It's a whole new season with a whole new group of survivors to cheer for in the ultimate reality TV challenge. No more returning favorites, no more loved ones, no more Boston Rob (too bad). The premiere episode opened with a quick intro on this season's twist, which by now everyone knows, this season the tribes will be sorted based on the traits they rely on in real life to get what they want . . . Brawn, Beauty or Brains. Brawn arrives by truck, Beauty arrives by speedboat, and Brains drop in by helicopter and everyone arrives, as usual, in silence until Jeff arrives. That silence would probably kill me.
Just to give you a quick breakdown of who's who in each tribe before you lose track of everyone I've set up a nice, easy to follow list below which you can print out and use to cross off each survivor who ultimately didn't. I've even broken them down by tribe and listed their occupation and age for those who care to know. Like me.
The Beauty Tribe:
Alexis Maxwell, Student (21)
Morgan McLeod, ex-NFL Cheerleader (21)
Jefra Bland, Miss Kentucky Teen USA (23)
Brice Johnston, Social Worker (27)
LJ McKanas, Horse Trainer (34)
Jeremiah Wood, Male Model (34)
The Brawn Tribe:
Lindsey Ogle, Hairstylist (29)
Sarah Lacina, Police Officer (29)
Yung "Woo" Hwang, Martial Arts Instructor (29)
Tony Vlanchos, Police Officer (39)
Cliff Robinson, former NBA All-Star (46)
Trish Hegarty, Pilates Trainer (48)
The Brains Tribe:
Spencer Bledsoe, Economics Student (21)
Garrett Adelstein, Pro Poker Player (27)
J'Tia Taylor, Nuclear Engineer (31)
Latasha "Tasha" Fox, Accountant (37)
Kassandra "Kass" McQuillen, Attorney (41)
David Samson, President of Miami Marlins (45)
Jeff reveals the twist and asks each group if they know which team they are just by looking around and it's pretty easy to figure it out. They all nail it, although the Brains Tribe think they're the Nerds. They could be right. Each tribe now needs to choose their leader, pretty much without any idea as to who's who (they shoulda had my list). . . LJ is chosen for Beauty, Sarah is chosen for Brawn, and David is chosen for the Brains because he's wearing half a suit. Yeah, that's good criteria.
The newly appointed leaders now need to decide who's the weakest link on their tribe, again without a clue . . . LJ picks Morgan mostly because he figures "cute" is safer to keep around than "hot", Sarah picks Trish primarily because she's old and thin, while David picks Garrett because he has too many muscles and figures it's a mistake they put him into Brains. On the spot decisions are never easy to make, especially in Survivor. They can make or break both the leader and the tribe. However, those weak members aren't out, they are now flying ahead to make camp decisions for their tribes.
Flip to the helicopter as it drops off the weakest members who get to decide whether to help themselves (by getting a clue to the hidden immunity idol) or to help the tribe (by getting a second bag of rice). Garret chooses to help himself because he's angry with David's decision to try and get rid of him, Trish seems to weigh the pros and cons but in the end she decides to help the tribe, and Morgan figures she needs all the help she can get, takes the clue and off she goes.
Garrett actually finds the hidden idol even before anyone actually arrives and he intends to get back at David for thinking he was the weakest link. This seems counter-productive when the guy just did you a big favor, but I'm not the one with the idol and a chip on my shoulder. Morgan is still searching when her tribe arrives and figures she'll be out first if she doesn't find that idol.
Day 1 at the Beauty Tribe and as her tribe mates arrive Morgan pretends she picked the spot and supplies. Some of them trust her, but LJ is not as easily swayed. He figures she either has the idol or a clue to finding it. Brice on the other hand figures she'll make a good Ally and starts working in that direction. It doesn't take long before they also have a nice little fire. This is not the tribe I would have laid bets on to get fire first.
Over at the Brawn Tribe, Trish greets everyone to the camp and does her best to get in good with the others, she even tells them about her decision and the tribe is happy for the extra food. That said, some of them reveal that they would have made the other choice. Cliff reveals he's an ex NBA star and nobody seems to care, which he figures is a good thing. Tony lies when Sarah asks him if he's a cop, he tells her he's in construction, . . . even after he knows she's a cop. She has no idea what Tony does but she's pretty sure it's not construction.
Meanwhile at the Brains Tribe, Garrett tells his tribe the lay of the land and what he's set up so far but he doesn't mention his choice, nor that he found the idol. Maybe he's not as dumb as David thinks. J'Tia has decided she's the smartest member of the tribe and starts to take over telling people what to do and how to build the shelter, while she's sitting around watching things be done . . . not so smart after all as this is definitely going to backfire on her. Her tribe has decided to give her just enough rope to hang herself for now.
