Survivor: Caramoan, Fans vs. Favorites Premiere: Watch Me Pull A Rabbit Out Of My Hat. Again?

February 14th, 2013 1:05pm EST

SURVIVOR: CARAMOAN - FANS VS. FAVORITES Welcome to Survivor: Caramoan, Fans vs. Favorites. The Favorites (Bikal Tribe): Andrea Boehlke (Survivor Redemption Island), Brandon Hantz (Survivor South Pacific), Brenda Lowe (Survivor Nicaragua), Corrine Kaplan (Survivor Gabon), Dawn Meehan (Survivor South Pacific), Erik Reichenbach (Survivor Micronesia), Francesca Hogi (Survivor Redemption Island), John Cochran (Survivor South Pacific), Phillip Sheppard (Survivor Redemption Island) and Malcolm Freberg (Survivor Philippines).
The Fans (Gota Tribe): Laura Alexander, Sherri Biethman, Hope Driskill, Eddie Fox, Julia Landauer, Alexandra Phevitz, Michael Snow, Shamar Thomas, Reynold Toepfer, Matt Bischoff.
The Fans come in on a boat, while the Favorites get helicopters. And Jeff Probst, that wild and crazy guy, apparently parachutes down from a towering cliff, where he’s been shouting about 39 days and ONE SURVIVOR.
Probst gathers the Fans on the beach for their first glimpse of their new frenemies. Just to show them who’s boss, the Faves’ helicopters land close enough to literally kick sand in the Fans faces. Probst immediately sets the teams a challenge, with a reward of fire, and twenty pounds of beans. Two members of each team must race into the water to retrieve a ring, and then get it back to their pole while fending off the other team.
Phillip takes the opportunity to strip down to his – yes – pink briefs. The melee gets hot and heavy, as everyone fights their hardest. Probst, in the water himself, is shocked when Shamar yells out “Break her wrist!” Although Shamar says he really meant “Break her hold,” a lonely bird whistle signals that the Fans are here to play HARD.
The Favorites win the game when Malcolm wrestles his way out of his shorts (“Go naked”, yells Erik from the sidelines) and into victory. Phillip tries to corral the rambunctious Brandon by pretending to be a football coach, (“Alright guys, that’s enough, bring it in.”) to whom no one listens.
On the Fans (Gota) beach, they find a machete and a barrel of rice. Mountain Man Matt immediately gets to work building a shelter, with everyone’s help. But ex-Marine Shamar disses their work, saying that the most important priority is getting fire organized. Matt says he is the shelter guy; someone else will have to work on fire. Having thoroughly bummed out the group, Shamar wanders away, and does absolutely nothing about either fire or shelter. I guess his work there was done.

Reynold opines that the nattering between Matt and Shamar will destroy any unity, making it harder for the tribe to win challenges. Luckily, Reynold has a plan – to hook up with the ladies.
Shamar watches as some of the tribe try to make fire, but bides his time until he’s certain that he can be the hero. Sure enough, he swoops down with his observations, organizes the workers, and produces their first fire.
The Faves, meanwhile, arrive on their (Bikal) beach. Malcolm feels like the ‘new kid on the block,’ but is glad that he scored the winning point at the challenge, which he hopes will win him points with the others.
Francesca, first out in her season, wants to be in an alliance with teeth. She’s even willing to make up with Crazy Phillip, despite her misgivings. As she tries to speak to him, he ignores her, interviewing that Francesca is still stuck in a time warp, whereas he’s above that pettiness. In fact, he sums up, “She annoys me greatly.” Francesca interviews that she will eat a rock if she’s voted off first for a second time.
Over their first meal of rice, Phillip establishes that he loves rice, and will be looking for seconds pretty much all of the time. He shares with us in an interview that his strategy for this season is based on Boston Rob’s success. He’s created a list which he calls the B.R. Rules. Here’s his list.
B.R. Rule 1: Get in an alliance. B.R. Rule 2: Get in an alliance within an alliance. B.R. Rule 3: Get rid of your alliance before it gets rid of you.
Phillip chooses Corrine to be his first alliance, and of course, gives her a code name. She will be “The Dominatrix.” Andrea will be “The Eliminator.” He has his sights on Malcolm and Dawn as well. Phillip himself will be the Undercover Brother, the Stealth, the Specialist. The Whatever.
Cochran’s gonna be “The Intelligentsia.” Wait until Coach finds out that “Zeus” has a new boss. Phillip basically bullies Erik into joining his alliance, but says that Erik must trust him 100%. But guess what? Phillip, paranoid that Erik will out him to others, tells Erik that he himself is just the errand boy, sent to bring him a message. Erik is open to Phillip’s proposal, but then interviews that “He’s (Phillip) a combative idiot loser who makes everybody crazy.”
They’re talking alliance over on Gota as well. Reynold takes a walk with Allie, claiming he’ll take her to the last two, if she sticks with him. Reynold tells us that he is, of course, aligned with the guys, but he also wants Allie on his side, as she’s not the obvious choice. Allie flies under the radar. She isn’t the cutest, she’s not unlikeable. His gut feels good about his choice.
Eddie and Hope, admiring the night stars, decide that their alliance is inevitable. After all, they are the two best looking people in their tribe, Eddie tells us. Later, everyone cuddles together under the shelter for warmth. Laura notices that Reynold and Allie are cuddling just a little bit more strenuously than the others.

