Well, here we are — another season of "Survivor." And I guess the ratings weren’t great last season, because we have the worst gimmick yet for this season: Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty.
The opening remarks by the Survivors are as cliche as you’d expect. The Brains are super smart, the Brawns are super strong and the Beauties are super cute. They immediately typecast themselves and the other contestants.
Jeff tells the tribes how they are divided, and they all figure out which tribe they are pretty fast. Jeff then asks each tribe to pick a leader, right now, before they even have a chance to talk to each other. Beauty chooses LJ, possibly because he looks the oldest. Brawn chooses Sarah, who volunteers for the job. Brain chooses David because he’s wearing a snappy blazer (little do they know that he’s actually the owner of the Marlins and probably a good choice as leader).
The newly appointed leaders are immediately asked to choose the weakest in their group. LJ chooses Morgan, apparently because she’s hot, and he trusts "cute" more than "hot." No worries about mistaking them for the Brain tribe. Sarah, for Brawn, chooses Trish, who spoke up for Sarah being the leader. That leaves the Brain tribe, and David chooses Garrett.
But wait, there’s a twist! The three "weakest" people are still in their respective tribes, and they get to fly ahead to their beaches in a chopper, while everybody else has to walk. Jeff warns them that while the weather is nice now, it might be a wet season.
Garrett arrives at the Luzon (Brain) beach, and gets the chance to either help his tribe or help himself. If he helps his tribe, they get an extra bag of supplies, or if he help himself, he gets a clue to the Immunity Idol. Garrett has taken great offense to David choosing him as the weakest, even though he obviously chose Garrett because he’s a threat. So now Garrett is searching for the Immunity Idol and gunning for David.
Trish arrives at the Aparri (Brawn) beach with a whole lot more perspective, because she recognizes that she’s the oldest and smallest of the Brawn tribe. She is given the same choice as Garrett, and though she’s tempted by the clue, ultimately decides to help her tribe.
Morgan is at the Solana (Beauty) tribe, and she’s another grudge-holder and she also chooses to take the Immunity Idol clue instead of helping her tribe.
Well, at least Garrett’s choice worked out for him, because he finds the Immunity Idol. He’s still vowing to get rid of Garrett, even though the situation worked out in Garrett’s favor. Morgan is still looking for her tribe’s Idol when her tribe arrives, which looks really, really bad. And I don’t think she’s bright enough to talk her way out of this.
And I’m wrong, because she totally lies and tells her tribe that the choice she had to make was for the fishing gear and shelter supplies that they already have. Brice realizes that she’s probably pissed off at LJ, so that Brice takes the opportunity to get on her good side.
Beauty (who are pretty darn photogenic) actually do pretty well with getting a shelter ready and get a fire started fairly quickly.
Trish greets the rest of the Brawn tribe with no hard feelings, and immediately tells them that she chose the extra bag of rice over the clue for the Idol (as she should). Tony, a police officer, fully admits that he would have gone for the clue. They get down to building a shelter with no drama.
Cliff, a former NBA player, gets recognized right away, since he’s eleventy feet tall. Brawn just seems to be glad that he’s on their team. Sarah thinks that Tony is a cop, which he is, but for some reason he denies it and says that he’s in construction. Sarah, who is also a cop, can tell that he’s lying (and he’s a pretty bad liar) and now she’s got a target on him because he seems untrustworthy (and he totally is.)
The rest of the Brain tribe arrives at their beach, and J’tia, a nuclear engineer, starts giving really detailed instruction on how to build a shelter. She bosses everyone around, but doesn’t do much herself. The rest of the tribe looks really annoyed. And it doesn’t look like she’s all that good at shelter-building, anyway, as that shelter doesn’t look like it could support one person, let alone the whole tribe.
This challenge involves running a cart through an obstacle course, collecting treasure chests, and then solving a puzzle. At one point they have to completely disassemble their cart and then put it back together. Winner gets immunity and a fire making kit. Second place team gets flint, which is better than a kick in the head.
All three tribes are pretty even getting the first chest, but then Brawn pulls ahead and has all three chests before the other two are finished with the second. Now they have to take apart the cart, get all the parts and chests through an obstacle, and then put it back together. Brain tribe is not doing well, and seem to be arguing about the best way to do it (J’tia is still bossy.)
Brain tribe is still stuck while Brawn and Beauty are working on their puzzle. Jeff is letting them have it, too, calling their performance “the worst in the history of 'Survivor.'” They finally get to the puzzle portion, but it’s too late. Beauty wins, followed closely by Brawn. Brain is going to Tribal Council.
Can I call it now and say J’tia is going home? They may play around and try and make us think that it might be David or Garrett, but it’s totally going to be J’tia. She’s an easy choice everyone can agree on.