Time for the first Immunity Challenge as Jeff calls the tribes in. Tribes must maneuver a cart down a course to collect keys and to unlock three chests and load them on their cart then disassemble the cart and get it through the obstacle at the end, followed by the three chests, then reassemble the cart and get the chests to the end then use the pieces inside the chests to complete a three stage dragon puzzle. The first two tribes to complete the challenge get Immunity and Reward in the form of a fire making kit or flint, losers get to be the first to Tribal Council. Oh joy!
Brains start out strong but immediately start to argue and get caught up in the chains. Brawn takes the lead and maintains it getting their three chests ahead of the others. Brawn has their cart through the obstacle and are now moving the chests through, with Beauty close behind . . . but Brains are, well, not so much. Their cart keeps falling apart, then their chests fall open spewing puzzle pieces all over. Brawn has already completed the first section of the puzzle as Beauty starts theirs and quickly catches up.
It's like watching a Warner Brothers cartoon when Jeff says "whatever brains the Brain Tribe has seem to have evaporated." Hard to argue with that assessment.
Brawn moves into their second section of the puzzle with Beauty right behind, and both tribes have finished those sections before Brain even starts their puzzle. Beauty takes the lead and wins Immunity and the Fire making kit, while Brawn wins Immunity and flint, . . . Brains are obviously being run by Pinky as they are the first tribe to visit Tribal. Not so smart after all.
Back at the Brains Tribe they realize that when it comes to the game they're dumb. That much was pretty obvious. David has decided they should vote out either J'Tia or Garrett. As much as David wants Garrett gone though, everyone else sees J'Tia as deadweight and want her to go home. When J'Tia comes to Kass to find out what's going on she learns she's the target. Now it's time to scramble. Garrett assures J'Tia that the threat to the tribe is David and wants her to put his name down, so watch for that blindside. It doesn't help that David's acting like a pain in the ass and being all shifty with everyone. Not a great tactic right before they head to Tribal Council just as the rains move in.
Everyone grabs their torch and lights it as Jeff goes through the ritual of fire. He must be getting tired of saying the same thing every time a new tribe arrives to get their torches. Jeff starts with J'Tia and she comes straight back with the fact that she's the target. Off and running. Jeff switches over to David who says that everything was fine with J'Tia until it wasn't. What? Jeff eventually works back to David's decision to pick Garrett as the weakest link and David tries meekly to defend his decision before we get Garrett's reaction. Garrett trusts his team and David agrees that Garrett has nothing to worry about, "not tonight". J'Tia goes off again and ends with throwing David under the tribal bus. Everyone's trying to think too far ahead on this tribe and that isn't really helping them.
That said, it's time to vote, and once the votes are cast Jeff grabs the votes. He asks if there's an idol anyone wants to play but no idol is played . . . yet for some reason Garrett clears his throat at that moment. I thought he was supposed to be the poker player, nothing like a "tell." The votes are read . . . J'Tia, David, J'Tia, David, David, David. Nice blindside, told you it was coming. It sucks to be the first one out but someone has to go.
All in all, David took it pretty well. He wasn't bitter about it or angry with anyone and he felt he did what he set out to do, even if he didn't complete it. Unless his goal was to be the first one voted off.
Day 4 at the Brains Tribe and Garrett whimpers and moans that he's not having fun playing Survivor at the moment. Boo hoo. The poor poker player misses his comfy chair and table side service, and he looks miserable about it. Kass has realized that she's now the swing vote and it's time to pick a side. She shakes on a final three deal with Garrett and Spencer but it's still anyone's game and she's not counting out other alliances.
At the Brawn tribe, Cliff and Woo take the boat out for some fish, and over they go. Good thing they were close to land. Sarah has decided that Cliff is funny and probably the most liked on the tribe. That can be a good thing for Cliff but it also paints a target on his back.
Over at Beauty beach, they're bowling with coconuts. Brice comes off a bit judgemental in his camera asides as he criticizes his tribemates but he might want to check those glass walls on his house. Discussion of a three person alliance comes up with Brice, Morgan and Jeremiah. Yeah, that could work, . . . for now.
