Survivor: Kaoh Rong
Episode 1 - I'm a Mental Giant
By Jim Van Nest
February 24, 2016
Back from the credits, we begin the real show with the Brawn tribe. Scot Pollard makes for a striking image as he stands on the raft paddling it into the Brawn Beach. Once they get to shore, they start to get to know each other. Cydney is a body builder and everyone thinks that is awesome. Darnell is a postal worker, and Alecia leases condos and apartments. She tells us that she worries that she'll be underestimated and undervalued because of her size and her look - she's the little tiny blonde (for those that didn't read my previews - shame on you). Cydney likes the look of her tribe and Kyle lets us know that he is a badass, but doesn't need to go out of his way to let everyone know he's a badass. He also drops in a mention of his two daughters, the youngest having Autism.
They continue with jobs. Jenny tells them she does construction and Scot cops to being a retired NBA player. That holds everyone's interest for like five seconds and then talk turns to building a shelter. That's a nice little lesson for any other pro athlete or other celebrity, just cop to it. No one cares. Get over yourself. Anyway, Scot tells us that he loves his tribe. They might not be the smartest, but they're all strong and work hard.
Next we check in with the Brains. They are also having the getting to know you chat. Liz tells the group that she does government analysis. She tells us that the Brains tribe definitely suits her, as she feels that the brain is the most important thing in winning Survivor. Back to the group, Debbie (sans tiger bathing suit - what a bummer) addresses the elephant in the room. Peter looks like Barrack Obama. He hates that. But the rest of the tribe enjoys a laugh over it. With that out of the way, Debbie starts sharing her resume with everyone. Air force, electronics expert, fire starting expert, survival expert. Oh yeah, and when she's not out saving the world, she can definitely clue you in when Lobsterfest starts as she moonlights at Red Lobster. If nothing else, comparing herself to Coach is pretty dead on. The only thing missing are the pygmies. She decides she's going to share some of her fire making wisdom with ice cream entrepreneur Neal. She directs him on how to start a fire, but alas, no flames emerge. Neal tells us that it's a bit concerning when someone trumpets about their expertise in a certain area and then can't actually complete the task. He has definite concerns that his Brains tribe is going to suffer the same fate as the previous Brains tribe.
And finally, it's time to check in on the Beauty tribe. The Beauty tribe is hard at work gathering supplies for their shelter. Nick is just thrilled at all the beauty that surrounds them, while Tai wonders what everyone else is probably wondering - what is he doing on the Beauty tribe? After a bit, the tribe kind of splits up with the guys working on building the shelter while the girls work on palm frond weaving. Michele is quick to start the talk of the girls bonding over their weaving work. She also suggests that there is too much ego amongst the guys for them to probably want to work together. The other girls agree and, for the moment anyway, we have the start of an all-girls alliance. WOO HOO!!!! Those always work out. Anyway, we join the guys as they start building and there's a real weird back and forth with Tai and Caleb. Tai tells Caleb to cut out a groove on a tree, then worries that Caleb is going to kill the tree. He's a gardener, you see, so he loves the trees. We get a great confessional from Tai about being from Vietnam. He talks about what it took to leave Nam and arrive in America and how that trip instilled in him a love of adventure. Survivor is the great adventure and he's so excited to be there. Honestly, I don't know how anyone could not love this guy right now.