Recap – Survivor 20.10 “Going Down In Flames”

If you missed what may turn out to be the dumbest move in Survivor history, make sure you read last week’s recap before going forward.

This week’s episode begins again in the Heroes camp. The Heroes are restless and want The Merge to occur. JT even goes as far as to say that he’s bored with the fact that he’s been with the same people for a week or so now (yeah, consistently winning and eliminating the other tribe is soooo boring). Amanda’s wish for for some Tree Mail is answered as the Heroes receive a large, locked chest. The accompanying note tells them to not open in it until they receive a key, and that “company will arrive soon.” Of course, the Villains are the ones with the key. They also receive a map to the Heroes camp. The Merge has arrived. Before the Villains leave for the Heroes beach, Russell confides that he is excited to join the Heroes because he’ll be able to pick them off one by one. Russell lets Parvati, Danielle and Jerri know that he’s going to tell JT that since both he and Parvati played hidden immunity idols at the last Tribal Council, Parvati is still there. That should convince JT that Russell is on his side; with JT solidly with Russell, he’ll never expect that he’s going to be voted out.

The Villains arrive at the Heroes camp, and they are shocked to see that Parvati is still in the game. Without even being told, JT figures that Parvati played an idol as well. Russell’s plan is working to perfection without any effort on his part! The merged tribe opens the chest to find their new buffs, new tribe flag, some fruit and vegetables, and a huge side of ham(?). The players try to figure out what their new tribe name should be. “Hillains” is thrown out, and Jerri suggests “All Villains” because they are all villains. Upon hearing this, Rupert is practically apoplectic. He confides that they are actually all winners for surviving for so long. Only Villains would consider themselves villains; that’s what they do. The players mingle and chat over the ham, all except for Parvati. No one wants to talk to her, so she pulls Danielle aside to complain. She doesn’t feel apart of the tribe and thinks they are all going to vote for her as soon as they get the chance. She even goes as far to say that she’s offended by the treatment she’s receiving from the Heroes.

In the shelter, JT and Rupert talk to Russell. The Villain relays to them what “happened” at the last Tribal Council: that, yes indeed, Parvati played a second immunity idol, and the votes worked out to send Courtney home. JT asks if Russell is with them. Russell swears on his kids that he is, leading JT to say to Rupert after Russell leaves that the former Villain is “solid” and just a “good ol’ country boy.” Russell, down on the beach, tells the camera the truth: JT and Rupert have fallen for his pan “hook, line and sinker.” It’s going to be easy to pick the Heroes off. Sandra finds Rupert and immediately spills the beans on what really happened at the last Tribal Council and the Russell-Parvati alliance. Rupert tells the camera that he will agree to whatever Russell says, but knows now that Russell is lying.

The new tribe makes some breakfast, but after everyone eats, Parvati and Danielle want more, and take some of the not-quite-ripe plantains. Rupert can’t believe the slight: there are plenty of coconuts, so anyone can have one of those a any time, but bananas. plantains and mangoes are to be divided evenly amongst the tribe. Don’t these girls have any decorum?!? Rupert is already tired of these two. He goes to Amanda, JT and Candice to tell them about what Sandra said. JT and Amanda are quite reluctant to believe Sandra over Russell (d’oh!), but they decide that to test Russell’s allegiance, they will tell him who they are going to vote for, but then switch it right before Tribal Council. If Russell doesn’t vote for their original target, they know he’s been playing them. Rupert, for his part, says he doesn’t trust people who swear on their kids. JT confides that Rupert is difficult to play the game with because he needs to be told who to vote for and how to play. Should they trust Sandra or the “obviously” trustworthy Russell. At least JT recognizes that if he’s being played he knows he’s going home, but clearly, he’s not being played by Russell. The irony of JT’s words is so thick it practically knocked me off my couch!

Parvati finally gets a moment alone with her Survivor: Micronesia alliance-mate, Amanda. She tells Amanda that everyone is freaked out about their possible alliance. Amanda replies that everyone in her alliance wants to vote Parvati out, but she’s working to get rid of Sandra instead. Further, she promises to tell Parvati who they are going to vote for before the next Tribal Council. To reciprocate, Parvati tells Amanda about the hidden immunity idol she possesses. The two perform their secret handshake and head back to the beach — the Micronesia alliance is on.

