Clouds, wildlife, clueless people. "Survivor" is back.

As we get our first glimpse of the new cast, the 10 "fans" arrive by boat to meet the "favorites," who swoop in on helicopters. The fans all seem thrilled to see the faves. They get their buffs (orange for fans, purple for favorites) and it's challenge time already. Awesome.

Reward challenge

It's a physical battle in the water. The winning team gets flint and 20 pounds of beans. The first thing we notice is Phillip has brought a new pair of pink undies. The challenge is two against two fighting over a ring and trying to get it to their team flagpole.

It's wet and it's physical, but no one dies or appears seriously injured, although Malcolm loses his shorts in an epic battle, and the favorites win the first challenge, 4 to 1.

The two tribes head off to their beaches and start settling in. There is some debate on the Gota tribe about whether shelter or fire is more important. Shamar, the former Marine, wants to build fire so he isn't participating in building the shelter, and he and Matt, the BMX guy with a Sphinx-like beard, get into a shouting match.

Over at Bikal, the players are feeling nostalgic and we're treating to what we're sure will be plenty of craziness from Phillip. He compares the experience to his father hitting the beach at Iwo Jima. And he's so right. Except that no one is shooting at him.


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Francesca, Dawn and Andrea huddle up and start talking alliances and who to trust. Francesca then tries to make peace with Phillip, who had a run-in with her when they played together last time. Phillip thinks she's stuck in a time warp, and tells the camera that she annoys him greatly. Francesca just wants to avoid getting voted off first, again, and promises to eat a rock if it happens. Uh oh, foreshadowing?

Back in the land of fans, work continues on the shelter. Shamar tells the camera that he's just setting back, watching what everyone is doing and doing wrong. Once he has it figured out, he plans to step in and show them how to do it. And he does. The tribe has fire. Water will be coming soon, and Shamar and Matt make up.

At Bikal, the favorites are feasting on rice. Phillip is working his "magic." He wants Corrine, Malcolm and Andrea in his alliance, and oh boy, he's given them all names. Corrine will be the Dominatrix. Phillip is the undercover brother, the specialist.

He continues to build his alliance and we're not sure, but we think he's recruited every member of the tribe. Eric wants no part of it, but Phillip doesn't really give him a choice. You're either with him or against him. Eric doesn't want to do the crazy.

Alliance building is going on at Gota, too. Reynold believes all the men will want to join up with him, but he needs to not be obvious so he picks Laura because she's not the prettiest or someone most people would think to partner with, so he's going to be golden.

Eddie decides to take Allie in his alliance. So far, there are a lot of two-person alliances going on, which even math-challenged journalists can figure out isn't going to work well. And to make it worse, Eddie and Allie seem to be doing more than snuggling for warmth the first night, which doesn't go unnoticed. Uh oh. Romance is blooming on Caramoan.

We move on to Day 3 and it's hot. Really hot. Cochran is sunburned and swollen. Everyone thinks it's funny, and he wants to cry but is trying not to in order to show a different side of himself this time. We think it's a red side.

At Gota, Eddie, Allie, Hope and Reynold think they are sitting at the cool table, and the others are not happy. Michael and Matt are in an alliance, but Michael says the ladies are after him to be in with them. Matt is hopeful they will win immunity time after time and never have to decide who to align with.

Immunity challenge

And with that, it's time for the first immunity challenge. Pairs will race up a four-story tower. They are to find 12 crates filled with sandbags, toss them over the side, slide down a pole and let the next pair go. The last pair will collect and toss the sandbags at six targets. Malcolm and Reynold up with tossing duty, and both are pretty good.

But the fans come from behind to win, and so it will be the favorites going to tribal council first.

Let the strategizing begin. Francesca and Cochran think they'll vote for Phillip. Or Corrine, except they like Corrine. Francesca suggests Phillip to the others, but Andrea doesn't trust Francesca and tattles to Phillip, who then quotes Machiavelli, or maybe it's Popeye. Who knows. But now they are gunning for Francesca, but Eric doesn't like Phillip trying to forcing him into an alliance so he's voting for Phillip.

Cochran and Dawn, who had played together before, seem to be together again. Cochran says he thinks this is a new Dawn, and cracks himself. Oh my. Everyone is confused, and then Francesca mentions there could be a secret immunity idol and maybe they should split the vote.

As the afternoon wears on, the Francesca alliance turns its focus on Andrea, who they don't trust. But saints help us, it's time for tribal council where Phillip reigns.

Tribal council

Jeff Probst stirs the pot right away, asking if there is a leader. Brandon says no, they are all the same, but Phillip looks askance. Probst also asks about the feud between Francesca and Phillip. Last time they played, Phillip couldn't pronounce her name, but he says it could, he chose not to. He mispronounced it instead of using a swear word.

And now it's time to vote and tally.

Never discount foreshadowing. Francesca is voted out, drawing six votes to Andrea's four. Guess she will be eating a rock at Loser Lodge tonight.

Next time: Brandon plans to go out with a bang, and Dawn is in tears.