Season 26: Episode 1 - She Annoys Me Greatly
Posted on Feb 14, 2013 12:00am

Ten SURVIVOR fans travel together via boat around the Caramoan Islands in the Philippines on their way to start the adventure of a lifetime. Matt Bischoff, a 38 year-old BMX bike salesman from Cincinnati, OH admits, "It is definitely a surreal experience that I'm here and I'm going to be playing the game." Overhead ten SURVIVOR favorites from past seasons travel by helicopter on their way to join the fans on the beach below. Malcolm Freberg, the 25 year-old bartender from SURVIVOR: PHILIPPINES made it all the way to the final four, but lost the final challenge in his former season. Another favorite is John Cochran, the 25 year-old Harvard law student from SURVIVOR: SOUTH PACIFIC, who is known as the nerd that betrayed his tribe. Two of his former tribe mates from SURVIVOR: SOUTH PACIFIC have also returned "“ Dawn Meehan, the 42 year-old English professor who was betrayed by Cochran, and Brandon Hantz, the 21 year-old nephew of the notorious Russell Hantz. Three returning favorites hail from SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND. One is Andrea Boehlke, the 23 year-old former farm girl who worked hard and flirted her way out of the game. The other two from that season were bickering rivals"”Philip Sheppard, the 54 year-old former federal agent who was thought to be crazy by his tribe mates and Francesca Hogi, the 38 year-old attorney who was the first person voted out of the game that season. Brenda Lowe, the 30 year-old former NFL cheerleader, is a returning favorite from SURVIVOR: NICARAGUA. She used her brains and beauty to try and charm her tribe. Erik Reichenbach, the 27 year-old former ice cream scooper was a fan on the first FANS VS FAVORITES season in SURVIVOR: MICRONESIA. During his season, the women of his tribe conned him into giving up his immunity necklace, and he was then voted out. The tenth favorite is Corinne Kaplan, the 33 year-old clinical consultant from SURVIVOR: GABON, who made both friendships and enemies. Andrea admits, "The theme of the season is people that make big mistakes. This is a chance to correct those mistakes." The fans arrive on the beach first where Jeff Probst, the host, greets them. Jeff informs them that they will be playing against some of their favorite Survivors from past seasons. The fans cheer as the helicopters carrying the favorites land on the beach. After seeing the past contestants, Shamar Thomas, a 27 year-old Iraq war veteran tells his fellow fans, "This is going to be too easy. Watch, they're too cocky." Jeff hands orange buffs to the fans and purple buffs to the favorites. He then announces that they will have their first challenge immediately.

REWARD CHALLENGE: WATER SLAUGHTER Jeff explains the rules of their first reward challenge, which will take place in the water. Two members from each tribe will race to retrieve a ring. They will work together to get back to their tribe's flagpole with the ring while the other tribe tries to stop them anyway they can. The first tribe member to have one hand on their flagpole and one hand on the ring scores a point for their tribe. The first tribe to four points wins reward. The reward is an early head start in the game in the form of flint and twenty pounds of beans. The first pairs to compete are Erik and Dawn for the favorites and Shamar and Julia Landauer, a 21 year-old racecar driver from Stanford, CA, for the fans. Erik gets the ring before the others. As he runs it back towards the favorite's poll, he runs into Shamar, who is much bigger than him, so he throws the ring towards Dawn. Julia gets to the ring before Dawn can grab it and runs towards the fan's pole. Dawn tackles Julia, who then lets the ring go, and Shamar picks it up and cannot be stopped. The fans score the first point. In the second round, Hope Driskill, a 23 year-old pre law student from Jefferson City, MO, joins her teammate Eddie Fox, a 23 year-old fireman/EMT from East Brunswick, NJ, to compete for the fans. Brandon and Andrea pair together for the favorite's team. Eddie gets to the ring first and throws it to Hope. Andrea grabs the ring too and wrestles with Hope to try and get it to the favorite's pole. Brandon and Eddie join the fight, which results in four people vying for control of the ring. Brandon vigorously pushes all of them towards the favorite's pole, allowing Andrea to reach out and touch it scoring a point for the favorites. The game is now tied at one point for each tribe. In the third round, Sherri Biethman, a 41 year-old fast food franchisee from Boise, ID, and Michael Snow, a 44 year-old event planner from New York, NY, compete against Philip and Brenda. Michael gets to the ring first, but Philip quickly pulls Michael and the ring towards the fan's pole. Meanwhile, Sherri ties Brenda up so she can't help Phillip. Shamar yells to Sherri, "Break her wrist!" Jeff and the rest of the castaways are surprised that Shamar suggests this. Eventually, all four players fight for the ring, but Philip grabs Michael's foot and pulls them all over to the favorite's pole where he scores a second point. Now the favorites are in the lead. In the fourth round, Francesca and Cochran score a point over Matt and Laura Alexander, a 23 year-old administrative officer from Washington D.C. The favorites now lead three points to one and only need one more point for victory. In the next round, Corinne and Malcolm take on the fans Reynold Toepfer, a 30 year-old real estate salesman from San Francisco, CA, and Allie Pohevitz, a 25 year-old bartender from Oceanside, NY. The fans know they need to score to stay in the game so Reynold races to get the ring first. Just after he grasps it, Malcolm knocks it out of his hand and tackles him. Corinne works to take Allie out of the match, leaving the two powerhouses, Reynold and Malcolm, to duke it out. Malcolm struggles so much that his underwear comes down, but that does not stop him. In the end, all four players have a hand on the ring, but Malcolm drags them all over to the favorite's poll and scores the winning point. As the favorites celebrate, Philip warns them not to be too rowdy and gloat in front of the fans. The favorites collect their flint and beans reward before leaving the challenge.

