It seems like only yesterday we were penniless, shoeless, freezing and soaked in the harsh and unforgiving jungles of Nicaragua. This large and mysterious country known as the Land Of Lakes and Volcanoes has not only welcomed us back with open arms and a friendly "Bienvenidos!", it's invited us in to witness battles of Roman, Herculean, epic and biblical proportions. No, Camille Grammer hasn't set up residence here. It's Survivor: Redemption Island bitches! Survivor. The instiution that made us want to vote our frenemies, families and coworkers "off the island". Survivor. The origination of the phrase "the tribe has spoken". Survivor. The reality show beacon we hold all other reality shows against. Survivor. The best diet out there... next to injecting urine into your thighs of course. Survivor. Turning women into pioneers, men into demons and this here little blogger into your new best friend for the next three months. It's back my lovelies. Enjoy the ride. Let's recap, shall we?
Over the horizon we hear the faint hum of something so familar. It almost whispers to us in the breeze. Gently in our ear at first tickling the hairs on the backs of our necks. Then, louder and with more force. It's the sound of air and time being whipped into submission. Pft-pft-pft-whoosh-whoosh-whoosh. Blades like daggers of hope cut through the sky and there in all his glory and Banana Republic stands Dimples (Jeff Probst), our fearless leader and cruise director. 16 unknowns sit in anxious anticipation and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. The camera pauses and hiccups on their faces. We hear things like, "I'm a former federal agent", "Everyday I strive to become more like my Savior" and "We ain't never had a dumbass win the game yet, have we?" *dips toes ever so gingerly into a giant blow of glitter* Oh yeah, we're gonna have a good time this season.
In one gulp I downed the Appletini I was sipping and waited for Dimples to say my lines. I say my lines because I feel as if they're a part of me. They pulse through my veins. They tickle my no-no. Simple and iconic, I wait every season for this one sentence. Say it Dimples, say it dammit! The music swells as my heart pounds loudly in my chest... the blades whir faster and faster as I lean in and hold my breath... here it comes... the camera focuses tight, Dimples hangs precariously out the side of the chopper and... "39 days. 18 people. ONE Survivor!!!" *claps and giggles* Cue the Hay Dee Doh Dee Doh's.
The chopper lands on the beach and out tumble our 16 hopefuls. They've already been divided up into their tribes which are as follows: Omarion (Ometepe): Ashley, Grant, Kristina, Phillip, Natalie, Matt, Francesca and Ashley. Zappa (Zapatera): Mike, Stephanie, Ralph, Julie, Krista, Steve, Sarita and David. Dimples welcomes the newbies to Survivor and amidst the cheers we see some guy in a suit, Jax from Sons Of Anarchy, some dude with dreads, and random girls wearing giant hoop earrings. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times - never go into the jungle without your J. Lo accessories. I'm glad these gals came prepared. It's all smiles and giddy tinkle dancing for a while until... hark, who goes there? Another helicopter? Yes, another one.
The door opens and out leaps an old friend with his trademark baseball cap. It's Boston Rob! He's greeted with cheers, fist pumps and gasps of awe. Rob smiles as he kicks the sand and does his "Aww shucks" thing. Then, without warning the Earth opens up and out shoots a short stocky devilish character. It's Lucifer (Russell Hantz). The Freshman team, the Junior Varsity if you will, all look at each other with pained horror on their faces. It's like they all turned into the portrait of Dorian Gray simultaneously. "Oh no!", cries Mike the Iraqi war veteran. "I'm gonna stare him down", declares Stephanie. (I didn't give Stephanie a very glowing pre-season review, but if it turns out that she has death-ray vision, we could definitely be friends.) Now, Francesca, on the other hand, takes a look at both veterans and blurts out, "They're sizing us up like prey!" Bitch, shut your face! Are you an idiot? Those are the last people you want to piss off before the damn game has even started. In my mind, Franny Franny Bo Banny has just signed her walking papers.
With a good old fashioned draw for buffs, it's time to figure out where these two hardened veterans will end up. Boston Rob draws yellow - that's Omarion. His tribe erupts into cheers. Lucifer has drawn purple - that's Zappa. His tribe collapses into a pile of tears and patiently waits for the waves to take them out to sea. It's clear who the "hero" is this time around. But did you know he's also a Messiah? More on that later.
