By Beth Aaltonen
9:08 AM EST, February 14, 2013
It's "Survivor" time again, and, this time, we're in the Caramoan Islands. It's Fan Vs. Favorites this season, which means 10 regular contestants and 10 returning contestants.
All of the promos I've seen for this season have played up the crazy, namely Brandon and Philip and a little bit of Cochran thrown in, but I have no idea who the rest of the Favorites are.
Jeff spends a little time talking about the Fans, but really, we don't know them from a hole in the ground, so without much further ado, it's time for the Favorites.
Here they are:
Malcolm -- From only last season, he's back because, well, everybody loves him and he's good for ratings.
Cochran -- From "Survivor South Pacific," he's promoted as betraying his tribe, but they hated him and were really mean to him, so who can blame him? Got him a little further in the game, but not enough.
Dawn -- Also from Cochran's season, who was too nice to take the opportunity to make it further in the game. We'll see how she does this season.
Brenda -- I didn't watch her season, but apparently she used her looks to get further in the game. But it didn't work? I'm confused.
Erik -- A fan during the first Fan vs. Favorites, He made the super-stupid mistake of giving away immunity and paid the price for it.
Brandon -- Also from Cochran's season, I'm assuming he's still accompanied by his Crazy, which is large enough to get it's own persona. I hope he's not as close to a mental breakdown as he was the last time.
Andrea -- I also didn't watch her season, but she was pretty and went out too soon?
Corinne -- Looks like she made it to the jury, and she was super bitter. She was a favorite?
Phillip -- I've only heard about his crazy. We'll see.
Francesca -- Her main purpose here seems to be that she will make Phillip's crazy come out. (I don't know yet whether Phillip is capital "C" crazy. We'll see.)
We head back to the Fans, and we see shots of crocodiles, interspersed with shots of the Fans looking into the water, but, based on the Fans reactions, there aren't actually any crocodiles, since there isn't any screaming. That's what I would be doing, anyway.
The Fans seem way too happy to be playing against the Favorites. Why would you want to play against someone who has been through the game before? Malcolm is going to have a big ol' target on his back real soon, both from the Fans and the Favorites.
They start right out with a Reward Challenge. Survivors go head to head, and battle it out in the water over a life preserver ring. It's basically the mud wrestling challenge from last season, but in the water. The producers are certainly stirring the pot early this year. Oh, wait, it's 2 on 2, so there is a little bit more strategy involved and a little less brutality than the mud wrestling.
Oh, wait, that was only when Dawn was playing. Now we're back to full-on wrestling. And wow, Phillip might be crazy, but he's also crazy strong. And I don't think Malcolm has been out of this game long enough. He flat out takes down the Fan he's up against (not sure of his name, but he looks like he's the new Malcolm of this season.)
Malcolm might have been spending a little too much time in Survivorworld and not the real world, is all I'm saying.
The Favorites get the job done, and win the first Reward Challenge. They get flint, and 20 pounds of beans. That's going to be a huge advantage, strength and energy-wise.
Both teams head to their respective beaches, and Shamar, an Iraqi War Veteran, has already had to come to grips with the fact that he's not in charge and that he can't make people do what he wants.
Wow, he's going to get frustrated with people real quick. And why did he think he would get to be in charge? Matt, a BMX Bike Sales guy, who also has an insane beard, wants to get the shelter done right now.
Shamar is already telling Matt to stop making a shelter and concentrate on fire. Matt points out that not everybody needs to be making fire, and that they need a shelter too. Matt also points out that Shamar hasn't lifted a finger, and he's right. Shamar spouts off a bunch of stuff, and wow, that's the fastest someone has ever gotten on my "I don't like you" list.
At the Favorites camp, Malcolm realizes that he needs to keep a low profile and just get to know people. And look, the people who have been through this game before are getting down to building a shelter. Of course, they do have a flint, so fire is not really a concern for them. Francesca still thinks Phillip is crazy, but isn't going to let it get to her.
Francesca, Andrea, and Dawn are already talking alliances. Since all of them (I think) got screwed by not being in the right alliance quick enough the first time, I can see why they want to get squared away as soon as possible.
