“It’s time for Survivor!”
Those are among the four greatest words in the English language and it’s the phrase that I look forward to hearing at least twice a year. Last night, as Big Brother came to an ignominious end, the latest season of Survivor began. We watched as a whole new group of castaways arrived on the beaches of Fiji. Two tribes were formed. One tribe won immunity. One tribe went to tribal council and our first castaway was voted off of the island.
As I’ve always said, it takes a while to get to know people on Survivor. In fact, you usually don’t know who anyone really is until after the merge transforms the game from being a team competition into a personal one. Every season, I roll my eyes as people try to form an alliance on the first day. Those alliances never seem to last, do they? It takes a while to get to know who you can depend on.
This season, the new castaways were even more overshadowed than usual. Why? Because, unknown to everyone but one, Boston Rob and Sandra are in the game as well. They’re not competing this time. As both Jeff Probst and Rob made clear, they’re not going to compete in challenges. They’re not going to vote in tribal council. They’re not eligible to win a million dollars. Instead, Rob and Sandra are living on the “Island of the Idols,” where they will apparently be given advice and lessons to randomly selected castaways.
Last night, Elizabeth of the Lairo Tribe became the first to go the island. Rob and Sandra taught her how to make fire. Then Rob challenged her to a fire-making contest. If Elizabeth won, she would get an immunity idol that was good for the next two tribal councils. If Rob won, Elizabeth would lose her vote at that night’s tribal council. Foolishly, Elizabeth agreed to the challenge and, of course, she lost. Even though she lost, Elizabeth potentially learned an important lesson: Don’t be stupid.
Of course, then Elizabeth went back to her tribe and lied about what happened on the island. She said there were three urns and that she had to break one and …. well, obviously she didn’t learn her lesson. Does she not realize that other people are going to go to the island and discover that she’s been lying to them?
Fortunately, for Elizabeth, it didn’t matter that she didn’t have a vote last night because her tribe didn’t target her. Instead, professional poker player Ronnie was targeted and blindsided. Why was Ronnie targeted? A lot of it was his general attitude. He gave too many orders and he didn’t come across as being trustworthy and, foolishly, he tried to talk everyone into voting out two of the more likable members of the Lairo Tribe, Elaine and Vince. By a vote of 7 votes for Ronnie and 2 votes for Vince, Ronnie was voted off the island.
For what it’s worth, here are early impressions of this year’s cast:
(The Lairo Tribe lost immunity and it wasn’t even close. I get the feeling they’re going to lose a few more immunities before they get their act together.)
Ronnie — Ronie was voted out last night and he really only has himself to blame. When he should have been laying low, he was way too aggressive.
Elizabeth — Elizabeth is an Olympic swimmer. She’s a competitor but, as her actions on the Island of Idols showed, she doesn’t appear to have much common sense.
Missy — Missy is an air force veteran who is recovering from a brain tumor. She seems like she could be a strong player. She started the first all-girls alliance of the season. We’ll see how long this one lasts.
Dean — Dean didn’t make much of an impression.
Tom — Tom is the oldest person out there. He’s a former NHL player. He seems like he has chance to go far as everyone’s de facto father figure. As the oldest player, he does the run the risk of being voted out if the tribe starts to panic over losing too many immunity challenges.
Aaron — Aaron owns a gym. Aaron was totally left out of the Ronnie blindside. Aaron seems like he’s going to be kind of a jerk.
Vince — Vince is the first Hmong to ever play on Survivor. He’s a likable guy and a hard worker and he’ll probably be around for a while.
Elaine — Elaine seems like she’s going to be this year’s love-her-or-hate-her castaway. Your either going to respond well to all the bad jokes or she’s going to drive you crazy.
Chelsea — Who?
(Vokai dominated the immunity challenge last night and they seemed to be this year’s golden tribe.)
Lauren — Lauren is a nanny and that’s about all I remember about her.
Molly — Molly is a law student and she didn’t make a particularly huge impression last night.
Janet — Janet is the life guard that the tribe quickly nicknamed “Supermom.” She seems to have the same strengths (and weakness) as Tom on the Lairo Tribe.
Kellee — Poor Kellee! She had to deal with Creepster Dan last night.
Jason — I like Jason because he dressed up for the beach but he also immediately got on the majority of his tribe’s bad side by running off to look for an idol on the first day. That wasn’t a good move and he’s probably very lucky that Vokai won immunity.
Jack — Jack has a cool stoner vibe that I liked. He seems likable. We’ll see how far that can carry him in the game.
Nauro — I liked Nauro because she was the only person willing to let Jason know that the rest of the tribe was talking about voting him out.
Tommy — Tommy’s a 4th grade teacher and it seems like he’s decided that he’s the leader of the tribe. I thought Tommy came across as being a little bit condescending.
Jamal — Jamal didn’t make much of an impression.
Dan — Creepster Dan! So, Dan is currently my least favorite person on the beach. Between bragging about being a talent agent and then targeting Jason and then getting all creepy with the female members of the tribe, Dan has done enough that I’m hoping he’s not around too much longer.
We’ll see what happens! For now, Ronnie has been voted out and the Vokai Tribe is looking strong!
Yay! Survivor’s back!