By Jeff Probst
February 20, 2009 at 06:05 PM EST

First things first. Did you see our ratings? We went up from last year’s premiere! That doesn’t happen. Television ratings are crumbling all around us as the networks scramble to figure out how to combat DVR’s, kids watching on computers, and iPhones and the like. So when something like this happens to a show in its 18th season, it’s big news! And it’s all because of you — our loyal viewers. So on behalf of the entire crew and CBS, I say thank you for your amazing support.

Okay, on to the episode. I gotta mention it. Another blindside. We’re 2for 2 and I love it. Candace never saw it coming. I hated losingCandace. She was bound to provide lots of spark around camp. ButCandace, you picked a fight with the wrong guy….

You picked on Coach! Nobody picks on Coach. He’s a symphony conductorfor crying out loud. He’s a maestro! You don’t mess with maestros!They’re known for their Scorpio-like ”get even” mentality. You stunghim and he stung you back. Torch snuff. Bye-bye. Just like that,Candace is out.

I am imagining Candace reading this right now and she iseither…smiling and laughing along with me or…she is calling lovelyCorinne from last season and asking her for the address of my house andinstructions on how to light a Molotov cocktail. Ah, what the heck, gofor it. I’m insured.

I love it when the Survivors eat grubs. It takes me back to Season 1when we had a challenge in which they had to race to eat grubs andGervase couldn’t get his down. Ah yes, season 1. The good ole days.Back when I wore those silly safari clothes and said really cornythings like ”fire represents life.” Thank goodness those days aregone. Boy, was I a loser. I’m so much cooler now. Whew.

I have a question – do you think that Taj revealed she was the wife ofEddie George because she believes that honesty is the best policy? Ordo you think she absolutely loves telling people ”I’m married to EddieGeorge, Heisman trophy winner at Ohio State and former NFL footballstar!” I’m guessing the latter. But to be honest, I’d brag, too, if Iwas married to Eddie George. Heck, I’d pull a Heidi Klum and tattooEddie’s name on my forearm. Yes, Heidi has a tattoo of her husband’sname, ”Seal,” on her forearm. That beautiful supermodel forearm witha huge tat of the word ”Seal.” It’s there. I know. I saw it. Yep.I’ve seen Heidi’s naked forearm. Lots of times, in fact.

The problem with Taj’s revelation is that you give people a reason tovote you out. Taj just shouted at the top of her lungs – ”I don’t needthe money! I’m already rich!!!” That could be costly.

How great was that challenge? It was physical, it was in the water(which means bikini’s), and…it was pouring rain! I mean it wasdumping! Here’s a fact I’ve never admitted before. I secretly pray forrain every time we do a challenge. I love it when it rains. Not justbecause it turns me on a little bit, but also because it adds so much to thelook and play of a Survivor challenge. It amps up the drama, it makesthe shots look that much ”cooler,” and like I said, I just likebeing wet. Anytime it’s raining, just know that I’m happy…and yes, abit turned on. Is that wrong? Or weird? I recently had to take arequired sexual harassment course and I’m pretty sure merely writingthat last sentence constitutes sexual harassment on some level. Sorryif I’ve offended.

A lot of people ask me, ”Why do you only do one challenge in the earlyepisodes?” The reason is because we want to have more time in the showfor you to get to know the personalities of our Survivors. We figure inepisodes 1 and 2 we can build one big challenge, make it epic, and thatwill allow us a few more minutes in the show to focus on the Survivors.Question: Do you like that or would you prefer 2 challenges in everysingle episode?

Speaking of getting to know the Survivors — my two favorite people this week are:

From Timbira — Sierra. She’s a fighter and I like that. Wouldn’t thatbe weird if Sierra ended up married to a Survivor producer? How randomwould that be?

From Jalapao — J.T. He’s a great leader and he’s playing humble. But Idon’t buy it for a second. J.T. is a bona fide threat in this game.

It’s only episode 2 and trust is already playing a big part in thegame. It’s what makes this game so difficult to play but so fun towatch…ultimately you have to trust someone in order to survive, butconversely you really can’t trust anyone if you want to survive! Sowhat do you do? You have to trust people who are untrustworthy, andthen you have to cut them loose before they cut you loose. It’s likelearning Russian. Very complicated.

One of my favorite moments of the episode was the ”fire pit”cover-up. It was a great lie. Quick thinking. I absolutely love thosekinds of moments. The key to it all was Debbie. All you need is oneperson to validate your lie and you’re set, and let’s face it, youcan’t get better than a middle school principal to endorse your lie!Debbie bought it hook, line, and sinker, and she was no doubt watchingtonight’s episode and laughing herself silly. Debbie has a pretty goodsense of humor.

I would love to know why Brendan chose Taj. I would have never guessedthat and never dreamed he would share the Exile information with her.But it was an interesting move and now we have the potential for analliance that could wreak havoc later in the game.

The other relationship I am starting to enjoy is that of J.T. and Stephen. Theycouldn’t be more opposite and yet they seem to be clicking fairly well.

Okay, time for me to go to bed.

Hang in there with me on these blogs. It’s been a very busy past fewweeks for me, and so I haven’t had as much time for these blogs as I’dlike. But I’m committed to posting something every week, so I just askfor a bit of understanding if they’re not always everything you wantthem to be!!!

Talk next week!

Now check out our exclusive deleted scene below and then read Dalton’s ‘Survivor’ TV Watch.

More Jeff Probst:

Jeff Probst blogs ‘Survivor: Tocantins’: episode 2

Best of Jeff Probst’s ‘Survivor: Gabon’ blog