The next morning, Reynold, Allie, Eddie and Hope discuss how incredibly cool they are, as opposed to the rest of their tribe. They don’t want to be cliché, and have a “cool kid’s lunch table” but it’s happened. Like high school all over again.
Strangely, the rest of their tribe feel a bad vibe coming from the Four Cool Kids, and vow to stick together against them. Even Michael agrees. But then Michael will agree to anything, as he’s all about what’s best for Michael. So when Matt hints that he’d like to ally with Michael, Michael is quick to toss the ladies alliance aside, if Matt has something better.
Day 2, and Cochran has just realized that it’s hot in the Philippines. He’s already sunburnt all over his body, literally from his little red feat to the tip of his very red nose. He’s burning up, can’t move and feels exhausted, he says to the others, while smiling bravely. “I feel like crying, kind of,” he interviews, “but I’m trying to stay strong.”
Bring on the Immunity Challenge! Probst welcomes the two tribes, noting that Cochran is sporting the worst sunburn he’s ever seen on Survivor. He explains how this challenge will work. Both teams will race up a four story tower in pairs. At each floor they will find three crates filled with sand bags which they will toss over the side. The last remaining pair on each team will collect the sand bags and toss the bags into targets. First team to land six bags into six spots wins immunity.
It’s neck and neck through the first part, and crates are tossed with abandon. With Malcolm tossing for the Faves, it’s closer still. But in the end, Reynold comes from behind and scores a 6-3 win for the Fans.
The Fans are ecstatic. The Faves, not so much. Logically, one would think that this new group would be ready to toss Malcolm out of the tribe. But strangely, his name is never mentioned. As Cochran hides from the sun under a huge purple scarf, Francesca proposes that Phillip be first to go. Or Corrine, because Corrine seems oblivious to the alliances being formed, making her untrustworthy.
On the other hand, Andrea agrees with Francesca’s naming of Phillip, but interviews that Francesca seems to have her own agenda. Also, Phillip gives really good nicknames. So, hmmm … what to do? Report directly to Phillip of course, who says Francesca has to go, because Francesca is not patient. Phillip compares himself to Machiavelli, and claims he’ll destroy Francesca and all her clan, so that none of her kind will ever exist again. But at least he didn’t threaten to break her wrist.
Into this mess, enter Erik and Brandon, two guys who stupidly gave away their immunities in the past. They figure out that Andrea is playing both sides, and decide Francesca needs to know about Andrea’s treachery. The plot thickens – we now want to get rid of traitor Andrea.

At Tribal Council, Brandon tells Probst that everyone is pretty much equal at their camp, with no one really being a leader. Phillip shoots Brandon a dirty look, and then demonstrates that he finally knows how to pronounce Francesca’s name. (But can he spell it?) Probst asks Phillip if he had to practice to learn how to say Francesca’s name, but Phillip claims he knew how to say it the last time. He just chose to call her “Franchess-squaw” rather than the expletives he could have used. Everyone laughs. But no one believes him.
Cochran talks about the advantages of being a returning player, referencing Boston Rob’s habit of signaling whom he wanted voted out by touching that person’s shoulder. Malcolm immediately touches Cochran’s shoulder, and smiles. But Cochran clearly retreats into complete paranoia.
The votes are read; Andrea, Andrea, Andrea, Francesca, Francesca, Francesca – and Francesca makes history as the only person ever to be voted off first in two seasons. The tribe has spoken … again.
Probst warns the tribe that their biggest problem is the group of Fans who know they can beat them. The Favorites/Bikal tribe trail off into the night with their brand new torches.
Francesca’s exit interview: “I cannot believe I got voted out first, again. I mean, I’m not gonna like, cry about it. But I did make Survivor history, and the good thing about being voted out first, again, is that I know how to deal with being voted out first, again. And you know, I guess I’m not cut out for Survivor. It’s over, it’s done. So I’m no longer rooting for the Favorites. I’m rooting for the Fans.”
Next time on, Survivor: Brandon sees his life in the game coming to an end, and resurrects the Hantz familys reign of terror. “I’m playing dirty. I wanna go out with a bang.”

Related: Jeff Probst, Survivor: Caramoan, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, CBS

Photo Credits: Monty Brinton/CBS

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