Sandy and Sierra get early votes but Carolina is first to go

Survivor Tocantins lost its first contestant last night, and surprisingly, it wasn’t one of the two people who the tribes voted for in the show’s opening moments. Carolina Eastwood— who told me pre-game, “I know in the beginning I’m going to have to watch my mouth, because my mouth will tend to get me in a little bit of trouble”–was sent home thanks to that mouth, which annoyed everyone else. At Tribal Council, watching on monitors, I was pretty surprised they dumped her instead of Sandy, because for the short time we spent at Jalapao, she didn’t seem anywhere near as irritating as she came off on TV last night.

I was not surprised when the tribes voted for hyper Sandy and annoying Sierra during the first vote; Sierra immediately started whining (more than was on TV), and stood and pouted while the rest gathered their belongings and left, and then the crew reset to film the chopper. Sandy seemed okay after being initially pissed off, as we saw during the episode.

By the way, at Tribal Council, Jeff Probst actually interrupted taping, which is typically only done to change tapes in cameras. “I’m going to do something I haven’t done in 18 seasons,” he said, and stood up to brush away a ridiculously massive cloud of bugs hovering around his head; some of the contestants had those near their heads, too. The bugs were terrible near Tribal.

As for other things that didn’t appear on TV, while the contestants looked hot, television cannot really convey how truly oppressively hot it was there, especially since the breeze makes it look somewhat cooler. Even though I know it happens, it’s still weird to watch three full days get compressed into 44 minutes, and the way the editors skip things to accommodate that.

For example, at the immunity challenge, there were actually two rafts with two sets of staircase planks, and the entire tribe had to get one and return, and then all go back and get the other. For me, at least, that second trip into the water was extremely difficult. (You can actually see the second raft in one of the aerial shots, which of course is filmed later, so removing one of them was a decision made in editing; in Gabon’s first immunity challenge, the editing skipped over the last part of the challenge, which involved digging under a gate.)

Likewise, the opening marooning took much longer, and didn’t start until nearly 1, so the contestants’ long-ass hike took place during the hottest part of the day, although they were first driven to the starting point, since the opening was taped much farther away from their camps. In addition, the two tribes took for freaking ever to build the staircases during the immunity challenge, and soon as the tribes left the challenge area, some members of the crew (and press) dove for the cooler with bottles of water, because, in deference to the contestants, crew members never drink or eat or even have visible food or water when the cast is around. Sometimes, it’s difficult just to watch.