My favorite part of reality television is the people cast. Sure, it would probably be good some day to get a bunch of ex-Navy seals to do a season of Survivor but their clinical success would be the boredom of the show. What any reality show needs is the secret formula of dumb people who think they’re super smart. People who go right in and begin saying things like they will wrap people around their little fingers and win at all costs and horribly fail at simply dealing with other people. It’s psychology and it seems to be a cornerstone of this show. So, let’s see who’s a pretend genius!

And we’re off! With big time production as Probst and the cast sail around in a helicopter! We get the quick second bios of the guys: “Oh I’m a former secret agent,” “Oh, I love Jesus,”  “Oh, I’m a redneck.” As Probst tells us that these men and women leave with only the clothes they have on I look at one guy in a nice suit and wonder…. why a suit?

The kids all land, Probst welcomes us and there is automatically a surprise! Boston Rob hops out, along with Russell and Stephanie automatically throws out the challenge; side with me or else. Probst give us the stats; Boston Rob’s done this three times, made it to the finals once. Russell has played the game twice, made it to the finals twice, lost both. Francesca automatically screws herself by calling both of the guys out as well.

As it looks like the sides are chosen, Rob sides with Omapotatetete (?), Russell is left with Zapappattata (whatever). As Probst tells the kids about the swerve (Redemption Island), I now realize that the show’s new change is going in a Real World/Road Rules Challenge way. Russell by the way, does NOT SWEAT the idea of this “Redemption Island.” Francesca has her talking head interview and you already know that all future talking heads from her will be simply re-explaining things.

Day one at Zapatera and Russell is so happy to be back! He was once a school boy, but now he is ready to bring it! He immediately gives the kids a primer; a scared straight crash course in the game. I’ve seen some old pictures of Russell and I’m thinking that being on that island is some magic health club because he looks waaay more jacked than in previous years.

And it’s a montage! Zapatera starts building a shelter and maybe you people can answer this for me: is the wood provided to them or do they have to cut it down themselves? Back to Ometepe, some random white girl is totes happy that Rob is on her team. Apparently lots of lil girls = not the best builders. Federal Agent Man Philip decides to let everyone know that he was an agent; he can read people, he has sisters, he loves women!! The meme is that everyone thinks he’s lying which seems odd, don’t you think? Phillip also blesses us with THE BEST INTRODUCTION VIDEO EVER.

Phillip is already becoming the star of the show every time he has an interview. His plan; make friends with Rob Boston, then go tell random chick that he doesn’t trust Rob, then form an alliance with her that will control the wimmens! Meanwhile on the Zapatera side, Russell is looking to side with Stephanie. She agrees, but the rest of his team views him as a cancer. He apparently lures cute little girls and injects the devil into them, which the rest of the team is on to. So far, to the first time viewer, Russell is the evil and cool one, with his Tom Sizemore on HGH look and Rob is milquetoast.

Back from the adverts, it seems that both teams think that the best thing is to dump the stars. Immunity idol clue time, as  Kristina goes a hunting and gathering clues. As we gather for the first vote, automatically Kristina and weird Phillip argue over Rob, while Phillip explains corroboration to the viewer, all while wearing salmon colored briefs. Phillip seems like the guy who if he was a federal agent he’s not dealt with the general population in a while. Francesca regrets the alliance with weird Phillip and automatically my question is why would anyone form an alliance two days in?

Anyway Immunity Challenge time! You build steps, get to the top, do a puzzle. The winners are safe and get a tacky trophy and a flint. The losers have to vote someone off. And we’re starting! Lots of pushing and teamwork as the men and Zapatera jumps out to an early lead while Probst is sooooo annoying with his color commentary. He is half high school football coach, half some dude who would bitch out a matre’d when his reservation to Nobu gets bumped. Zapatera looks to have a huge lead, which gets cut off when Ometepe gets to the puzzle stage. Rob Boston knows puzzles according to Probst so it may be close! Just as I typed that Zapatera pulls out the win and Rob already looks depressed.

Its day 3 and Ashley already feels that she let Rob down. Kristina and Francesca automatically decide to toss out Rob while Kristina lets it slip that she has the immunity idol. They will blindside Rob, and no one can do anything about it. Of course, they then decide to argue about the decision they just made and mull over throwing Natalie in. Like I’ve always said with Big Brother, the problem is when dumb people who think they are smart get left alone to over-think easy decisions. It would seem that Francesca or Rob is the right target, but the more these geniuses think the more they screw it up.

Meanwhile, the Francesca/Kristina/Weird Phillip team comes together as Kristina finally silences Phillip’s babbling by showing him the idol. I’ve already decided that the mental unravelling of Phillip and his analytical mind will be a highlight of the show.

It’s Tribal Council time!!! Fire represents your life, except it now does not because you go on an island when you leave. The Probst interview series begins. For a guy who has been on a ton of these shows, Rob has no charisma. Francesca decides to let it slip that Rob “may go home/which he’s not” which sets off weird Phillip bells! HE’S A FORMER SPECIAL AGENT and decides to blow up the whole spot, not only about the plan to vote off Rob but also Kristina having the idol. For a special agent, Phillip does not know at all how to pick his spots. Probst is viewing all of this and you can see him counting money at weird Phillip. We go to the votes, while everyone, including myself is just thrown at how unhinged Phillip is. We go to the vote count, and Francesca is going to the island.