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Yeah, she is endlessly screencappable.The Earth! Wild Horses! Soccer stadiums, complete with riotous fans who beat each other senseless! That one Brazilian Jesus statue they show all the time! These are the things that let us know that it is time for a new season of Survivor. Brazilian Jesus is a big Survivor fan, by the way. (“Woo! Go Cirie!” – Brazilian Jesus)
Now we’re with a truck full of wannabes. It appears that one of the tires is about to fall off of the vehicle, which would result in some pretty record-breaking injuries for this show. Speaking of injuries, Probst hasn’t let us know how James’ finger is doing recently. I must know! Will he ever properly be able to use a butterknife again? WILL HE?
On this truck are our sixteen new castaways, separated into Jalapao (pronounced “Zhalapao”, wearing red buffs), and Timbira (with black buffs). The contestants have also been helpfully color coded by attire, which is pretty handy; all of the Timbira members are wearing dark clothes, and the Jalapao (red) members are wearing shades of red. Probst tells us that the contestants haven’t had a chance to talk, but that they’ve been sizing each other up and have already created first impressions. Erinn (hairstylist) gets the first jungle confessional, talking about how Tyson (Mormon) seems like a nice person to be around. He then tells us that Erinn herself seems like she might be a huge bitch. I’m not quite sure where he gets that particular impression from, because Erinn doesn’t have a bitchface or anything. What is a bitchface to a Mormon, anyway? A look of slight displeasure?
Stephen (consultant) is happy to have the “strung out old lady” on his team, because that means he’s “not gonna be the first to go”. Is that a rule, that you’re supposed to vote the old lady out? I had no idea. When most old ladies get voted out, it’s usually a function of how annoying they are, not the fact that they’re explicitly old. Plenty of old ladies have made it pretty damn far just by being nice people. Sandy (the aforementioned old lady) and Stephen then lock eyes and trade shifty looks. Yeah, they’ll be making out soon.
The truck finally stops in the middle of nowhere, and Probst lets everyone know that there’s a ton of supplies, and the teams have 60 seconds to grab as much as they can. People just start throwing stuff out of truck, and Jeff is already making “helpful” comments, all “Grab everything you can get your hands on, if for no other reason than to make sure that the other tribe doesn’t get it!”
After the dust has settled, it looks like Timbira got all the beans (huge deal) and the water (not such a huge deal if you can start a fire), and the other team didn’t get anything in the way of provisions. Probst announces that there’s a 4 hour walk to camp in front of all of them, but that one person from each tribe “will not be making the journey”. They’re having a first vote right now (parchments and all). Coach is psyched to have a vote this early. “Great! Let’s get rid of the weak players even before they start,” he says, apparently believing that he’s a strong player without presenting any sort of evidence to back his jerky ass up.
Jalapao ends up voting overwhelmingly voting for “the old lady”, meaning Sandy. Probst calls her over and asks her how she feels. “I’m PISSED”, she says, actually legitimately pissed.
Over at Timbira, everyone votes for “the girl in the striped shirt” (Sierra). As the votes pile up, you can literally see her giving up, three minutes into the show. He face just sort of falls, and that’s it. Sierra reveals to everyone that she has strep throat, which is probably not the best idea. Well, unless you’re planning on making out with the rest of the contestants and you want to warn them in advance. I mean, it’s a valid strategy, putting out.
Turns out that the two people that earned majority votes are not “making the journey” in the sense that they are riding to camp in a helicopter while everyone else is going to be walking. That should inspire some solidarity with the people who’ve already been alienated. Sandy, because it’s already apparent that she has no clue whatsoever how to deal with other people, is already celebrating about the helicopter ride. This even annoys Jeff, who awesomely goes “Well, I wouldn’t be celebrating, Sandy, I’d be thinking about how I can get back into the good graces of the people who just voted for me!” Boom! Roasted.
After a commercial break, we’re with Jalapao, who are marching to their camp. They can’t seem to figure out how to use the compass, and JT (cattle rancher) saves the day by taking charge and kind of timidly offering to lead them to camp. “I don’t want to be pushy or nuthin,” he says all Aw Shucks at everyone. Stephen already has a HUGE rip in his pants from carrying the heavy can of water. “This is gonna be nice for all the ladies back home,” he says right into the camera, which will be funny the first time but will grate my nerves the next time he does it. You are not Jim Halpert. Stop. The tribe is already joking about how they need to get a move on so they can get to Sandy as soon as possible, and that can’t bode well for her.