David totally overthinks things, and is thinking far too far ahead, and wants to get rid of Garrett because he’ll be a threat to David later on. Kass, the voice of reason, wants to get rid of J’tia in the name of tribe harmony. Kass then makes the mistake of telling J’tia that to her face. Garrett uses this opportunity to talk to J’tia and Tasha about getting rid of David. David also tries to get Spencer on board, but Spencer worries about David having an Immunity Idol.
Tribal Council time!
Fire is your life, blah, blah, blah. J’tia is all fired up, trying to save herself by talking a whole lot. If she had been this personable when they were building the shelter, she wouldn’t be on the block. It’s too bad, because I’m finding her likeable now, and she’s totally going home. Jeff brings up David picking Garrett and tries to stir up drama, but it doesn’t really go anywhere.
Votes are cast, votes are read and ... it’s David going home. Well, I got that wrong! Nice move, Garrett. Bye, David. Go cry on your big piles of money.
The episode keeps going, because they’ve got 700 people playing this season, and they’ve got to get rid of some of them.
Back at Brain camp after Tribal Council, Garrett and Spencer talk about their next move. They bring Kass into their group. Kass recognizes that she’s the swing vote, and takes the stance of “anyone but me” which has worked out for people in the past.
Over at Brawn, Woo and Cliff go fishing. They manage to tip the boat fairly quickly. Everybody loves Cliff, because he’s seems to be a super nice, easy going guy. Except for Tony, because he’s the opposite of that.
At Beauty, Brice is trying to analyze everyone; he thinks some are playing dumb (Alexis) and some are just plain dumb (Jeffra). Morgan thinks that Jeremiah likes-likes her, and sweet Jeebus I can’t take a whole season of this.
Trish thinks that Lindsey is not doing enough at Brawn. Is Trish overly critical, or is Lindsey just lazy? I think Tony is insane, because he’s building a spyshack (sorry a #spyshack) and he talks about a lion and killing the cubs and I sure wouldn’t want to have to sleep next to him, because he’s cray-cray.
This one is swimming, bamboo cages, fish traps, and, the great equalizer, a puzzle. Winner gets immunity and a fish kit (including a pan and spices); second place gets immunity and a smaller fish kit; Loser gets to go to Tribal Council.
Brawn, no surprise, is first to swim to the cages and get everybody in. All three tribes do well getting their ropes untied, and Brain begins to catch up, and they get to the puzzle first. Tony cut his foot dragging the puzzle pieces in, and there is blood all over their puzzle.
J’tia does the puzzle for Brain, and she sucks. Sarah comes from behind and wins for the Brawn tribe. J’tia is still at one piece when Beauty finally gets up on the beach and starts their puzzle. LJ is awesome, and he beats J’tia to come in second and avoid Tribal Council.
OK, I know I was wrong last time but J’tia is totally going home. There’s no way she’s not, and she knows it.
Crazy, paranoid Tony is convinced that there is a clue to the Immunity Idol in the deluxe fishing kit they got, and well, he’s right. Does that mean he’s not paranoid? Well, paranoid or not, he finds the Immunity Idol. He declares himself “King of the Jungle” and I’m worried that if he stays in this game for too long, he’s going to go full-on Lord of the Flies on us.
Back at Brain, everyone except Kass tries to avoid talking about who they should vote off. Tasha doesn’t want to talk about it in a group, because it’s kind of hard to backstab someone when you have to say it to their face. Garrett tries to outlaw side-talking, and tells everyone that they should only talk in a group. Has he ever watched "Survivor"? Because that’s not how you play. Tasha agrees with me. So does Spencer.
Kass and Tasha talk about getting rid of Garrett, and Garrett and Spencer come and check out what their talking about. While she’s left alone at the fire, J’tia pours all the rice on the fire. Bye J’tia. Kass and Tasha were totally going to save you, but good luck with that now, crazy.
Tribal Council time!
There is a lot of talk about why they decided to have an open forum instead of playing the damn game. Garrett thinks that he’s running this game, says a lot of stupid things, and manages to alienate both Kass and Tasha. If those girls are thinking fast, they will turn around and vote Garrett off now.
Voting time! We see Spencer and Garrett vote for J’tia, but none of the girls votes. And, every once in a while, this show is brilliant, because Garrett is going home! The look shared by Kass and Tasha when Jeff announces that Garrett is going home is nothing short of awesome.
Well, going into this season I was feeling a little sick of this show, but I’m totally on board again. They could get rid of the entire Beauty tribe except for LJ and I wouldn’t bat an eye, but I’m loving Woo and Cliff on the Brawn tribe, and Kass and Tasha just became my favorites.
Next week: Jeff warned us, but it looks like a really wet, miserable season.
Credits: Garrett was so blindsided that he didn’t even bring the Immunity Idol to Tribal Council, and it’s still hidden back at the Brain camp. Awesome.