18 new Survivors are roughing it in Nicaragua for the chance to be the sole Survivor. The tribes have been split based on their occupations: white collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar. As Jeff Probst explains it, the white collars make the rules, the blue collars follow the rules, and the no collars do whatever they want. Sure Jeff, keep reaching for it. But twist time! Each tribe has to pick a representative, who then picks another representive, to make a crucial decision for their tribe. The representives end up being Joaquin and So (white collar), Dan and Mike (blue collar), and Will and Jenn (no collar - who promises to make sandwiches as leader despite you know no bread or anything edible). They aren't banished to exile or anything, just given the tribe maps and told their big decision awaits at camp. With their tribe names given, though the show never uses them Masaya, Escameca, and Nagarote - the castaways leave for their new homes.
The big decision for the tribe is between "Deceive," which has a small bag of beans and an immunity idol clue, or "Honest," and take a big ass bag of beans and their tribe won't hate them. The leaders of Nagarote and Escameca choose Honest so they don't screw themselves over right away. The No Collars are chill about this choice, but the Blue Collars thing the bag of beans is skimpy and they're liars. But Masaya, the white collar tribe, opt for Deceive to get any sort of advantage and now So and Joaquin are pretty much in an alliance. The cover-up lie is even worse, claiming they picked "Neutral" and already I know my winner prediction is f'ed. Shirin can tell it's a lie and quickly makes a trio with Max and Carolyn to take out the lying threats.
Ok, let's go over what shenangins are going down at each tribe's beach. The Blue Collar tribe gets right to work building fire, shelter, and scavenging for food. It's so blue collar of them which would make Jeff Probst shed a tear. Rodney uses the tattoo about his dead sister to bond him with the women. The women turn on Dan right away after he lives us to the stigma of disgruntled postal worker, snapping at the women about the shelter. Rodney suggests getting out "Dumbledore" and it's like, read the book and watch the movies he's CLEARLY Hagrid. So Dan is all alone except for his one friend Mike, the real smart guy who decides to eat a scorpion he finds (then pukes it up right away). Dude it's been like 2 hours - cook some beans.
Nagarote shares their first communal coconut before the drama begins. I can't remember really any Survivor love triangles before this, but it's happening? Or least that's what Vince thinks it happening. See, feather-haired Vince wants to make a deal with Jenn as he feels they're"kindred spirits." This also includes Vince sniffing her hair which, I guess that's what kindred spirits do? But then there's beautiful curly haired Joe who wants to build a shelter one way and also succeeds in starting fire. The girls are all excited, including Jenn which makes Vince seethe will jealousy. So not chill, Vince. Vince lightly confronts Jenn and this is definitely not about game allies at this point and more a weird crush. Meanwhile Jenn is just chill AF but also totally creeped out by Vince's clingy vibe and long hug. Good thing there's an adorable raccoon near their camp to be their guiding spirit animal in this game.
While the other tribes are almost to fully-functioning on a survival level, the white collars are in a bit of disarray. The shelter sucks, they can't build fire, and So/Joaquin are more focused on searching for the immunity idol. Carolyn lurks around the woods and being a fan, she knows the rule of Survivor is to find a tree and shove your hand in it. It's obviously a success because this is literally what happens every year. Now with an immunity idol in hand, Carolyn has a ton of power, while So and Joaquin are still considered enemy #1. Color me impressed, Carolyn!
The first immunity challenge is make their way through obstacles to either unlock or untie ladders, get those ladders through obstacles, and finish up with a puzzle but TWIST! There's 3 puzzles to choose from, ranging in number of pieces and difficulty. I really like the option for a Choose Your Own Adventure challenge, which also leaves fate in your heads. What I LOVE is the most adorable immunity idol ever that I want to hug and squeal in delight over. Ok, enough obsessing over the idol - let's finish up the challenge. All the tribes initially choose the locks, but realize that's a dumb idea and switch to knots. So might be a horrible liar, but she's excellent with knots. As for the puzzles, no collar picks the middle puzzle which is more visual, white collar picks the easiest puzzle with the most pieces, and blue collar is just way behind and struggling to hold up a ladder. Blue collar catches up and begins to copy the middle puzzle, as Shirin totally blows her tribe's puzzle, which appears to be the most basic bitch puzzle (though word on the beach is it was really hard). The no collar tribe wins immunity and reward of a fire making kit, and blue collar comes in second place which is immunity and flint. You had one job, Shirin!
Masaya returns to camp dejected, with Max joking they could make a schedule for eliminations. Carolyn is well aware that the first elimination will probably be a woman, because duh it's pretty much always the way. So tells Max how she thinks "Shayleen" and Carolyn were the weakest in the challenge, the cause of their loss. So begins a campaign to vote off Carolyn, then denies this all to Carolyn. Tyler, who has basically been invisible thus far, tells Carolyn that her name was brought up, so she straight up tells him she has the idol. Shirin and Carolyn want to get rid of So, and their ally Max is sort of torn. Ally with the older woman or keep a known liar that will help in challenges?
First Tribal Council time! The set looks like the most baller treehouse known to mankind. Like if the Swiss Family Treehouse at Disney World wasn't a long line leading to boringness. First topic of discussion: the Deceive, Honest, and "Neutral" boxes. Shirin tells them they're such liars and Max says he would've done the same thing but been a much better liar. PREACH! So is bummed the lie came out like this but believes the "four" are strong, pointing out Shirin and Carolyn are weaker. Carolyn tells everyone that Shirin and Max have been in her alliance since day one, blowing up everyone's spot. So is like "I'm in an alliance with Max!" Carolyn starts getting amped up and a little too loud, while So is also fighting but slightly more composed. So faces up to her lie but says she's there for the team in challenges. Max is loving that his first Tribal Council has downpouring rain and lots of drama - the full Survivor experience. Oh what will the decision be? Carolyn doesn't play her infamous tree idol, so the votes are read on. So is the first person voted out and my winner prediction has crashed and burned at a new low for me. OUCH.