--They took "Gwen as the villain" in the direction I was hoping. (Specifically, the redemption/non-villainous teammate angle.) It's nice to see more of her good side coming out after how World Tour ended.
--Jo and Duncan's interaction was a nice little teaser that I wasn't really expecting, but it leads me to:
--Hoping for a bit more old/new interaction than ended up here, although the benefit of the doubt is that they're trying to set the characters up.
--Nitpicking: That's the new opening animation? The fun of the previous seasons was watching all the characters/relationships get briefly set up. I know we're seeing returning characters at a returning location, but I was still kind of hoping for a merging of the seasons 1 and 4 openings or something.
--The fast eliminations and group of returning major characters has an "everyone is important, so no one is important" feel. Say, Alejandro's introduction seems like it should be a big deal, but it just kind of felt like another in a long line of introduction and main plot threads.
--Cameron got, what, two lines? I know he's not going to be the main character again, but I feel like there's some mileage to be had from his smart guy role and friendship with Mike/Zoey. The "new" heroes in general seemed to be a bit in the background, though I'm still hopeful for big things from Mike.
--Immunity idol is back! Hopefully, it won't just be a quick coupon to keep a less sympathetic character in the game while a more sympathetic one gets the boot. Right? ... Right, you guys?
--Seems like Sierra's heading for elimination (being a primarily defined by a character who isn't competing). Then again, given the different competing storylines, maybe it's just as well for someone I don't care that much about to be a bit in the background.
--I get the sense that Brick wasn't competing this season for the reason that he messed up the "ragtag underdogs" vibe the Hamsters have. The most conventionally competent player on the team is arguably the one who doesn't belong there.
--Seems odd that Chris, who often seems to hate her, would think Courtney goes on the heroes' team. I suppose it's really just part of the inevitability of having her on the opposite team as Gwen.
--Kind of thought Sam would be out first. If he manages to survive more than a couple more episodes, though, I'm going guess he's in for the long haul.
I'm vaguely curious if anyone new to the show watched the episode, just to see whether they could make any sense of what was going on.