Hey everyone! Good to be back. It’s time for Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites and Jonny Fairplay. And you know what that means: time for more Yau-Man!The music is like THIS! IS! VERY! SUSPENSEFUL! AND! NOT! AT! ALL! SORT! OF! A! LAME! EPISODE! as we wind up to meet the new castaways, who are being brought to the beach in big tribal canoes paddled by tribesmen dressed in battle gear. Coincidentally, that’s the only way to get to my orthodontist’s office, too. It’s kind of out of the way.
Probst tells us that we’re flying over the beautiful islands of “Micronesia”, which is not at all Palau where a previous season was filmed. It has a different name, people! Therefore, it is somewhere else. Also: we meet again, Probst. Just below him are 10 Americans, people who are “superfans” of the show. Also, one of them is batshit crazy, but we’ll get to that. What they don’t know is that they’ll be playing against 10 of their “favorite” Survivors from seasons past. Wait, someone likes Ami? And then there is a montage of shit talking from the old guys, including one from Fairplay in which he says he played a “perfect game” last time. Apparently the completion of a “perfect game” involves getting beat by a pantsless Boy Scout. Who knew?
It is pouring as the ten fans land on the beach and are greeted by Jeff Probst. Welcome to “Micronesia”, everybody! Jeff drops the bomb on them, telling them that they’ll be playing with past Survivors. One by one, they come out, starting with Cirie (yay!) I’m glad she’s back, because she rules. Next out is Ozzy, who Probst can barely restrain from making out with. Ami comes out, and people are like “Yeesh!” Jon Penner comes out next, and: he rules, so I’m psyched about that one. Eliza is next, and…we’ll see about her. Then James rounds the corner, and he gets a big round of applause. James gets another chance from me this season, BTW, because he was cool at the finale. How will Jeff restrain himself this season with not one, but two mancrushes present? I think it will be an interesting subtext to this whole thing. One in which I will probably invent various Project Runway style “Where’s Andrae?” backstories, so prepare yourself for that.
Next out is Parvati, and I hate myself for finding her so attractive, because she is so, so lame. And yet, there she is, looking fly in her tacky bikini with her giant fake teeth. Jeff makes sure to say her name correctly (if you’ll remember, he spent a whole season calling her “Poverty”), and she must have made a point of telling him how to say it, because she’s like “Thank you, Jeff” after he introduces her. Yau-Man rounds the corner and people freak out, which rules because he is awesome and cool and I’m glad he’s back. Next Amanda comes out, and I’m glad she’s getting another chance. Also, if you have not seen her photo on the CBS website, go right now and do that.
And finally, Jonny Fairplay rounds the corner, dressed exactly like Probst, which I admit I found sort of hilarious. Here’s my deal with Jonny Fairplay: I wanted him to win his season, because I thought he played the best game at the end. However, I still think he is a douche. After him and Probst go a couple of rounds, which I refuse to recap because it’s like watching two donkeys box each other, Probst gives them their buffs. The fans tribe will be Airai, and the favorites tribe will be Malakal, but you will not be hearing those names for the rest of the episode, so in case you’re wondering whether these two groups are going to be mixed up, you have your answer. Big P tells them that there are two canoes waiting to take the two tribes to camp across the water. Also, there’s an immunity idol that is good for the first Tribal Council only.
He sends them off, and there’s a brief moment of hesitation by everyone that Eliza finally breaks my sprinting for the water. This whole scene is very artfully shot, and the producers must have been psyched that it was raining like this, because it looks quite epic. Erik (“Ice Cream Scooper”) gets to the beach first, but is unable to figure out where the idol is. Fairplay actually is the first one to figure it out, but he takes his sweet time getting there and gets literally slide tackled by Yau-Man, so we can all add that to the list of reasons why Yau-Man is awesome. Kathy (“Straight Bananas”) walks over, and in a beautiful moment says “I have no idea what’s going on.” Indeed, Kathy, indeed. Yau-Man sees an opportunity to protect someone week, so he literally points at the idol, now in the sand, and she picks it up all “YAY!” even though she didn’t do anything. Y’all, this is going to be awesome. After this episode, I mean. After the scuffle, Fairplay is like WHINE WHINE WHINE, you tackled me, and having Bonaduce flashbacks and whatnot, and Yau-Man’s like “Sorry. Also, shut up.” And then Fairplay idle threats us into the commercial break, just as he has so many times in the past. Aah, memories.
The fans pull up to their beach and celebrate and introduce themselves. Jason (“Gymnastics Coach”) tells us that they want to win. Really? Thanks for that substantive comment! Mikey B (“Aspiring Writer”) tells us that his tribe is awesome, and then lamely categorizing everyone. That does not bode well for his future writing projects. As they start building the shelter, Kathy goes over to Chet and initiates a conversation by literally saying, “Okay, so you’re a homosexual.” Wow, this is going to be awesome. She also says “It doesn’t mean that, you wanna be a girl, right?” and Tracy, watching with an even mix of horror and glee (ditto, over here), can barely restrain herself. And then, it gets even better. She goes to Tracy and is like “I’ve never seen implants before!” and I’m so glad that she has the immunity idol.
Sorry, Probst, I’ve just never seen anyone with chin implants before. Can I touch it?
Over at the Favorites camp, they’re all business and want to get a shelter put up before the rain comes. Fairplay tells us that he’s got a girlfriend at home who is seven months pregnant, and that he wants to bring home some money for her. Poor, poor Michelle from ANTM. First the flesh eating bacteria, and now this. James talks about how this camp is so much nicer than his last one, where he was the only awesome one doing all the work. Stop! Doing that! I’m trying to like you, jerk. Parvati tells us that she wants to have more than one dimension to her this time, since all she did last time was flirt. And then she flirts with James. So, what was the point of telling us how lame you are, and then being lame, again? I hate myself for finding her hot.
