Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

Thirty-nine days, eighteen new castaways, two tribes separated by gender and one tumultuous ring of fire. SURVIVOR: VANUATU--ISLANDS OF FIRE has begun. On night three, the newly formed Lopevi tribe was forced to make their first dreaded trek to Tribal Council, where they voted out Brook Geraghty, the 27-year-old project manager from Winthrop, Massachusetts, in a shocking decision. Convinced the tribe would vote out Chris Daugherty, the 34-year-old highway construction worker from South Vienna, Ohio, for singlehandedly losing a vital Challenge, Brook was blindsided when he realized he was the victim of an early, unseen alliance within the tribe. Leaving Tribal Council, Brook remarked, "I got beat, bottom line. Some of them got me. They got me good."

Aboard a boat in the clear waters within the island nation of Vanuatu, eighteen strangers from different walks of life eagerly awaited the chance to outwit, outplay, and outlast each other in pursuit of the coveted million-dollar prize. The Survivors were awestruck to see hundreds of indigenous Vanuatu tribe members quickly rush the boat while shouting out a fierce battle cry. Host Jeff Probst explained that before the castaways were going to be welcome on these islands replete with black magic, sorcery and tribal rituals, they would first have to pass local initiation rites.

Upon reaching the shore, the castaways were greeted by spear-wielding Vanuatu warriors, who separated the Survivors by gender. It became obvious that the men were getting treatment superior to that given the women. The Vanuatu tribe Chief offered each man a local drink known as kava while the women were left to watch. After the Vanuatu warriors sacrificed a pig in a ritual, they smeared the blood on the faces of the male castaways, and then issued a challenge. If a male castaway could retrieve a spiritual stone from the top of a pole laden with pig fat, it would bring them good luck. If the male castaway were to fail, then the women would receive the stone and the luck. The first male Survivor chosen for this task was Brady Finta, the 33-year-old FBI agent from Huntington Beach, California. Brady took to the task with perseverance as he shimmied up the pole and snatched the stone, thus starting off his journey with much-needed good luck.

TREK TO CAMP After being divided into two tribes separated by gender, the Vanuatu castaways headed their separate ways through the dark night in order to find their respective camps. The men's tribe was called Lopevi, while the women were now the Yasur tribe.

As the Yasur tribe negotiated the dangerous rocky beach path, factions quickly developed. Scout Cloud Lee, the 59-year-old rancher from Stillwater, Oklahoma, decided she would stop the trek in order to rest until daylight. She was joined by other tribemates while another group of Yasurs, led by Eliza Orlins, the 21-year-old pre-law student from Syracuse, New York, wanted to move on. Tension filled the air. "I didn't want to be too pushy because I didn't want to be the odd person out," confessed Eliza.

As the men of Lopevi worked to find their camp in the darkness, they had problems with navigation. Rory Freeman, the 35-year-old S8 housing case manager from Des Moines, Iowa, attempted to lead the tribe. After he pled his case, it was clear that Rory's efforts were in vain and had alienated him from the rest. "Rory, I don't think he's gonna fit in. There's one in every bunch," complained Brook.

After finding their camp and enjoying a good night's sleep, the women of Yasur awoke with the task of building a shelter. It was clear right away that certain members of the tribe thought they had more of a work ethic than others. As Twila Tanner, the 41-year old highway repair worker from Marshall, Missouri, Ami Cusack, the 31-year old barista/model from Lakewood, Colorado, and Scout worked hard to build their shelter, some of the younger members of the tribe, including Eliza and Dolly Neely, the 25-year old sheep farmer from Mercer, Pennsylvania, basked in the sun while enjoying a relaxing swim. "I call all these sorority girls 'bowheads' because they all like to hang together," observed Scout, "They're like cattle."

Meanwhile at the Lopevi camp, the men were in serious need of fire in order to boil their water. John Palyok, the 31-year-old sales manager from Los Angeles, California, vigorously attempted to ignite a flame, but his efforts were in vain. After the tribe worked to set up their camp, Chad Crittenden, the 35-year-old teacher from Oakland, California, stunned his tribemates by revealing he has a prosthetic foot. Chad explained that he had recently lost his foot in a battle with cancer. The rest of Lopevi were surprised and inspired, but not necessarily merciful. "All the power to him, I totally think that's inspirational," confessed Brook, "but if I have to vote his ass out of here tomorrow, I'm still gonna vote his ass out of here tomorrow."

IMMUNITY & REWARD CHALLENGE: FIRE STARTER As the tribes met Jeff Probst for the first Challenge of SURVIVOR:VANUATU, they learned it would be a combination Immunity and Reward Challenge. Jeff Probst explained that this Challenge would be an obstacle course requiring the use of many skills. The castaways first had to go beneath a mud crawl and solve a box maze. Following the box maze, the Survivors must then cross over a very narrow balance beam to light a fire in order to drop a torch. The torch is needed to light a final wok, which would signify the victory, as well as Immunity from the first Tribal Council of SURVIVOR: VANUATU. As a bonus, the winning tribe would also enjoy the reward of flint to help build a much-needed fire.

The competition got off to a dirty start as both tribes navigated the mud crawl. The men made quick work of the puzzle maze and took their lead to the balance beam, where they struggled to cross it one by one. The men maintained their lead until Chris simply could not cross the balance beam. As Chris tried and tried, his tribe witnessed the women of Yasur overtake the lead and go on to the build a fire. Despite being cheered on by his Lopevi tribemates, Chris still could not cross the beam, and the Yasur tribe ignited the wok and torched their way to the crucial Immunity.

After returning to camp from the crushing defeat, most of the Lopevi members deemed it a forgone conclusion that Chris would be the first one voted off because of his balance beam failure. Some members of the tribe had other ideas, however, as Lea Masters, the 40-year-old drill sergeant from Columbia, South Carolina, started to build an alliance on the fly with some of the older members of Lopevi. Lea acknowledged that the younger tribe members might be stronger, but they were also cockier and therefore must be dealt with. As Lea explained, "I'm gonna pick the young ones off one by one until there's only four people left."

In the end, Lea's plan was off to a good start as young Brook was shocked to witness the five out of nine votes that made him the first castaway to be voted out of SURVIVOR: VANUATU.