at your own game?

Boneham: It's a tough lesson to learn that calm and steady game play is so much better in the challenges.

TME: Anybody you wished would've returned for this season that you didn't see there?

Boneham: Although he's got a few years on him now, my favorite player of all time is Rudy Boesh. I never met him in my life but I would've loved to play with him.

“Survivor: Blood vs. Water” airs every Wednesday night on CBS at 8 p.m.

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