Aaaaand...credits! Outwit, outplay, outlast. We are in Season 12. I think it's safe to say the "outlasting" part is taken care of.
The producers really, really like that skull hut with the flag on top of it, because we are looking at it again. And then we are in the clearing, and Jeff and his adventure hat call in the newly arrived survivors. They have, I'm sure, made it off their boats without any assistance that would look appropriately studly if shown on television. No, sirree, it was all jumping! Leaping cleanly from their boats and landing soundly in the sand! Even if you didn't see it! The four tribes assemble on their four separate mats, four people to a tribe. A young blonde actually winks at a nearby stud. Or possibly, she just blinks, and she has one of those personalities where blinking comes off like winking. I've known those people. I don't like them.
Jeff starts off by asking a large-breasted black woman named Cirie what she thinks of the way the teams are split up. "It looks like 'younger, older,'" she says, gesturing first toward the other group of women, and then toward her own group. Jeff then asks a bandanna-wearing shaggy-haired fellow named Shane if he agrees, and he says he does. "It'll be interesting," he says. "I don't think this has ever happened before." Clearly a student of the game, young Shane. (Well, younger than the rest of them. He's thirty-five. He's two weeks younger than I am, making me officially an oldster. Get me my broom; I'm a-fixin' to teach somebody a lesson!) Jeff confirms that the groups are split by age and gender. When Cirie hears her tribe referred to as "the older women," Cirie kids on the square with Jeff about how she "thought [she] was younger." In an interview, we learn that she is a nurse, and that she isn't happy about being stuck with the old ladies. Because if there's anything you want in a nurse, it's the ability to limit one's fears to truly unnatural physical transformations, such as aging.
We then cut to an interview with Austin, a writer who declares that he would "certainly prefer to have some females" on his team. Two observations: I cannot tell you how many times my eyebrows have popped up on this show at a caption that looked like "Writer," only to find that it said, "Waiter." It used to happen with Bobby Jon all the time. Who doesn't like a hot writer, after all? So when I realized that Austin's caption really is "Writer," I was most encouraged. Second: No guy you want to spend more than five minutes with has ever referred to women as "females." ["WORD. Oh, such a peeve of mine, that is." -- Wing Chun] It's not quite up there with the despised term "ladies," but it still has that whole feel, like the guy's going to check your teeth and buy you a chew toy. What's worse, Austin says he has a tendency to "flirt with basically any female [he comes] into contact with." It is right around here that I begin to remember all the reasons why, in my experience, writers are emphatically better choices in theory than in practice.