This season on Survivor… We are being whisked away to south east Asia along with 18 Survivors to Kaoh Rong, which has some accent marks and such above some of the letters, but I don’t want to type that every week so… Apparently, the environmental conditions here really really harsh; we’ve all seen the previews – it seems there are a bunch of medical issues this year and Jeff gives us some clues as to why. It’s hot, humid, there are bugs, possibility for infections… Sooo, it’s like pretty much every season of Survivor ever, but for some reason, Mother Nature really has it out for this group. And as this group rides the cargo ship to the starting beach, the tribes have already been split into three groups and they are divided up based on this year’s theme of Brains (blue), Beauty (yellow), and Brawn (red).
The Brains, Chan Loh, are comprised of Peter Baggenstos – 24 year old ER doctor from Minneapolis, Minnesota; Neal Gottlieb – 38 year old ice cream entrepreneur from Sausalito, California; Debbie Wanner – 49 year old chemist from Reading, Pennsylvania; Aubry Bracco – 29 year old social media marketer from Cambridge, Massachusetts; Joseph Del Campo – 72 year old former FBI agent from Vero Beach, Florida; and Elisabeth (Liz) Markham – 27 year old quantitative strategist from New York, New York.
The Beautys, Gondol, are comprised of Tai Trang – 51 year old gardener from San Francisco, California; Nick Maiorano – 30 year old personal trainer from Redondo Beach, California; Anna Khait – 26 year old pro poker player from Brooklyn, New York; Michele Fitzgerald – 24 year old bartender from Freehold, New Jersey; Julia Sokolowski – 19 year old college student from Boston, Massachusetts; and Caleb Reynolds – 28 year old Army Vet and BB17 contestant from Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
The Brawns, To Tang, are comprised of Kyle Jason – 31 year old bounty hunter from Detroit, Michigan; Darnell Hamilton – 27 year old postal worker from Chicago, Illinois; Jennifer Lanzetti – 38 year old contractor from Salt Lake City, Utah; Alecia Holden – 24 year old real estate agent from Dallas, Texas; Scot Pollard – 40 year old former NBA champion, and former KU Jayhawk basketball player, from Carmel, Indiana; and Cydney Gillon – 23 year old body builder from Douglasville, Georgia.
As they begin their final approach to their beaches, the insanity ensues as they are given two minutes to gather whatever supplies they can from the cargo ship. Baskets, coconuts, and chickens are flying through the air and everyone is running around all chaotically while Tai, who loves all living creatures, is trying to, um, protect the chickens… When Jeff rings the bell and yells that they have 30 seconds left, there are chickens all over the place. At 15 seconds, Jeff tells people to start hitting the water and the tribes start paddling to their beaches. As the Brawns do this, Cydney feels like she’s at home. Jason expects people to judge him because of his looks, but he’s all about his daughters at home, one of which as Autism. Scot is real upfront about his former NBA player status and “blondie”, Alecia, thinks everyone will underestimate her, but, like, she’s been bungee jumping and stuff. At this point, the Brawns are all feeling pretty good about their tribe and everything is, as it usually is in the beginning of Survivor, crescent fresh. (If you don’t know what crescent fresh means, look up Sifl and Olly).
Over at Brainy Beach, good vibes are flowin’ as the tribe gets to know one another and Debbie doesn’t waste much time in bringing up the fact that Peter resembles President Obama or the fact that she was in the military and can start a fire and knows all about survival and repelling and she’s had all these jobs, even serving at Red Lobster, and blah blah blah blah blah – her words, mostly. Knowing there is work to be done, the Brains jump into shelter and fire building soon after their meet and greet. Quirky Neal was worried about coming off as the crazy one, but after meeting Debbie, it’s not so much a concern. Especially since Debbie’s fire-making is taking longer than expected – they are the Brains. They can’t go to the first challenge without fire says Mr. Pres. Neal knows how this game works, he knows the smart ones always have some kind of weakness and he thinks being on the Brains tribe is going to be madness.
At Beauty Beach, everything is beautiful at their beautiful beach and everyone is working together beautifully according to Nick. Nature-lover Tai proves to be quite spry at 51 by climbing up a tree to chop down palm fronds to use on the shelter. He can’t believe he’s on the beauty tribe and thinks everyone at home will be quite amused by this, but isn’t everyone beautiful on the inside and outside? Yup! As the boys work on the shelter, the girls weave palm fronds together for the roof and dish about the boys – Michele is happy that she has some great eye candy to enjoy while on the island, and she loves Tai’s get-up-and-go attitude, but she’s all about bonding more solidly with the girls. As the girls talk boys, the boys are talking girls and Caleb likes Michele since she’s studying Biology, but Caleb can’t get over Tai being on the Beauty tribe with those eyebrows and glasses of his and his age… Oh, Caleb… I hope you last a looong time in this game and learn a looot about yourself and life, love.
