The shtick this season is "Blood vs. Water" which means that former contestants are returning and they're bringing a loved one along to play, too. Some of the returning contestants you definitely remember -- Gervase, Tina, Rupert (blech!), Colton (double blech!) and Kat -- and some you might not. Laura? Candice? Monica? Aras? Tyson? I mean, you probably remember them if you are enough of a fan that you actually read this recaps, but I don't know if the casual viewer would. Anyway, each pair is dropped off on a beach with minimal instructions.
After spending the night in the jungle, the pairs meet up with Probst, who informs them that they will be competing against their loved ones, not with them. The returnees are Galang and the newbies are Tadhana. Once they get buffs, Probst tells them that they now have to immediately vote someone out. The newbies earn my love by immediately voting out Rupert's wife, Laura. HA! That was great. The returnees split their votes between Candice and the returning Laura from Samoa, with Candice getting the majority. As she's getting voted out, I remember who she is. Then Probst tells Laura Rupert (to distinguish her from the other Laura) and Candice that they are going to Redemption Island. But before they go, Probst offers to let their loved ones switch places and go to Redemption Island instead. Rupert, of course, immediately switches places because he's got to act like the hero. And now Laura Rupert is in with the returnees. So now Candice's husband looks like a dick if he doesn't do it, right? He tries to sell it with the "my wife is a tough woman and she can handle it," which is a nice angle. I am rooting for Candice so, so hard. And even more so after Rupert dramatically crushes his voting tablet. God, I can't stand him.
Over on the newbie tribe, Brad (Monica's husband) feels vulnerable because when they were all gathered, he indicated that he might feel like throwing a challenge so that his wife could stick around. He immediately lets his tribe know that he's not planning on throwing a challenge, and if they ever see him dogging one, they can vote him out. Then he runs around and creates a five-man alliance with the other men, although he has a little trouble with the math when trying to explain it to the camera. The other guys are happy to let him take the lead, since that puts a target on his back.
The challenge involves a water-based obstacle course and then untying a boat and paddling it to shore where the rest of the tribe solves a puzzle. Gervase still can't swim and slows his team way down. Not sure why they thought he should be in the water. The newbies take a long time untying their boat, but they are way better at paddling so they get back to shore first. But Galang whips through the puzzle and wins immunity. Gervase gloats after his tribe wins, and it gets noticed.
At Tribal Council, no one says anything very interesting and then Marissa gets voted out, because A) She's not in the male alliance and B) Her uncle gloated, I guess? It seems like a fairly random vote, but the early ones often are. And now she heads to Redemption Island.
Think you've got game? Prove it! Check out Games Without Pity, our new area featuring trivia, puzzle, card, strategy, action and word games -- all free to play and guaranteed to help pass the time until your next show starts.
Boy, I'll say this for Survivor: for all of the (often deserved) crap the show takes for the ridiculous twists and potential producer manipulation, the camera work and editing is priceless. The vistas they are showing in this opening are amazing. Thank God they finally went to HD. Anyway, Jeff Probst says in a voiceover that ten pairs of castaways are approaching this season's location, but instead of all going in one boat or airplane, each pair has their own transportation. Some are in a boat, while some in a car. They really missed an opportunity here to just have each mode of transportation be more ridiculous: hot air balloon, mule, rickshaw, Segway, Fred Flintstone car. I would pay good money to see Rupert in a Fred Flintstone car, running through the jungle. Anyway, each pair consists of a returning player and his or her loved one, but they don't know that they will be on separate tribes, not together.
First up is Gervase from the first season, and his niece Marissa. Gervase is sure he's going to win this time around, and Marissa says she's going to win. Gervase agrees that she's driven, but she's also new. This will be a theme: the advantage that the returning players have. But, I don't know how much of an advantage it will be. You'd think the returning players never shut up about their experiences, right? I'm sure Rupert has given many a lecture over the breakfast table about how important it is to build a shelter right away.
Kat from Survivor: One World is playing with her boyfriend, Big Brother winner Hayden. I have watched every season of that show, and I barely remember him. He won? I just looked at the cast picture from the season and I vaguely remember him. I guess he just got overshadowed by Brenchel. (Blech!) Anyway, Kat points out that he's already won a show and now it's her turn. So why did you bring him if you don't want him to win at all?!
Laura is from the Samoa season, I guess. I don't remember her either. I think there might be something wrong with my brain because I just watched Laura's original elimination on YouTube and I barely remember any of those people. Anyway, she's playing with her daughter Ciera. Laura is worried that she won't be able to handle seeing her daughter suffer.
Rupert is back with his wife, Laura. I can't imagine why anyone would marry Rupert. Can you imagine how bad his beard smells? Probst refers to Rupert's "legacy"…like, don't encourage him. Laura says this has always been about Rupert and "Rupert, Rupert, Rupert." Do I sense dissension in the ranks? I wish Laura would just kick him to the curb. Ugh, I can't stand him.