The Gota tribe of fans arrives by boat to their camp. As they exit the boat and wade through the water towards the beach, Shamar is especially disappointed that Gota lost the challenge. He admits, "It made me realize that I don't have full control over this game, and I just have to do my best to inspire my teammates to do a better job next time." The Gota tribe is pleased to find a bag of rice, machete, and pot waiting for them at their campsite. Shamar suggests they start a fire before doing anything else so they can boil water. Matt starts building a shelter, which he feels is equally important. He explains, "There's ten people on our tribe so I'm just going to do my thing and see how it plays out." Matt quickly organizes the shelter-building project, and his tribe helps him gather and cut the bamboo. Meanwhile, Shamar watches everyone work on the shelter and grows upset that no one is working on fire. Shamar says, "I'd much rather you guys with energy put it towards the fire." Matt is frustrated that Shamar does not appreciate the work he has done, saying, "I feel like I'm getting dogged for busting my ass, while you're sitting there." Shamar yells at Matt and tells him to stop talking to him. The Gota tribe is upset by Shamar's outburst. Reynold comments, "We're going to have to have camaraderie in camp or else things are going to get ugly quick."

The Bikal tribe of favorites arrives at their camp, and they all feel confident that the can survive the elements since they've done it before. Without arguments or hesitation, they start building the shelter and gathering wood and water. At the same time, they begin to play the strategic part of the game. Malcolm, the newest SURVIVOR alumni reveals, "My role in the first few days is really impression management." He is happy that he did well in the challenge and helped his tribe win the reward. Philip steps up and takes charge of building the shelter. Francesca listens to Philip give orders to the tribe, but she comments that she still feels that he is as crazy as he was on SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND. Later, Francesca, Andrea, and Dawn discuss forming an alliance as they gather materials in the jungle. They discuss the other people on their tribe that they trust. Francesca reveals, "I guess I was a little traumatized by like having a really bad minority alliance the first time I played. So, now I'm like I'm going to align with everybody." Francesca wants to prove to herself and to others that she can successfully play this game and be a serious threat. She finds Philip and assures him that she has no hard feelings from their prior season, and she hopes they can work together this time. Philip does not respond to her right away continuing his work on the shelter. He finally admits that he feels like the slate is clean between them and does not understand why Francesca is bringing up the past. He later says, "She annoys me greatly." Francesca is frustrated with Philip, but she is willing to work with him. She just hopes that he will not target her to be the first one voted out again. Francesca reveals, "If I am voted out first a second time, I will eat a rock. It's not going to happen."

