Did you miss the penultimate episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains? Then catch up with a recap here.
The first of Survivor‘s three finale hours begins with the Top 5 returning to camp after ousting Rupert. Russell tells Sandra that using the idol was worthless as all she did was prove that she was lying. She should have told the Villains that she had the idol. Sandra tells Russell, correctly, that when he found an idol, he certainly didn’t run back and tell the rest of his tribe. Further, Sandra is not the type of person who can be micromanaged, and certainly not be the likes of Russell. Parvati swears to Russell that she didn’t know Sandra had an idol. Russell then begins plotting against Parvati with Jerri, but Parvati doesn’t care. The next morning, the tribe receives Tree Mail in the form of a bag of pieces and a note saying that the players don’t want their “dishes to shatter.” Russell hopes to take Jerri and Sandra to the Top 3, so he needs to make sure Parvati doesn’t win…
…the Immunity Challenge. In a replay of the final Immunity Challenge from Survivor: China (won by Amanda), each player is given a balancing arm with a circular platform at the end. Jeff will call out different sized dishes that the players mus stack on the platform. If the player can’t maintain the dishes’ balance, and they fall, the player is eliminated. Each player reaches the nine dish mark when Sandra loses her concentration and her dishes crash to the ground. At fourteen dishes, Jerri, too, is eliminated, and is quickly followed by Russell. At the seventeen dish mark, a large gust of wind blows, shaking the stacks of both Colby and Parvati. Parvati’s seventeenth dish is precariously placed so it is unclear how she’ll balance the eighteenth. This concern is of no matter, though, as Colby loses control of his dishes. Parvati wins Immunity!
Back at the beach, both Jerri and Parvati say they need to vote out Colby because he’s very popular amongst the jury. Colby figures the same thing so he begins to say goodbye to the other players with a “surrender speech.” He says he’s not going to hustle for votes, he’s just happy to have played the game again. In a long, and rather emotional confessional, Colby explains how he was saying goodbye to everyone. Then, after a long pause, Colby says he “[doesn’t] know how to quit. So I made one more attempt” to stay in the game. With the women off in the jungle, Colby pitches to Russell that they get rid of Sandra because then they’d have stronger players to beat Parvati in the final Immunity Challenge. Russell is non-committal, and tells the camera that he’s going to have to make his decision at…
…Tribal Council. Jeff begins by asking Colby is this season had been the toughest of the three for him. Colby admits it has been: he’s a bit older, playing with some great competitors(especially Parvati) and the challenges have been very hard. Jeff wonders if the Villains will stick with their plan to get rid of all the Heroes, or take advantage of the great opportunity to use Colby as a swing vote. Colby says he’s been trying to flip some of the Villains since The Merge, and most recently Russell earlier in the day. Jeff asks Russell if he trusts anyone remaining 100%. Russell replies that he’s just hoping his alliance sticks together. It’s time to vote, they do, and Jeff gathers the ballots. The first vote is for Colby, followed by a vote for Sandra. The third vote is for Colby. The fourth vote is revealed — “The sixteenth person voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains and the eighth member of our Jury…Colby! Colby’s torch is snuffed and he makes his way to bask in the glow of the Blue Light of Death. Jeff congratulates the Top 4, and tells them to get a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, Parvati confides that she didn’t realize she was such a big threat to everyone (*cough, cough, B.S. cough, cough*). Jerri and Russell voice their need to get rid of Parvati because she will win the game if she makes it to the Top 3, even though she was “tucked under Russell’s wing the whole time” according to Jerri. The tribe receives Tree Mail. It instructs them to follow the included map on the (loathed, hated, terrible, time-wasting, ridiculous) March of Fallen Comrades. They are to reflect on the players they ousted, collect masks representing each eliminated player, and set them ablaze at Survivor‘s version of Burning Man. The March is, unsurprisingly, boring, with the only good quote coming from a Boston Rob voiceover saying that the first smart thing done in twenty seasons of Survivor was getting rid of him early in the game. The Top 4 reach the end of the march, and set the masks on fire. They have now arrived at…
…the Final Immunity Challenge. It is a classic Survivor maze. Each player will be blindfolded, and, using maps located in the maze, have to navigate to four different areas to collect necklaces marked with symbols of the four main elements: earth, wind, water and fire. After collecting all four necklaces, players will make their way (still blindfolded) to the maze exit where the Immunity Necklace is hung. First to grab the Necklace wins Immunity. Survivors ready…GO! The Top 4 make their way into the maze with Russell, Jerri and Sandra going one way, and Parvati going another. Russell and Jerri grab their first necklaces, with Parvati right behind them and Sandra completely lost. Sandra eventually grabs her first necklace, but Russell and Parvati get their second necklaces quickly thereafter. Jerri grabs her second necklace and feels the map to find the way to her third. There is a lot of running into barriers and each other, but Sandra wisely starts to use Parvati’s voice to follow after her. Jeri grabs her third necklace, and so does Parvati. Sandra grabs her second necklace, which is at the same location as Russell’s third, which he grabs. Russell and Parvati find their fourth necklaces at the same place at the same time, and immediately rush off to find the exit and the Immunity Necklace. Jerri quickly grabs her fourth, and in as close to a run as is advised when in a maze blindfolded, heads off to the exit as well. All three players find the rope barriers that lead to the exit at the same time. Russell recognizing them first begins to move down the lane to the Immunity Necklace, but turns around! Jerri take a bit of a lead of Parvati and Russell, before Russell turns around. In perhaps the most dramatic finish to a Challenge ever (and reading it does not do the end of the Challenge justice), Russell and Jerri hurriedly move to the Immunity Necklace from opposite, but converging, rope paths. Jerri reaches up for the necklace but can’t find it. Russell reaches too, as Parvati starts to reach out, too. There is a sea of hands grasping at air before Russell feels the Necklace and knocks it off its perch into his hands. Russell wins Immunity!! He puts on the Necklace, but then takes it off because he wants Jeff to put it around his neck. The tribe heads back to camp, with Parvati confiding that she needs to make sure she’s still “Russell’s girl” as he has all the power now.
