Jessica deBen takes home the dishonour of being the first player voted out of 'Survivor: Fiji'.
Nobody said "Survivor" was fair but come on, this is ridiculous.
"Survivor: Fiji," the fourteenth edition of the CBS reality series, debuted with one tribe being handicapped so badly right out of the gate, it is a miracle they didn't gather together and just vote themselves out to avoid the humiliating agony that is sure to follow. Just ask Palau's Bobby Jon and Stephenie. They know about that experience all too well.
With a mean streak a mile wide, the producers decided to cruelly toy with the players right off the bat by lulling them into a false sense of security. With no Jeff Probst to kick off the game or hold them by the hand, the competitors wandered around their island until an airdropped message pointed the way to some hidden supplies and ordered them to build the most elaborate shelter ever seen on "Survivor." When the construction was finally complete, the resulting camp was more like something out of Club Med than Robinson Crusoe.
What the "Survivor" producers giveth though, they can taketh away and that's what happened on Day Three when Probst finally showed up for work. Player Sylvia Kwan fairly divided up the players into two tribes and at the end of a special challenge one tribe won Club Med while the other was sent to a new camp site with a pot and a machete as parting gifts.
In a teleconference last week, Probst admitted the controversial decision to put one tribe at such a huge disadvantage was done to stoke the competitive flames on the island and create a tribe of underdogs everyone can cheer for. Well, you had better put your hands together folks, because the Ravu Tribe is gonna need all the moral support they can get until they can somehow get a foothold on the survival aspect of the game.
The first Ravu victim to walk the plank was fashion stylist Jessica Deben who was sacrificed because of her poor performance at the challenge and the fact that most of her tribemates want to keep the athletic powerhouses around. Due to the "haves versus have-nots" twist, you can expect the female players to be thrown overboard in droves. It seems "Fiji" may shape up to be the polar opposite of the "Vanuatu" edition in every way.
What was not shown on last night's premiere after such hype in the press was the decision by contestant Mellisa McNulty to quit the game before it even started leaving the producers with 19 players and no alternates.
The Survivors at the start of the broadcast were:
1. Cassandra Franklin.
2. 'Dre' Herd.
3. 'Boo' Bernis.
4. Alex Angarita
5. Lisi Linares.
6. Stacy Kimball.
7. Edgardo Rivera.
8. Liliana Gomez.
9. Gary Stritesky.
1. Earl Cole.
2. Yau-Man Chan.
3. James 'Rocky' Reid.
4. Michelle Yi.
5. Mookie Lee.
6. Anthony Robinson.
7. Rita Verreos.
8. Jessica deBen.
9. Erica Durosseau.
Day One Tribal Happenings
As the Survivors who weren't picked for the 'Cook Islands' edition paddle to shore, Probst flies above them in a plane. He explains that the anticipation and dread leading up to the game caused one Survivor to pack her bags and head home. He didn't even mention Mellisa by name or show any footage of her. Too bad. So sad. Exit the Lost Survivor.
Everyone arrives on the beach safe and sound. The gratuitous hugging and awkward introductions begin. A water source is quickly found as is a cozy cave.
Anthony, Dreamz and Earl walk up to a high outcropping that looks over the water below.
Anthony: The tribe has been blessed, especially with all the banana trees around.
Dreamz feels like he could be a native Fijian. Earl says he feels like a king.
Cassandra has no clue what she is doing. She's never even been out camping before. Yau-Man shows the city grasshopper how to peel and break open a coconut. Yau-Man reveals that he grew up in Borneo and to him, survival in the jungle is second nature. Yau-Man feels he has to step up to the plate early and prove himself real quick.
Anthony: There are 19 of us at camp. There are so many people. Where's Jeff Probst?
As if in answer to Anthony's question, a plane airdrops a package. The pilot must have the aim of a cross-eyed monkey as the box lands in the middle of the water and nowhere near camp. The Survivors have to paddle out to retrieve it. All of the jocks try to break open the box with no luck. Finally, Yau-Man picks up the box, strikes the edge of it on a rock and it cracks open.
Yau-Man: It is simple physics. You break the weakest corner.
Inside the box are instructions on where some supplies are and plans of a shelter everyone must build.
Alex ain't buying what the producers are selling. Alex: Something cruel is about to happen very soon. As the players start hauling the building supplies back to camp, Rocky is stunned. Rocky: They gave us a toilet seat. I will say it again. A toilet seat!
Erica: This is far too easy. There is a curveball coming.
Sylvia, the architect, takes over guiding everyone along to build things properly. Gary isn't happy she has taken on the leadership role. Sylvia thinks the construction is taking far too long.
As they gather more resources, Erica and Jessica meet. They decide to form an alliance but they need a guy to join them. They ponder including Rocky.
Day Two Tribal Happenings
Everyone prepares to finish work on the shelter. Yah-Man has made some tea for Earl. Earl calls Yau-Man a "keeper". An appreciative Earl to Yah-Man: You are the Professor of this Gilligan's Island.
Jessica is scared. She fears a twist on the way.
Dreamz explains how he was homeless at age seven. This is like heaven. He wishes he could have brought his whole family along.