In the Brawn's jungle Trish is nagging on Lindsey for not helping around camp. Tony warns her to not shoot herself in the foot, before he goes back to building his one man hideaway so he can spy on his tribe. Tony is targeting Cliff because everyone likes him, which is true, but is that really a good reason to get rid of the muscle when you need that for challenges? For a police officer he's not thinking this one all the way through . . . And really, a hideout? What is this, his audition tape for Stakeout Three?
Time for the next challenge and as the Beauty and Brawn tribes march in they get to see who was voted out at Tribal from the Brains. I don't think they were surprised that David was out. On to the next Immunity Challenge; each tribe swims out to a large cage that they need to climb over and into then swim down to release a gate and gather fish traps, then gather the puzzle pieces to complete a puzzle. First tribe also wins a huge fishing kit, while the second tribe wins a smaller fishing kit, the losers win a nice little fireside chat with Jeff. Cliff for Brawn and Brice for Beauty sit this one out.
Everyone's in the water right away but they have to wait for their entire tribe before they can begin to climb and enter their cage. Brains is once again lagging way behind because apparently Nuclear Engineers can't swim. Brawn is more than happy to take the lead. Eventually all three tribes are inside their cages and working the gate release to get the fish traps out. Brawn makes short work of this part of the task but then struggles in the water. Brains has managed to move into second place lead by Garrett and then passes Brawn on the way to shore to start working on their puzzle, leaving Beauty stuck in the back.
With a huge lead, J'Tia is solving the puzzle for the Brains Tribe and she'd better not screw this up, but she appears to do just that. Sarah is working the puzzle for Brawn while beauty is still in the water and J'Tia is struggling. Then Brawn wins Immunity and J'Tia panics allowing the Beauty tribe to pass her as LJ completes the puzzle. Bye bye J'Tia. The Brawn Tribe grabs the Immunity Idol and their huge fishing reward and heads out, then Beauty grabs their smaller fishing reward and heads out. I guess Tribal Councils a "no brainer" tonight.
When they get back to the Brawn camp, Tony starts unpacking the fishing gear and finds a clue to the hidden immunity idol. He figures he knows where it is and goes off on his own and, lo and behold, finds the idol. Just like that, two idols are found in no time. I'm beginning to think that the production guys responsible for hiding the idols are getting a little lazy, or the clue writers are getting to exact.
Not a great afternoon over at the Brains camp. Garrett tries to get Kass to reveal her loyalties and she gives up J'Tia . . . and the others agree. Not a great situation while J'Tia is sitting right in front of them but Tasha wants to have a little side chat with Garrett and Spencer. Garrett doesn't want to play that game and Tasha calls him on it, telling him if he doesn't want to play the game right then he should just quit, but who says her way is right. She wants all the conniving and back-stabbing, while he doesn't want to play that way. He must be a terrible professional poker player.
J'Tia isn't exactly happy with the tribes decision, which is no surprise, but she doesn't actually jump to her own defence either. That seems to have fallen to Tasha who wants to be sneaky and underhanded. She also wants to be top dog and feels it's time to get rid of somebody else.
For a tribe of Brains they're not too smart. While J'Tia is left alone at camp she pours all the rice on the fire and then blames the "rice fairy" when she's confronted about all the burning rice. Kass wants to see the data involved for putting these guys together as the Brains. So do I. It's amazing what you can do with statistics.
Second Tribal Council same tribe, and Jeff asks Spencer how it was at camp. Spencer reveals Garrett's plan for an open forum to vote out J'Tia, and how that was a stupid idea. Then J'Tia admits to dumping the rice and Jeff points out why blindsides work, not because they're nice but because they're effective. Jeff is seriously amazed by how stupid this tribe appears to be, even more so when Garrett reveals that he, Spencer and Kass are in an alliance. Garrett admits he didn't mastermind anything and that's pretty obvious. This is not a happy tribe and it's time to vote.
Jeff gathers the votes, still shaking his head . . . and no idol is played. The votes are read and it's J'Tia, Garrett, J'Tia, Garrett, Garrett. See, blindsides work best when you never see them coming. Based on that dumbfounded look on his face Garrett probably wishes he played that idol, but he didn't even have it with him. He was that cocky. I guess he can now get back to that comfy chair and table side service he longs for.
I love when Spencer says "who'd like to welcome me to the bottom," and Kass says "not so fast." This tribe is all over the place, but maybe now they can try to work together. I still think it was a mistake to keep J'Tia but at least she gets to go hungry along with the others.
Next week Tony searches for an ally while everyone else is just trying to hang on as the storm season appears to be moving into the island. Hope everyone enjoyed the review and be sure to check out our reviews on Amazing Race as well. See you next week.