If you eat this, I’ll try not to vote your ass out again.
That night, Ozzy and Amanda hang out together, and Parvati and James are literally already rolling around in the shelter together. Eliza tells us that this might be a problem. What is this, Survivor for the blind? Why are we getting all these dumb confessionals?
Over at Airai, Jason tells us that their shelter didn’t come along as far as they wanted it to, and now they’re all stuck out in the rain. Kathy is already crying about how much the experience sucks, so there’s that. In the morning at the Favorites camp, Ami, Jon Penner, Yau-Man and Eliza are chatting while everyone else sleeps, and they decide to form an alliance of four, right there. Yau-Man and Jon Penner working together might be the coolest thing ever. I’m also surprised that Eliza and Ami decided to work together, given the fact that they sort of hated each other. They’re trying to counteract the supposed alliance of Parvati, James, Ozzy and Amanda that I think does not exist yet at this point in time, but probably will in the future. The Yau-Man alliance talks about how they probably need a fifth (which would be either Fairplay or Cirie), and Jon Penner makes the right call by telling them to bring in Fairplay. He’ll be easy to get rid of (or keep around, at the end), he has to be loyal to you because he’ll have no other options this time around, and you can also keep an eye on him. Done and done. On the other hand, Cirie is way too crafty to leave floating out there, because she will cut you, whereas Fairplay is all talk and no action most of the time. Tough call.
In a different part of camp, Parvati and Ozzy tell Fairplay that they’re voting Eliza out because she’s sneaky and smart and they don’t want her around. I don’t understand how you look at a tribe which also contains Yau-Man, Jon Penner and Cirie and decide that Eliza is the biggest threat, but we are talking about Parvati, here.
Fairplay then turns around and takes this information to Ami, Jon and Eliza, who state that they want to get rid of Parvati because she has the ability to sway people more easily than Ozzy does. Given the information that they have (which does not include how awesome Amanda is), this is probably what they think is the right call, although Amanda is clearly their biggest problem right now, which they don’t know. That could turn out to be pretty great.
After the break, Yau-Man tries to start a fire with his glasses, Michelle style, and actually succeeds. There is a rare editing mistake here, in which Eliza is both standing right behind him and celebrating in the water when the fire happens. At the Fans camp, they get treemail that tells them about the first immunity challenge, which seems to be some sort of wheel puzzle.
Yau-Man, watch out for Eliza’s evil twin! You can tell which one she is because of the goatee.
And then, it is challenge time! The challenge involves making some puzzle pieces into the wheels for a cart, which you then pull along a course with some obstacles. Then there’s a sand pit, which you dig planks out of and use them to complete a bridge and get your cart across. At the end of the course, you take the wheels apart and use the pieces to form a different puzzle.
The challenge begins, and the Fans take a quick lead because they get their wheels together much faster. I think what happened is that the pieces are grouped in such a way that each grouping forms one wheel, and the Favorites tribe mixed all their pieces up, so it took them a lot longer. The Favorites, trying to catch up once they have their wheels assembled, take off quickly and run…right into a tree, sending Eliza flying off the cart.
Still less embarrassing than getting voted out with two immunity idols!
The Favorites do everything they can to catch up, including just straight-up dragging the cart across the gaps in the bridge instead of placing the planks, but they’re just too far behind at the end and the Fans win the first challenge. Wow. So now, someone that we know is going home.
Back from losing the challenge, the Favorites tribe has a roundtable discussion about the vote, which seems…odd. Fairplay tells us that he could go either way, with either alliance of four at this point. Then, out of the blue, he’s carrying water with Parvati and tells her that he wants to go home, because he misses his unborn child. He starts CRYING in confessional, and it is faker than anything, ever. In case you were wondering whether he’s doing this whole thing as an image makeover, the people who get voted off do not get sent home. They go on vacation somewhere else, so they don’t spoil the outcome of the show. So, he does not get to see his kid. Or his girlfriend’s belly, or whatever.
Parvati gets the bright idea that Fairplay can fake wanting to go home, and then they can turn around and blindside Eliza without her knowledge, because something like that is totally going to work against an alliance that includes two or three of the greatest strategic minds ever to play the game. Her plan, it is flawless!
Also, Parvati’s caption now says “Charity Organizer”. Is Foxy Boxing a charity?
Fairplay begins to spread the word that he doesn’t want to stay, which makes Eliza rightfully suspicious that something is up.
Tribal Council! Probst goes right for Jonny Fairplay, asking other people about “past reputations”. Fairplay somehow turns it into a discussion about how he might be a “crappy father” for being here, and while there’s something to be said for being there for your pregnant girlfriend, you have procreated with another reality star, so being on TV obviously the most important thing. I don’t buy it, this was clearly planned from the beginning, and the producers deserve it for putting him on the show. The joke is on them. Yau-Man doesn’t buy it either, asking what “the scheme” is. Jeff tries to paint it as “a quit” which I did not know was a noun, and Fairplay is like “no it’s not!” even though it’s totally a quit. Eliza tells us that she doesn’t buy it either, which is why it’s not a quit, because she thinks she might still be going home. But, whatever.
Time to vote! Everyone votes for Fairplay. He’s done. He does try to hug Probst as he leaves, which I cannot believe I laughed at. Wow, that was a lame opener. Next week: people make out!