Laura has noticed Michael's observant behaviour, & can't wait to start strategizing with him. Michael does not share that opinion. "She looks like she's 18 years old...what in the hell is she doing out here?"
|Looking adorable, that's what! I could never make that scarf work in my hair.|
The Favourites arrive via helicopters. No peasant boats for them! We get a recap of their previous Survivor moments, & then Jeff is on a huge rock. If you haven't seen this badass behind-the-scenes video that's been circulating, you MUST check it out. I don't think Tom Bergeron does this kind of thing.
The Fans are told they will be competing against returning players & they are way too happy about that. Sherri, in particular, cannot contain her enthusiasm & is absolutely starstruck as The Favourites make their entrances. I guess that's to be expected from someone who named her son after Colby Donaldson, but turn it down a bit, Sherri! Inside voices. Shamar proclaims it "Chowtime".
Jeff agrees, as we go straight into a Reward Challenge. A pair from each tribe will race through thigh-high water to grab a ring & be the first to get back to a flagpole. Winning tribe gets a flint & 20lbs of beans.
Brandon is excited: "Can I tackle someone? I wanna hit somebody really hard." He's not the only one who is hyper-aggressive - Shamar yells to Sherri, who is struggling with Brenda: "Break her wrist!"
|Break her hold, you guys. Gosh. Then it will be easier to drown her.|
So far, the men have been covering the men, the women covering the women. This time, with the match-up being Cochran & Francesca vs Matt & Laura, the Faves call out for Cochran to take on tiny Laura, & leave Matt to the Amazonian Francesca. "You think you can handle me, Cochran?"
|A showmance I can get behind.|
The Favourites now need one more win, & who's up to bat? Malcolm & Corinne against Reynold & Allie. And while every other person with long hair has tied their hair up, Malcolm has released The Hair, which virtually guarantees a win for him & swooning for us.
|Do I even need to tell you who wins? Besides us viewers?|
|This block was amazing.|
I'm with Erik, who enthusiastically shouts, "Go naked!" when Malcolm's shorts slip down. After a very physical match-up, Malcolm does, indeed, win it for his tribe. How huge is that for an unknown Favourite? Boom - new guy is an asset to the tribe. Even better, Malcolm's fierce look after a win is back.
|We're all winners today.|
Probst sends both tribes to their camps, instructing them to get busy on their shelters. The Fans dive right in, with Matt & Michael leading the construction. Allie & Laura walk up to Reynold who says "I've never seen 2 prettier sunburns." Barf.
Shamar isn't contributing to the shelter-build that the rest of the tribe is participating in. Shamar would rather stand & shake his head, whining that the fire is more important. "You guys are putting a lot of energy into shit we don't need right now. We need fire, man." Now, is this a confrontational-personality thing, or a recruit-who-doesn't-realize-this-is-an-awful-way-to-start-on-Survivor thing? Matt's response is, What's your point? Go work on fire, I'm working on the shelter. Shamar responds by shaking his giant head some more, & saying "What are you doing, though? What have you accomplished?"
|Well, for starters, they've made you a comfy soapbox.|
Over at The Favourites camp, they are having an easier go of it. Not us viewers, however, & at this point I would like to plead with CBS: NO MORE CLOSE-UPS OF PHILLIP'S JUNK, PLEASE.
With experience, a flint, & beans on their side, The Favourites focus on making alliances.
Francesca, Andrea & Dawn quickly agree to work together with plans to bring Cochran, Brandon & Phillip in.
Francesca, having previously been a first boot, is hoping to prove that she "can play this game...& be smart about it, & be competitive, & make the right relationships, & get along with people, & be a serious threat in this game." She begins by attempting to make amends with Phillip, who can't stand her, for whatever reason. "She annoys me greatly." I didn't understand his beef in Redemption Island, & I don't now.