Back at Brawny beach, Blondie (Alecia), is not impressing many people on the tribe; she’s at the top of the list for the Brawny chopping block as far as Jason, Scot, and Cydney. Meanwhile, the Beauty tribe is chasing down escaped chickens, burning more calories than eating the chickens would provide. Tai steps in to solve the problem of their shoddy chicken cages by making leashes for them that tie to tree. This makes the girls all crazy about Tai, they just love him. Julie thinks the three girls will work really well together and she is totally aware that Caleb was on Big Brother and the girls would like to take advantage of Caleb’s displayed BB loyalty… And as Caleb tells us just how awesome, prepared, ready, willing, and able he is to play this game, we watch as he chops down palm fronds and makes fire. I have to say, I think Survivor is going to be a much better game for Caleb. Being all out in the open with freedom to walk around and stuff instead of being cooped up in a house is probably better for him. 😉
The Brains, (some of them), are brawning it up at their beach by building a bamboo bungalow for themselves. Debbie knows that she and Joseph are the workhorses; they know that the #1 concern out here is survival because they have to survive. She intends to make the camp as comfortable as possible, mostly for her and Joe because she plans for them to stick together for a long time. In the water, Neal and Liz are talking about Debbie and how she likes to talk talk talk talk talk, especially about herself. They are also thinking that they and the other youngsters on the tribe should stick together because Debbie will probably annoy everyone to death and Joe, the oldest out there at 72, is most likely to be ousted due to medical reasons. Later, Peter agrees with Neal; the young bloods should stick together – the older people are the low hanging fruit so if push comes to shove, grandma and grandpa are headed for the chopping block.
Later, at the Beauty tribe, Tai decides to take advantage of being basically alone and scampers away from the beach to start looking for an idol. For a tree-lover, Tai sure is flippant about ripping some of his scrawny, leafy friends out of the dirt thinking that an idol will be buried under them… Uh, dude… I don’t think the people who plant these idols literally plant them under trees that are rooted into the freakin’ ground. lol Unfortunately for Tai, not only is the idol not under ones of the trees he tears from the dirt, but he is also spied running off by Julie, Michele, and Caleb – and Caleb knows what he’s doing out there and they decide to go interrupt him. The girls don’t like that he’s already looking for an idol – they haven’t even been to a challenge yet! Before the trio even gets there, though, Anna and Nick stroll by and Anna is immediately suspicious of Tai’s behavior and they confront him. Nick assumes there is a clue, but there isn’t; Tai is just looking to look and he asks them for about five more minutes… Anna doesn’t trust Tai at all anymore, no one does really, and Tai realizes he might have just shot himself in the foot. Yeah… You might have, buddy, but it’s still early in the game.
Going back to the Brains… Aubry is having a lot of anxiety and combined with the heat she isn’t feeling so great, but the rest of the tribe do their best to help her feel comfortable and calm again. Liz; however, thinks that it won’t be long before Aubry cracks again and Neal worries that their season will be a repeat of the first Brains vs. Beauty vs. Brawn season and that their tribe will just deteriorate. Bouncing back to the brawns, Jennifer is having some serious ear issues. Some kind of bug has crawled into her ear canal and she doesn’t sleep a wink. The next morning, the damn thing is still causing her pain and she’s worried about her performance in the challenge that day. She thought it would crawl out, but it keeps digging deeper and deeper and after three minutes of this footage I’m yelling at my TV: GET MEDICAL IN THERE AND GET THAT DAMN THING OUT OF HER DAMN EAR! Seriously! I have ear sensitivity due to an operation I had to have when I was a kid so I am cringing through this whole segment. Thank god Cydney sees it crawling out and Scot saves the day by plucking the thing out of her ear. UGH! So gross…
Come on in, guys! It’s time for the season’s first Immunity challenge and they will also be playing for reward of course, which is obviously a really great fire-making kit for the first place finishers and a flint for second place. The challenge? Each tribe swim from a floating platform to a boat and board it. After each tribe member is onboard, one person at a time will dive down to untie paddles. After all four paddles have been retrieved, the tribe must paddle back to the beach, push the boat onto a cradle then assemble it into a carts with the provided wheels. Once the wheels are one, the two puzzle solvers will pull up the cart while the rest of the tribe pushes it to the puzzle station where each tribe will have to decide: puzzle or dexterity – no one chooses dexterity so there’s no point in even explaining it. lol Survivors ready? GO!