Sandra talks to Russell back at the beach. She tells him that she knows she really has no chance to win, so she’s happy to take the $100,000 second place prize because she never thought she would win anyway. Russell tells her that he is definitely taking her to the Top 3. Sandra tells the camera later that, with her place in the Top 3 secure, she has to do what Russell says because has Immunity. He thinks she won’t get a single vote from the Jury, but “I don’t know about that!” Sandra says with a Cheshire Cat-like grin. Russell, in classic Russell Hantz style, tells both Jerri and Parvati, individually, that the other is going home. Parvati says that she wants Sandra gone, but Russell argues, to Parvati, that his actual best move is to bring Sandra and Jerri. Parvati insists that if he brings Sandra, she is going to win. Russell is confident that even if he eliminates Jerri, he still will get her vote, but he can’t say the same about Parvati. It is time to go to…
…Tribal Council. Jeff begins the proceedings by asking Jerri how long she spent trying to make sure it’s not she who is going home. Jerri admits that she stuck around camp as much as possible to monitor what was being said and by who. When the same question is posed to Sandra, she replies that she immediately went to Russell because he was the one with immunity, and said to take her because she has no chance to win. Russell admits that one never knows what will happen in Survivor. Parvati says that she feels vulnerable because she played a good strategic game and therefore, might be a threat. Jerri says, yes, Parvati is a threat, especially because she has friends on the Jury. Jeff asks Parvati what kind of pitch she can make to Russell to keep her in the game. She answers that for Russell to redeem himself, he should take her because she has been protecting him the whole game. Russell corrects her: they’ve been protecting each otherthe whole game. They bicker over this until Jeff announces it is time to vote. They do, and he gathers the ballots. The first is for Parvati, then for Jerri. Vote number three is for Jerri. The final vote…”The seventeenth person voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains and the final member of The Jury…Jerri!” As she hugs Russell, Jerry says, “I can’t wait to hear this story later.” Jeff snuffs her torch, and Jerri disappears into the Blue Light of Death.
The next, and final, morning, Russell, Parvati and Sandra enjoy a feast. Later, with Russell away from camp, Parvati says that if she had been voted out, she would have voted for Sandra to win. Sandra, with no reason to play nice any more, lets loose on how much she hates Russell. She sees his hat (the same he’s worn for two consecutive seasons) hanging by the Immunity Necklace and decides she’s going to burn it. Not thinking Sandra would actually do it, Parvati playfully tells her to do it. So Sandra gets up, grabs the hat, and throws it in the fire!! She says it is payback for everything he did to her during the game. Russell returns, and, oddly, can’t find his hat. Unfortunately, neither of the women have seen it! It is time to finish the game, so the Top 3 sets fire to their shelter and march off to…
…the Final Tribal Council. Jeff invited the Top 3 to make opening statements. Sandra says she has been “sole surviving” for a long time as her alliance within the Villains was targeted for awhile. Second, she approached the Heroes at many different junctures to try to eliminate Russell, but for whatever reason, they didn’t take her up on her offer. Russell says that sometimes the Survivoris a game of luck, but not for him. He apologizes if he offended anyone, but he played hard. Parvati says she didn’t know she was such a big threat, but she found that out Day 1. So, she used Russell as a line of defense to protect herself. Russell was a dragon, but he was her pet, who displayed his loyalty to Parvati right up until the end when he took her to the Top 3. The opening statements conclude, and it is now time for the Jury members to ask questions.
Colby asks Russell if he really said his game involved no luck. “Yes,” Russell simply responds. Colby tells him that he is delusional to think that way. He then asks Parvati to name some specific strategic moves she made. She repeats that she was a target from the beginning, but her biggest move might have been giving two immunity idols to Sandra and Jerri to preserve her alliance.
Coach is next. He says the Top 3 are Parvati the Charmer/Manipulator, Russell the Schemer/Liar and Sandra the Coat-Tail Rider. He quotes Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Russell, telling him that “only the penitent man shall pass.” To Sandra, he says that he believes in taking the strongest players to the end, but she is useless. To Parvati, he says that he thought she was going to be a weak player, but she proved to be rather strong. Then he swears, that as a Christian man, he came to the final Tribal Council with no pre-conceived notions about for whom he would vote.