Over at the Gota camp, the fans are now trying to make fire. Shamar watches as Reynold and Eddie rub two bamboo sticks together to try and create sparks. He comments, "Getting voted out is one thing, but I'm not going to sit up here and be the guy who goes out for dehydration." Shamar suggests a better way to make fire. He brings over a new piece of wood and instructs them to cut a small hole in it. Shamar then works with Michael to rub the wood over another piece of bamboo held by Julia and Hope. They successfully start a fire, and the rest of the tribe pitches in to add twigs and dried leaves to keep it going. Everyone celebrates their success. Shamar admits, "I had to make it happen. It was like being in Iraq and like having to get home. It just has to happen." Matt congratulates Shamar for starting the fire. He comments, "I smoothed it over with Shamar. We shook hands. Sometimes you got to give a guy the benefit of the doubt."

Back at the Bikal camp, the favorites enjoy their first meal together. Philip is pleased with his tribe revealing, "I thought some things that I learned from Boston Rob might come to play working with this group. In fact I created something called the BR Rules." Philip decides to implement the first BR Rule, which is to get an alliance. He invites Corinne to join him telling her that he wants to add Malcolm and Andrea to their group. Corinne accepts Philip's invitation, and he gives her the nickname "Dominatrix." He then invites Andrea "The Eliminator" to join, since they worked together on SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND. Philip then sends Andrea and Corinne out to recruit Malcolm into their group. Malcolm accepts. Philip explains, "I would be in the background because I am being stealth, the undercover brother for sure, "˜The Specialist.'" He plans on giving direction from behind the scenes. Next, Corinne and Andrea add Dawn, while Philip recruits Cochran, the "Intelligencia Attaché." Philip now has six of the ten tribe mates in his alliance. He decides to add Erik to the group. Philip meets with Erik and admits to him that he is already a part of a majority alliance but that he would like Erik to be a part of it too, even though they don't need him for the numbers. Philip doesn't want Erik to know that he is running the alliance, so he assures him that he is just an errand boy delivering the invitation for the group. Erik listens to the offer and comments, "Philip basically said to me, you're with me or you're out." Erik says that he feels like Philip is trying to bully him into being a part of their alliance, and he does not like being treated that way.

REYNOLD MAKES HIS MOVE Meanwhile, over at Gota, Eddie and Reynold make a quick alliance. They both know that they are young, strong guys and should stick together because everyone else will see them as targets. Next, Reynold goes with Allie to gather rocks. He offers her an alliance to go to the final two together. He says that he is choosing Allie because he feels like she is not an obvious ally for him in the eyes of the rest of the tribe since she blends in with the group. Allie is happy to team up with Reynold. They agree to hide their alliance from everyone. Reynold explains, "SURVIVOR is a game of gut instinct and right now by gut feels good and I think hers does too."

EDDIE, HOPE, REYNOLD AND ALLIE As the end of the first day comes and the night sky fills with stars, Eddie and Hope take a walk along the beach. As they admire the stars, Eddie asks Hope to work with him during the game. Eddie finds Hope attractive and was impressed with her performance at the first challenge. Hope agrees to align with Eddie. He tells her that he would like to add Reynold and Allie to their group, boasting, "Hope, she's like a little Southern belle. That's what I'm looking for, you know what I mean." Later that night, as the Gota tribe is in the shelter trying to sleep, Reynold and Allie cuddle and kiss. Noticing the activity, Laura comments, "Romantic alliances do not work on SURVIVOR. They're going to get targeted right away."

By day three, Cochran's fair skin is bright pink having baked in the sun and heat for a couple days. He admits, "Weather wise this is not my environment. I was not aware how quickly I could become sunburned." Brenda and Brandon are shocked when they see how swollen and red Cochran's feet are. He tries to make light of his condition, but he mentions that he is really in a lot of pain. Cochran explains, "I'm trying to stay strong. My new persona is strong with a little bit of swagger and a little more confidence. I can't be the same freak I was last time."

Over at the Gota camp, Reynold, Eddie, Hope and Allie talk in the water. They agree that they would enjoy hanging out with each other even if they were not playing SURVIVOR. Reynold calls them the "cool kids". Eddie comments, "Everybody wants to sit at the cool kid lunch table. You got to work your way in, but I don't think anyone else is going to be at our table." Meanwhile, back on Gota's beach, Julia, Laura, and Sherri discuss the snuggling that went on last night in the shelter between Reynold and Allie. Sherri explains, "They were hooking up." She suggests to Julia and Laura that they break up the couple. Julia agrees tha