**Contains spoilers about Episode 1, but no spoilers or rumors about who wins challenges, gets voted out or lasts long in the game**


sunrise.jpgI could not be more excited that Survivor is back and this episode did NOT disappoint! The extended intro showed Rob and Sandra setting up their campsite. Later in the episode Rob makes a point of saying that they are living out there like the castaways because if they are going to “talk the talk”, they need to “walk the walk”. I had read that it was Rob and Sandra’s wishes to build their own camp and live in the same conditions as the castaways. Very cool! Also, we were given a little more information about some of the things Rob and Sandra might teach the visiting castaways: the art of persuasion, calculated risks and staying calm under pressure. Also, isn't that sunrise beautiful? I love when they show artsy shots of the environment, animals, etc.

When they were first dropped off at camp, the Lairo tribe were very casually dressed and were hugging each other. On the other hand, the Vokai tribe were more professionally dressed and acted more businesslike in their introductions (e.g., shaking hands vs. hugging). I’m not sure if this was intentional or accidental, but the Lairo tribe seems more fun-loving, while the Vokai tribe seems more serious.



They were all very excited to finally see Jeff at the Immunity Challenge (me, too!). Jeff talked to Chelsea and Elaine about what they were thinking about the theme and how they hadn’t seen him until then. Both Chelsea and Elaine were shown quite a bit this episode and I was surprised he didn’t ask one person from Vokai a question vs. two from Lairo.




At first the tribes were pretty evenly paced, but Janet was able to hook the ring for Vokai with her first attempt. Dean tried for Lairo, but was unsuccessful a few times and handed it off to Ronnie. Ronnie got it on his first attempt. Jack REALLY impressed me on the ramp! He flew up the ramp and then went back down and helped Noura, Tommy and Jamal up. Jamal, Molly and Noura completed the puzzle huts for Vokai and did a great job! Vince, Dean and Chelsea struggled for Lairo and didn’t even have 2 huts complete when Vokai won.




Elizabeth was chosen to go to the Island of Idols by a random draw. She was a recruit, but she seemed to know who Rob and Sandra were. The skeptical side of me wonders if she was told in advance so she didn’t act as if she didn’t recognize them. But, regardless, I was extremely excited to see them (especially Boston Rob!) 😊 It was interesting to see how they questioned her about her situation in the game and her camp life. While I think she was going to build fire regardless (since the losing tribe needed flint), it will be interesting to see how/if the lessons they teach match the need of the visiting castaway. Sandra taught Elizabeth how to make fire and then she was challenged by Rob. If she won, she would get an immunity idol good for her next two tribal councils; if she lost, she would lose her vote. Elizabeth accepted the challenge and lost to Rob (though she did get the first sparks). Rob mentioned later that she never questioned it and that he was prepared to up the ante. I loved seeing Rob and am really excited he is back. However, overall this took up about 12 minutes of the episode. I’m hoping they shorten the segment on the one hour episodes. If not, we might not get to see as much of the castaways and game play as we would like to see.

peeking.jpgThe rest of the episode was solely focused on the Lairo tribe since they lost the immunity challenge (see below for more on them). At tribal council, Vince received two votes (Ronnie and Aaron) and “Good Vibe” Ronnie received the remaining votes (seven, since Elizabeth couldn’t vote). Jeff called this a “devastating blindside”. I call it a great way to start the season! My least favorite castaway in preseason went first! I think THAT might be a first! lol The other thing that I enjoyed about the tribal council was Rob and Sandra peeking in to watch. I enjoyed their interaction with each other and to hear their opinions.


Next week on Survivor – Aaron is really upset about being blindsided. Kellee is breaking down over something. Noura is going crazy! lol Good times! I cannot wait!  😊


Lairo Tribe


As I said earlier, Lairo seemed to have a lot of fun (in large part due to Elaine’s great sense of humor) and were very affectionate at first. Elizabeth, Missy, Karishma, Chelsea and Elaine were shown agreeing to an all women’s alliance (no surprise there for a few of them wanting this!). Also, Vince, Tom and Elaine were shown agreeing to work together. While they were away from camp, the other seven agreed to work together to target Vince, Tom and Elaine.

After the immunity challenge, there were several discussions between different groups about who should go. Chelsea, Vince, Tom and Elaine agreed they wanted Ronnie out and thought Elizabeth and Missy would vote with them (interesting that Karishma wasn’t mentioned, since she was supposedly with those girls!). They later showed Karishma, Ronnie, Aaron, Missy, Vince and Dean discussing voting Elaine off because of how nice she is. I assume that one of the girls told Karishma to vote out Ronnie, but I really wish they showed us who talked to Dean! Since it was such a large group that voted Ronnie out, it’s hard to see where the alliance lines are drawn. It was clear that Missy and Elizabeth are close (and Missy told everyone that Elizabeth would vote how she told her to). It was also clear that Tom and Elaine are close. Overall, this tribe is very likable and ranking them was hard!