"I don't know if he's gonna be gunning for me...I'm not gunning for him, so...if I am voted off first a second time, then I will eat this rock. It's not gonna happen."
|Aaaaaand here's where we all thought "oh no".|
Back at The Fan camp, the jury has reached a verdict on Shamar, or at least the role Editing has decided he will play: he's an ass. Shamar does a lot of watching everyone else work - not only on the shelter, but the fire as well, a cause that Shamar was so very passionate about. Shamar decides to let everyone else use all of their energy, take note of their mistakes, & then step in to save the day. I'm sad to say that Shamar's attitude & demeanor are tainting the wonderful memory of that day at the mall in 1996 when Shemar Moore called me "Freckles" & winked at me after I waited in a line for hours to see him. Now, I'm beginning to doubt Shemar's sincerity.
|Just kidding - "My girl!" is underlined TWICE. He totally meant it.|
After Shamar swooped in & got the fire going with Michael, Matt smoothed things over with him. "Sometimes you gotta give a guy the benefit of the doubt." Matt, even though we may look identical with our matching gingerbeards (more on that later), you're a better man than I.
Then we get a dance remix of the title music while turtles swim around. Seriously, tell me someone else noticed this. It's like hearing the Turning Tables remix. Nobody wants to dance to Adele's music; we want to cry to it. Same with this - there is no need for this.
At The Favourites' camp, Phillip reveals what he has learned from Boston Rob. The BR Rules, which need to be on a T-Shirt.
1. Be in an alliance.
2. Be in an alliance within an alliance.
3. Get rid of your alliance before it gets rid of you.
And by the way...you don't owe anybody anything. It's all about family.
Phillip sets to work on incepting the hell out of Survivor. The Alliance within the Alliance: Phillip (Stealthy Undercover Brother Specialist), Corrine (Dominatrix), Andrea (Eliminator) & Malcolm. The Outer Alliance includes Cochran (Intelligence), & Dawn. I think. It's all very confusing, & 2 people don't have nicknames, so are Malcolm & Dawn really an outer outer alliance? They're the plane, then there's the van, & then there's the hotel, with Phillip finally being the vault? And inside the vault? Erik. Phillip approaches Erik & lets him know that there's a majority alliance that he's not a part of. But he likes Erik, so he can join. But if he doesn't want to join, that's cool, too, although we'll cut you. Oh, & by the way, I'm just the messenger, so talk to the wrong person about this, & they will cut you. Erik laughs nervously & backs away slowly.
Over at The Fans' camp, Eddie & Reynold bond over their mutual handsomeness. Reynold approaches Allie, & they align. "I think it was serendipitous that I got paired up with Allie in the challenge. I knew that the guys would want to pair up with me, I knew that was gonna happen naturally, & there's no pressure for that. But what I needed, instantly, right away, was I needed it to be someone that's not obvious. And I think she's a not-obvious choice. She kind of flies under the radar. She's not the cutest, not the anything, she's just cool & there & likeable." First of all, Allie is totally cute. Secondly, ouch. Reynold continues, "Survivor is a game of gut instincts, & right now, my gut feels good, & I think hers does, too."
|Really? Because my gut is churning.|
Firefighter Eddie would never align with someone who's "not the anything". Hotness is the glue that binds Eddie with people, so now he is bonding with Hope. Wow, look at the stars, just like my bedroom ceiling when I was a child.
Looks just like this:
I mean, can you tell which one is the real night sky as seen with no light pollution?
"Me & Hope are 2 of the best-looking people here. You know what I mean? I'm not just saying that, that's how it is."
Ugh. Now Eddie is making me doubt that Eddie Cibrian meant his super-impersonal signature after another mall appearance, but Eddie Cibrian was actually more douchey, so I guess Eddie hasn't ruined anything. Fair enough. At least Survivor Eddie has an adorable lisp.
The Fans settle down for their first night's sleep in their shelter...let's hope Shemar is sleeping on the ground, protecting the fire or something.
