Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

Finding themselves on the chopping block after a humbling loss to the women's tribe at the Immunity Challenge, the men's tribe took the long walk to the first Tribal Council of SURVIVOR: THE AMAZON. Ryan Aiken, the 23-year-old model from Ellicott City, Maryland, was voted out of the tribe in a 4-3-1 vote. Along with his poor work ethic, Ryan's fate was sealed by his lackluster performance at the Immunity Challenge, in which the men of Tambaqui spoiled a substantial lead.

As his torch was extinguished, Ryan looked back on the short time he spent in the Amazon: "I knew I was in for the biggest challenge of my life, and I definitely got what I came for. I have learned a lot, and most importantly, I have learned a lot about myself."

After a long journey down the Rio Negro deep into the Amazon jungle in Northern Brazil, host Jeff Probst, in a shocking twist, separated the Castaways into a tribe of women and a tribe of men. For the first time on SURVIVOR, it was the ultimate battle of the sexes.

After receiving their colored buffs and maps to their new camps, the men of Tambaqui and the women of Jaburu set off in opposite directions on their long paddle to find what would become their homes for the next 39 days.

After arriving at camp and sifting through their meager supply chest, the men of Tambaqui held a quick meeting. "The bottom line is that a lot of the girls would be great eye candy, but when it comes down to it, we want people who are going to be useful. If we lose to the girls, it's going to be rough, really rough," remarked Ryan. Realizing that fire and shelter were priorities, they quickly set out to establish camp.

The men vehemently questioned the women's ability to match their expert survival skills. Butch Lockley, the 50-year old middle school principal from Olney, Illinois, introduced his luxury item to his tribemates: a giant banner reading, "Believe in Yourself." "I think as a whole we have gotten along very well, but I think that the women have got to be having a very difficult time. I don't think they ever thought they would be doing this on estrogen alone over there in the camp of the 'vagina monologue,'" explained Rob Cesternino, the 24-year-old computer projects coordinator from Wantagh, New York.

Meanwhile, as the women of Jaburu arrived at their camp, Christy Smith, the 24-year-old children adventure guide from Basalt, Colorado, gathered her new tribemates together to reveal that she is deaf. "I needed to get if off my chest. I couldn't keep it in any longer," Christy explained. After a short introduction, the women struggled to start a fire, and tensions soon arose. "Deena--she definitely has more of a bossy side to her," commented Heidi Strobel, the 24-year-old gym teacher from Buffalo, Missouri. As the sun set, the women were still struggling to acclimate to their new surroundings. Jeanne Hebert, the 41-year-old marketing director from North Attleboro, Massachusetts, optimistically exclaimed, "It's okay, we are Amazon women, and we'll make it. We will toughen up and make it through to the end and kick the guys' butts."

However, everyone didn't share the same sentiment. Christy's frustrations mounted as she tearfully explained, "as soon as it gets dark, that's where my communication breaks down, because I can't see to read their lips. I am missing out on a lot of information. I am totally different from them, but this always happens, and I am at a big disadvantage."

On Day 2, group dynamics intensified as Roger Sexton, the 56-year-old construction company Vice President from Valencia, California, emerged as an outspoken leader among the Tambaqui tribe. "Roger is definitely very bossy, telling kids to go do this and go do that," noted Rob. Roger, frustrated with the work ethic of Ryan and Daniel Lue, the 27-year-old tax accountant from Houston, Texas, let his feelings be known: "You ask these guys to go out and get some vines, and it's like pulling teeth. They are just useless. They are digging their own graves."

As the men finished constructing their shelter, the disorganized and tattered Jaburu tribe labored over tribal priorities. "The flies are swarming around us because we stink, so we are boiling our buffs and our underwear that aren't clean," explained Jenna Morasca, the 21-year-old swimsuit model from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washing the buffs in the tribe's boiling water didn't sit well with Deena Bennett, the 35-year-old deputy district attorney from Riverside, California, and she shared a look of dismay with Christy.

On Day 3, a harsh reality set in at the Jaburu camp as the lack of food and water began to take its toll. Janet Koth, the 47-year-old homemaker from Manchester, Missouri, had to clutch a nearby tree to keep from falling. "I am about ready to pass out. I don't think I can make it through the Challenge, or anything else. This is too hard," Janet complained to Heidi and Jenna as they set out on a boating expedition to catch fish.

As the Tambaqui tribe readied for their upcoming Immunity Challenge, Rob revealed his luxury item: a fortune-telling Magic 8 Ball. The men took turns shaking the ball, asking it which of the women of Jaburu were interested in them. Roger put the moment in perspective: "This whole macho thing is funny. All they talk about is the women. The juice is flowing. Boys, from 15-years-old and on, that's all we think about."

Rob then revealed his crush on Heidi, remarking, "That girl Heidi, she is so hot, she can put Viagra out of business."

After receiving Tree Mail, the tribes met host Jeff Probst at the Immunity Challenge, where he explained the rules. Chained together, each tribe would have to negotiate certain stations along an obstacle course. As each station was completed, they would gather a series of keys that would unlock sections of the chain, dividing the tribe into progressively smaller groupings.

The first station was a tangle of wooden stakes through which the tribes would have to navigate. The second leg led them over a cargo net to a puzzle, which they would have to decode in order to be able to unlock the next groups. The third station would force them to walk a balance beam while chained together in pairs. Once all 4 pairs in a tribe successfully completed the balance beam, another puzzle would await them. The final stage would find one person from the tribe racing up a ladder, then zipping down a pulley system to unlock a door, which would allow the rest of their tribemates to run to the finish line. First tribe to cross the finish line would win.

Swinging in the treesAs the race began, the overconfident men took an early lead. The women struggled to complete the second leg, decoding the puzzle while the men were already on the third leg. With the lead in hand, the men encountered trouble at the balance beam, and the women regained their composure and caught up with the men. Ryan and Daniel struggled several times to complete the balance beam, putting the men's tribe behind. Once the women of Jaburu took the lead, they never looked back, and surprised even themselves by winning the coveted Immunity Idol. The loss sent the embarrassed and humbled men back to camp, and eventually to the first Tribal Council.

Arriving back at camp victorious, the women's energy level was at an all-time high, and Janet felt better than ever. "It just mentally gives you more energy. We really can do this. We can pull this off just as well as the guys. Actually, better," exclaimed Heidi.

"I give the girls a ton of credit. This is Billie Jean King against Bobby Riggs for the new millennium. I know what's riding on this," explained Rob. His tribe realized they had been overconfident and had failed themselves at the Immunity Challenge.

Having struggled through the Immunity Challenge, Ryan recognized that he was vulnerable at the impending Tribal Council. In a last-ditch effort, Ryan hastily attempted to organize a voting block to oust Roger, the Tribe's eldest and most vocal leader. "There is a lot of tension now. Everyone seems to be jockeying for position, and there is friction between Roger and Ryan, and it has culminated in, kind of, a face-off," explained Matthew Von Ertfelda, the 33-year-old restaurant designer from Washington, D.C.

In the end, Ryan's plan to form a voting block failed, and he became the first person voted out of SURVIVOR: THE AMAZON.