SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop reading if you haven't seen the premiere of Survivor Season 26.
Francesca: “If I am voted out first a second time, I will eat this rock. It’s not gonna happen.”
Girl, people have eaten worse things on Survivor.
Francesca Hogi was voted out first on Redemption Island and “the worst thing” happened to her again on Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites 2, aka Season 26. The real worst thing (for all of us) was ending up back on an island with her old nemesis, Phillip Sheppard, who said the episode’s title, “She Annoys Me Greatly,” in reference to Francesca. (At least he learned how to say her name.) Is it a bad sign when Phillip gets his way and the title words? Do not enable him!
The season started with a pretty fast-paced hour-and-a-half premiere, where everyone seemed to make a major alliance, if not several, and four of the fans coupled-up — with one pair seeming to make out the first night. (This is not The Bachelor, kids.) It looks like it could be a good season, despite some cliched “hot people” gravitating toward each other on the fans tribe, a classic fight over work ethic (also on the fans tribe) and Phillip and Brandon Hantz of South Pacific being themselves again. (Not a good thing.)
The favorites (Bikal) won the first reward challenge, but the fans (Gota) won the immunity challenge, thanks mostly to Reynold Toepfer’s bag-throwing skills over (surprise!) Malcolm Freberg of Survivor Philippines, who couldn’t close the deal after a favorites lead.
At first, Phillip looked like he was in line to be the first boot, because he picked up Boston Rob’s “BR rules,” which apparently include threatening Erik Reichenbach to the point where the original Fans vs. Favorites star called him "a combative idiot loser who makes everybody crazy."
Meanwhile, Brandon Hantz of South Pacific was more intimidated by Andrea Boehlke of Redemption Island because she’s so smart and “aware” and always strategizing on both sides. No one seemed to trust her. But they did trust John Cochran of South Pacific, who got the worst sunburn ever, turning him into a pained tomato, and Dawn Meehan of South Pacific, who kept repeating she’s honest to a fault. But, as Cochran noted, Dawn could be playing a different game this time. He is trying to play a game with a new persona: strong with swagger. “I can’t be the same freak I was last time.”
The first vote came down to Andrea vs. Francesca, which is a little ridiculous considering neither one was a big threat at that point and they weren’t crazy like Phillip or weak in challenges like (love you, man, but...) the sunburnt Cochran. Just the fact that Fran went first probably proved beyond a doubt that they shouldn’t have brought her back. Why did they select a first boot for a “Favorites” season? And why are some of them even considered "Favorites"? It's like they want viewers to mock the label.
Over on the fans tribe, Shamar Thomas and Matt Bischoff argued over work ethic, and Edward "Eddie" Fox made an alliance with Hope Driskill because he decided they were the best-looking people out there. (Disagree!) Reynold and Alexandra "Allie" Pohevitz are part of their “cool kids” lunch table alliance, but those two took it to another level on the first night, cuddling VERY close. It immediately put off Laura Alexander, but we’ll see if the non cool kids have any power at all.
Next week, Brandon threatens to go Russell Hantz on everyone, which is sad but inevitable. It's like CBS is contractually obligated to bring up Russell's (and Boston Rob's) name every episode. I appreciate smart strategizers who attempt big moves, so hopefully Andrea manages to stick around for a while and clear out the crazies. If Brandon is threatened by her, that probably means she's on the right track. Also rooting for Erik, Cochran, Dawn, Malcolm and all the non-cool kids on the fans tribe. And where was Brenda? I figured they'd let her steal the show, "dangerous" beauty that she is, but she had a relatively quiet debut.
Wanna read some of the spoilers about the whole season? They're unconfirmed, but they did correctly spoil Fran as the first boot. It also sounds like they know the first fan boot too, although everything is a rumor until the show plays out and proves it true.