Welcome, everyone, to the very first blog in my latest blog series: My TDR Episode Reviews! Every week, I'll be releasing a new blog giving a basic summary of the newest episode of TDR, and then give my own review of it, culminating in my score-out-of-10 at the very end. Hope you all enjoy it!
Summary: Chris introduces the brand new cast of 13: Jo, Scott, Zoey, Mike, Lightning, Brick, B, Dawn, Dakota, Anne Maria, Staci, Cameron, and Sam. He then detonates a bomb that destroys the yacht they are approaching on, forcing them all to swim to shore. Shortly afterwards, they must race down a trail to a finish line in the woods, which will determine what team they are on. The result of the race brings about two teams: The Radioactive Rats (B, Dakota, Dawn, Lightning, Sam, Scott, and Staci) and the Mutant Maggots (Anne Maria, Brick, Cameron, Jo, Mike, and Zoey). Chris then introduces an Immunity Idol in the form of a small wooden carving of his head, which will allow someone to be safe from elimination if they receive the most votes. He then gives the Maggots a trampoline as an advantage due to Jo being the first to arrive, and both teams get a hacksaw. Their first challenge is then revealed: Cut down a totem pole from a tree branch that it is hanging on and ride it downriver to the campgrounds. Whoever can get it to a tree stump between the two cabins first wins and gets to pick between the rusty old cabin and the massive, luxurious cabin. Both totem poles also have a bomb wired to them to explode in 7 minutes. Both teams have a slow start, but B comes up with a catapult-like device that builds a human tower of the seven members of the Rats, with Dakota cutting down their totem pole with the hacksaw. While Brick tries to cut down his team’s totem pole, a mutant chipmunk appears and starts firing lasers at the Maggots, with one laser eventually cutting the rope and freeing the Maggots’ pole. The Rats manage to make it down to the campgrounds first and place their totem pole right on the stump as instructed. The Maggots, however, overshoot the stump and crash right into the luxurious cabin, with the bomb blowing it to smithereens. Thus, the original old cabin is brought back, and Chris declares the Maggots to be the winners since they were the only team with a cabin still standing. Thus, the Rats are sent to the Bonfire. There, an apparently unanimous decision is made to vote off Staci, who can’t stop chattering and rambling off lie after lie, much to the annoyance of her teammates. Staci is the first person voted off Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, and is launched out of the competition by a massive catapult on the Dock of Shame called the Hurl of Shame.
Review: In short, this was yet another amazing season premiere. What I liked about this episode was that it featured a lot of twists on moments that we all thought were predictable. For example, instead of a simple recap of the last three seasons, Chris actually has the entire original cast of 24 float by on a yacht for a massive fake-out, then introduces the new cast. Also, instead of a one-by-one meet-and-greet like the original season’s premiere, the new cast has their boat blown up and are forced to swim to shore, with all the subsequent interaction between them revealing their characters and personalities to the audience. The episode was fairly heavy on the physical comedy, with such hilarious moments as: Chef falling off a trampoline, to which Lightning laughs, Chef throws a hacksaw at him, Jo laughs, and Chef throws a trampoline at her; and Anne Maria trying to get the team’s totem pole down, only to bounce right up, hit the bottom of it, bounce back down, then bounce up and hit it again, and so on repeatedly until Jo pushes the trampoline out of the way. The episode also had its moments focusing on each and every character, leaving no one behind like the original season did. Each character got their moment, whether it was a comedic moment or a development moment, all got their fair share. Another twist is that now, in the elimination ceremony, when it gets to the bottom two, the person who is eliminated receives the final marshmallow. The catch: The final marshmallow is radioactive, and contact with it has a damaging result on the recipient (in Staci’s case, she loses all her hair in an instant). And so on. This episode, of course, featured some obvious plotlines being established right off the bat, including Mike and Zoey finding an obvious attraction to each other, setting up for events to come. However, as many others have said before, the Mike/Zoey thing was rather rushed. It made it feel somewhat awkward and toned down some of my initial hype for the couple, but not dramatically. Owen's cameo appearance was fantastic and just as I imagined any of the cameos would be, although the challenge was fairly bland once both teams got their totem poles down. It wasn't an absolutely fantastic premiere like the TDWT one, and it wasn't bland and totally boring like the TDI one. It was more like Monster Cash; a fairly good season premiere, with enough physical jokes and focus on each and every character, but not an amazing, best-thing-since-sliced-bread premiere. Definitely not bad, and just barely enough to satisfy the over-one-year-long wait, but it wasn't absolute gold. I give it an 8.5/10.