Welcome back, my pretties, to your guilty pleasure and mine — Survivor! I’ve missed you all, and I presume you’ve missed me, too. This season, it’s Survivor: Tocantins. If you weren’t playing attention, the Tocantins are in Brazil, the sexiest place on earth. Sexy despite housing a region with a name that sounds like “toke-a-cheese.”

An amazing race — back to camp. The two tribes, Jalapao and Timbira are dumped off in BFE, and a mad dash for supplies begins. Jalapao ends up with the short end of the stick, supply-wise, missing out on food and water. Both tribes are then asked to vote a member out of the forthcoming adventure before even properly meeting each other. Sierra and Sandy are both voted out, but the twist (and we all know that Survivor loves twists) is that they are not voted out of the game, they are voted out of the hours-long trek to camp. But, they also will be missing out on the beginnings of the social part of the game. C’mon survivors — never expect the obvious!! Did you really think it would be as easy as voting someone out before you even learn their names? Where's the drama in that?

After journeys both laborious and mirthful, the tribes arrive at their respective camps. Along the way, we get to know some of the contestants a little better. JT, is emerging as a bit of a character for Jalapao, that of the likeable Southern good old boy. On the Timbira side, Coach is presenting himself as the pompous stuffed shirt — and he looks like damn Fabio.  We’ll see if anyone else takes him as seriously as he takes himself.

Meanwhile, Sandy arrives via helicopter at camp Jalapao, pissed off and emotional. My prediction here is that she’s going to either go down in one of the first couple of episodes, or she’ll last at least through the merge.

Immunity vs. Inn-unity (that is, unity fostered by the presence of an, uh, Inn? Nevermind…)
At their respective camps, Sandy and Sierra are given the opportunity to either search for an immunity idol or build shelter. Sandy elects to look for the idol, while Sierra decides to set up camp. Honestly, I have to go with Sierra’s decision on this. If camp isn’t set up when the rest of the tribe gets there, they’re going to wonder what you've been doing while they schlepped their way to the flag. If camp is set up, your tribe is more likely to look upon you favorably, and you still have the clue, so you can look for the idol later.

Sure enough, Jalapao does question Sandy's effort, whereas Sierra’s stock appears to have risen at Timbira. Except with Coach, that is. But who knows, Timbira appears to have arrived at camp later than Jalapao, maybe Sierra had the opportunity to erect the shelter and search for the idol, too. Right now, I think she’s playing the better long-term game.

Sandy’s bathroom pass. Sandy continues to hurt her chances at Jalapao when she excuses herself to go to the bathroom, and looks for the idol instead – which is fine, but if you’re going to do that don’t take a long time! People at camp tend to notice someone going to the bathroom for anywhere north of five minutes, and the rest of Jalapao certainly did. And what's this? She only now appears to have started her search for the second clue! What the hell was she doing before her tribe got to camp? More crying and maintaining a running commentary on her activities, I suspect. Sandy takes a break from narrating her life after she finds the next clue — one can only hope that she’s able to find her idol before the vote.

At challenge, Jalapao’s staircase building skills give them the lead, but Timbira’s maze navigation wins them the reward of fire and a pass from tribal council. Looks like we might get to find out if Sandy’s gamble with her absence paid off

Sandy’s new lease on life. Sandy’s effort at the challenge has appeared to sway the men at tribe Jalapao, and the emergence of Caroline’s bossy attitude is gaining her some negative attention. Not one to leave anything to chance, Sandy continues to look for the idol.

The Jalapao tribe is the first to light their torches at tribal council, and the first to face the wrath of Jeff. He quizzes the group on Sandy’s early exile from her tribe, and her continued antisocial behavior towards the group after they were reunited. Sandy seems very confident, has she found a little friend in the sand who’s backing her up tonight?

The votes go down, and no idol is played. Sandy seems ready to go, but after getting one vote, Carolina gets the next five and becomes the first person voted off of Survivor: Tocantins!

A little pedestrian for the first episode, but it will be interesting to see how long Sandy lasts. She has been given three more days to continue to prove herself. And what am I to think of Timbira? So far, all I know is that Tyson has no problem putting his narrow ass to bare on national TV. Sorry Ty, but I need something more interesting than male nudity to pique my interest.

Posted by:Andrew Stubinski