Hey, ladies who aren't the anything, do I have some good news for you: Reynold will still make out with you! I guess the Survivors are still relatively clean & it hasn't been that long since they've brushed their teeth, but I still feel gross about Reynold & Allie making out. Allie should know better - she isn't a recruit, she's a superfan. I know I lumped her in with the YBBs (young, beautiful blondes) in my cast assessment, but based on her twitter, I thought she'd be very savvy & smart. There's no excuse for this. You get swayed by the handsome, & before you know it, you're voted out because there is no way your tribe will keep 1 of the 3 YBBs over a physical player. Not at this point. The only YBB that's standing out right now is Laura, who is showing a real understanding of the game, & seems to be the only YBB aware of the dangers of attaching yourself to someone so obviously.
At The Favourites camp, we finally get some Cochran. Unfortunately, it's because he's dying slowly. It looks like everyone's getting sunburned, but none as badly as Cochran. As a person of primary colour (a phrase Shawn Hitchins used & I LOVE), I can say unequivocally that we are FOR REALZ not meant for the sun. Overcast days are my jam. The Survivors have a supply of sunblock, but Caramoan is WAY too close to the equator for us pale redheads. The worst sunburn I've ever had blistered, & it was awful. Basically, I had a second-degree burn covering my shoulders & upper back. Was I frolicking too close to the equator? Nope - I got that severe sunburn in Toronto.
"I'm trying to put on a brave face, maybe make some self-deprecating comments around camp, like Oh yeah, I look like a lobster, I look like a freak, haha it's funny, but I'm actually in horrible pain right now. And I feel like crying, kind of, but, you know, I'm trying to stay strong." I FEEL YOU, COCHRAN.
Back to the Fans, we have - what the?
In the water, the pretty people are having an enlightened conversation. Hope says that outside of this game, she wouldn't hang out with these other people. Reynold, Eddie & Allie are quick to agree. Yes, we are the coolest. Reynold thinks their little alliance is gonna work out - it's meant to be, because he didn't even intend for it to be a cool kids hangout...it just happened. Like, OMG that is rad. Eddie says, "It's like the cool kid lunch table back in high school...I don't think anybody else is going to be at our table."
Wicked plan, cool kids, except for the fact that there's 4 of you, & 6 others on your tribe. It's totes sucky that nobody else is as cool as you guys.
I think it's fair to say that most people who still want to relive their high school days (or fall back into those personas) are the ones who peaked in high school. It's pretty sad. The rest of us have grown up & have relationships with people who aren't close replicas of ourselves. Crazy talk, I know. Maybe I'm a tad bitter - I'm sure you've all reached the conclusion that I was not, in fact, one of the cool kids in high school. Obviously, as I've just shared my high school fun-time activity of waiting in lines to meet Y&R actors at the mall.
Laura, Sherri, Julia & Michael make a quick alliance, as they can see the pretty people are segregating themselves as the cool kids, but Michael is thinking of the bigger picture. He wants to set himself up to be open for anything - as long as it's best for him. He & Matt have bonded over humour & not being asshats.
|"It's crazy - this thing on my leg is all bulbous...like a wizard's orb."|
"Bulbous like a wizard's orb"? Dying. I love the idea of Michael & Matt working together. Father, Smith, Warrior, Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger - I hereby seal these two souls, binding them together for eternity. Please let these two rule
Off to the Immunity Challenge, which will involve pairs racing up a structure to throw crates down. When all the crates are down, another pair will do a sand-bag toss. First tribe to land 6 sand-bags wins Immunity.
In a Challenge with fire poles, Probst doesn't disappoint: "Brenda flies down that pole!"
The Favourites lose their lead as Reynold comes back & wins Immunity for The Fans. A Favourite is going home first.
|The Hair was up & Malcolm didn't win. I'm just saying.|
The Favourites make their way back to camp, defeated, but at least Cochran is protected from the sun on this journey.
