Challenge – In a typically grand first challenge, the tribes have to team up in pairs and handle three stages of this physical challenge. The first two run into the jungle, climb a rope fence and bring back paddles. The next two paddle a boat to a bowie, dive down and untie a crate and swim it back to shore. The tribe carries it to a mat where the final two open it and solve the puzzle using the pieces inside. Top two get immunity. First gets a full fire making kit, and second gets flint. These are the team breakdowns:
Matsing – First leg, Swan/Zane. Second leg, Malcolm/Dr. Ruth. Third leg, Angie/Roxy
Kalabaw – First leg, Dana/Katie. Second leg, Kent/Carter. Third leg, Penner/Dawson.
Tandang – First leg, Artis/RC. Second leg, Skupin/Pete. Third leg, Blair/Abi.
The big moment here takes place before the challenge even begins. Angie makes it clear that she is not good at puzzles. Swan makes it clear he is not good at listening. He puts her on puzzles. It turns out, she wasn’t lying. Also, Zane can’t run. Swan had to drag him to the end. Zane quit smoking right before the show began – because if I was modeling my Survivor game, I would choose Shane Powers too. Jeez.
Meanwhile, Kent and Carter smoke their leg and make up tons of lost time. Penner and Dawson also solve the puzzle rather quickly and Penner manages to save his skin in the process. Otherwise, no doubt he’d be gone.
Then we had one of the worst strategies in the history of Survivor take shape. Swan is dead man walking. He’s a returning player and he’s annoying them. Done. But then Zane thinks it would be a brilliant move to say he was at fault for the challenge and that he wasn’t up to par for the game. Vote him out. a C’MON! It turns out, he is trying to make the tribe love him. I’ll tell them I want to go, they’ll come back and talk me out of it, and then I’ll be in securely. Um, no. Instead, he provides them with a reason to keep Swan’s strong back and survival skills. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. He is playing the perfect game of chess, except in his version of chess, you can get kinged. D’oh!!
Right now, Malcolm, RC, Denise, Skupin, and Kent seem the most in charge and off to good starts. However, before the RC/Skupin/Abi/Pete alliance, or the anti-Penner alliance, or the Malcolm/Dr. Ruth/Girls alliance get too comfy…you know three tribes ain’t gonna cut it. There is a shuffle coming in some form. The question will remain – can it help Blair, Swan, Penner, etc. recover and shake things up, or will old alliances reform the way Kim’s team did last season. I look forward to finding out.
Treemail Top 10
• 1 – What is it about child stars? While Blair did not lose her mind like the Todd Bridges, Danny Bonaduce and Lindsay Lohans of the world, she managed to lose all of her TV money like Gary Coleman. Someone needs to open up a business – money managing for kid actors.
• 2 – I am impressed with the way the new players have a wary eye on the old guys – in a way that the other seasons did not have (other than Russell Hantz, of course). They are using their experience to get their feet wet and their shelter built, but I can see Penner and Swan get turned on really quickly, barring some upheaval. Skupin could survive a while, as he is playing a much better game.
• 3 – As you know, I am not ashamed of my love for Penner – and case in point, the way he choked up talking about how much it means for him to have this third go-around.
• 4 – Did I hear Kent correctly? He told Dana he lives in mid-Texas, such as Austin, but he has a ranch in San Antonio, which is in the Southwest corner of the state. Those are not close. And if he is trying to get away from being considered a multi-millionaire ballplayer, why would he make it sound like he owns huge tracks of land in two different parts of Texas? Is he a Ewing? Is he like Romney and has no idea what middle income is? To Kent, just owning a ranch or two is common compared to making millions per year playing ball. I don’t get it. Or maybe I just misheard him. If I did, well, then never mind.
• 5 – Malcolm may turn out to be a villain this season, but I liked him quite a bit. The man has game. He was smart enough to vote his brain at tribal and take the weak link out and keep the guy who will continue to deflect the attention from him.
• 6 – I finally remembered why I recognized Zane’s hometown of Danville, VA. Go watch Season 7 again – one Johnny Fairplay is from there. What is in the water in Danville?
• 7 – Denise and Malcolm could form one of the best teams this show has seen should they not be separated soon. It really has that potential – both seem like real players and I’d like to see them both go far.
• 8 – I love how Swan basically stumbled onto the HII clue and then almost screwed up the difficult task of READING IT! Zane saw him reading it, and then inexplicably told the tribe about it – just adding nails for his coffin. If Swan had the idol, doesn’t make sense to vote for him right now. If only we had an alternative…
• 9 – Not sure why Matsing got flint at Tribal – thus lessening the consolation prize for second in the challenge. I wonder if they got it because they were able to make it on their own.
• 10 – Tribal. Zane is nuts. Roxy and Angie barely speak, except to talk about high school track and to do some eye rolling. Swan scrambles, and Dr. Ruth and Malcolm seem completely in charge.
Next week – Penner needs an idol. Blair is starting to break down.