Pre-Ep4 spec: We think this may be the position of the long-rumored booted players challenge. Dan Bollinger first reported this possibility back in August. SNN later confirmed similar news of players returning from the dead. Survivor Phoenix and the True Dork Times later learned that not just one player, but a tribe of booted players would return. (See Phoenix's twist spoiler collection for a comprehensive listing of the background on this). Finally, Griffe posted on EZ that "New information has come in about the returning players. It now seems that there were three players that got to come back to the game." Griffe also says these players may be playing under a wine-colored flag.
So what's going on? We think the challenge will be set up in such a way that Morgan and Drake will be asked to put forward their best three players, to try for a reward they don't want to lose, or some such nonsense. Morgan, flush with victory, will offer up Ryan O. and the recently-purloined Rupert and Shawn. Drake will go with three of their own. Once the players have been selected, Probst will bring out the last three booted players (Lillian, Burton and the Ep5 bootee), who will compete as a third tribe. The twist of the challenge will be: you don't want the bootees to win. If they do, they're back in the game, and the three players from the tribe that finishes last will have to swap buffs with the bootees. So we think the outcome will be: Lillian, Burton and the Ep5 bootee (probably Christa) will join Morgan, and Rupert, Shawn and RyanO will be out of luck. In theory, the booted tribe can continue to compete in future challenges, attempting to get back into the game. But if they do, we don't think they end up being successful.
This fits a few pieces of data:
- Rumors that Rupert, Shawn, and Ryan O. don't make the jury (see Survivometer and SNN's Scorecard).
- Mr411's report on EZ that Christa was still around at the time of the family visit reward challenge. If Christa's still around but other Morgans aren't (there doesn't seem to be room for Andrew, for example), it would help if she'd spent time on Morgan.
- The original SNN reports that an older woman (likely Cincinnati favorite, dear to CBS's heart, Lillian) returns to the game, and that an older woman goes far.
But this could all be completely wrong. We reserve the right to change our minds as more evidence emerges.