Hard to believe that Survivor began itâ€˛s 26th season last night, but indeed they have! So let us begin our Survivor Caramoan, Episode 1 recap. This season is yet another adventure of Fans versus Favorites, where ten â€˛ultimate fansâ€˛ square off against ten returning players, none of which had won before. The Caramoan Islands are part of the Philippines, so the production crew did not have far to go. But how far will this seasonâ€˛s crops of players go?
The Fans make up the Gota Tribe. They are Michael, Laura, Eddie, Julia, Matt, Allie, Shamar, Sherri, Reynolds, and Hope. The Favorites, or Favs, are Malcolm, Brenda, Cochran, Dawn, Phillip, Erik, Francesca, Corrine, Angela and Brandon, making up the Bakil Tribe. Jeff Probst hands out buffs, orange for Gota and blue for Bakil, and we start with a Reward Challenge. The prizes are a flint for starting fires and a 20lb.s sack of beans. Pairs from each tribe race in knee-deep water to grab lifesaver and carry it to their respective goal-poles. The Fans start off scoring first but the Favs fight back scoring three points in a row. Malcolm, our hero from Survivor Philippines, then sealed the victory by dragging the life preserver and three players to score the 4th point. So the Favorites begin with an edge and extra food.
Both tribes then travel to their own island beaches and start working on shelters. Shamar, a big fellow and non-active duty Marine, thinks that the Gota Tribe is expending too much effort in the shelter. He is dehydrating fast and wants to get a fire going to boil water. Matt, a bicycle salesman, thinks Shamar may be a tad lazy. Over at Bakil Beach, Francesca tries to mend fences with her old enemy, Phillip, Mr. Secret Agent Man. He seems agreeable to a truce, but still does not trust her. While Matt and other Gota members continue work on the shelter, Shamar and a few helpers get a fire started.
Back at Bakil, after a quick lunch break, Phillip begins working on forming some alliances. He is taking a page out of the Boston Rob playbook, which includes intimidating players to obey. He tries this on Erik, who is not happy. But it does appear that Phillip has coerced a six-person alliance together. Over at Gota, two early alliances form between Reynold and Allie plus Eddie and Hope. At night, there is some cuddling going on, which other tribe members notice.
Day 2 and poor Cochran, the nerdy worm from Survivor: South Pacific, is sunburned from head to toe. The heat is unbearable! At Gota Beach, the two new pairings form a 4-person alliance. Others notice that they are getting too friendly and already begin plotting to break up the romances. Michael and Matt form their own alliance to play decision makers and be the swing votes.
Day 3 and it is time for the first Immunity Challenge. Pairs from each tribe will race up a four-level platform, with three crates of small sand bags on each level. Once all 12 crates are tossed and busted on the ground, a pair from each tribe will attempt to hit six targets with the sand bags. The race is very even until the 4th level when Bakil Tribe builds a lead. Malcolm is doing the throwing and is hitting targets well, But the Fans catch up and the event is tied 5-to-5 when Reynold scores the winning point.
Back at camp, the Favorites begin to scramble as to who should be voted off. Francesca works to get Phillip booted. But he hears about this from Andrea so his alliance targets Francesca. Brandon notices Andrea bouncing back and forth, playing both sides. So he convinces others to vote to boot her instead. Cochran seems to be a swing vote.
At the first Tribal Council, Brandon tells Jeff Probst that there is no leadership at Bakil Tribe. Francesca and Phillip discuss their old, and apparently on-going rivalry. Andrea gets caught in the middle but tells all that she considers herself to be a valuable player. Cochran thinks that being experienced players, they all have back-up plans on voting depending on what is said at the Council. It is time to vote. We see Andrea and Francesca trade ballots. Before Jeff counts the votes, he does ask if anyone has a hidden immunity idol, so there are some out there.
Francesca gets voted off by a tally of 6 to 4. Phillipâ€˛s alliance succeeds! So ends our Survivor Caramoan Episode 1 recap. Spoilers for next week show Brandon getting kooky and paranoid. Will he adopt the ruthless gamesmanship of his Uncle Russell to survive?