The cheers and tears are abruptly interrupted as Dimples announces, "Now, for the twist." *eyebrow raises* This is Redemption Island after all. OK so when you are voted out at Tribal Council you will not be going home. You will be taken to the Nicaraguan Ludus where you will train day in and day out in preparation for your time in the arena. In other words, you have to go to a stinky island all by yourself and build your own fire and catch/kill your own food. When the next person voted out joins you, you will then fight to the death and the winner gets to stay at the Ludus. At some point in time, the last gladiator standing will get to return to the game. I like it. I like it a lot. It reeks of loin cloths, starvation, solitary confinement and the definite possibilty for someone to go mad. Hooray! Thanks Burnett. Redemption Island doesn't scare our resident demon one bit though. To Lucifer, the Ludus is merely a spa where he can pumice his hooves and spread goat's blood all over his body in private. He welcomes the challenge. He'll smack that bitch upside the head, call her Sally and grind her bones for snorting. Redemption Island, Shmamemption Island.
The tribes then separate and head off to their respective camps. Over at Zappa, Lucifer is making the necessary "Howdy do's" and turning all the hands he shakes into stone. A shrunken head, a pair of pitchfork sharpeners and a photograph of Anton LaVey tumble out of his pants pocket as he tells his tribe in a moving speech that he's not there to sabatoge nothing from no one. It would be stoopit for him to come back and play that way. *thunder claps in the distance* He just wants to spend his days petting squirrels, playing fair and ultimately winning. Lawyer Dave isn't buying it for one second. Steve, however, eats it up with a spoon and continues his odd and creepy petting of Lucifer that started on the beach. I think Ole Stevie is a little starstruck or maybe he's just a lovey dovey touchy feely kind of a guy looking for some male companionship with a short stocky servant of Satan in a remote Central American country. I don't know. I'm not sure yet.
One man who's definitely not looking for someone to snuggle with is Ralph. Ralph, our resident ginger decked out in overalls and an impressive display of back fur, looks like he's either about to till the soil or break out into a Scottish dance. He's glorious and fascinating and I want to make macaroni art in honor of him. Ralph is a hard worker and wastes no time sketching his plans for a home on the side of the tree. You put one beam this-a-way, another beam that-a-way and you've got yerself a pretty decent shack. Something tells me Ralph has built hisself a makeshift shelter or two late at night deep in the heart of the Appalachian Trail with only the moon for illumination. You can't very well set up your moonshine operation in the daylight, duh. You gotta push that still up the side of the hill when the rest of the mountain folk are sleeping and only the hoots of owls and the chirping of nighttime insects are awake to keep you company. Survivor also sees the potential of this glorious creature as he gets his own soundtrack that sounds like something out of Oklahoma! or Paint Your Wagon.
Over at Omarion, construction is also well under way. You know how Jesus was a carpenter? Well, so is Rob. And, you know how Jesus had disciples? Well, so does Rob. Pretty Pony Matt is beside himself with joy... and harmony. In fact, he wants to call his new home Camp Harmony. Isn't that precious? Pretty Pony told us earlier he wanted to be more like his Savior so naturally I expect that by the end of the season his luscious blonde locks will be gone, he'll wear a trademark baseball cap and that physique of his will turn into a mash of beer and Fenway hot dogs. With Lucifer at Zappa and Jesus at Omarion, we've got a classic clashing of the titans on our hands. It's good versus evil. It's Jacob and the Man In Black. It's Laverne and Shirley. It's Tom and Jerry.
Pretty Pony isn't the only one who's seen the light and been saved. Natalie, too, sighs and smiles that creepy smile you always see on one those freshly scrubbed Mormon wife faces. Actually, the more I think about it and the more I see all the women fawning all over Boston Rob, the more I think calling him Jesus might not be the way to go. He's more Warren Jeffs than Christ the Redeemer, don't you think? He's Roman Grant. He's Bill Henrikson. *shrugs shoulders* He's a Sheik with a harem. It's a little disturbing, but a lot of funny. Let's roll with it.