It’s time for the Immunity Challenge. Jeff confirms that they are a merged tribe and asks what the new tribe name is. JT answers the rather lame “Yin Yang,” you know, because they are good and evil (how did they miss the obvious “Probst”?!?). Jeff explains the challenge is simple: each player will climb up a pole with small foot holds, and stay up there for as long as they can. Candice and Parvati had competed in the challenge on Survivor: Cook Islands and JT had done it on Survivor: Tocantins. The contestants take their places, and the challenge begins. Almost immediately, Colby and Sandra slide to the bottom of the pole, and drop out. Jeff asks Colby if he’s disappointed in himself for his poor showing. He replies that he could never get a good foothold, so he had to drop off. Shaking his head, Jeff turns back to the poles, where Candice, Danielle and Parvati all look really solid. Russell drops out, followed by Rupert. Amanda slides down her pole, and drops off too. JT seems to slip and gets close to the bottom, but scampers back up the pole to the top. He’s not on top for long as he slides back down and drops out of the game. More than an hour into the game, Parvati, Candice, Danielle and Jerri are left. Parvati is so in control that she is actually standing one-footed, sideways on the pole. Jerri admits to Jeff that dehydration is starting to get her, so she drops out. Inexplicably, Candice voices that she’s going to drop out. Jeff wonders why when in the Cook Islands, she lasted the longest of everyone, and looks really solid here. She just says she’s tired and drops off. Immediately, Danielle and Parvati begin to bargain. Both admit they can stay up there for a long time, but since Parvati has an immunity idol, she agrees to jump off. She does, and Danielle wins Immunity!

Upon seeing Parvati jump off her pole, Rupert immediately thinks she has a hidden immunity idol. He thinks she will play it at Tribal Council, so the five Heroes decided to vote for either Sandra or Jerri (Danielle now has won immunity, and Russell, they believe, is in their alliance). Sandra confides, somewhat inexplicably, that she doesn’t want her mouth to get her in trouble, so she decides to stick with Russell and his alliance (I still don’t get this strategy. Can anyone enlighten me?). Russell finds Parvati, and knowing that the Heroes are gunning for her, gives her his immunity idol. Parvati now has two idols and all the power in the game! Amanda finds Parvati and tells her that she wants to play the game with Parvati, like in Micronesia, but just doesn’t see how she can as her alliance wants her gone. She goes as far as to tell Parvati to play her idol “just in case.” Hearing this, Parvati’s eyes get wide, not out of fear of elimination, but because Amanda is obviously lying. She knows the Heroes are not voting for her. Amanda, who admits to being “confused” about what to do, has played right into the Villains’ hands. Time to leave for…

…Tribal Council. The Jury is brought in: Coach with an open shirt and Courtney looking quite nice in a red and white dress. Jeff asks Rupert what camp is like in the merged tribe. Rupert resurrects the “banana etiquette” conversation, slamming Parvati and Danielle for taking plantains when they shouldn’t have. Danielle tries to defend herself, and bickering ensues. Russell states the obvious, that there are still two tribes within Yin Yang, and, yes Jeff, tonight’s vote will dictate the rest of the game. Jeff asks JT the same question. He hopes that the game is changed after Tribal Council, but no one tells him anything, so he’s just along for the ride. Russell says that he talks to JT, and Sandra says that she talks to everyone, but never about strategy. Parvati pipes up that she’s just been ignored by everyone. Jeff asks if she just thinks she’s being ignored because in normal life she’s used to getting all the attention of everyone she encounters. Zing! Even the Queen of the One-liner, Courtney, recognizes the burn Jeff just laid on Parvati. With that, it’s time to vote. It is shown that Russell, Parvati and Danielle vote for JT, and Amanda, Rupert and Candice vote for Jerri. As Jeff collects the votes, Courtney leans over to Coach and says, “If that little troll [Russell] plays an idol….” Jeff asks if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol, and Parvati stirs. Not only does she want to play an idol, she wants to give it to Sandra. Colby smiles that the Heroes planned their vote correctly. But wait…what’s this? Parvati wants to play a second immunity idol. In fact, she wants to give it to…Jerri! The utter shock on the Heroes’ faces is astounding. Moreover, for the first time in one and a half seasons, Russell is utterly flabbergasted. The two new idol holders rise and give them to Jeff. He confirms that they are real idols, so vote for Sandra and Jerri won’t count. Rupert mutters, “I knew we shouldn’t have trusted her.” Jeff reads the votes. The first five are for Jerri, none of which will count. The sixth vote is for…JT. As are the next two. The eleventh person voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs Villains and the third member of The Jury is…JT! Bewildered, JT has his torch snuffed and marches off into the Blue Light of Death. Russell leans to Parvati and says, “You have some explaining to do.” She coyly replies, “Secret!” Jeff tells the remaining players that in a season of crazy moves, Parvati’s may have been the craziest. It proves that anything can happen, and probably will.

