Here is a quick recap of the first four episodes of the show.
A different intro than any previous season I can recall, with each pair of players being introduced before any of them meet. It was pretty boring.
We find out one pair of sisters was on The Amazing Race previously, and one player is a former baseball pro, John Rocker. A huge, athletic-looking guy.
Exile island is back.
As soon as the tribes come together there’s a challenge pitting husband Jeremy against wife Val. Jeremy is in tears, however we, the viewers can’t get emotional, as we have just met them.
Dale the oldest guy breaks his glasses in two to try and start a fire with the combined lenses. He is in danger of being voted out and gets a few votes, and Baylor gets one vote, but the other votes go to Nadiya, whom other players had seen play on The Amazing Race. Apparently she did her share of “backstabbing” there.
I noted down Josh as an early favorite.
Now the rules changes become apparent. On the previous Blood vs. Water there was a duel at the start of each episode to see who went to Redemption island and who was out of the game for good. That seems to be gone, as is Nadiya. Instead it looks like each episode will have a loved-ones challenge like the one Jeremy and Val participated in.
John Rocker loses and his girlfriend chooses Jeremy to go with him to Exile Island (alas it means the two most entertaining characters are away from the action). As in the last show, each gets a clue and one of the two clues is blank. Val didn’t share her clue last week, but Jeremy does share his. Also they each promise to do their best to protect the other’s woman.
After the two left, the remaining blue tribe members ask Jeff Probst if they can swap their newly won beans for a flint (Jon having lost theirs). He ridicules the offer, to the point of being a jerk, but finally lets them swap the whole reward (fishing gear and beans) for flint.
The challenge involves duels on a floating platform (this has been done before and always seems to entertain). Among other things, we find out that Wes is what you might call country strong. Maybe he’s a contender.
Back at camp, Rocker tells Val he wants to protect her, and she makes up a lie. Now, it’s nothing new for a player to bluff about having an idol, but she tells John that she found two of them! Meanwhile Rocker uses his clue and finds an idol for real.
There’s talk of splitting the vote 3-3 between Val or Baylor, so Rocker, continuing his protector role, tells Val about it and that she should play her idol (sound advice, if you believe her story that she has two). Val figures if that’s the plan she just needs to vote for Baylor and have one other additional person do so, and Baylor will be out. It becomes apparent that Val does not have a good social game, she is just too pugnacious.
The vote (intended by the others to flush out Val’s idol) is a 4-4 tie, but of course she has no idol to play. So on the revote everyone votes Val (except she herself of course). Rocker already realizes that though Val lied (about having idols) Jeremy will think Rocker is the one who lied about protecting her!
John Rocker is definitely the focus of the episode. At the start when both tribes enter the arena he tries to explain to Jeremy that he did all he could to save Val. However, Rocker’s own tribe is understandably shocked to find out the two men had a deal.
For the rest of the episode the blue tribe yells at the orange tribe at every opportunity, telling them they should vote John out. You would think if your enemy wants you to do something you should probably do the opposite, right? Josh leads a secret plan to vote John out, mainly to make sure his closer ally Baylor isn’t the one. Why others go along with it really isn’t so clear. But voted out he is. “Well played,” he compliments the group.
We hadn’t seen much of Drew and his younger brother Alec before this episode, but they are pretty good characters. Drew gets sent to Exile Island along with Jaclyn from the orange tribe, and he tells her he’s thinking of throwing the next immunity challenge. Blue has not lost a challenge yet, but “There’s snakes on our team that have to go.” He does indeed manage to throw the challenge single-handedly.
When Blur gets back to camp, there are many ideas on whom to vote out. Jon sees Julie, who is somewhat ostracized anyway, as an easy choice. Jeremy wants to vote out Keith for the sin of speculating that Jeremy has an idol. Drew, however, wants Kelly out … he considers her to be a schemer since she has seen every Survivor episode. I’m not sure if she really has seen ‘em all, but if so she would know that throwing a challenge never pays off and always, without exception, comes back to haunt whoever does it… are you reading this, Drew? Meanwhile Drew is becoming so annoying that he becomes a candidate to be voted out also. He doesn’t help his cause by talking about voting out certain people with the respective person standing within earshot! So Drew is indeed the one sent home, though three others get votes, as follows:
voted for Julie: Reed, Keith
voted for Drew: Kelly, Natalie, Jeremy, Julie, Missy
voted for Kelly: Drew
voted for Keith: Jon
Interesting here is the fact that neither Jeremy nor Jon voted for the person they were campaigning for!