So, while Rob is busy swatting the girls away with branches and banana leaves, Phillip sees his chance to slide in and take over the spot of "leader". His approach is a little different than Rob's though. While Rob politely declines the ladies offers of assistance and feet washing, Phillip pretty much just elbows them in the ribs and steals their shovels. Francesca doesn't take too kindly to Phillip's demands while Andrea just shrugs it off and doesn't really care. She's a farm girl who knows her way around a hammer, but she also knows that some men in this world just need to be men. Whatevs. No biggie. Let him beat on his chest and swing his willy around. She could care less.
Oh wait, did I forget to mention that Phillip is a former federal agent? Well, it's a good thing Phillip is going to tell you (and his tribe) all about it himself. You see, Phillip has worked for all three Intelligence Agencies (4-H, VH-1 and the Girl Scouts of America). He's extremely adept at keeping a secret - except the one about him being a former federal agent. And, he's also a human lie detector. Now, I don't want to exactly call Phillip a liar, but ummm, how do I put this? Pants on fire! You know Phillip is probably just a DeNiro fan with a touch of the schizo in him and he just saw Meet The Parents for the 200th time last week. I fully expect him at some point to take Rob into the shelter, hook him up to some coconuts and twigs and ask him all about his porno viewing habits. It'll probably come out at some point that Phillip has also worked for SD-6, Division and the Babysitters Club. Phillip is about as "federal" as I am sober.
So while Phillip is regaling everyone with his tall tales from when he worked with Nikita, Kristina is over at the supplies station sifting through the nails and ropes looking for an Immunity Idol clue. Rob knows exactly what Ms. Kristina is up to and in an instant a rivalry is born. Both are smart, both are cunning and both are now out for the other's blood. Rob quietly sidles up to Phillip and mentions that keeping an eye on the girls and splitting them up might be the way to go. There's 5 of them and 4 men. Phillip agrees and together they plan to talk more later. Clearly, keeping a secret like only a former federal agent can, Phillip pulls Kristina into the woods and tells her that Rob is after the girls. *bites fist* Kristina is bursting with fruit flavor to hear this. She needed a fellow Rob-hater on her side and now she has one. The two form a quick alliance and know that Rob needs to go sooner rather than later.
Back at Zappa, Lucifer and Stephanie are seemingly, innocently looking for Tree Mail, but we all know that Lucifer is really just putting the Jedi mind trick on the first young girl he's found himself alone with. Stephanie actually shows a little gumption and mocks Lucifer's speech about him being a changed man right to his face. To my surprise Lucifer doesn't bang her over the head with a machete and use her skins as a coat. Instead, he makes a quick alliance with her and advises that from now on they keep their distance. I guess evil must recognize evil kind of like gin recognizes tonic. They see each other and then jump together and make something gorgeous. The only problem with all this evil gorgeousity is that Dave and Sarita saw Stephanie leaving Lucifer's company. Mike joins them and together they discuss how Lucifer is doing what Lucifer does - getting his hooks into a cute young girl and then turning her into an evil villainess. Not so fast guys. What makes you think Stephanie wasn't already a little bit evil anyways? She's a self-described brat. Of course she's evil.
Back at Omarion while the girls flirt and Pretty Pony makes an altar, Kristina steals the shovel and heads out to the beach on a mission. She knows the Idol must be at some sort of landmark and her "Idol Antennae" tells her it's under some rocks. Boom, bam, done. Bitch found the Idol. She doesn't spend too much with it as she doesn't want to get caught so she quickly buries it under a tree and heads back to camp. Now, just when I was thinking Kristina is a pretty tough cookie she decides that at some point she'll share her secret of having the Idol with someone else. WTF? Did she go to the Phillip Sheppard School Of Serecy after she graduated college? Don't tell someone! Keep that shit to yourself. Ugh... so disappointing.
