Survivor: Thailand Spoilers
Pre-show info Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3
Episode 4 Episode 5 Episode 6 Episode 7
Episode 8 Episode 9 Episode 10 Episode 11
Episode 12 Episode 13   Click an episode

Want better spoilers?
Try these:
Acme Brain Trust

Other crappy things the True Dork Times offers to slake your Survivor: Thailand thirst

Survivor cast info, boot odds. Try S3, S4, S5, S6.

All the crap that happened in S4, S5, S6.
Survivor humor
Note: Your mileage may vary. S2, S3 or S4.

View our smattering of info here. S3, S4, S5, S6.

Episode recaps
To help dredge up the pain. S3, S4, S5, S6.

Click here to see this week's leaders.


Episode 1
"The Importance of Being E...est"
CBS video: Promo
Filmed June 10-12, 2002.
Airs September 19, 2002.

Click below for:
- Arrival/ tribal split speculation
- RC/IC speculation
- Boot predictions
Vidcap resources:
- Early Show 8/15 cast intros: (17 pics)
- Early Show 8/15 group shots (18)
- CBS promos 8/15-8/28 (15 pics)
- More CBS promos 9/2 (9 pics)

More vidcap resources:
- Tabloid previews 8/15 (12 pics)
- TV news footage 8/15 (15 pics)
- MTV Sook-Jai shots 9/12 (18 pics)
- MTV Chuay-Gahn shots 9/12 (12)

Arrival/ tribal split speculation

CBS promos show the men hiking with their gear through a Thai village, then two boats heading to Tarutao: one full of men, the other of women. On arrival, Probst again sits them down as men vs. women. And that's all we've seen of the first episode, at least through CBS's distorting filter of commercials and Early Show previews. CBS seems to want us to think that Survivor 5 will be all about the Battle of the Sexes (or as the copy they fed the likes of E! and Extra would have it, the Battle of the Sexy). That seems like a bunch of hype, though. The network is so desperate to preserve this "surprising new start" that they resorted to keeping the cameras of the entertainment press all but out of the eary filming. Traditionally, tabloid shows such as ET, Inside Edition and Extra have been allowed to film the first six days of the contestants' stay, including the challenges. This time, they got stuck with survival training (the three days before Episode 1 starts), and a brief glimpse of pre-challenge camp. This allows CBS to say whatever they want about the game, such as "it's men vs. women," and nobody with a press pass will be any the wiser. The official CBS Survivor 5 web site groups the women on the left and men on the right, as tribes have traditionally been split. The Early Show intros listed the contestants alphabetically, and made no mention of tribes. So what's going on?

Sometime in the first episode, they get divided up into traditional mixed-gender tribes, as laid out in the Survivometer. And we know this because of the buffs. The Sook-Jai tribe, in purple buffs, lives at Ao Jak beach. The Early Show did a pretty good job of showing only men in red buffs and women in purple, sustaining the facade. But Inside Edition showed Ken wearing a purple buff, and even the Early Show managed to only poorly conceal one sticking out of his pocket. Also wearing purple buffs, and hanging out in the same area: Stephanie, Shii Ann, Erin and Penny. Ken is also seen with Jake, and Jake with Jed. Robb is shown relaxing on the beach in the same area. Later caps from Inside Edition show him with a purple buff, with Jed and Stephanie.

The Chuay-Gahn tribe, in red buffs, which includes at least John, Clay, Ted and Brian, lives at Ao Rusi, and they use a cave for shelter. Jan is seen in what looks like a red buff, entering the same cave, and she is also seen resting on a mat with Ghandia and Tanya. That leaves only Helen (shown with an inside-out buff, which could be either purple or red) unclearly linked to the tribe, although Paratrooper's gallery shows her in the Ao Rusi cave with Jan. That leaves a traditional 4-men, 4-women complement on each tribe. This seems like a pretty traditional tribal arrangment, despite what the hype would have you believe.

