And we’re off! The much anticipated season of Survivor has arrived, with old favorites Rob Mariano and Russell Hantz returning to the game to compete against each other, and the episode really didn’t disappoint.
Right away we got the long introduction with Jeff hyping up the season, and we can clearly see just from the helicopter ride that teams were going to be much more even than they were last season, regardless of the split. No grandma Jane’s, no guy with about zero cartilage left in his knees, and no crazy old guy rambling about random things.. wait, scratch that last one. There was Phillip, and based on this episode, I can simply say I hope he remains on the season for as long as possible. The guy screams entertainment.
The best part of the season is easily the fact that two of my personal favorite players are returning, Rob and Russell. Love them or hate them, both of those players know how to play this game, and it’s great to see them both back in the same season, and competing against each other. However, did anyone notice Russell sounds different? Maybe he hit puberty late or something because his voice is definitely different.
Regardless, it was time to play the game, and people did what they do best, especially the two stars. Russell had his whole tribe hating him just from being there, while he went out and courted Stephanie for an alliance. It wasn’t so easy for him to play his normal game though as the rest of the tribe instantly knew exactly what he was doing the second the two walked away alone. He had Natalie and Parvati, so it was no shock he instantly set his sights on the young Stephanie.
Random thoughts on the rest of the episode:
- Over on the Rob side (new name for tribes, I don’t feel like saying Ometepe and Zapatera), our favorite Bostonian (after me of course) was already up to his tricks we’ve seen in past seasons. All the guys get a massive man crush on him, and the girls swoon like they’re teenagers and he’s Justin Beiber (please let me be the last time I ever mention his name in a blog). It was pretty funny watching him walk down the beach with his pack of girls.
- I think it is now in the contract of people in Survivor to walk around in their underwear, even if they’re ugly loose briefs.
- It was really weird at first watching them play on the same location as the last season, but that quickly faded as I realized every season they play on the beach basically looks exactly like the other seasons.
- What was up with giving both teams a huge toolbox full of supplies to start? Are the days of earning those types of rewards over? They even gave the losing team a flint at the end of tribal council
- I think Natalie is in love with Rob. Should Ambahhhh be jealous?
- Let’s not forget to talk about Phillip while I’m rambling. This guy is completely batshit crazy but I love him. We don’t know if he’s a retired special forces, CIA agent, or Austin Powers sidekick. He’s definitely the international man of mystery who retired from his career of fighting crime and analyzing people to hang out in Nicaragua with a bunch of 20-somethings. There is nothing better than seeing Phillip engage in conversation with pretty much anyone on the island.
- While Phillip was good for entertainment, the Team Rob side was mostly introducing us to Kristina, who was determined to be the first player to ever win Survivor before the first tribal council. This girl was playing hardcore from the moment they got in camp, searching for the immunity idol anywhere she could look. Surprisingly, she actually found it, and normally that puts someone in a solid position early. However, with her new found power, she was determined to make the power play of the game to vote out Rob. This girl was hardcore set on being the person who got Rob out, even if it meant teaming up with Austin Powers to accomplish that goal.
- Challenge time came early this episode, and it was definitely unlike 90% of last seasons challenges, by that it actually required physical strength for a portion of it. Not surprisingly, Team Russell, the team with mostly guys, dominated the shit out of the first portion of the challenge, giving them an enormous lead until the puzzle part came. Team Rob came up the rear and actually caught up with Russell, but the lead was too great and Team Russell finished them off, won immunity and a flint for fire.
- After the challenge, Team Russell must have been rewarded a vacation as well because that was the last we seen of them this episode.
- Back on Team Rob’s side, now that they’ve officially lost the challenge, it was time for Kristina to prepare the power play move of the game, with her three person alliance, “Franchesqua” and Phillip. Phillip, very unsure of this move, demanded proof as to how she was going to make 3 a larger number than 6. Kristina had a great answer for him though, she had the idol, which according to her was all the votes she needed. Sadly, nobody must have clued her in on how the idol works before she joined the game, but it was fun to watch.
- Rob, being the seasoned veteran he is, pretty much sniffed out the idol immediately, which is both shocking and impressive at the same time. First, he noticed her searching for it, then basically just assumed she had it and made sure his alliance split the votes to assure either Francesca or Kristina got the boot. This is the same plan he used in Heroes vs Villains but that backfired playing against experienced players. It was very doubtful it was going to happen this time, but it still had the potential for a Rob (3) Francesca (3) and Kristina (3) tie.
- Tribal Council was one of the most entertaining I’ve seen in a long time. It started off a bit slow, until crazy Phillip got going which made it fantastic. Clueless to strategy and lies, he instantly went nuts the second Francesca assured Rob was safe. This made him spill the entire plan Kristina had going, ratting out her immunity idol, and telling Rob exactly what he had planned. Tell me again, this guy worked as a special agent? I really hope it was a desk job because if he was ever captured and interrogated, our country could be called The United States Of China right now.
Needless to say, the entertaining tribal council resulted in a less than shocking result of Francesca getting one more vote than Kristina and Phillip, and she was the first to be sent to Redemption Island. Overall it was a very solid first episode, and if the season keeps up like this, Redemption Island could be one of the better Survivor seasons we’ve had in awhile. Let’s all just hope Phillip stays as long as possible though. This guy is blogging gold.
Tags: Andrea Boehkle, Ashley Underwood, Boston Rob, David Murphy, Francesca Hogi, Grant Mattos, Julie Wolfe, Krista Klumpp, Kristina Kell, Matt Elrod, Mike Chiesl, Natalie Tenerelli, Phillip Sheppard, Ralph Kiser, Rob Mariano, Russell Hantz, Sarita White, Stephanie Valencia, Steve Wright, Survivor Redemption Island