The castaways get to the beach and are already divided into tribes - Galu is purple, and Foa Foa is yellow. They first have to make a tribe decision - they have to pick a leader, without talking to anyone.
Shannon has decided to go as Shambo because of her ill-advised bandana. Her buff is her new bandana. For Galu, Russell S. gets enough votes to win the honor, though "Shambo" is close.
Dr. Mick gets some votes, and so does Jaison, over on Foa Foa. In the end, it is Dr. Mick who gets the leader position.
So, what do the leaders do? They get to decide who is going to participate in the first challenge. They have to choose who they think is the best swimmer first, and Dr. Mick chose Jaison, who is a good swimmer. Russell chose John. Mick chose Russell I. as the strongest, and Russell chose Eric. For most agile, Mick chose Marisa, and Russell chose Yasmin (I missed her in my preview! I'll fix that soon). For smartest, Mick chose Liz, and she thinks it is because she's Asian. Russell chose Shambo. She is worried about being thought of as book smart, because she's not.
Swimmer - swim out, retrieve a key, swim back
Strong Man - unlock chain, bring up two bundles of logs which they carry to a mat
Agile - use logs to get up on balance beam while navigating key though a rope maze
Smart - use key to unlock puzzle pieces and solve a puzzle
The reward? What could it be but fire?
Right off, Jaison proves to be a super good swimmer. Personal chef Mike (Braid Beard himself) was stunned at Jaison's swimming ability.
Russell I was good with the first bundle of giant logs for Foa Foa, and Eric was right behind him. Marisa proved to be pretty agile, and got the first fuzz out of the season as her top fell down a little. Yasmin didn't waste time, though, and the puzzles were neck and neck between Liz and Shambo. Shambo was very close to winning it, but in the end, Liz finished it and Foa Foa won their fire. It was a tight race, though.
Maps to their camps are passed out, and they start out. John was picked on for not getting off the mat after his abysmal swim.
Foa Foa got to camp first, and Russell I wasted no time in declaring that he didn't want to work, and made an alliance with "the dumb short haired blond (Ashley), the even dumber long haired blond (Natalie), and the dumb girl with brown hair (Marisa)," calling it his Dumb Ass Girl Alliance. He told each of them that he is with them alone. He also chose "the old lady," Betsy, who saw through him. She said that she could tell she couldn't trust him, but she made the alliance anyway. I like her.
Over on Gula, Russell continued to take charge and got to delegating and building. Some of the boys, though, had a hard time yielding control and talked talked talked about the work they should be doing, instead of actually doing the work. John wanted to plan everything out first, and suggested a five minute break before they even got working. He is the rocket scientist, and declared he was tired before anything got built Shambo was not amused. Everyone jumped in the water while she sat on the beach slightly pissed off. She is waiting for Russell to open a can o' whoopass and lay down some laws.
At the Foa Foa camp, Russell told a sob story about losing his beloved German Shepherd in Katrina in New Orleans. Except... he was never in New Orleans. He never had a dog. And after he got their sympathy (though Ashley didn't really trust him in the end), they all went to sleep, and he emptied out all the canteens and burned one solitary sock. He is a multimillionaire, by his own admission, he doesn't need the money. He just wants to win.
Upon waking and finding out that there is no water, everyone thinks that someone drank their canteens. Jaison is the owner of the missing sock and is not happy.
Russell claims to love his tribe. Lots of talk all around about how the other team sucks...
The challenge: Six members of each tribe will race across a series of A-frames, carrying ropes, and then they have to tie the ropes to heavy crates and pull them to the other members of the tribe, who will open them and complete the puzzle for the win.
Galu was super quick right off the bat. Yasmin had some trouble, but the other tribe members helped her. These are big A-frames, and everyone is working hard. Galu had a great strategy of building a human ladder to get over them, and they used their rope to help. Foa Foa was behind, but Russell used some brute strength to help out. The Puzzles were started about the same time, and Foa Foa did a lot of catching up. Finally, Galu figured out their puzzle (with the help of Shambo) and they chanted their victory. They get both immunity and fire.
Discussions began over at Foa Foa to figure out who should go first. Many think that the weakest should go first. Mike (who no longer has a braid in his beard, and I am disappointed) is the oldest and doesn't want to be the first to go. Marisa is wary of Russell's so-called alliance with her, because she noticed that he's talked to everyone. He wasted no time in telling everyone to get rid of her. I hope he doesn't succeed because she is good. He worked his so-called charms and couldn't get over how stupid the tribe was. He called himself the puppet master.
Betsy told Natalie she wouldn't trust Russell, but wouldn't give her any reason other than Women's intuition. This ought to make for an interesting Tribal.
Ashley said that it is what it is, and someone has to get voted out, because that's the game. Mike thought it was luck that they didn't win. Liz thought it was bad teamwork. Betsy thought that Ashley is the weakest link, and Ashley claims that she works out tons at home and is super fit. Marisa said that there are different levels of fitness, and Ben let it be known that he doesn't get along with Marisa. Russell wasted no time in stirring the pot and saying that he didn't think Marisa could be trusted. This is not a team yet, that much is clear.
Votes are in.
Marisa gets a couple votes, followed by a couple for Ashley. Marisa got another, followed by another for Ashley to tie it 3-3. Marisa got three more, and she is out. That makes me sad, because I think she had a lot of potential and really could have used the money. Ben seemed to be flirting with Ashley unabashedly... we'll see about that.
Good start to the season. Next week, Russell looks to be going a little crazy, and Probst looked like he had to take someone out of the challenge! Wow! Can't wait for that!