What's also disappointing is that like every other Idol holder before her, Kristina now thinks that she's the most powerful person in the game. Uh, no, you're not. Look, you have an Idol and you can save yourself if you smell trouble a'brewing. That's about it. Maybe you can use it as leverage at some point, but you're not almighty and you're certainly not in control of the game. This isn't Bad Girls Club. It's not like one person really ever runs things (no matter what Sash tells you). There are still a hell of a lot of votes swaying in the wind in your own tribe and unless you make some pretty trustworthy friends fast, you're as helpless as if you never found the Idol in the first place.
Kristina must have gotten a whiff of what I was thinking because off she goes to make some friends. Only... who do you think she chooses to buddy up with? Bigmouth Idiot Francesca and Former Brownie Troop Leader Phillip. Oh Christ. "Oh Christ" is right as an argument quickly ensues and Phillip in his tighty pinkies refuses to let anyone get a word in edgewise. He was a former federal agent in case you haven't heard and no one speaks unless he tells them to. If they speak and they say something that he doesn't like, then the speaking will desist and everyone will go back to earning badges and selling cookies. It was a huge gooey mess and I'm sensing that Kristina is furiously paddling up Shit's Creek.
This brings us to our first Immunity Challenge of the season. Dimples instructs the tribes that they will push giant blocks up to the base of a temple that will create stairs. Teams will then race up the stairs and someone will hack away (in a very human sacrifical head on a slab type of way) at several ropes. After the ropes/heads are severed, another set of stairs will descend. Tribes will then climb up to the top of the stairs and piece together a giant block puzzle. First tribe to complete their puzzle wins Immunity fire in the form of flint. Survivors ready, go!
The tribes race to the blocks that prove to be heavier than anyone imagined. Zappa pulls into the lead right out of the gate as Dimples taunts the players saying, "Looks like they'll just slide over the tracks, but they don't! Tee hee hee." He's so evil. Omarion struggles with spindly lady arms and Phillip whispering in everyone's ear about how he's a former federal agent and worked with Inspector Gadget. Zappa gets all their blocks up first and Moonshine Ralph hacks away at those ropes like they're teeny tiny little daddy long legs. He finishes in what seems like seconds. Zappa begins to work on their puzzle while Phillip is down offering his tribe a great deal on Trefoils.
Omarion eventually finishes assembling their giant steps and now it's time for Pretty Pony to hack away at the ropes. Pretty Ponies are more for flying over rainbows than they are for wielding an axe and let's just say it takes young Matthew a little longer than it took Ralph. So now Omarion is finally at their puzzle and they've got the great puzzle master Rob on their team so there is a distinct possibilty of them being able to catch up. And, that's exactly what happens. Zappa loses their lead, Lucifer takes over, pushes everyone off of Chichen Itza, the gods respond favorably and ZAPPA WINS IMMUNITY!!!
With their heads hanging low, Omarion makes the walk of shame back to camp. Everyone with long luscious hair goes for a dip in the ocean while Kristina decides that this is the perfect moment to tell someone she has the Immunity Idol. She reveals her secret to Francesca who seems to not really believe Kristina. She keeps asking, "Where?", "Why?", "How did you find it?", "Where's the clue?", "Can I see it?". A frustrated Kristina is all like, "Look, bitch, shut the fuck up. I have the Idol. I want to use it to get Rob out so get your head out of your ass and let's do this." Alright, so maybe she didn't use those exact words, but I'm close. Anyhow, Kristina's Grand Master Flash Plan is to have Francesca get all the girls to vote her out, she'll use the Idol and then Kristina, Francesca and Phillip will vote Rob out. Who the hell uses their Immunity Idol on the first day?! Does this strike anyone else as completely and ridiculously stupid? As a matter of fact, it's so stupid, it's stoopit. What happens after Rob is gone Kristina? I'll tell you what happens. You're stuck with two stupid idiots and the rest of the tribe hates you. You go home next is what happens smart ass! Krsitina's problem is she's too caught up in the theatricality of it all. She's so hell bent on getting out Rob, the Boston Rob, that she's shutting the door on common sense and reason. Common sense and reason are like opportunity, you don't slam the door on them and if you refuse to let them in, they may not ever come back.
