Beach blanket bingo this is not.
Our first questions when we learned Survivor: One World's gender-divided tribes would share the same beach—whether the Castaways would form co-ed alliances and share resources—were resolved in the opening minutes of tonight's premiere.
The answers? No and no.
So who won tonight's battle of the sexes at the "remote Polynesian island" otherwise known as Samoa?
The men's Manono tribe scored One World's first victory, dodging Tribal Council on a technicality: Tattooed Kourtney, whom we were all ready to nickname Shamu because of her adorable knit cap, fractured her wrist in the first "freefall challenge" and had to leave the game.
Host Jeff Probst (who told contestants not to land on their hands) had to make a quick call (proving again that he is the Man and deserves every Emmy on his mantle), halting the game and summoning medical, who removed the injured girl for X-rays.
Jeff gave the men the option of finishing the challenge or declaring themselves winners by default. Manono chose to take the immunity and send the infuriated Salani women to Tribal Council, who taunted their opponents and accused them of bad sportsmanship.
Why were the women surprised? The men drew a line in the sand at the start: Jeff gave the two tribes 60 seconds to strip a supply truck; while everyone was focused on tossing their provisions overboard, banker Mike casually plundered the women's stockpile. "I stole everything from them," he laughed later. "It was just too easy, I had to go get it."
Even before the groups tried to capture some free-range chickens, a pecking order was established. The Frat-Boy Four—Matt, "Big" Mike, "Jay-Bird" and Bill—quickly agreed to a dominant alliance built on strength and pectoral posing. Alicia, Kim, Chelsea, Sabrina and Kat identified themselves as Salani's strong core and made a five-way pact. "We also seem athletic, and pretty bright," said Sabrina hopefully. (Kitty-Kat, whose vocabulary doesn't include fancy words like "ambiance," would soon prove her wrong.)
Even though the women resented the men for stealing their stuff—especially an ax—the groups agreed to join forces to catch two chickens, one for each tribe. Country-girl Chelsea—a "huge ball of badassness" herself—caught both birds bare-handed…and then refused to share them with the men. This irritated petulant attorney Matt, who seems to fancy himself Manono's leader, and when the men easily built fire, they refused to share it with the struggling ladies.
After a furtive but fruitless midnight attempt by Christina and Monica to steal a flame, Christina declared herself an ambassador and struck a bargain with the men: woven palm fronds for fire. Her gender diplomacy infuriated Alicia, who privately described Christina as "poison."
Alicia saved her harshest words for Tribal Council, astonishing her tribemates by attacking Christina when she answered Jeff's simple question about the fire exchange. When Christina fought back, finally shouting at her interrupting rival to "shut up," Alicia—a special-ed teacher from the Windy City—really amped up the charm, threatening, homegirl-style, "If we were in Chicago I'd [be] about to punch you in your face." Such a fine example Survivor teachers (holla NaOnka!) set for their students.
Only after this catfight calmed down did Jeff reveal that Kourtney was officially out of the game and the women wouldn't have to vote anyone out. Thank heavens, because we can't wait to see the awkward aftermath of Alicia's outburst in camp—or as Jeff calls it, "Nutsville."
The real star of tonight's show, of course, was "Country Club" Colton, an openly gay, snarky charmer who, assuming he'll be targeted first by the "manly men," quickly bonds with the girls and begs them to help him find one of the Hidden Immunity Idols. Sabrina soon discovers one of the barely hidden Idols in a tree stump, but because it was identified as Manolo's, the rules called for her to hand it over to the man of her choice—and Colton's prayers are answered. After the two exchange "I love you's" it's disappointing to see Sab refer to him as a "virus" in the previews for next week's episode.
Here's hoping our new segment devoted to bon vivant's bon mots will last longer than two weeks!
What did you think of tonight's One World premiere? Who are your early favorites—and whose torch do you want to see snuffed first?