Over with Timbira, Jerry (US Army Sergeant) talks about how he just got back from Afghanistan (you know, that other war), and commanded over 100 people, so it’s going to be tough not to take charge and tell all these people what to do. “Coach”, of whom I am already tired, tells us that he wants to create an alliance of strong people and change the game by making sure that “the weak” don’t get to the end. When he says weak, he means physically weak, which is stupid. Aren’t the “weak” really just the people who get voted out early?
This show is not about actual survival in any sense other than a base one, since you have to contribute around camp to stay around. But even that is really just part of a requirement to fit in, which is what “strong” really is, within the scope of Survivor. People like Parvati might be physically weak, but survived in the wild for 39 days, and some other, stronger people weren’t able to do that. What’s your definition of strong? If you define that by bringing only the largest, most athletic people, that doesn’t make you some noble figure who is revolutionizing Survivor, it makes you a judgmental elitist.
And all of a sudden Coach is on this diatribe about how “other cultures prayed for worthy opponents”, and he’s talking about ancient Incan tribes and Egyptian battles and whatnot, and it just makes me want to punch him in the solar plexus for being such a pretentious douche. You have bad hair and a terrible shirt. Go read a Dave Eggers novel, jerk. It is my hope that there is a robust ass kicking coming his way, hopefully from a legion of tiny contestants.
Helicopter ride. Sandy arrives at her camp and starts crying almost immediately. She’s obviously already hamming it up (she talks about waiting to cry until she was alone, which is dumb, because if you’re going to cry in front of a cameraman, you might as well cry in front of a couple of other people). Does she have too much dignity to cry in front of a helicopter pilot?
Sandy discovers a note for her, and it says that she can either start to set up her camp and try to repair her relationship with her other Jalapao tribemates (which she pronounces “Jalapeno”, admitting that she has no idea how to pronounce it), or she can take the first hidden idol clue and try to keep it for herself. Before she even finishes reading the clue she decides to go look for the idol. “Why waste my energy trying to endear myself to people who won’t like me anyway?” she says, as if there is any sort of logic in that statement. The clue is hilarious, because tells her to look for an actual stick stuck in the sand. That’s what it has come to, people: hiding clues in places so obvious that they just decide to bury it and jam a stick on top of it.
Meanwhile, Sierra, faced with a similar decision, makes the right choice and opts to build the camp. She also uses the word “prerogative” appropriately while explaining her decision to spend her effort trying to get back in with the group, so she earns points for that. And no, she does not make a Bobby Brown reference.
Jalapao arrives at camp to a waiting Sandy, who has literally done nothing of merit during her time alone. Her first priority is not to come up with a story explaining what she’s been doing this entire time, but to hide the note in her bra while looking absolutely crazypants.
The first thing everyone says upon arrival is pretty much “Why isn’t our house built?” Carolina (whose primary character trait is that her voice is beyond annoying), is complaining about the fact that Sandy hasn’t done anything. There is also a little bit of clever joking about how no one has any idea how to pronounce their tribe name, but there’s mostly just indignation about Sandy’s idiocy. I want her gone so bad.
Timbira shows up to camp after dark, and they’re extremely grateful for the shelter that Sierra’s built. Coach is already talking about how Sierra’s gotta go anyway, and he’s calling her a “sweet kid”, so you know he considers her to be below him in whatever internal ranking he’s created. What’s stronger than the ability to provide shelter for the entire group? If he were actually trying to take the strong to the end, this should qualify, don’t you think?
Jalapao. They’re shelter building on Day 2, since Sandy didn’t really do a damn thing for them. Sandy tells the group that she’s going to pee. People who announce to groups of strangers that they’re peeing are always a blast to be around. Sandy really goes to look for the hidden idol. She finds the stick in the ground, and I have no idea how she could have missed it before. Buried under the stick is another clue that tells her to walk ten paces toward a lone palm tree. Sandy reveals that she has no idea what a “pace” or a “lone palm tree” is, so she appears to be out of luck. Hmm, I don’t think anyone has ever been done in by a poor command of the English language on this show before.