Night Two Tribal Happenings
An excited Dreamz just won't go to sleep. Dreamz claims he is just being playful and wants people to know who he is. He asks how many white people there are. Rocky, who is trying to count some sleep finally snaps. He and Dreamz argue. Rocky stomps off to sleep on his own. Rocky knows he shouldn't be so emotional but it is so hard not to be under these conditions. Winners: The Club Med camp, house warming gifts and Immunity from the Tribal Council vote. Losers: The crappy camp, a machete, a bowl and a visit to Tribal Council.
Day Three Tribal Happenings
Reward / Immunity Challenge
"Welcome to Survivor Fiji," says a smiling Probst as the players join him on Challenge Beach. Probst asks Sylvia to divide the tribe into two. She does a real fair job doing so. Probst explains that she must now head off to Exile Island but she is immune from the first Tribal Council vote and will become a member of the tribe who loses a member tonight. Sylvia splits the scene.
In the first Fiji Challenge, it is a chariot race followed by a combination puzzle.
Jessica causes her team to fall behind when she cannot untie some knots fast enough.
Winners: The Moto Tribe.
Moto Tribal Happenings
A comfy couch is delivered along with fine dishes and cutlery.
Dreamz: We are living the fancy life!
Lisi incorrectly thinks it is "ironic" that Sylvia supervised the construction of the camp and now she is on Exile Island sleeping with snakes. And the difference is, Lisi?
Exile Island Happenings
Exile Island is really an island this time and not just a rock in the ocean. Sylvia sees scores of poisonous sea snakes slithering around. She knows now Jeff Probst wasn't yanking her chain. On a cliff top tower of sorts, Sylvia finds a clue that tells her the Hidden Immunity Idol is buried back at camp.
Ravu Tribal Happenings
Earl cannot believe that all their hard work was for nothing. After walking around their new camp, Rocky is smiling. Rocky: This is so nice. I am glad we lost. Everyone chuckles.
Erica is pissed off that Ravu lost the challenge.
Rocky, Jessica and Erica meet. They agree to watch each other's backs. In speaking with Earl later about whom to boot, they both agree that Erica and 'Ninja' Michelle are tough competitors.
Rocky assures Jessica that they are still an alliance. He asks Jessica to tell him if his neck is ever on the chopping block. She agrees to do so.
Mookie, Earl, Michelle, Anthony and Erica talk Walk of Shame. Mookie reminds everyone of how cruddy Jessica was at the challenge. Anthony about the upcoming vote: It is just business. Rita and Yau-Man discuss things. Yau-Man is sure the overall reasoning will be to keep the strong guys.
Erica tells Rocky what is going down. There is no way either of them are going to write Jessica's name down.
Earl: No matter what people say, you wonder if you will be next. There are too many actors around.
Ravu Tribal Council Happenings
Michelle: Her tribe likes their island. Erica: We have a lot of coconuts. Earl: We have no fire and without fire, there is no water. Rocky: The other tribe has a huge advantage but Ravu has something special. Erica: We cannot go on losing challenges. Yau-Man feels vulnerable. Mookie wants to keep the tribe strong.
Jessica votes for Rita. She is sorry. Yau-Man writes down Jessica's name. He is just trying to survive to fight another day. Another player could be joining Mellisa's ranks quite soon.
1. Earl Cole: Jessica.
2. Yau-Man Chan: Jessica.
3. James 'Rocky' Reid: Mookie.
4. Michelle Yi: Jessica.
5. Mookie Lee: Jessica.
6. Anthony Robinson: Jessica.
7. Rita Verreos: Jessica.
8. Jessica deBen: Rita.
9. Erica Durosseau: Yau-Man.
Tribal Council Victim: Jessica Deben.
Final Words: "I guess if you are going to get backstabbed it is good to get it done in the beginning when you don't know people that well. I am definitely shocked. I felt like I worked really hard so I don't know where I went wrong. I feel honoured to have been able to play a game that not many people get to play. My torch is being snuffed here but I am sure it is being lit somewhere else." - Jessica deBen.
On the next "Survivor": CBS Television. : Without water, Ravu gets weaker. Earl gets primal as he hunts snakes and Boo's luck runs out. Boo is shown with a nasty cut. Boo: I get wounded a lot.
On the next "Survivor": CBS Internet. : "Hunger and dehydration take their toll on the Survivors, leaving one barely able to stand. On Exile Island, one Survivor comes face to face with a deadly sea snake and is forced to make a difficult decision. Stakes are high in the combined Immunity/Reward Challenge, giving one tribe hope for food and fire. Will they triumph despite being famished? As Tribal Council nears, one tribemate tries to redirect the votes by petitioning against the majority. Who will be the next to go?"
It is rumoured that of the first six people to leave or be voted out of the game, five are women. Ouch!
Because of Mellisa quitting the game there will be no double boot episodes this season.
The editing seems to indicate that Earl could be the winner or come close to the million-dollar cheque. That is my best early guess as he appears to be the obvious choice for now. He did survey the scene and claim to be king of the island. Those standout first episode quotes have proved telling in the past.
It might be that Moto eventually has to fight to keep their luxury camp at some point.