What's interesting is that the buffs seem to be there from Day One. Ken and his purple buff are present at the Ao Jak hut, and Ken not only is wearing the same clothes as arrival day, but has no visible stubble. Later shots with the buff on his wrist show the start of beard growth. Similarly, Brian, who gets considerably more swarthy in later shots, can be seen with a red buff on and very light stubble (which he started with). In short, don't believe the hype. Both tribes have men and women.

So the question is: how do we go from all-male and all-female tribes to the traditional mixed-gender ones? It's simpler than it sounds, and the promos show one way it could happen. For Survivor: Marquesas, the "switch" involved people standing on wooden discs, under which were their new buffs. The CBS promos show Probst instructing the contestants (who have just arrived in gender-separated groups) to sit down, "Ladies on the left, men on the right." Our guess is there are buffs under those seats: four of each color for the women, same for the men. Presto, a completely random sorting of the tribes, still ending up with an equal gender balance. The whole separate boats, separate entries thing is just a ruse to ensure that each randomly-selected tribe will still have four men and four women to start with. This switch worked in S4 because nobody expected it so early. And it will work again in S5, because nobody will see it coming on Day One. Nope: Jan and Jake picked teams. Ouch! Got the timing right at least, and we called this in mid-August.

Ken at the Ao Jak hut: Arrival clothes.

Stephanie, in the same spot. Purple buff on head.

Ken, same sequence. No stubble to be seen. So buffs are there on Day One.

IC: Canoe race - Sook-Jai wins.

The 9/19 Early Show described this challenge in detail: It is a simple canoe race around the islands, coupled with mental "challenge" stations at various points along the course. Judging from past challenges, it will likely be 99% physical and 1% mental, but that's Survivor for you. We'll note that, despite Probst's near-identical clothes (except his hat), this is not the floating flower challenge (which we are calling the Ep2 IC) shown on TV Guide Channel's previews. Hard to tell from the previews and descriptions of the cast who is likely to come out ahead. Based on the relative youth of Sook-Jai, we're guessing they have a slight advantage in stamina. The Early Show caps don't help much in that respect, but at least at some point along the course (bottom two caps), it does appear Sook-Jai might have a very slight edge. Coupled with TV Guide Channel's shot of torches at Chuay-Gahn's camp (which we really hope isn't from Ep3), we'll say Sook-Jai wins this.

Probst explains the challenge.

And they're off! Sook-Jai on the left, Chuay-Gahn on the right of the dock.

Sook-Jai uses Penny as a coxswain.

Chuay-Gahn appears to opt for just straight rowing.

Heading out, from their initial positions (left-right) and relative positions to the camera boats...

... could Sook-Jai have a slight lead?

Boot: John

It's unclear what the first challenge is, although the swimming shots of Ted, Brian and Penny could be from that challenge. Without seeing these people in action, it's nearly impossible to predict how they'll perform. Luckily, TV Guide Channel's previews may have provided the answer for us. Two of the challenges TV Guide Channel's previews show appear to be during episode 2: the "floating flower" challenge, and the Palanquin challenge. TV Guide also visits the Chuay-Gahn camp, where, as luck would have it, there are burnt torches resting against the mouth of the cave (above). If this is during episode 3, this has no significance for the ep1 boot. However, in the past, media have not been allowed on site past the filming of episode 2, and all the rest of TVGC's footage appears to be from episodes 1-2. With that in mind, the most likely scenario is that Chuay-Gahn loses the first immunity challenge.

John. He seems to spend a lot of time by himself. The rest of the guys are rowing canoes and playing golf, while John is busy washing his socks in the river. This is not a good trait in the early going. Also, these players all watched Vecepia thanking God for her million before they left. The quiet, God-fearing contestant will not be allowed to slip through unnoticed again. And bringing along a Christian flag may might make the under-the-radar bit slightly more difficult. The clincher? A Slidell Sentry article, stating despite all the Survivor parties planned in his hometown, his wife says he will " be spending that first night with just family." Yeah, probably in New York, waiting for the Early Show the next morning.

Ghandia and Tanya are also possibilities. As are Robb, Shii Ann and Stephanie from Sook-Jai. But we'll go with John. Unless we change our minds.

Have some info we missed?
We'll take it at: