Merrick born-and-raised music teacher Jacob Derwin, one of two Long Islanders on “Survivor: Ghost Island,” became an early casualty Wednesday when he became the second person eliminated on the two-hour season premiere. Domenick Abbate, a construction supervisor from Nesconset, remains in the running.
On the episode, Derwin, 22, attracted unwanted attention after summarily declaring of his Maolo tribe, more out of bravado than evidence, “I know for a fact that we’re one of the best tribes in Survivor history.” Then after maneuvering to be the first person sent to Ghost Island — a repository of unused or misused idols and other artifacts from previous seasons — he appeared to misplay his hand.
Derwin — a “Survivor” superfan highly excited to be on the show — found an immunity idol from season 34 (“Survivor: Game Changers,” 2017) playable only with six or 13 castaways remaining. Required to give it to an opposing team-member, he sent it to Naviti’s Morgan Ricke. He then falsely told his own tribe he had won immunity — later admitting to teammate Stephanie Gonzalez that this was not true. Gonzalez, for unrelated reasons, became the first player voted off this 36th season, and Derwin the second.
Host Jeff Probst told The Hollywood Reporter afterward that Derwin “is a likable person. What I didn’t anticipate was him being so excited that he ended up overplaying his hand a whole lot. He just went too far too fast and he couldn’t recover. I wish for Jacob that he didn’t feel the need to be first to Ghost Island as he might have been able to establish an alliance and play the game he loves a bit longer. But he did and as a result, that may be his only distinction, the first player to ever visit Ghost Island.”
Meanwhile, Abbate, 38, continued on, with what seemed an equally complicated feint: He found an idol, created a fake idol and told teammate Chris Noble that Noble could use the idol if necessary — an offer that appeared to rouse Noble’s suspicions.