* Even though I was just a few feet away from the opening, the surf was so loud it was difficult to hear what anyone was saying — that's also thanks to my sucky hearing courtesy of too many years of idiotically standing next to gigantic speakers at concerts. So I was shocked to hear what Franquesca … excuse me, Francesca said when Rob and Russell were introduced. "They're sizing us up like we're prey," she told the group. "They're troublemakers. I don’t think they're here just to help us out." NOT SMART! Don’t get me wrong, she was absolutely on the money in her assessment, but you don't blab that out right in front of them and automatically put a target on your back. Franquixote … er, Francesca was one of my favorite pregame interviews, and I loved her in this episode. With her quick wit, she had (or has if she can make it back from Redemption Island, which is not likely) the chance to be the next Courtney Yates. But she dug her own grave with that comment.
* I'm pretty sure Mark Burnett just set the Survivor land speed record for product placement in a season with those Craftsman toolboxes. He just wasted no time at all with that one. In much the same way Kristina wasted no time in searching the box for a clue. Thankfully, there wasn't one in there, as I've never been a fan of the whole the-person-who-just-happens-to-stumble-upon-the-clue-gets-it thing. It also leads to mentally unstable physical education teachers knocking over women with one leg, which I believe is frowned upon in most parts.
* Ralph says he's built cabins and was ready to get crackin' on the shelter! Of course, he also told me before the game that he could make fire in an instant, and I watched him struggle for an hour with no luck on day 2, so who knows? I do know that Mike telling him "You have the most impressive man sweater I've ever seen" was the second-best line of the night.
* The No. 1 line of the night, of course, came from Franquiznos: "How did I get stuck with the old annoying guy in the droopy fuchsia briefs?" Tell me you don't love that woman.
* We saw Stephanie do her best Natalie and Parvati impersonation and form that early alliance with Russell. What you did not see — but I did while out there — was Russell campaigning hard to get rid of Sarita (although he was having trouble remembering her name). He was working Steve hard on getting rid of her, but Steve didn’t want to hear any of it, telling Russell, "I'm just gonna focus on challenges. Right now, that's all I'm gonna do — camp and challenges. I don’t want cannibalism inside here right now." Steve was the most vocal anti-Russell voice before the game began ("Russell was a little idiot," he told me, while also dubbing him a "cancer" and "the lowest of the low"), so I'll be very curious to see how that relationship shakes out.
* Phillip! Man, you’re completely bonkers! "Answer my questions! Answer my questions!" Hey, answer my question: How'd you become such a sweet dude? You're amazingly rude on many levels, yet — not unlike the Dragonslayer himself — you are oddly entertaining as well. I'm not exactly sure why. It could be the aforementioned droopy fuchsia underwear. It could be the fact that you're really into roller disco. It could be the fact that you insist on repeating that you were a federal agent approximately 516 times per minute. Whatever it is, I am amused. Of course, if I were living out there with you I'd probably want to slash a machete through my own skull, but I'm not, so carry on.
NEXT: All hell breaks loose at Tribal Council