Survivor: Caramoan – Fans v FavouritesThu 7:30pm, GO!
It’s happening! It’s happening! Survivor is back on TV and in our hearts. Sweeping views of exotic islands. Ocean. Turtles. RAFT. There’s a beardy guy. There’s a former soldier. There’s a blonde girl who looks about twelve. On a boat. Going to the island! WHERE THEY’RE GOING TO PLAY SURVIVOR!

I don’t do too well in the Survivor off-season, as you might be able tell. Back for another go at a million dollars are ten returning players. The newbies are arriving on the beach, where the effortlessly cool Probst waits for them. I hope Bernard Curry is watching this.

The man with glasses attempts to alight from the boat like Bear Grylls might, but instead falls over, nearly losing his hipster-y straw hat. He looks like he’s in his forties but is still super cool and all his friends are like, in their twenties, man.

Probst welcomes them and announces that they will be playing against 10 returning players. Only those who cannot count to 20 are surprised. A helicopter carrying the formidable Favourites lands.

Malcolm: My Malcolm! Good at many things. Friendlier version of Ozzy. Come fresh off the last season, he’s had almost no break from the game but has the advantage that none of his team has seen him play.
Cochran: The nerd who tried to reclaim his manliness by betraying his team of bikini ladies and alpha males. Says funny things.
Brenda: pretty , strong and intelligent, she never had a chance
Erik – Nice boy with Farrah Fawcett hair who gained infamy by handing over an individual immunity necklace during a Tribal Council and rewarded, of course, by being immediately voted out.
Brandon: Russell Hanz’s nephew, intent on restoring the Hanz name to respectability. Despite seeming like a fairly nice fellow, he only managed to add aggressively devout, sexist, intensely emotional, erratic and paranoid to the Hanz name.
Andrea: Passive-aggressive and flirtatious but very smart
Corinna: Don’t remember her. Called someone an unemployed leech?
Phillip: Former federal agent. Cray cray. If you don’t know the Specialist, you will soon enough.
Francesca: Voted off first in her season because she was strategic Phillip didn’t like her.
Dawn: Goody two shoes. Betrayed by Cochran in her season so probably has some I-forgive-you brownies for him in her bag.

Everyone gets claps and cheers. One lady is especially excited to see Dawn, calling out her name almost tearfully. Brenda is labelled “SO DANGEROUS” a Brandon appears to cries of “OMG, that’s Russell’s NEPHEW.”

Allie: Blonde, pretty.
Hope: Twelve years old.
Julia: I don’t remember her existing but Wikipedia insists she’s there.
Eddie: Firefighter frat boy.
Laura: Seems intelligent. Pretty.
Sherri: Fake tan?
Matt: Very beardy man. At least 65% beard.
Michael: Fashionable glasses!
Shamar: Iraqi war vet
Reynold: Token Alpha male successful lawyer/real estate agent/stockbroker.

First challenge straight up, for fire and beans. One pair from each tribe will race to a life-saving ring. The first one to drag it back to their flagpole scores the point.

The returned players are not the elite players that we have formerly seen return for a second chance, effortlessly smashing newcomers with their physical strength and strategic mastery. While adept at the game, the casting seems to be offering a chance at redemption for some of the sillier mistakes made. Yes, Erik. You.

Everyone is horrified to discover that Phillip has brought new pink undies for the season… can’t wait til they get all saggy.
The first challenge however, is an easy win for the Favourites. Erik is just dropped by the powerful Shamar but the favourites quickly score five points to win immediately afterwards. The best part is by far when Dawn tries out some smack talk. It’s like hearing your Sunday School teacher swear. For some people it probably is hearing their Sunday School teacher swear.

At one point of the challenge, Shamar encourages one of his teammates to break an opponent’s wrist. Everything freezes and Probst swivels in silent amazement. A slightly embarrassed Shamar clarifies that he meant to break the hold, not the bone. Sure you did, kid.

The Favourites win flint and beans. The Fans win not having to live with Phillip’s undies.

Everyone heads to their camps. Shamar is annoyed at being on a team with losers. They all seem keen to do some camp things. Reynold wants water. Matt wants shelter. Shamar wants fire.

Shamar has a go at Matt because Matt wants to build a shelter so they’ll have a shelter. Shamar wants to sit down and do nothing. Shamar tells him that they’re all going to get dehydrated and die so he’s going to do the noble thing and sit down for everyone. Matt is annoyed. Can’t think why. Shamar tells him to shut up. Good casting, CBS.

Everyone starts helping with the shelter so Shamar complains that they need fire to make water so he can sit more comfortably. He was a MARINE.
The Favourites are kicking off their shelter as well, clearly too inexperienced to know what they should be doing is sitting quietly. Phillip’s grand plan is to point the shelter at the ocean so he can have sea views. Brenda suggests he could just turn his head, clearly under the impression that Phillip can take even the tiniest of criticisms. Rookie.

Francesca swings straight into game mode. She heads off in the jungle to align with Andrea and Dawn. She’s determined to not go home first. In an extremely patient display, she begins by trying to make peace with Phillip. He graciously gives her the silent treatment for a while then condescends to give her a longwinded lecture on teamwork and being useful.

Francesca promises to eat a rock if she goes home first.