“I have no idea what a pace is! This is brutal,” she sighs as the cameraman zooms in on the lone palm tree directly behind her. I love how the wording of a clue somehow qualifies as “brutal” to her. Why can’t she get a helicopter ride directly to the idol? And would you be kind enough to dig it up for her?
At Timbira, Tyson is already naked. Several tribemates watch and laugh. “I don’t care, I just want that million dollars,” he says. “I’m going to buy myself several handsome furs. I’ll wear a man tiara. Do those exist?” You know who we could ask to find out? Flipit. I’m willing to wager that man owns the shit out of some man tiaras.
This might actually be footage of Sasquatch.
Challenge. It’s your typical relay race puzzle piece deal, where there are “puzzle planks” to be retrieved at the end of a course, and people have to go out and fetch them to return them to start, put together a staircase, and then navigate a “puzzle maze” to raise a flag. The winners get immunity and a flint, and the losers get to send someone home.
“What’s a challenge? THIS IS BRUTAL!!!”
Once people have navigated the course and lugged the planks back, Timbira builds up a lead and gets to work on their staircase first. Sandy kind of takes control for Jalapao and gets her tribe out ahead (!). But Brenden and Erinn end up getting the hang of the table maze pretty quickly, and take the lead back for Timbira and win the challenge, meaning that Jalapao will have to go to Tribal Council and vote someone out. Cross your fingers, because I cannot take that woman for very much longer.
Carolina hangs out in the water and laments the fact that the votes will probably be for Sandy, and then she spouts some BS about how “every failure is an opportunity for growth”. You can see that her intentions are good and she’s just trying to improve the team, but people are not really in the mood to have a bunch of corporate crap thrown at them when they’re in danger of losing their shot at a million dollars. Taj is particularly unhappy with Carolina’s constant criticisms, and it’s getting on her nerves. Taj’s snarky job title is “former pop star”, which I believe those of us who have seen SWV perform recently at various Indian Casinos and county fire halls would disagree with.
I get sooooo weak in the face/I can hardly stand/To put up with your crap/Get the hell out my face
Spencer and Sydney are debating whether to keep Sandy around (NO!), since she did such a good job on the staircase puzzle. Wait, so doing okay on a puzzle completely negates the fact that she did nothing while you walked for four hours? Spencer says that people are already talking about getting rid of Carolina, because she’s so annoying. Meanwhile, Carolina is trying to have one of those really annoying heart-to-hearts with Sandy where she apologizes to the person about to go home with a bunch of fake compassion, which in turn makes me realize that I’d actually be okay with either of these people going home, so long as it happens immediately.
Tribal Council. Jeff jumps right on Sandy almost immediately, to no one’s surprise. People immediately start complaining about the fact that she did absolutely nothing to get the camp ready, which she deserves entirely. Jeff puts her on the spot, and she doesn’t cover very well, talking about how she wanted to spend the time collecting her thoughts. Yes, because you’re obviously someone to keep a cool head and make logical choices. Take some time to right yourself. Wouldn’t want to seem crazy!
Jeff asks Sandy how she plans to change others’ perception, and she talks about how she can’t really do that, which is kind of ridiculous. Yes, people can never admit that they’re wrong about someone and change how they think. Everything is set in stone, always! I mean, why try to make people like you at all? Oh, wait, because that’s WHAT PEOPLE DO.
Time to vote. Carolina votes for Sandy, and uses superflouous quotes all “SORRY” afterwards. Don’t apologize to people for getting rid of them in a game that, you know, requires you to get rid of them. That is annoying, right there. Sandy votes for Carolina, pronouncing it like the state. We don’t see any of the others. When Jeff reveals the votes, the first one is for Sandy, and then all the rest are for Carolina, and that’s it for her. That’s too bad, I think she seems like an alright girl; it’s just she annoyed people with her overzealousness. Also, they wanted to keep Sandy around, for some reason.
Not the greatest first episode. Lots of tools in this group, as usual, but I’m reserving judgment until we see how this whole thing shakes out. Until then, there’s looking to be lots of crazy to go around.