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Episode 1
"This Has Never Happened Before!"

Filmed November 1-3, 2004
Airs February 17, 2005
Click below for:
Arrival spoilers
IC speculation
Boot speculation
Video resources
S9 finale vidcaps
1/13 Early Show vidcaps
Pre-tribal camp vidcaps
1/23 web/NFL vidcaps
1/26 Probst cast views
Video resources
2/1 CBS site cast videos
TVGuide Chan. vidcaps
CBS cast TV ads (2/1 - )
E! News IC shots (2/15)
CBS Ep1 web promo
Episode description
CBS: - "20 new castaways will be abandoned. From the beginning, the game will be changed in a dramatic way. Everything the survivors have come to expect will be wiped out in the first 10 minutes."
ARRIVAL/ Transcript, spoilers
Well, we've all seen or heard the hype (see above) about a "dramatic" change in the game, also known in CBS ads as "the biggest twist ever." It's apparent now that this is little more than the cruel stunt of having two extra players not actually make it into the game. That and Probst's elliptic description of the game on Day One.

Thanks to a Probst interview on Good Day Live on 2/16, we have video and audio of that departing message. It is, in its entirety: "Just behind you... that beach is your new home. Waiting for you, you will find: two machetes, one map to water. Along with the most valuable thing in this game, immunity. There are two immunity necklaces, one for the first woman, one for the first man who can get to shore and claim them. You are all on your own, it is your choice. But I suggest you make a decision, and start acting now, because this game is on."

From the video, we can see the 20 contestants row to their beach. Meanwhile, Probst jets in on his own private speedboat. He's roughing it. As the Survivors reach shore and see the necklaces, Stephenie dives in, followed by Jonathan. Soon the whole lot of them are jumping ship. This culminates in a race to the beach, already featured (for the women, at least) in CBS ads, with Jolanda barely edging Jennifer. For the men, the winner must be Ian. We know this because callmecrazee has stated Jolanda and Ian are "team captains," who get to pick first in the later tribal selection. This is supported by vidcaps (above, right) showing both Ian and Jolanda wearing the respective immunity necklaces (in Ian's case, it's attached to his pants). Vidcaps of the arrival are below.

As far as we can tell, all of the footage released with the unveiling of the cast on January 13th (see Early Show and other news show vidcaps) came from the first day. Here's our rough sequencing of the oh-so-exciting events of the first day. Eventually, Probst will come back, take everyone on a hike, and hold a pick'em selection to make two tribes. It's not clear whether they split up into separate tribes on day one, day two, or what. Late day one would be our guess, if new camps need to be built:
ARRIVAL or DAY ONE, PRE-TRIBAL pictures/ Click on thumbnails for larger version
Start: Castaways are put in a life boat in their street clothes. They row to the pre-tribal beach, jump overboard and race to the necklaces. Ian & Jo win.
That silliness out of the way, they set about fixing up a camp. Finding water, building a crappy hit, the usual.
Hut built, coconuts gathered, Ibrehem, Stephenie, et al. hack off their long pants to make shorts. Relaxation ensues.
Day one/two (?): Probst arrives, the 20 castaways follow him down the beach. Two get dumped, the rest form two tribes (blue, brown)
   
TRIBAL SEPARATION/ Two tribes - WANDA and JONATHAN eliminated
So who might those two unlucky contestants who fail to make it to the first challenge be, and how are they weeded out? VolcanicGlass at Survivor Phoenix reports two key spoilers here:
- (1) The separation into tribes will be done by picking new tribes: "We will see a competition, though NOT a challenge. The competition should yield two winners who will begin a pick'em style chain selection for members of each squad... oops, make that 'each tribe'. The last two players remaining will be cut at this point ... oops, make that 'eliminated'."
- (2) Wanda apparently is one of those two not making the cut. The other is allegedly female. Maybe. Or not.

Footage aired on E! News on 2/15 clearly showed the two tribes, and their respective compositions. The two people missing are Jonathan and Wanda (well done, VG). As Sucks poster callmecrazee has alleged, Ian and Jolanda lead the picking of the two tribes, having won "immunity necklaces" by being the first of their respective genders to reach the pre-tribal flag (a system supported by a CBS press release). Finally, a Canadian TV Guide story posted by Ultimatesurvivor5 confirms the two tribes are named Ulong and Koror. Ulong consists of Angie, Ashlee, Jolanda, Kim, Stephenie, Bobby Jon, Ibrehem, James and Jeff. Koror is Caryn, Janu, Jennifer, Katie, Coby, Gregg, Ian, Tom and Willard.
TRIBAL SEPARATION pictures/ Click on thumbnails below for larger version
 
 
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE/ Lengthy obstacle course - Koror wins
From a scan of a Canadian TV Guide page, posted by UltimateSurvivor5 at Sucks, we learn: "This challenge is nothing compared to Palau's first immunity challenge, which we observe for real the next day. It's an incredibly difficult half-mile obstacle course that involves climbing over, under and through many wooden barriers.... For a challenge that will last two or three minutes on TV, this one takes the winning team 20 minutes to complete!"

Footage from this challenge was shown during a Mark Burnett interview on E! News, which aired 2/15 (vidcaps below). In it, we see both tribes pre-challenge, as Probst explains the course (although he hasn't unveiled the immunity idol at that point). Later, we see Probst rushing ahead to keep up with the Koror tribe, who are attempting to cross a stream. Willard, Tom, Coby, Ian and Katie are lugging a stretcher holding a box (ammo box?) with the Koror name stenciled on the side. Images in the US TV Guide print edition of Janu and Gregg going through a barrier are likely from this challenge as well (we're too azy to scan them, see them here). Finally, we see all nine Korors (Willard is sitting at the bottom of the canoe) cheering as they row back to camp, all dressed as they were in the challenge (and not, we should point out, as they were at tribal selection).

Finally, in a Probst interview aired 2/16, E! News showed both tribes in their respective canoes, apparently leaving the first IC. Ulong is just shown with their backs to the camera, paddling away, but we see Koror getting into their canoe. Ian is fiddling with the tribe's flag, which he appears to be sticking through a brownish object. It has a face... we think it's the Immunity Idol. Together, we're reasonably confident that Koror wins the first immunity.
       
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE pictures/ Click on thumbnails above for larger version

Here we see the very excited Ulong tribe.

Just carryin' our box. Ho hum.

Hello Mr. Idol, mind if I poke you with my pole?
 
BOOT/ Jolanda?
Jeff Probst seems to be hinting strongly that the first boot, and perhaps many early boots on one tribe, is a physically strong player: "The message that they (the players) are going to find out is if you vote out your strong simply because they are strong… go ahead… but odds are, you will back at Tribal Council," he said in a recent interview, as described in Jam! Showbiz. Probst repeated the same spiel on "Good Day Live" on 2/16. Going on the (perhaps erroneous) assumption that Ulong will be heading to tribal council first, we'd list Jolanda as the prime target, with Ibrehem, Jeff and Bobby Jon as less likely possibilities.

- Jolanda is a world-class athlete, who Probst describes as "imposing" and "intimidating" (at least until she disarms you with a smile). The difference between Jolanda and the strong men of Ulong is that CBS has played up the flirting/sex appeal intentions of the men (Bobby Jon, Ibrehem and Jeff), which should keep them around. Jolanda is older, and a mom (albeit a single one). We doubt she'd be too interested in the raging hormones of her tribemates, thus keeping her out of the loop, and making her a target. Furthermore, callmecrazee at Sucks strongly hints that Jolanda is indeed the first boot. We'll go with that.

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