Over the past few seasons of Survivor, we’ve seen former castaways returning for another (and sometimes a third) shot at playing reality television’s biggest game (well, its second biggest game after “What did Honey Boo Boo Just Say?”). But for the season that starts September 19, there are three cast members returning for the most legitimate reason yet. Today CBS announced the three players that would be coming back after being medically evacuated in past seasons.
Michael Skupin, who fell into the fire in Survivor: Australian Outback way back in 2001, and Russell Swan, who suffered from severe dehydration in Survivor: Samoa in 2009, will be back for another try. Sneaky Jonathan Penner is back for a third shot at a million smackeroonies. He was voted out of Survivor: Cook Islands (the “race war” season) and returned for Survivor: Fans Vs. Favorites where he was evacuated with an infected knee. All three of the men had the medics call them out during the show’s sixth episode. Creepy!
But it’s going to be a very different game for all of them. Skupin is now 50 and hasn’t been on the show in more than a decade. Swan, who struggled physically the first time around, won’t be in that much better of a position three years later, even if he drinks more water. As for Penner, he certainly has plenty of experience, but those on the show will have gotten not only one but two previews of his game play in previous seasons (though that didn’t stop Rob Mariano from taking the top prize a few seasons back).
The biggest question is, “Where is Colton?” When the show announced that medically evacuated players would be returning we thought Colton Combie, the possibly racist and definitely entitled gay Southern Republican lightning rod from last season, would surely get another shot after succumbing to appendicitis last year. He was a great player (aside from his polarizing comments) and made for great TV so this twist seemed custom made to throw him back into the fold. I was so sure he’d be returning, I even called CBS to ask why he isn’t returning. They haven’t called me back. Let’s just hope that doesn’t mean Colton is gone for good.
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[Photo Credit: AP Photo]