Tonight, “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” came out of the gates with a 90-minute premiere, and we’re not going to tell you that it was the greatest premiere in the history of the show. There were no strategic blindsides, there were no crazy moves, and really a good 20 minutes of the episode was spent talking about Darnell and a snorkel. Yet, there was at least something that is extremely rare for the very first episode of the season: A tie vote.
The relevant events of this episode can be pretty easy to describe: Darnell lost the snorkel in the water during the reward / immunity challenge, and this was largely the reason why the Brawn tribe lost. It was a mistake from a guy who supposedly knew how to dive. There were people who wanted to get rid of him, and yet also people who wanted out Alecia, who virtually did nothing around camp and in the challenge. Is a mistake worse than nothing at all? To us, this was a no-brainer: You get rid of Alecia, unless there was some footage of something that we didn’t quite see.
Yet, the Brawn got rid of Darnell, which to us sounds like a decision they’ll regret. (Jason and Cydney were ultimately the two who voted to keep him in the game.) You got Alecia openly talking about wanting to make moves and being coy about an idol, and you keep her … why? Granted, we’re not entirely sure that the rest of her tribe had the same vantage point on this that we did. We’re not sure what some of their strategies are. Why in the world is Jason (man formerly known as Kyle Jason) telling Alecia and Darnell openly that they are on the bottom when there’s obviously going to be a tribe swap and a merge?
Strange vote aside, there were some interesting moments tonight. For one, we love Tai Trang immensely … yet wonder if he’s already dug his own grave by going to look for an idol right away. The women on the beauty tribe predictably got together, while even more predictably on the Brains we have Joe and Debbie, who is certainly bringing the antics, on the outside of the group. Aubry had a bit of a breakdown at camp, but she and Liz ended up being the heroes who helped the group win their first challenge. Kudos!
We could go for a while about the people we liked in this first episode, whether it be Liz to Tai to Anna to Peter, who seemed to handle being called Barack Obama well even though he claims to hate it. The conditions are obviously playing a huge part in the story this season, and maybe at times that will prohibit there from being a ton of huge strategic moves; even if that’s the case, there are enough characters here to help carry the day. Episode Grade: B+.
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