Season 13: Episode 1 - JAZZ MUSICIAN'S LAST RIFF
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

The much-anticipated SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS begins with Sekou Bunch, the 44-year-old professional jazz musician from Los Angeles, California, voted out three votes to two at the first Tribal Council of the season. Pegged as a bossy yet weak leader, Sekou unhappily greets his fate as his torch's flame is extinguished. Holding his head up high, Sekou leaves behind his positive final words: "I believe a good leader is one who can instill some guidance. And I'm sure that I had a real strong effect with my tribe--I have no doubt about that. They saw that I was a real strong leader. Well guess what? They're gonna be a really strong tribe and I'm proud of that. And my torch may be out but my flame is still burning."

Aboard an ancient ship in the heart of the South Pacific, 20 Survivors meeting for the first time are divided into four tribes: Asian-American, Caucasian, Latino and African-American. They pillage the old sailing vessel for supplies in which to help them live for the next 39 days. Jumping overboard and beginning the arduous paddle to their beaches, it is clear to them that this social experiment is like nothing else before it.

Giving perspective to this unusual situation, Yul from the Asian-American tribe is apprehensive about being divided based solely on his ethnicity. "I'm a little worried that it might play out to caricatures and stereotypes." Even the carefree Parvati hesitates for a moment at being grouped entirely with Caucasians "Different ethnic groups" I mean is that kosher?"

Cracking jokes as the boisterous Latino tribe paddles to their beach, the eccentric, heavy metal-band styled Billy spins tales of his outdoor skills to his tribe. Upon arrival at camp, Billy's true colors are apparent as he haplessly attempts to construct a shelter. Realizing Billy's ineptness, Ozzy quickly takes over building the shelter and scaling tall palm trees retrieving coconuts to nourish his tribe. "As long as we stay fed and happy with each other we're going to be able to stay real strong," explains Ozzy.

For Puka, the tribe of Asian-Americans, there are clearly specific cultural differences within their ethnic group. After listing the specific types of Asians in her tribe, Jenny concludes, "We're a mixed group ourselves within the Asian community." Feeling like an oddball in his own ethnic group and tribe, Cao Boi laments the pressure his appearance and lifestyle may have on his place in the Puka Tribe. "I've never been accepted by the Asian community--take one look at me! This is a very dangerous position to be in."

"Represent! Represent! Represent!" the Hiki tribe chants as they look forward to breaking down the stereotypes bestowed on their ethnicity. "We have to step up to the plate," says Rebecca. "We don't just run track!" Nate takes one look at the personalities on his tribe, realizing that they might be in for a bit of a challenge. "Black people don't like to be told what to do. And we have a bunch of headstrong people around here."

While celebrating their bounty, Flica accidentally turns over a box that the tribe kept their chickens in. Realizing her error, a guilty Flica chases after the chickens into the dense jungle. "I'm not happy right now with Flica. She screwed up my chickens," vents a frustrated Jonathan.

While trekking through the jungle, Rebecca and Sundra stumble upon the Hiki tribe's much-needed water source. Realizing they need to boil the water first before drinking it, the focus is on making fire, but Sekou is easily distracted with too many other chores at hand. His lack of concentration frustrates the women as Stephannie states, "We've got too much to do. But he is not one to stay focused at all. I'm in a state of piss-tation."

When Brad complains of a headache, it's Cao Boi to the rescue. Diagnosing Brad with a touch of "bad wind," Cao Boi uses techniques from the "old world" to cure Brad of his ailments, but leaves a red mark on his forehead. "I told him when it's completely gone, [his] body will be fully healed," Cao Boi explains. Brad later confesses "I did have a headache. I don't have a headache anymore. But I do have a red dot on my forehead."

The four tribes reconvene for their first challenge as Host Jeff Probst explains the rules.

The tribes must race to assemble a puzzle boat using seven braces, then paddle the boat out and retrieve fire from a bonfire floating on a raft in the ocean. Then they must paddle back to shore and carry the boat braces and fire with them. After putting together yet another puzzle, they must use the braces to create a ladder, climb to the top of a platform and light their tribe fire bale. The first three tribes to the top win flint and immunity. As a bonus the tribe that comes in first wins a fire kit, kindling, waterproof matches and kerosene.

The race begins as the four tribes assemble their paddleboats. Aitu and Puka work together as they are first to paddle their boats out, while Raro and Hiki flounder with the construction of their paddleboats. After retrieving fire it's a close battle between Aitu and Puka for the lead, with Puka deciphering the puzzle faster. They reach the platform first, winning the fire-making kit and Immunity. Aitu finishes second while the battle for last place continues. The Raro tribe finishes ahead of Hiki, keeping them safe from the vote. Hiki's last place finish will send them to the night's dreaded first Tribal Council.

In a final twist, the Hiki tribe is granted the power to send one member from any of the other three tribes to Exile Island, potentially weakening that tribe. Jeff Probst explains that hidden some where on Exile Island is a hidden Immunity Idol. Nate and Sekou from Hiki step forward to exile Jonathan from Raro as punishment for stealing Yul's chicken when they first gathered supplies and disembarked their sailing vessel.

Strategic alignments begin at Hiki as Nate and Sekou realize they need one of the three girls to side with them. Knowing that Rebecca and Sundra are already tight, Sekou approaches Stephannie to campaign for her vote. Sekou pleads with Stephannie, "If you all lose me tonight, and y'all lose Nate, it's just you three girls [and] you're out!'

As the sun sets before Tribal Council, Rebecca, frustrated with Sekou's scatterbrained leadership, states, "It may be easier for us to work as a team without him." In the end, Rebecca gets her wish as Sekou becomes the first casualty of SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS in a three to two vote.