The show opens with a sweeping view of what a title card informs us is Switzerland. There are a lot of pine trees and mountains. I don't see any chocolate, though. Anderson Cooper voice-overs that "our journey begins in the Swiss Alps, where the fourteen players are sequestered in a five-hundred-year-old castle." Some on-screen text informs us that it's called Castle Tarasp. I hope this isn't too much detail for you, but the producers said that they would be inserting more obvious clues into the episodes this season, so I'm trying to include any details that may be helpful. Some people noted in the forums that there is an X on the castle, and there is, on the first floor. I don't know if that means anything, though.
Fourteen players sit in a room, blindfolded. Anderson welcomes them and comments that they must be disoriented, but that it's only going to get worse. Anderson commands them to remove their blindfolds. The players follow his command (and who wouldn't? He's kind of hot), and then some of them look around at their competitors. The only person I noticed wasn't really looking around was Al.
The credits begin. I'm only going to recap them for this first episode, for those of you who didn't watch last season. Anderson explains that the fourteen players "will have to work together to earn money that, in the end, only one of them will win." One of the players is The Mole, a double agent working for the producers. At the end of each episode, all of the players will take a quiz about the identity of The Mole. The player who scores lowest on the quiz is "executed, and sent home immediately." The players will have a chance to earn up to one million dollars over the course of the series. Can anyone, anywhere, say the words "one million dollars" without at least slightly conjuring up Dr. Evil? No, not Will from Big Brother. The Austin Powers Dr. Evil.
Anderson lists off the players as follows:
- Al, 33, a distribution manager from Selden, New York
- Katie, 25, a Spanish teacher from Penacook, New Hampshire
- Ali, 26, a nurse from Chicago, Illinois
- Bill, 58, a retired rear admiral and surgeon from Oak Harbor, Washington
- Myra, 46, an airline pilot from San Diego, California
- Dorothy, 24, a musician from New York, New York
- Bob, 25, a financial consultant from Redlands, California
- Bribs, 23, a ski instructor from Austin, Texas
- Darwin, 30, an attorney from New York, New York
- Patrick, 51, a city manager from Plainsboro, New Jersey
- Heather, 25, a PR account supervisor from Dallas, Texas
- Elavia, 26, a sales representative from Passaic, New Jersey
- Lisa, 30, an assistant U.S. attorney and Comiskey Park beer vendor from Chicago, Illinois
- Rob, 22, a magician and videographer from Rochester Hills, Michigan