1. Elaine Stott - 41 years old

elaine.jpgI kind of knew I would be moving her to #1. Elaine is very funny and hard not to like. While this has made her a big target, I think it has also made people genuinely like her. Elaine got a LOT of attention on the show. It was so much that I started to worry she would be voted out! I loved how she didn’t buy what Ronnie was selling when he tried to get her to agree to let each other know if anyone was targeting them, etc. I also really liked how she confronted it head-on, yet nicely, when she began to feel like she was the target. She successfully convinced Ronnie and Aaron to target Vince instead of her, and she had enough allies to get Ronnie out. She may be in trouble because of her likability, but I really hope not! 😊


2. Missy Byrd - 24 years old

missy.jpgI don’t like Missy less, I just like Elaine more! Missy also got a lot of screen time this episode. She told her back story about being in the military and her brain tumor. She also quickly connected with Elizabeth over sports, etc. and agreed to work together. Missy seems loyal to the girls – she is the one that told Elaine about the others wanting to target Elaine, Vince and Tom. It did crack me up when she said she wanted to be the “S-O-U-L” Survivor. lol I don’t see anyone targeting Missy. She has allies, was included in every group that discussed who to vote out, and will be extremely helpful in challenges.




3. Chelsea Walker - 27 years old

chelsea.jpgLike Elaine and Missy, Chelsea got a lot of screen time. She was asked questions by Jeff at the Immunity Challenge and Tribal Council, as well as having a couple confessionals. Chelsea recognized Elizabeth from the Olympics and asked her about it in front of the other women. She is very cute, did ok in the competition until the puzzle fiasco and like Missy, was included in every group that discussed who should go.


4. Tom Laidlaw - 60 years old

tom.jpgTom moved up a lot. I liked him from his interviews, but was worried from his bio that he would come across as a grumpy old man. On the contrary, he was very levelheaded and kind. I like his developing relationship with Elaine (and Vince). Tom wanted to work with them out of respect for their work ethic and work effort around camp. He seems like someone who will be loyal. I think Vince will be targeted before Tom.




5. Dean Kowalski - 28 years old

dean.jpgYes, I moved Dean up. He got the least amount of screen time on the Lairo tribe and was the only one not to get a confessional (unless I missed it?). He was shown missing the ring with the hook and messing up on the puzzle during the challenge. He was also part of the group discussing voting out Elaine. So, why did I move him up? Partly because he is very cute (sorry, not sorry! 😉) and partly because I moved Vince down. I still look forward to getting to know more about Dean and hope they talk to him one-on-one during the next episode. I don’t see Dean being in trouble unless the woman’s alliance + Tom/Vince target Aaron and then Dean. That seems pretty farfetched because if they lose again, they will need to start thinking about keeping athletic players for now.


6. Elizabeth Beisel - 26 years old

elizabeth.jpgI liked Elizabeth more than I thought I would! She, understandably due to her visit to IOI, got the most screen time this episode. It was nice to see her developing a relationship with Missy. I also enjoyed seeing her interact with Sandra and Rob. I lol’d when she admitted to being an Olympian after saying she would lie about it. However, she kind of had to since Chelsea called her out on it! She was worried about her visit to IOI painting a target on her back, but she successfully avoided that. The biggest concern that I have for Elizabeth is someone catching her in the lie about her visit to IOI. She told them that there was a path and at the end of the path was 3 urns. She had to pick one to break it and all it had in it was a message that she lost. It’s possible that will come back to bite her! Due to her allies and athleticism, she should be safe for now.





7. Vince Moua - 27 years old

vince.jpgI completely admit that I moved Vince down because he was so willing for Elaine to go! lol But, that wasn’t the only reason. It also seemed that he was saved by Elaine and the others vs. saving himself. He lowkey threw Elaine under the bus at the tribal council when he said “of course you want to support someone like Elaine, but that also might ruin your game”. I was impressed with his bamboo cutting ability. I also think he did ok in the first part of the challenge. Like Chelsea and Dean, he completely flubbed the puzzle. Vince was given a good amount of screen time and was given the chance to tell his back story. Rob and Sandra both said they liked Vince during the tribal council. I do like Vince and am sure I will be moving him back up again soon. 😊 He could be in trouble if they lose again and they decide to “stay strong” and not get rid of Aaron.


8. Aaron Meredith - 36 years old

aaron.jpgI moved Aaron down because he was targeting Elaine, but also because I didn’t think he did it in a smart way. He basically confirmed to her face that they were targeting her, which gave her plenty of time to rally the troops. If he had made her feel safe instead, she might have gone instead of Ronnie. It also annoyed me that every time he was shown he had something in his mouth. It’s not a pet peeve, but it was annoying. lol He might be the next target since he was the only person other than Ronnie to vote for Vince, but I would be surprised. If they lose again, they will probably decide to “stay strong” and target Elaine, Vince or Karishma.