Now, Rob on the other hand is absolutely no idiot. You can dislike him if you want, but the guy's smart. He knows something is up with Kristina. He knows she's a planner and a schemer. He knew in a millisecond that she was searching for the Idol clue. Originally, he thought about getting rid of Francesca because she was so cunty on the beach, but he begins to wonder if maybe Kristina isn't the better idea. So, he grabs his halo and his disciples and off they go to have a little meeting. Rob tells them he suspects that Kristina has the Idol. Pretty Pony is aghast and delighted all at the same time. The information is shocking, but isn't it just like a Savior to know something like that without even having proof? Rob then instructs his entire congregation to split the votes and be safe. The men will vote for Francesca and the women will vote for Kristina. He reiterates how very very important it is for them not to fuck this up. One person voting wrong is one like bad batch of gin... it'll ruin your week.
Meanwhile in another corner of the camp, Phillip is talking about his "hyper state of arousal". Ewww. Kristina knows it's probably been a good 72 hours for Phil without his meds so she drags him over to some log and whips out the Idol. *smacks head* Him?! You choose to tell him about the Idol? The great secret keeper from Troop Beverly Hills? Oh, give me a fucking break. *shakes head in disgust*
And now, ladies and gentlemen, we arrive at our first Tribal Council. Grab your torches and some fire. Take a seat and get cozy because what's about to happen is something dreams are made of. Dimples starts with a softball question to Rob about what happened right when they arrive at camp. Rob replies that they worked on the shelter. Easy enough.
Dimples then asks Pretty Pony if Phillip is the leader at camp now. Pretty Pony shakes his tresses in the night air and says something about counterproductivity not exactly being good leadership. Francesca says a girl will probably go home and then Kristina says she doesn't feel safe which is why she brought her stuff with her. It's all nice and easy and comfortable. You know, the usual first day Tribal Council stuff.
Dimples tosses another softy to Francesca and wonders how the idea of Redemption Island comes into play. She replies that it's definitely something to think about it and even if Rob were to go home, which he won't, he'd probably come right back into the game. Then... *giggles* Phillip's head explodes and he, for God knows what reason, tells everyone how he takes issue with what Francheeska said because Franchesterca and Krispina told him earlier to vote out Rob. *pours another glass of Scotch and scoots chair closer to television* Well, Francesca denies the claims while Rob just sits there and smiles.
Phillip shouts "Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me! I'm a former special agent Jeff!" Apparently, it's in a rule book somewhere at Langley that you're not allowed to interrupt special agents when they're talking. I think I heard about it while watching The Recruit. If memory serves Colin Farrell references it. *rolls eyes* So then... THEN!... Phillip says that his vote tonight will be going to Francessca. Franfresca. Frantiticaca. It's going to Fran-somebody. That much we know.
THEN Kristina tells Phillip he's probably unstable and most likely a little crazy. *chugs* Oh no she di-in't! Oh yes, she did! Fabulous! Phillip retorts by outing Franflimsca and KrispyKrema for approaching him because Kristopherkross actually has the Immunity Idol. Kristina and Francesca are immediately devastated and put both their heads into their Shitty Creek stained hands. Meanwhile, at home, I sat smugly and thought to myself, "Told ya so! Dumb bitches."
The camera flashes to Dimples and he's more dimply than ever! He's beaming! He loving every minute of this and licking it off his fingers one by one. I don't know about you, but I was naked and pouring Jell-o all over myself. I like to do that when I'm happy sometimes. So anyhow, the madness continues and Phillip reveals he has a mouth drying disease and Kristina whips out the Idol and Rob takes it and now he wants it and she won't give it to him and it was so gorgeous and beautiful that I never wanted it to end. But, like the adage goes, all good things must come to an end. Let's vote.
If anyone would like to play the Immunity Idol, do it now or forever hold your peace. I gotta say I expected Kristina to play it, but she didn't! Balls! Big giant balls! In the end, the splitting of the votes worked and Franscaraca, Francherubca, Franchessclubca is the first person voted out of Survivor: Redemption Island. *sighs and collapses*
So, what did you guys think? Not a bad way to start the season, right? Who are you liking so far? Who's chapping your ass? How long do you think the veterans will last? Will they have lions at the Ludus? Will Phillip ever meet his cookie quota? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!