Survivor Caramoan Premiere Recap: Hard Luck Falls on Francesca

Survivor returns with its latest installment of fans versus favorites tonight! The contestants are marooned in a pristine island in the municipality of Caramoan in the Philippines. Once again, the castaways are challenged to survive 39 days in the island. Who will prevail this season?

Coming in from last season’s Survivor Philippines, Malcolm may well be the most popular favorite freshest to anyone’s mind. I hear he only had two weeks of rest before engaging in shooting for the Caramoan stint. Well, of course you have Erik’s reputation preceding anything about him (as one of the dumbest players in Survivor history for giving up his immunity necklace and getting voted out as a result)and the more or less nut job in pink undies, Phillip.

This season goes chop-chop in introducing the contestants: less on small talk/ sentiments and more action. Jeff immediately leads the players to the first challenge: a race for fire and twenty pounds of beans. Two representatives (male and female) from each tribe battle for a ring back to their base while the opposing team attempts to block their moves. The most physical round comes courtesy of Malcolm and Reynold; even Malcolm’s fallen pair of shorts doesn’t deter his focus. The favorites (representing Bikal tribe) easily dominate the Gota tribe.

Alliances and strategies are put into play the moment the players hit their respective camps. Over to Bikal, Francesca tries hard to erase any doubts about her strengths considering that she was the first player voted off the island during her season. She tries to make a fresh start with Phillip (“I was never gunning for you”); the self-proclaimed “federal agent” tells her to play her cards well (oooh, this guy’s sinister). Phillip may have buried the hatchet between him and Francesca but he doesn’t hide the fact that she still annoys him.

On the other hand, Phillip initiates his grand strategy of being the puppet player to tribe mates whom he feels are efficient and dominating. People like Corrine and Andrea. Then he recruits several more: people that can follow his orders without question. Erik isn’t buying this; he’d rather bond with the opposite side. Over to the Gota tribe, Reynold develops a liking for Allie which leads to a little touchy-feely scene during the night. The two share a common bond with Eddie and Hope, another pair playing with romance. The foursome describe themselves as the cool high school kids nobody wants to hang out with. True enough, some of their tribe mates are getting that vibe and it may just give them a little disadvantage. Without fire or food in Gota, the players struggle for a little sense of organization. Shamar, a US marine,  shows a little attitude in the beginning but gets accepted in the group after he demonstrates the efficient way of building fire. Even Matt the biker dude is grateful.

By the time the immunity challenge is underway, Gota reverses its initial misfortune and sends the veteran players to tribal council. This causes the Bikal tribe to scramble, particularly Francesca and Phillip. Francesca embarks on a campaign against Phillip especially after hearing that the man has been making noise about having the most numbers in his alliance. Phillip is bent on kicking out Francesca especially after realizing that Andrea (described as a smart strategist) shows a semblance of loyalty to him.

Francesca’s psychological state is filled with paranoia, extending to entertaining the possibility that Phillip has an immunity idol. Her focus gets sidelined when Brandon introduces the Andrea factor, something which he feels is more dangerous that dealing with Phillip. Francesca now has several more worries: Malcolm has yet to reveal his alliance plus Dawn and Cochran strike a deal to play ‘til the end.

Francesca decides to take out Andrea if only to preserve herself and avoid getting voted out again for the second time. Oh, Francesca, I feel for you, but Phillip has his mojo to bank on this time. Her worst fear has just turned into reality after the votes are read: she’s the first person to go down this season. She made an earlier claim that should this happen, she’ll eat a rock; will she do it even for the sake of a few more minutes of TV time?

That’s our recap of Survivor Caramoan’s premiere on 2/13/13. We’ll have another recap next week. 

Image credit: Survivor