'Survivor: Palau' opens with a bang, sends two home then votes Jolanda Jones out
By Reality TV World staff, 02/18/2005
The tenth edition of CBS's Survivor series got off to a busy start last evening, with Survivor: Palau's premiere episode sending two of the show's record twenty contestants home before the castaways' tribal breakdowns were determined and ending with a third contestant, the losing Ulong tribe's Jolanda Jones, being voted out of the game due to her strong personality.
Survivor: Palau's debut episode began with the twenty castaways being given oars and set adrift in a single large rowboat, with Survivor host Jeff Probst eventually pulling along side the castaways and pointing out their destination -- a distant beach that would serve as their new home. Jeff also revealed an additional twist, that the beach contained two individual immunity necklaces which would award immunity to the first male and female castaways able to reach shore and claim them.
Exhibiting initial poor judgment, Stephenie LaGrossa, a 25-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Philadelphia, PA, and Jonathan Libby, a 23-year-old from Dallas, TX, opted to jump out of the boat while it was still quite a ways from shore. Once in the water, it didn't take them long to realize that they couldn't swim faster than a rowboat powered by the eighteen other castaways, however the damage from their decision was already done. Not only were the duo left as non-factors in the immunity necklace footrace, but the behavior also drew undesirable early attention from their fellow castaways.
The real immunity necklace scramble began when the castaways got much closer to shore, with the remaining contestants jumping ship in a near-simultaneous bid to capture the necklaces. In the end, 23-year-old Ian Rosenberger easily reached the necklaces first, with Jolanda, a 39-year-old former track and field champion and Houston lawyer securing the woman's necklace.
After a night on the beach during which the castaways were unclear if the group would be living as one tribe, Jeff visited the contestants and informed them that they would now be divided into two tribes named Koror and Ulong. Immunity winners Ian and Jolanda would start the tribal pick-em by selecting one opposite sex castaway to join them, with each selected castaway then selecting another opposite sex contestant. The two tribes would continue alternating selections until only two contestants remained -- with the last two contestants immediately becoming eliminated from the game.
As the selection progressed, Jonathan and 57-year-old lawyer Willard Smith were left as the two unselected male castaways, with 24-year-old tattooed outsider Angie Jakusz and 55-year-old obsessive shrieking singer Wanda Shirk remaining as the unselected women. With Jonathan's early boat exit still apparently a factor, Koror selected Williard to be its last member, eliminating Jonathan from the game. Wanda's incessant Survivor singing also apparently did her no benefit, with Ulong opting to select Angie as its final tribe member, sending a still singing Wanda cruising off into the horizon.
Still living on the same beach, the two tribes gathered for their first challenge on Day 3. After being informed that the challenge would serve as both an immunity and reward competition, the survivors learned that the challenge would involve navigating an extensive obstacle course. The challenge had one catch though -- along the way the tribe would have the chance to gather valuable supplies including food, water, and fire, however the weighted containers would slow the tribes significantly, impacting their ability to win immunity and the items they were transporting.
Arriving at the supply depot neck-and-neck, the older Koror tribe opted to grab only the container containing fire-starting flint -- a decision that paid off when strong-willed Ulong member Jolanda insisted, despite the protests of other tribe members, that her tribe attempt to transport all the supplies. The decision resulted in the younger Ulong tribe falling well behind their older but less burdened Koror competitors, leaving Koror with an easy first challenge victory.
In addition to winning both immunity and the fire-starting flint they'd transported, Koror was also allowed to determine which tribe would return to the existing tribal beach and which would paddle off (sight unseen) to the game's second tribal beach. Citing "adventure," Koror surprisingly chose to live on the unknown beach, a decision that would loom more ominous when their outrigger canoe capsized en route to their new home. While none of the castaways were hurt in the incident, the tribe did suffer a huge loss as the box containing their hard-earned reward flint sank to the ocean floor and was lost.
Over at the losing Ulong tribe, Angie quickly emerged as the castaway most likely to be targeted at the upcoming Tribal Council, with most tribe members deciding that despite her strong personality and challenge error, Jolanda's physical strength precluded them from voting her out of the game. However Jolanda's dominant personality continued to wear on the rest of the tribe in the afternoon leading up to the evening's Tribal Council session, resulting in the majority deciding to oust her in a 6-3 vote