'Survivor: Caramoan' Season 26 Episode 1 Recap: 'Trust Issues'

By Ida Brittany Newkirk,

Survivor is back for its 26th season and it’s hotter than ever! Survivor: Caramoan kicks off with 20 castaways, 10 fans vs 10 favorites, vying for the spot of soul survivor.

The Fans arrive on the island first and are told by Jeff Probst that they will be playing against Survivor Favorites from past seasons. The Favorites then arrive by helicopter and Jeff breaks them up into tribes. The Fans tribe name is Gota and the Favorites tribe name is Bikal. Jeff throws each tribe their travel buffs as they wait to begin the first reward challenge of the season.

In the reward challenge, two tribe members from each team must race in the water and obtain a ring while two members from the other team try to stop them. The first to four points wins reward, which is fire and beans.

In the first heat, the Fans take a 1-0 lead. In the next heat the Favorites score tying the challenge up 1-1. In the third heat, the Favorites score again and now lead 2-1. In the fourth heat, the Favorites score yet again leading 3-1. The final point for the Favorites is scored by Malcolm, who takes home the victory for his tribe.

Back at the Favorite's camp, Francesca, Dawn and Andrea quickly make an alliance. They also agree to bring in Cochran and Brandon, mulling around the idea of bringing in Phillip as their sixth.

Francesca, recalling events from her past season on Redemption Island, makes a move to bury the hatchet with Phillip. At the end of the conversation Francesca leaves satisfied, while Phillip remains skeptical about aligning himself with Francesca.

Phillip creates a plan. He decides to align himself with Malcolm, Corinne and Andrea…step one in his master plan. He then seeks out Cochran and Erik to solidify the six. According to Philip the following rules, learned from Boston Rob, must be followed in order to win Survivor.

“BR Rule 1: Get an alliance early, BR Rule 2: Get an alliance within and alliance, and BR Rule 3: Get rid of your alliance before they get rid of you.”

Phillip appears to finally have a handle on the game. In an attempt to solidify the six, Philip shares the cons of not joining his alliance to Erik practically forcing him to join. Disgusted, Erik sells out Phillips plan to Brandon.

Over in the Fan's camp, tension is high after the loss in the reward challenge. Tempers flare between Matt and Shamar over “camp operations”. Matt thinks the tribe should start work on the shelter but Shamar wants rest. Matt became angry that the strength on the tribe isn't putting his muscles to good use so an argument ensues.

Shortly after, Reynold quickly makes an alliance with Allie. The next day, Eddie, Hope, Allie and Reynold form an alliance, while floating in the water. Unbeknownst to them, Sherri, Laura, and Michael spots them from the beach, all agreeing to vote one of the four off first if they lose immunity.

Though Michael smiles in their face he has other plans. Michael forms an alliance with Matt and vows to keep his options open.

The following day the immunity challenge takes place. In the challenge, two members from each team must race up a ladder, retrieve a crate, smash it (revealing sandbags), and then race back to the start. Once back the next two tribe members go and the process continues until all crates are broken.

The final member of the tribe must gather all the sandbags and toss all of them onto a grid. The first tribe to successfully toss all the bags onto the grid wins immunity.

Throughout the challenge both teams are neck in neck. In the last leg the Fans fall behind leaving the gate open for Brandon and Andrea to take the lead for the Favorites. Malcolm tosses first for the Favorites and connects, followed by a second and third. Reynold tosses for the fans and connects with his second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, ultimately winning immunity for the Fans.

Before tribal council Francesca tells Cochran that Philip needs to go and if not him then Corinne. When Corinne, Brandon, Andrea followed by Malcolm approach the shelter Francesca calls out Phillips name for the vote.

Angry that she hadn’t heard any strategy talk from Francesca in days, Andrea tells Phillip about Francesca’s intentions. On the other side of the camp, Cochran and Dawn secretly team up to vote out Francesca.

As it gets closer to tribal council Francesca becomes frantic. She then suggests to her alliance that they split the votes between Philip and Corinne. While the alliance is talking, Brandon starts to see Andrea’s game play emerge. Worried he teams up with Erik, Francesca, Brenda and Dawn to vote out Andrea leaving Malcolm and Andrea out of the loop.

At tribal council, Philip and Francesca exchange words and Francesca’s inexperience is called into question. As the votes are read it becomes clear that it’s either Francesca or Andrea going home. In the first blind side of the season, one of the earliest in all of Survivor history, Francesca is sent home. So much for her alliance.

Watch Survivor: Caramoan on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

image: CBS

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