The editing of this episode was refreshingly offbeat, right from the opening seconds where, instead of "Previously on....Survivor" we got a recap of the preview at the end of the first episode! Touches like these (or like Chelsea's idol find) help keep the show non-formulaic. The Island of the Idols segment was more enjoyable this time - primarily because it was shorter. And the vote was BRUTAL; even Rob and Sandra looked blindsided! This is fast developing into one of the most cutthroat seasons ever. Personally I'd rather see Jamal or Jason go instead of Molly, but at least she went out as a major threat ("Parvati 2.0") and not as a "weak woman". The winner is starting to look obvious (hint: this person was portrayed as the all-important "swing vote", even though this person actually wasn't), but hopefully I'm wrong. *** out of 4.
BUT.....I'm still giving an 8/10 to the first episode. Why? Because it has one of the GREATEST first vote-outs in the history of Survivor (possibly THE greatest). An absolutely shocking boot, of the kind of player who usually, if not wins, at least easily makes the merge. Too often the women on Survivor fall into the trap of voting other women for the first few rounds to "keep the tribe strong", handing over control of the game to the men and ending up as goats at the end. Not this group; the women of the losing tribe vote in admirable unison and instantly take charge of the game. This is exactly, exactly, EXACTLY how women should play the first vote on Survivor - and yet, it very rarely happens.
In short, I have high hopes for the cast of this season, especially on the female front; I just wish Rob's and Sandra's involvement will be kept to an absolute minimum.