Back at the fans camp, Shamar is still sitting around and judging the people who are actually doing stuff. However, it seems that he actually knows what he's talking about in regards to getting the fire going. With his eventual help, they get a fire started. OK, so he did a good job about that, but his smugness afterwards ruined it for me. Less talking, more doing, and I might take him off my "I don't like you" list.
Phillip has apparently been taking notes from Boston Rob, and he has Boston Rob rules. His BR rules mostly center around being in an alliance, and then being in an alliance within an alliance. I don't know if Phillip can pull off being charming while being an asshole simultaneously, which was one of Boston Rob's strengths. And it already isn't working with Erik, who's creeped out by Phillip.
Back at the Fans camp, the two strong good-looking guys (Reynold and Eddie? maybe?) form an alliance because people will be out to get them. And then Reynold picks the blonde girl with the neon T-shirt (Ally? I could use some name titles, here) to also be in their alliance because she's "not the prettiest or the smartest" but she is nice.
Gee, I wonder what she's going to think when she sees this, douche. Meanwhile Eddie is allying himself with Hope, because he thinks that she is the prettiest.
And Reynold and Ally are sticking to their plan of not drawing attention to themselves by totally snuggling in the shelter on the first night. Sigh. Some people seem like they don't even want the million dollars.
Go figure, it's hot in the tropics. Cochran, despite having played this game before, is surprised by this, and has also managed to get himself severely sunburned. Don't they provide the Survivors with sunscreen? Otherwise how has no one else gotten burned like this before?
Reynold just referred to himself, Ally, Eddie, and Hope as "the cool kids." And they sit in the water, congratulating themselves on their coolness, while the rest of the tribe basically forms an alliance around them.
Matt and Michael, who at this early stage are both on my Tentative Like list, decide to form an alliance within their alliances and vote together. Works for me.
Immunity Challenge time! See, Jeff agrees with me; Cochran's sunburn is the worst he's ever seen on Survivor. There's a big ol' four-story scaffold-type structure, and the tribes have to retrieve crates, toss them over and break them to get the sandbags inside. The sandbags have to go in targets; first one done wins.
The race is pretty even throughout the crate-breaking portion, but thanks to Brandon and Andrea, the Favorites take the lead at the fourth and last level. Malcolm is tossing for the Favorites, which, good choice, he's pretty accurate, and the Favorites have three of their six before the Fans even start. Reynold really is the new Malcolm, though, as he comes from behind to win it for the Fans.
So the Favorites are going to Tribal Council. We haven't spent too much time on strategy drama, but there is still a half hour left in the show, so there's plenty of time for that.
I call Phillip, and Francesca and Cochran agree with me. We'll see, though, because the editing monkeys will never let us know for sure. Cochran, despite the sunburn, is already having a much better time than he did during "Survivor South Pacific," mostly because people are actually being nice to him and talking to him.
Andrea feels like Francesca isn't keeping her in the loop enough, so she goes to Phillip and talks to him about voting Francesca out. Um, didn't you agree to be in an alliance with her yesterday? Couldn't you talk to her before jumping ship like that?
There's a lot of back and forthing with everyone, but basically, it's going to be either Phillip or Francecsa, and we'll see where everyone falls out. It seems that Cochran and Dawn have decided to work together, which could be good for both of them.
Wait? Now it might be Andrea? What's going on with that? Erik and Brandon came up with it, and it's so close to Tribal Council that Francesca feels like there's no time to convince them against them. I think for a bunch of people who have played this before, they are all running around like chickens with their heads cut off. And what's Malcolm doing? We haven't seen him at all.
Tribal Council time! I'm thoroughly confused as to what's going on, so we'll just have to see how the vote goes. It's all pretty pleasant, until Phillip and Francesca get into it, and then it just gets all tedious, and can one of them please go home because I can't stand the two of them together at all.
Votes are in, and the first three are for Andrea, then the next three are for Francesca, but, ultimately, it's Francesca who goes home. I'm a little sad, because she seemed smart and kicked butt in challenges. On the other hand, her name was annoying to type, so that's a plus for me at least.
Next week: Brandon lets the crazy out a little.
Credits: Francesca can't believe she went home first again, but is very gracious about it.
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