It’s a pretty even race to the boats, but when Darnell jumps in the water to get paddles, which he volunteered to do and was positive he could, he loses the Brawn tribe’s mask, which pretty much screws them over in this part of the challenge. Michele, Caleb, and Tai make quick work of the Beauty tribe’s paddles giving the Gondol tribe a huge lead. While the Brawns struggle to untie paddles without a mask in turns, Aubry single-handedly retrieves all four paddles for the Brains and they head to the beach. Nice work, Aubry! No one could do that. Not even Beast Mode Cowboy… The leads on the Brawns don’t last long because everyone struggles to push the boats up on the cradle; however, Beauty is the first tribe to “clip in” and get started on the wheels. Seconds later, Jeff tells the Brains to clip in then BAM! The Brawns are clipped in too, wheels are thrown on and everyone starts pulling and pushing the carts up the ramp. Brains are first to the puzzle station, Brawns are second, and the Beauties are last to get to work. Aaand… Liz and Aubry are working on the puzzle for the Brains, Jenny and Alecia are working it for the Brawns, and Anna and Julia are teaming up for the Beauties. Alecia isn’t in for long, though. She told her tribe she wasn’t a puzzle girl and she isn’t helping Jenny at all so Scot tags in to take her place. Aaaaaaaand… Let’s speed this up. Liz and Aubry beast mode it up with this puzzle and the Brains finish in first. With only seconds between each tribe putting in their last puzzle pieces, the Beauties take second place.
So. The Brawns lose and everyone knows that Alecia and Darnell are on the chopping block, but Scot says there is only one real candidate – Darnell. He dropped the ball by dropping the mask and it’s inexcusable since he was positive he could handle the diving part of the challenge. Any experienced diver, like Scot, knows you hold your mask on when you dive into the water. Alone with Alecia, Scot tells her that she’s safe and when she asks how does she really know that she’s safe Scot tells her to let it happen – “Sometimes you have to let the world come to you; you can’t force everything”. I LOVE this. Love it. Alecia doesn’t take the advice to heart, though. She decides that she has to be a master manipulator to get Darnell voted out so she sidles up to Jason and brings it up. Scot sees this and lets her know straight up – she’s hurting herself by scheming. She just needs to relax and trust them. Jason asks if she thinks Darnell has an idol, she says no. He asks if she has an idol to which she replies “never said I did, never said I didn’t”. ::facepalm:: Jason nods to Scot at this point and Scot can’t believe that even after throwing her some very good advice and security… I mean… I think Alecia’s on the wrong tribe because she’s probably better off sitting around acting dumb and looking beautiful with those big blue eyes and blonde hair. No offense. She’d be the smart one over there… 😉
Anyway… Cydney is not thrilled with the Darnell vote idea. She doesn’t like Blondie and would rather see her go, but it seems that this plan of getting rid of Darnell will go off without a hitch. Cyndey plans on being a hitch in that plan. And to Tribal Council we go! After everyone ignites their torches, Jeff begins the pot stirring by asking Jason about first impressions. This lands us right into the meat of the meal because despite Jason’s satisfaction with some people, he says he’s not happy with Blondie (Alecia) and Darnell. This launches into the mashed potato slinging between the two people on the chopping block, which Scot later says is exactly what they should be doing. Darnell owns up to his mistake with the mask and pledges to do better next time; Alecia says again that she’s not a puzzle god, but she will do her best at things she’s good at – the rest of the tribe, especially Jason, isn’t having this. You give 100%, even if you’re not sure about your skills… Oookay, so, you’d rather have lost that challenge by five minutes rather than two seconds, Jason? Scot was a big help to Jenny and Alecia knew she would not be so she did what was best for the tribe and backed out of the challenge. She even TOLD them BEFORE the challenge that she wasn’t strong with puzzles… I mean… Jeez… I like the Brawn tribe people, but I think there is a little too much brawn goin’ on with this gang.
So this Tribal is pretty standard for a first episode. There is more back and forth between Darnell and Alecia. Darnell tugs at the heart strings of Jenny because she’s been through tough times too and this loss and being the reason for it – it’s really tough for Darnell. Despite things said at camp and during Tribal it’s “gonna be a hard decision”, but when it’s time to vote, it’s time to vote and after the votes are cast, it’s a tie. We all know what happens in a tie and after Jeff explains it to the players, the votes are recast as such: Darnell, Darnell, Darnell… Alecia thanks everyone. Jason gives her a half smile. Cydney is NOT happy. Jenny is rubbing her ears, probably just happy that damn worm thing is dead, because Scot killed it, and Scot looks genuinely sorry that he had to send Darnell packing… Even though he doesn’t seem to have his bag of personal belongings with him… Next time on Survivor! Debbie antics continue to put distance between her and the “grandkids” on the Brains tribe and Tai puts the moves on Beast Mode! Should be a fun episode!
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