9. Karishma Patel - 37 years old

karishma.jpgThere’s still something about Karishma that I don’t really like. She seemed like she might be breaking her alliance with the other women at one point when she was talking to Ronnie and Aaron. I might have believed she was lying, if she didn’t confirm it in her confessional. I’m glad she voted out Ronnie, but I wish we got to see more of how that transpired. Rob was impressed with her at tribal council and said she was smart. I could actually see her being a target if they lose and decide to “stay strong” and don’t want to go after Vince. She was voicing reasons to get rid of Elaine at tribal council and doesn’t seem particularly close to anyone.


Vokai Tribe

vokai.jpgWe didn’t get a lot of time with Vokai in the episode and they weren’t shown at all after the immunity challenge due to the IOI visit and tribal council. There was some drama over Jason looking for an immunity idol and Dan getting too touchy (see below). They were more focused on working than Lairo was and, as previously mentioned, some were professionally dressed in suits and collared shirts. We did see a “core group” of them agree to work together: Dan, Molly, Jack, Tommy, Kellee and Lauren (Plus Jamal). This is one of those groups that formed within the first few hours, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. We also got to see Tommy and Jack getting closer. Most of these castaways are really nice and this ranking was still pretty difficult!


1. Tommy Sheehan - 26 years old

tommy.jpgYep, Tommy is still my #1! He made me like him even more in this episode. His strategy is to connect with everyone one on one and he did a great job! When he teared up while telling Lauren about buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend, I might have teared up, too. I also laughed when he said “I think Super Mom’s got it over Boston Rob!” about Janet making the fire. Due to his likability and athleticism, I don’t see him being a target if they lose.


2. Janet Carbin - 59 years old


Wow! Janet proved herself to be a valuable tribemate! She made fire the first day and she hooked the ring on her first try during the immunity challenge! I also noticed that the younger women were confiding in her about their discomfort with Dan. She wasn’t part of the core group, but she seems to have their respect. All of that bodes well for Janet to stick around! Yay!



3. Jack Nichting - 23 years old

jack.jpgI moved Jack up because he seems to be an extremely well rounded young man – smart, charming and athletic. He connected with Jamal and Molly and was shown forming an agreement with Tommy. The scene with him, Molly and the clam cracked me up! Like Tommy, I don’t see him being a target anytime soon.








4. Jamal Shipman - 33 years old

jamal.jpgJamal was very likable and was included in the “core group” even though he wasn’t there because Jack brought him up and everyone agreed that they like him. Even if the core group doesn’t stay together, he will probably end up working with Jack and Tommy. He did ok in the challenge and was part of the trio who built the puzzle huts so fast! He should be safe for now.




5. Lauren Beck - 29 years old

lauren.jpgLauren’s smile lights up the screen and she seems genuinely happy to be there and genuinely nice to everyone. They showed her talking to Tommy in the core group and talking to Molly and Janet. She didn’t seem to hold them back in the challenge. Since she’s not annoying and is holding her own so far competitively, I think she is safe for now.


6. Kellee Kim - 29 years old

kellee.jpgKellee is interesting. She talked about being a germaphobe and I lol’d. Who goes on Survivor if you’re a germaphobe? She felt uncomfortable about Dan’s attention (laying his head on her leg and rubbing her back). I thought she handled it pretty well when she talked to him one on one. The preview for next week mentioned “heartache” and showed Kellee crying. It’s unclear what she is crying about though. Depending on how upset she is, why she is upset and how long it lasts, Kellee could put a target on her back.


7. Molly Byman - 27 years old

molly.jpgI’m still not sure about Molly. I enjoyed seeing her interaction with Jack. Though they didn’t show anything, she complained to Janet about feeling uncomfortable about Dan’s touchiness. The skeptic in me wonders if that’s game play on her part to put a target on his back. She was another of the trio that rocked the puzzle. I don’t see her going yet.


8. Jason Linden - 32 years old

jason.jpgWhat the heck, Jason?!?! He’s a huge Survivor fan, yet he goes searching for idols on day 1 while everyone else is back at camp? Jason painted a huge target on his back. The best hope for him is that Dan or Noura makes themselves a bigger target by being annoying.




9. Dan Spilo - 48 years old

dan.jpgI thought I was going to like Dan. He’s my biggest episode 1 disappointment. While everyone was wondering where Jason was and speculating he was searching for an idol, Dan was pretty aggressive about it. He admitted in his confessional that he was doing it to make sure the target was on Jason and not on Dan. His touchiness upset Molly and Kellee and this could get him voted out next if he doesn’t turn it around.


10. Noura Salman - 36 years old

noura.jpgYep, Noura is just as annoying as I thought she would be, and it looks like she’s going a bit crazy next week according to the preview. She was not included in the core group and I can see why! When she overheard castaways talking about Jason idol hunting, she went and confronted him! Come on, Noura! Also, she said that she could trust Jason because he reminded her of an ex-boyfriend. That cracked me up! Lol




Thank you for reading my thoughts and rankings. If you got this far, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!