Survivor season premiere recap: Reign of Error

Survivor history is made, but for one player, it is the worst kind of history
Ep. 01 | Aired Feb 13, 2013

SMILES, EVERYONE, SMILES! It's not a fantasy -- they are back on the island.

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

But these Fans are going to be huge threat to the Favorites…if they can just get out of their boat without falling on their asses, that is. (Sorry, Michael, but you know the rule: You fall down, we laugh at you. Just ask Rafe.) After removing himself from a miraculous rocky peak that shockingly does not cause him to somehow plummet to his death, Probst welcomes the newbies and informs them, “This season you will be playing against some of your favorite Survivors from past seasons!” He neglects to add “And some dude you don’t know because his season just wrapped 17 days ago and has not aired yet, but just play along. Also, if you could play along like you remember Francesca, that would be cool too.”

The Favorites come out one by one, led by Cochran in his go-to red sweater vest that has acquired magical properties that now transfer its colors directly from fabric to skin. “This is lunch meat right here,” says Shamar, who has probably gone without eating for a whopping 3 hours by this point. Luckily, none of the Favorites suggest to him that shelter is more important than fire or else things could have gotten really ugly.

But they’re not all gathered here for mere introductions and boasting. Probst is gonna put these cats through a challenge right here and right now. The contest is reminiscent of the time they had an opening reward challenge from Heroes vs. Villains. This time two members from each tribe will race out to get a ring. Both teams try to get it back to their pole while doing their best impersonations of various WWE stars.  The winners receive flint and 20 pounds of beans, which sounds vaguely like the name of a hipster indie rock band.

After the teams split the first two rounds, things get a bit feisty. Phillip and Brenda take on Sherri and Michael, with the Specialist attacking Michael in his pink undies, dragging the Fan while yelling, “Come with me, boy!” And Michael does come with him. The Favorites go up 2-1. Then it’s time for Cochran and Francesca to go against Matt and Laura. In a masterstroke of equal parts strategy and condescension, the fellow Favorites yell at Cochran to “take the girl!” When I spoke with Arlene Cochran on last week’s first ever Survivor Momcast, she talked all about her fear of son John being embarrassed on national television. Hearing your tribemates not have enough faith in you to take on someone of your same gender would seem to fall under that category. But you know what? It works! Faves up 3-1.

The last round causes the simultaneous fainting of millions of girls (and plenty of boys too, no doubt) upon the following words from Probst: “Malcolm losing his shorts!” As if that wasn’t enough, then Erik — clearly making an early play for the Fan Favorite vote — screams at Malcolm to “Go naked!” Unfortunately, censors have their way and Malcolm’s nether regions are blurred out as he clinches the victory. (Sorry, ladies.) Now let’s go check out the tribe camps before Brandon starts beating his chest in celebration and tackling people. Whoops! Too late!

NEXT: We didn’t start the fire. Oh, wait, yes we did!

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