Next time on…Survivor

Jeff tells us that Russell is losing control of his alliance. Clearly surprised by Parvati’s move, Russell scrambles to regain the upper hand over the former Villains. Sandra, now with a lot of power as the swing vote between the remaining Heroes and Russell’s alliance, sets her sight on Russell. How the outspoken former winner has managed to get herself into the pivot position is a testament to her great game-play. I think she will take full advantage of her new-found position and bend everyone to her will. Further, with all hidden immunity idols now out of the game, we move to, what I consider, a “pure” version of the game where winning the Immunity Challenge and influencing people with Reward Challenge wins become of the utmost importance. These next few weeks should be great.

Odds to Win

Candice: 5-1. Candice moves to the top of my board because I think Sandra is going to flip on the rest of the Villains. If that is the case, Candice stands in the best position on the Heroes to win because she is physically strong (I think she got off her pole for strategic, and not physical, reasons) and will not be targeted like Colby or Rupert for their (greater) strength, or Amanda for her alliance with Parvati.

Jerri: 8-1. Jerri takes a leap up the board too because of the position she finds herself in. She has never been at the core of Russell’s alliance, so should Sandra go to the Heroes, Russell, Parvati and Danielle will be out before her. By that point in the game, alliances will shift again, and I think she can likely hook up with Colby to advance further in the game. Plus, I think she is a sentimental favorite to win.

Danielle: 10-1. She will clearly be a target of the Heroes, but only after Russell and Parvati. She showed some real strength, too, in the Immunity Challenge, so if there are a few more endurance challenges, Danielle could be sitting pretty. (Although, I wonder if she’ll have an aversion to winning the immunity necklace now that she’s seen that it actually covers her breasts.)

Amanda: 15-1. I think Amanda may have lost her mind a little bit. I know she thinks she can trust Parvati, but she seemed to be really off her game in this episode. Hopefully, for her sake, Parvati’s moves will wake her up to what is actually going on inn the Yin Yang tribe. She still is a strong player physically; let’s see if her mind can catch up.

Colby: 25-1. Colby takes a big leap forward because, surprisingly to me, Russell wasn’t gunning for him (I figured Russell would try to keep JT around because he had JT wrapped around his finger). I know I’m putting a lot of stock in Sandra flipping, but if she does (and she should, to get rid of Russell), Colby has a better shot of sticking around for a while, especially with a potential partner in Jerri. It was a bit disconcerting to see him drop out of the challenge so quickly, so his desire will have to be monitored.

Sandra: 40-1. Oh, Sandra! Look who is in the catbird seat now! Thanks to the generosity of Parvati, Sandra finds herself still alive in the game and in the enviable position of being the swing vote. The tribes are literally at her mercy. I still think she will have a hard time winning the $1,000,000 because she is a former winner, but if she can make it that far, it will be because of an expertly played game that must be shown some respect by the Jury.

Parvati: 50-1. Wow. That’s all I can say. What a bold move to try to keep the Villains alliance together. She deserves kudos if only for being the first person to confound Russell. She is still one of the most reviled people in Survivor history, so I don’t see how she wins a final vote, but as we have seen, strange things have happened this season, so why not a Parvati victory?

Russell: 75-1. Fool Russell once, shame on him, but fool him twice….I don’t think it’s possible. If he can get Sandra to stay aligned with him, he will be OK, but that is a really huge “if.”

Rupert: 80-1. The Heroes may be OK if Sandra flips, and Rupert clearly showed this week that he knows what is going on, but I just don’t think the People’s Choice will be given a million bucks by the Jury without a huge move. Does Rupert have such a move in him?

OK, that’s all for this week. Was your mouth as agape as mine was after Parvati’s Tribal Council moves? Should she have saved an idol for herself? Will Sandra seize the power she has been given and truly work to get rid of Russell? Will Russell trust Parvati again? For whom is it most important to win the next Immunity Challenge? What are your thoughts on my new Odds? Drop your questions, comments and theories below. I’ll be back next week with another recap. Until then, I’m off to make some eggs.

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