Amanda asks Sandra how her strategy was better than Russell of Parvati’s. Sandra admits that she wishes her strategy was better because then she would have gotten rid of Russell. Russell pipes up and asks Sandra is that strategy worked for her. Obviously, no, it didn’t.
Courtney calls Sandra, “My girl,” before saying that loyalty is overlooked in this game, so she asks Sandra to defend her loyalty. Sandra says that from Day 1 she had Courtney’s back, before concluding with an, “I love you, girl!” Courtney concludes by thanking “Jeffrey” before returning to her seat.
JT tells Russell that getting to the end is just one-half of the game. Has he done anything to preserve Jury votes? Russell replies that all he tried to do was get to the Top 3. When JT turns to Sandra, she says that she wishes she could have intercepted his letter to Russell and thrown it in the fire. JT admits that he made his bed, so now he has to lie in it. Further, he’s not out for vengeance because of Russell screwing him over. This gets Russell to defend his gameplay again saying he only ever concentrated on getting to the end, and not winning Jury votes. “Well, now you have to lie in your bed like I lay in mine,” JT retorts.
Danielle asks Russell if he has any regrets, which gets a prompt “no” in reponse. Would he change anything about his game? Nope. Danielle concludes by telling him that no one respects the way he played.
Jerri asks Russell what happened, since he promised to get rid of Parvati. Russell answers that he thought it was a bad strategy to take Jerri to the end. Parvati then speaks up (I honestly can’t remember the remaining players ever making comments during questions to the other finalists.), saying that Russell told her that he assumed he would get Jerri’s vote even if he voted her out. Jerri’s look of shock was fantastic (and it was at this moment I turned to my wife and friends and said, “Russell just lost.”), before saying, “You know what they say about assuming?” “It makes an ass out of U and Me,” Parvati happily sings.
Candice says to Russell that he told dirty lies. She tells Parvati that she was under Russell’s thumb like an abused spouse(!). She concludes by saying that what matters is not just what you stand for, but what you fell for, too.
Rupert gets to speak last. He tells Russell that it is hard to play honest, but very easy to lie. To Sandra, he says that he feels worse about his own gameplay because he didn’t play with Sandra sooner and allowed himself to be swayed by a “disgusting human being” (that’s Russell, in case you hadn’t figured). To Parvati, he says that she is a strong player, but that she allied herself with a “gross” player. He concludes by saying that only Parvati and Sandra deserved to win.
It’s time to vote, and they do. The camera is shown three votes each for Parvati and Sandra, and just like Sandra said last week, even though she voted Rupert out, again, he still voted for her to win, again! Jeff grabs the votes, and brings them into the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, home of The Late Show with David Letterman (where was the helicopter, or jet ski, or rappelling gear, Probst?!). He reads the votes. Three each for Parvati and Sandra. The seventh vote is for Sandra (which means Russell is out). The eighth vote is read…”The winner of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains…Sandra!” The final vote is 6-3-0.
During the Reunion, Jeff speaks with all of the players again. Of course, he focuses on Russell, and asks him the same question JT did: Is Russell happy with his strategy even if he ended up receiving no Jury votes? Russell goes on about how only making the Top 3 was important, and that if Sandra can win twice, there must be a flaw in the game. Fortunately, he has a way to fix the flaw: America should get a vote, because if they did, he would have won. Jeff reminds him that his idea is not the game that he just played. The two bicker a lot, with Jeff having to shut Russell up a number of times. He says some outrageous things, and the players just seem to recoil from him more and more. The only way he could be more despised at the moment is to admit his oil company is responsible for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Russell relishes in his “greatness” and flashes the original letter JT wrote to him to prove how awesome he is as a player. JT actually grabs the letter form him and tries to throw it in the on-stage fire, but Russell rescues it. Other highlights of the Reunion include JT voted having made the Dumbest Move Ever (though this still should have gone to Erik in Survivor: Micronesia for giving up Immunity at Tribal Council), and Russell winning $100,000 as America’s favorite player over Rupert (who would’ve won his third such title!). The season wraps up with Jeff announcing that Survivor‘s 21st season will take place in the jungles of Nicaragua.
So, that’s the season! What did you all think of the Finale? Was it just that Sandra won? Personally, I don’t think so. If any one of those three should have won, it should have been Parvati. Sandra really didn’t do anything. The vote is just proof of how bitter a jury can become. My word or advice to any readers that end up on the show? Lying is OK. Admitting to lying in the final Tribal Council is OK. Just don’t be an arrogant ass. That was really Russell’s downfall in both of his seasons. He was such a pompous jerk, that no one wanted him to win. So, be kind to those you backstab in the future, alright? Now, go get your audition videos ready. Be sure to check back at TVOvermind during the summer for all the latest news on TV’s fall schedule, including an initial assessment of the Survivor: Nicaragua cast when it is announced. Until then, I’m off to shamelessly promote Stephenie’s pizza joint.