Cochran's in a fantastic position as he is well-liked & approached by everyone. Suck it, Jim Rice. Can you imagine the look on that douchebully's face as he watched this episode? Cochran has people bringing him gifts - a soaked buff from Corinne, who shows Cochran how to squeeze water onto his sunburnt head from above to get relief.
|"That is delightful!"|
Francesca wants to get Phillip out. Andrea likes Francesca, but feels more loyalty coming from Phillip. So she takes her pocket-sized self over to him & tells him everything. Brandon & Francesca talk strategy, & Brandon is calm & reasonable. What is going on here? Are Phillip's Survivor Inception BR Rules actually working? He even has an outer, outer, OUTER alliance with some local crabs.
|Phillip says he wants Francesca gone.|
|Her? Are you sure? She seems kind of awesome...|
|THE DECISION HAS BEEN MADE.|
Francesca is confident, but a little worried with so many conversations happening around her. "It seems pretty clear that Phillip is going to be the one to go. You know, of course I could be blindsided, I could be voted out first, twice, which would be the worst thing ever. Like, really the worst thing ever...we can't even talk about that possibility right now."
An adorable tarsier jumps into frame, but I am wise to your tricksy ways, tarsier. I know what's coming.
|Ermahgerd. Ser gerd.|
Cochran & Dawn are talking...I've spoken of my mixed feelings towards the much-beloved Dawn, but since then, she has informed me that she, like me, is a Mom of a Kai. She's coming for my heart-strings, you guys. She also offered to bake me bread, which I had to decline because it just wouldn't survive the trip. Let me make that clear - it's not because I'm above accepting bribes from Survivors. If Sherri feels so inclined as to offer free Haagen Dazs for a year, Sherri could very well become THE GREATEST SURVIVOR IN THE HISTORY OF SURVIVOR.
Anyway, Cochran & Dawn seem cool with each other, so I'm cool with Dawn. They decide to work together, as the swing vote. Cochran says, "I'm willing to work with her. She's honest to a fault, unless she's kind of reinvented herself over the past year & decided to play a much more cutthroat game, which actually she might be. The fact that she's willing to take out Franny, who she's confessed to really liking & wanting to work with indicates that this is a new Dawn."
I never realized how confusing The Favourites' names were going to be until this moment when everyone starts tossing out names & I have no idea if they're saying Brenda, Brandon, Franny or Andrea. Francesca has to give up her hope of voting Phillip out, as nobody trusts Andrea. The original plan of splitting votes in case Phillip has an idol is abandoned right before Tribal, with not much time to sort things out.
At Tribal Council, Phillip claims he could always pronounce Francesca's name properly - he just said "Francesqua" instead of using an "Explicative". I think that's a load of Francesqua.
Probst asks Cochran about votes changing at Tribal Council, & Cochran notes how Boston Rob would touch the shoulder of the person he wanted voted out. Then this happens, & it's amazing:
Time to vote, & wow, you guys are all really mean. Francesca's plan to prove she could be a serious threat in this game worked all too well as she is the first one voted out, for the second time.
Quite a first episode - what did you guys think? Is Phillip incepting his way to a powerful position?
Is Cochran more adorable than ever? Am I the only one loving Matt & Michael working together?
And never have there been so many contenders for the title of Douchey McTool - & so early in the game! Will it be Shamar, Reynold, or Eddie? So much doucheyness, only 1 title.
I also want to note that it looks like Probst is back to live-tweeting the season. This means behind-the-scenes insight, & also Probst-signed buffs. I'm super-excited because I won the first one of Season 26! Look, it's difficult to get on Probst's radar when he live-tweets - have you ever tried to follow his timeline? The other 2 buffs I've won have been for my LEGO recaps, so I thought another picture would be the way to go. I maneuvered my hair into this ginger beard to show support for Matt - it either caught Probst's attention, or he gave me a buff immediately so I would stop sending him this creepy photo (I had 20 more lined up in my drafts, ready to go - I meant it when I said I was GOING AFTER a buff.) My husband cannot stand this photo of me, & my Sister-in-Law literally recoiled in horror, but as I don't mind making myself look ridiculous for my love of Survivor, I will share it again:
|You want a buff? Consider investing in pink underwear.|
Tell me what you think, & don't forget to "Like" this blog on Facebook for the first notice when my recaps go up, & extra content!