Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Hey Survivor Buffs! 16 new survivors, arrived on the Nicaraguan beaches to start the season Wednesday night, but one thing is already certain: old habits never die.

After being dropped off, the castaways were informed that they would be joined by 2 Survivor veterans: Boston Rob and Russell Hantz! Reactions were mixed for both veterans, but Boston Rob was obviously the more coveted Survivor to play with.

Steve and Krista swallowed their pride and reluctantly welcomed Russell, who quickly hugged and embraced Stephanie, his Natalie/Parvati to play with this season. Warming up to the evil one isn’t such a bad idea, after all, you want him playing with you, not against you.

Ometepe got to work on their shelter, and some got on each others’ nerves. Phillip became this season’s Coach and instructed Andrea the proper art of wood chopping. Fortunately, we didn’t get a far-fetched story on how he attained these skills, but that’s best for our sanity. Kristina earned the “What the…?” award for pulling a startegy from Russell’s handbook and embarking on a quest for the hidden immunity idol. Kristina hides her idol before heading back to camp. What did Kristina do that was worse, isolating herself from the tribe and going out for the idol, or her burying technique (gee, this log and palm frond will blend so well together).

At Zapatera, Russell stepped up, offering himself up as newly reformed and gave his new teammates more reason not to trust him. Russell needs to play this new leader status consistently, and resort to his old ways if he gets far enough into the game (and out of hidden immunity idols). Stephanie will be a casualty of war fairly quickly, and be targetted by the tribe for aligning herself with Russell. I wouldn’t be surprised if Russell offered her up as a sacrificial lamb to further himself if he gets in trouble.

At the immunity challenge, both tribes competed by pushing large blocks to form stairs, cutting ropes to release more stairs, capping it off with…a puzzle! Surprisingly, Rob failed to come through on the puzzle and Russell’s team claimed victory (maybe Russell can think clearere without looking for idols).

Back at Ometepe, Kristina, Francesca, and Phillip come together before tribal council and discuss their plan to blindside Rob with Kristina’s immunity idol. Why does Kristina think her plan is fool proof? This is only week 1 and already Kristina wants to blindside the most respected member of the tribe. Idols don’t control votes, the most they can do is eliminate a couple…if your lucky! More importantly, why do you think you can be in power AND be in the minority alliance, especially when 2 alliance partners don’t get along? This alliance was a  recipe for disaster, and all 3 should have thought about their feelings for one another before deciding to team up (Casaya 6 pack anyone)?

Ometepe gets to tribal council where Phillip dropped a bomb…ON HIS OWN ALLIANCE! Is there something in the air making the castaways shoot themselves in the foot, and head this season at TC? Inside, Boston Rob is grinning from ear to ear thinking, “just get me the check now, this is far too easy for me.” Speaking of, kudos to Rob, for putting the vice on Kristina and enlarging her target to maximum capacity. With the idol out in the open, and Kristina stubbornly keeping it to herself, there is no way but downhill for Kristina at this point.

Phillip’s dry vote came up last, sending Francesqua, I mean Francesca to her new home, Redemption Island. Gone, but certainly not forgotten, Francesca wasn’t afraid to admit the faults of her game, but the inconsistency and unloyalty of her alliance and fearless leader Phillip.

Why, oh why did they keep Phillip? Well, maybe he is being saved for a future vote when the tribe feels they can get rid of him and put him in a duel with a stronger player who can nudge him out on redemption island. Only time will tell if this move will backfire.

We haven’t even seen Redemption Island, but the fireworks have already begun! Next week, 2 dominant showdowns will take center stage, with Russell going against Ralph, and the ultimate battle of Phillip…vs…a crab! I look forward to the latter.

What did you think of the premiere? How do you think Rob and Russell will fare this season? Anyone want to call it now and have bragging rights for the season? SOUND OFF!

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