Thursday, September 20, 2012

Survivor: Philippines (episode 1)

Welcome to season 25 of Survivor! It has been a long summer but Jeff Probst and the crew are back to the Philippines with fifteen all-new contestants and three formerly-injured returning players.

Things are a bit different this time, including starting with three tribes: Kalabaw, Matsing, and Tandang. Let's get right into this one which is entitled "Survivor Smacked Me In The Chops".

First off, the three returnees are Michael Skupin (from Survivor: Outback), Jonathan Penner (from Survivor: Cook Islands) and Russell Swan (from Survivor: Samoa). These guys are given a second chance at the game.

The other twist is two "celebrity" players. The first is Jeff Kent, the 2000 National League MVP baseball player. The other is actress Lisa Whelchel, known for playing "Blair Warner" for many seasons on The Facts of Life.

Right off the bat, you can sense the tension about celebrities and returning players among the first-timers. Still, when Jeff introduces the three returnees everyone acts okay with them being there. Interesting too that Michael instantly recognizes Lisa from her TV days but does not out her.

The mad scramble begins as the three teams have sixty seconds to take all the supplies they can and get them on their rafts. Jeff bangs his knee on the departure; he has had injuries there before and can recognize them. Still, he vows to keep it quiet to not make himself an early target.

At Matsing, Russell says he does not want to get into a leadership role. Yet, he falls right into it: directing the folks on how to build the shelter and jumping in to make fire (which Malcolm knows how to do but directs Russell to do so to avoid any target on his own back). Zane makes it a point to set up an alliance with everyone, which does not sit well with most of the group. He thinks he is being smart but I think it is a foolish move. Russell finds a clue for the idol at their camp in the rice bag, yet Zane sees him with the clue.

At Kalabaw, Jeff realizes that Jonathan is going all out (even searching for a hidden immunity idol) and decides to unite the others against him. Anything to keep the target off of his back. Dawson recognizes who Jeff is, from a boyfriend who loved baseball, and holds that secret close to the vest until it is a good time to use it. Jonathan does find a clue for the idol in the rice pot.

At Tandang, RC and Ali-Marie bond, even though RC lies about her real job as a bank executive. Pete thinks Ali is hot. Ali thinks Pete is cute but dumb. Still, the three ally together and pull in Michael for the experience. Lisa, meanwhile, steps up to try to make fire even though it isolates her from the rest of the group. RC does not trust her and knows that Lisa is smart. Michael thinks Lisa should perhaps play the fame card, but Lisa is against it as she feels it will hurt her in the long run. Michael wants to try to keep her safe as long as possible. Michael ends up taking a leadership role in building the shelter but he is clearly accident prone; in two days he ends up cutting his foot, his head and fingers. This makes it a bit of a joke among the rest of the tribe. Will he get himself moved out of the game again?

At the challenge, the teams are split into pairs. The first pair runs through the jungle to retrieve paddles. The second pair must paddle out to get a sunken chest. The third pair will have to solve a puzzle-tower.

Kalabaw falls behind on the first leg, but they catch up when it comes to getting the chest and returning it to the beach. Tandang is back second. Matsing is back to the puzzle last. They fail to catch up, leading to the blue team having to go to tribal council.

Back at the Matsing camp, Zane throws himself under the bus. He failed to keep up with Russell running leg one. Russell is happy for this. Still, Angie and Roxie are mad at Russell since he bossed everyone at the challenge to assign roles.

At tribal council, Zane points out how good Russell is. Russell admits that he made the mistake of being too much of a dictator early on. When the votes go down, Zane's plan fails and he is sent packing. As he leaves, he mutters "son of a bitch". Yeah, he only should be mad at himself for trying such a stupid misdirection plan.

Next week: Lisa appears to be struggling. Oh no! I want her to stick around a good while.

See you all next week.

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