Survivor
The First Exile

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Banished! Stand Over There!
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

WARNING: recap contains simulated human skulls.

We open in the darkest corners of Tippi Hedren's permanently damaged psyche, where countless birds swarm overhead as they ponder what appetizer will best go with your particular eyeballs. An artful fade takes us from the voracious birds to the ghostly visage of a human skull. From the skull, we move to a small, round, very green island in the middle of a vast expanse of blue water. There's a sort of darkly seafaring, possibly pirate-influenced mood being developed here. I think they got this montage from a Dateline special about how Captain Crunch died.

Considering the air of certain doom hanging over the intro, it's a bit anticlimactic when Jeff "I Quit! Take The Reins, Morasca! ...Just Kidding!" Probst tells us that we are off the coast of Panama. Apparently, the rest of the isolated part of the world is closed for lunch, so we have been forced to return to a spot where we have already been twice. I guess once you've put in a swimming pool for the head of the local set-builders' union and sent the tourism minister's kids to college, there's no reason not to get the maximum return on your investment. Jeff explains that the "remote island" we are looking at, which features what looks like a Sharper Image playhouse in the shape of a skull, will be important to the game. It is already important, of course, to the dream I will be having later, in which a parade of reality-show contestants feeds upon the flesh of the living.

"This," Jeff says, "is Exile Island." I love how there's a caption that reads simply, "Jeff Probst." Because honestly, if you haven't ever seen the show, then you don't care who Jeff Probst is and he might as well be labeled "Danny Bonaduce" for all you know. (Oh, stop. If you haven't ever seen this show, you don't know that's not Danny Bonaduce.) On the other hand, if you have seen the show, then you already know who Jeff Probst is. There is literally, I submit, not one person who is assisted by that caption. It's not like it even reads "Jeff Probst, Spiritual Advisor," or "Jeff Probst, Ineffectual Doof," or "Jeff Probst, Cradle-Robbing Indiana Jones Wannabe," or "Jeff Probst, Judgmental A-Hole," or something that would help people get oriented. Nope. Just the name. In case you want to give him a call later.

We see the skull...AGAIN. At this point, according to the "a gun in first act must reappear in third act" principle, I will be disappointed if, sometime during the course of the season, there is not a ritual sacrifice including the serving of soup out of bowls made of opposing noggins. Now that would be a reward. ("Immunity...back up for grabs! Those of you who were beheaded last time will really have to step up this week in order to stay competitive.") What's more, the footage is arranged so that there is an illusion that the skull spontaneously catches fire. Nothing like an outbreak of hellfire in your sinus cavities. Better than Sudafed to cure what ails you, and you can't make meth out of it. There is also howling, lightning, and a brief shot of...a mummified mountain man? I'm not sure.

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Survivor

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