We swoop in over an erupting volcano, spewing forth the remains of Survivors past. I think I see part of Jenna Morasca's ear. On the edge of the volcano, we find Jeff "Still Trying To One-Up Phil" Probst, who tells us that he is on the rim of Mount Yasur, a volcano that Jeff believes to be angry. So we're jumping right in with the anthropomorphizing, obviously. Jeff then confirms my suspicion that this is where the dead, such as Hatch and Sue Hawk, are buried. He explains that there are nine active volcanoes in the nation of Vanuatu, which I predict you had no idea was a nation until now. Or, you know, until CBS started advertising a few months ago. Vanuatu is indeed a country, and it's in the South Pacific, and it's an especially nice place for a holiday if you enjoy being burned with lava. Among other things, Jeff breaks the news that the island has "a fascinating history of cannibalism." Well, sure. Is there any other kind? Does any place on earth have "a ho-hum history of cannibalism"? No, I didn't think so.
Anyway, Jeff claims that "sorcery and black magic" are still commonplace, so that will be good for those who like to justify their voting decisions in strange ways. "It was sorcery!" they will say as their closest friends slink off to be sequestered. We watch our eighteen contestants (again with the expanded cast...bad trend, bad bad trend) who approach on a big sailboat. Jeff says they're "strangers, all from different walks of life," and now, they have to "create a new society." Which is what he always says, of course. My great hope at this point is that the hick-looking guy in the orange Bob Barker t-shirt will not suck, because that is a cool shirt. A plume of volcanic ash attempts to sneak up on Jeff as he explains that only one person will be around to claim the prize at the very end. All of the rest will have been eaten by then. Figuratively speaking, that (probably) is. Quick shots of all the contestants follow as the music swells with tension and time-wasting. And then there's Jeff again, on the edge of his volcano. "Thirty-nine days, eighteen people, one survivor!" Here we go again. And it's like they know how tired it's getting, from the voice at the opening of the music that sort of shouts. "AIIEEEEE!" Because, I mean...exactly.
Credits. Ah, jumping with ropes tied to your feet is in the credits. Wonder if that'll come up at all.
The boat's anchor drops. As the castaways anxiously look toward the shore of a typical, Survivor-type island, a bunch of guys in boats come paddling toward them through the water, shrieking and generally looking a little alarming. There are thirty or so of these little boats, so it's not just a couple of guys -- it's a flotilla. And it's definitely on the way. But then we see that among the flotilla is Jeff Probst on his very own canoe. He comes up to the castaways' boat and climbs aboard. The castaways all applaud happily, because they're still all clean and stuff and haven't yet begun to hate him. Jeff welcomes them to the game, and he tells them that before they can start, they have to be "granted access to the land." Oh, great. I can only imagine what this is going to entail. Jeff tells them that they'll be participating in a "tribal ritual," which is a "rite of passage." And which, I'll bet, nobody has performed without tourists present in the one hundred years before Burnett showed up. Just a guess.