Starts with four teams of four, arranged by age and sex. We might call them the old pharts, the old bags, the young gals and the young studs. They arrive at Exile Island, where one player or another will be periodically marooned. Jeff starts them off with a reward challenge; three of the tribes will get fire, while one will not only lose out on the fire, but will also have one of their members stranded on the island.
The challenge is to race to the other end of the isle, smash skulls, and look inside for an amulet. The young studs and the old pharts finish early, and it's down to the two female teams. When somebody finally arrives back, it's one of the old bags. The young gals get the disadvantage to start.
Typical young women, though, they can't accept that it's fair for the gal who ran the challenge to stay behind, and Misty (who was not the runner) loses a game of rock/paper/scissors. She's stuck behind. But Probst is not done. He explains that somewhere on the island is an immunity idol. And unlike last season, whoever finds it can hold it until after
a vote, thus hosing whoever finishes with the second number of votes. Looks like Mark Burnett reads my blog, because that was exactly what I suggested last season
Probst tells Misty something like her fate is behind her, which of course is not a lot to go on. Misty spends a fair amount of time searching for the idol, but it appears she does not find it. Still, she's smart enough to decide to hint that she's found it.
When she shows up at the immunity challenge, however, she perhaps overplays her hand, making it clear that she's found the idol. Will folks believe her? The challenge involves freeing a raft that's clipped to an anchor, paddling that to shore, then loosing a ring from a puzzle and using it to hook a grappling iron to pull down the tribe's flag. First three teams will win immunity, only the last will have to go to tribal council.
The young gals unclip first, followed by the old pharts and the old bags. Surprisingly, the young studs have trouble and eventually have to switch men to get the task started. They are fairly far behind at this point.
At the beach, the teams have the option of trying to do the puzzle, or digging up a clue. All teams decide to do both, with two diggers and two solvers. Fortunately Bobby Jon's not around.
The young gals finish first, while the old pharts follow. The young studs make up the time lost on the raft and finish first; the old bags have the first tribal council!
Tina, who reveals to the camera that her only son had died in a car accident only a few weeks before Survivor began, spends some time off on her own when she should be plotting. She's clearly the most valuable member of her tribe, but Cerie (who's out of shape and fearful) begins talking nonsense about how she doesn't want to have to "beat" Tina in a contest. It's as stupid as you can imagine, but in the end either it works or Tina's loner aspects due to her grief leave her vulnerable and she loses the vote.
It's an incredibly stupid move, reminiscent of the idiots on Survivor All-Stars who started voting off players as "threats". As I said at the time, "threats" threaten to win challenges for your tribe. The old bags are not going to last long in this game.
It's early in the game so only a few people impressed themselves on my mind. Bruce, the Japanese- American old phart
looks like he's going to be quite a player. Terry and Dan allied up and it turns out that Dan's a former astronaut while Terry's a former Navy pilot. So the old pharts are not going to go gentle into that good night.