Back at the Fans camp, everyone is working hard to make fire while Shamar sits, fanning himself and scoffing. He explains to camera that they’re all idiots and he’s actually doing the hard work by observing them and cataloguing their mistakes. His plan is to saunter in at the end and have immediate success, winning the adoration of the tribe. Infuriatingly, he saunters in at the end and has immediate success, winning the adoration of the tribe.
Phil is excited about his team. He has a plan for victory, based on something he calls the BR (Boston Rob) Rules. It has to be said, crazy as Phillip is, nothing has come even close to Rob’s Mafia Family style of play and it’s the best strategy going. He begins by building a 6-person alliance comprising of Malcom, Corinna, Cochrane, Andrea, himself and Erik. The Specialist, Dominatrix, Eliminator, and Intelligence attaché are some of the colourful Phillip nicknames that accompany this strategy. We can no doubt expect to hear a lot more of these.

Everyone’s dead keen to work with Phillip which is weird. He’s taking a liking to Erik and during a moment alone, offers him berth in the alliance. Erik is wary of Phillip and his hesitation flips Phillip immediately into paranoia. He basically threatens to have him voted off if he doesn’t jump on board. He then flies into a rage and starts insisting that he’s just the messenger and Erik better not out him as the mastermind if he knows what’s good for him. Erik is frightened, offended and angry. He will not be working with the Specialist.

Back at the Fans camp, someone has remembered what game they’re playng. The two frat boys – Reynold and Eddie – have joined together on the premise that their pecs and swagger were spiritually attracted to each other.

Reynold then makes an alliance with the slim, beautiful Allie, which is strategic apparently, because she’s not obvious, he explains. She’s not the cutest girl out here… she’s not really anything. She’s just there, and likable. What a guy. They agree to play it cool and not be too nice to each other around camp.

Night falls and Eddie the fireman and Hope the twelve year old are stargazing. They agree that as the two best looking people in the game, they need to work together. Eddie’s not trying to be vain, it’s just how it is. Seriously. This is a conversation they are having. On television. You can almost hear the barely contained jubilation of the producers at this unbelievable show arrogance so early in the show. Eddie is very excited about the arrangement. He says he’s there to have a good time and he’s not planning to slow down with his “little Southern Belle”. Cut to night time sleepy time and Reynold has decided that he doesn’t mind that Allie’s not the cutest. The snuggling is intimate, to say the least.

The following morning Cochran is showcasing some unbelievable sunburn. His feet are crazy swollen. In his first season, Cochran flailed in a team full of cool guys but with this little band of “cool misfits”, his brand of quick wit is going down a treat.

The frat boys and their ladies over at the Fans camp have decided to forego any kind of strategy or intelligence or social game or self-control and are chilling out in the water, ignoring all the ‘ugly’ people and exalt in their self-awarded social status. They laugh about how it’s just like high school and they’re so totally the cool kids at the cool table, and like, they can’t help it and pretty sure no one else is going to earn the right to eat lunch with them… seriously. As fans, aren’t they supposed to have, you know, seen the show before? Do they think 4 is a majority in a tribe of 10? Oh, my goodness, they think 4 is a majority in a tribe of 10…

So the majority of the team are back on the beach, discussing how to best eject the snuggling, snobbing, self-involved couples. They form an alliance. Michael is in on it but explains that he wants to keep himself free to be “hip” in either direction. He so wants to go sit at the cool kids table. But he offers his allegiance first to Beardy Matt. Matt seems to like Michael but is unwilling to discuss strategy until it’s relevant. Like, maybe if they get into a situation where they’re playing a game for a million dollars. OH WAIT. THAT’S NOW. HAVE THEY NOT SEEN THIS SHOW BEFORE?

Challenge time. Probt admires Cochrane’s sunburn. We admire Probt. Working again in pairs, the teams must climb through a scaffolding-y tower with ladders for up and fireman poles for down to retrieve wooden boxes of sandbags and smash them on the ground below. When all have been retrieved, one team member will attempt to throw six sandbags into six holes. Winners get immunity and flint, if you didn’t win it yesterday.

The challenge is close almost all the way through. The Favourites briefly enjoy a twenty second lead, thanks to Brandon and Andrea towards the end. Malcolm looks poised to clinch a second victory for the Favourites team. Suddenly Reynold arrives to begin throwing sandbags into holes like he’s been doing nothing but throw sandbags into holes his entire life. Fans win flint and a night off. Favourites are off to Tribal.

Back at camp, Cochran is enjoying his new role as the delightful and loved humourist. Francesca is pretty sure that kicking off Phillip is a good idea, cause he so crazy. Andrea likes Francesca but decides – for no discernable reason – to betray her and go with the Phillip alliance instead. Dawn and Cochran decide to be friends. The general consensus seems to be that Francesca is brilliant and Phillip is crazy and everyone seems to prefer playing with crazy.

The scrambling is far too hard to chart, but basically, everyone freaks out and threatens to vote out everyone else. The challenge wasn’t a loss due to weakness and they’re all confident in their ability to survive so it’s pure strategy straight away. Brandon doesn’t trust Andrea, Phillip hates Francesca, Erik is frightened of Phillip and Cochran is just pleased that nobody hates him.

Tribal council. Probt rehashes the Phil vs Frannie incident from their season, highlighting the probability that one of them is going home. Phillip calls Francesca out as strategic. Probst points out that it’s interesting that she’s attracting so much attention when she has only three days of experience playing the game. Everyone admits to the intense paranoia that has gripped the camp. It’s votin’ time!

THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN. In a devastating blow for anyone who doesn’t think they can handle another season of saggy pink undies, Francesca goes home first, for the second time. It’s pretty devastating for her. She wasn’t dysfunctional enough, though, so I don’t care.
SIX SLEEPS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!