Did you miss last week’s shocking, surprising Wednesday edition of Survivor? Definitely catch up with a recap here.
This week’s episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains begins in the Villains camp with a shocked Boston Rob. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and he needs to figure out what it is. He asks his alliance members how it was possible that Tyson was voted out. They respond that he didn’t want a tie so he voted for Parvati, throwing off the even voting that would have eliminated Russell on a second vote. Rob sees clearly what he has to do: eliminate Russell and Parvati immediately. In another shocking development, Courtney actually gets screen time! In her confessional, she, too, says that Russell and Parvati can’t be trusted and need to be eliminated sooner rather than later (at this point, I figured Courtney was going home because she actually was seen talking on my TV). Looking like the cat that ate the canary, Russell tells his girls, Parvati and Danielle, that he wants them to work on Jerri to bring her, and by extension Coach, over to their side. Seeing Russell’s smile, that can only be rivaled by the Cheshire Cat in size, Rob calls the whole scene ridiculous. How can three people have so much confidence?
The morning after Tyson’s ouster, Jerri talks with Russel, Parvati and Danielle. They make small talk about how no one slept well that night, but Russell gets to the heart of the matter. He asks if Rob has started is ranting and raving yet. Jerri replies in the negative; everyone is too depressed to excited about anything. In an aside, Russell believes Jerri is now on his side because he impressed her with his supposedly unselfish actions at the previous Tribal Council. Can Jerri really trust Rob to make a similar sacrifice for her? Back in the conversation, Jerri, being asked to join Russell’s side, admits her hesitancy. She is afraid of commitment, the probable reason that she is still single, she self-editorializes. Parvati even goes so far as to promise her a Top Four slot in exchange for her loyalty. Jerri is smart enough to question how and why Parvati would offer that, but Parvati just assures her of the deal. In the Heroes camp (remember them?), over images of Colby and he clumsily getting out of bed, Rupert comments that it is time for Colby to stand up for his tribe, and more importantly, himself. Colby confesses that based on his performance, he is surprised he survived a third straight Tribal Council. If James had been healthy, Colby would have been gone, so there is a huge pressure on him to perform well. It’s time to put up, or shut up…
…at the Reward Challenge! The Villains are getting their first look at the new Heroes tribe, but none are surprised James was voted out at the last Tribal Council. The challenge is played in thigh-high water. Three players from each tribe will compete per round. Two from each team start at a pole about twenty yards from two baskets each guarded by the third member of the team. Jeff will throw a ball into the middle and the two-man teams will vie for it. Whomever grabs the ball will make their way to the opposing team’s basket and try to shoot it in. Those without the ball try to stop the ball-carrier by any means necessary. First team to three points wins a trip to a waterfall where they will have a feast. The Villains needs to sit three women, so Courtney, Parvati and Sandra sit. The game starts with three men for each tribe. Jeff throws the ball into the air and they are underway. Rupert quickly wades through the water and grabs the ball. He throws it to JT, and then on to Colby. Colby shoots once, twice, but misses. Coach grabs the second rebound and moves to his basket. He also shoots twice (very lamely) and misses, with Colby grabbing the rebound. Colby rushes back to his scoring basket, throws the ball up, and scores! Heroes lead 1-0! Second round, two women and one man each. The ball is up, and Amanda is the first to it. She passes to Colby who tries to shoot over Coach, but misses. Jerri grabs the rebound, but Colby rips it from her. He gets the ball to Candice who shoots and misses. The Heroes are aggressive with Colby shoving Jerri into the water to free Amanda who passes the ball to Candice. She shoots, and scores! Heroes 2 – Villains 0! All men again for the third round. Jeff launches the ball and JT is the first to it. Behind the play, Rupert and Russell fiercely wrestle. JT passes the ball on to Colby who shoots…and scores! Heroes win Reward! Even with the challenge over, Rupert and Russell continue to push and shove and generally get in each other’s faces. Colby doesn’t notice. “Redemption baby!” he shouts, before triumphantly falling (in slo-motion, of course), into the water.
The heroes make their way to the waterfall where a gazebo protect their lunch of sandwiches, meats and fruits. JT confesses that the win has really brought the tribe together, “We’re a family.” But like any family, tension and strife are about to surface. As they grab food, Candice notices a rolled up parchment. She unfurls it and sees that it is a clue to another Hidden Immunity Idol in their camp. They try to ignore the clue, but, as Rupert notes, the clue brings “the game” back to the forefront. Amanda eventually reads the clue aloud, but the tribe agrees to find the idol together, and then use it against the Villains when The Merge happens.
Back at the Villains camp, Russell immediately starts trying to woo Jerri again. Speaking with her (and Coach lingering nearby), Russell explains that, from the bottom of his heart, he wants to go to the final three with her and Coach. Coach is wary of Russell’s entreaties, confessing that Russell thinks he can talk anyone into anything, and Jerri is falling for it hook, line and sinker. Jerri tells Coach that she trusts him 100%, so she wants him to go with her to Russell’s side. Coach confesses again that he and Jerri are honor-bound to each other, so he has no choice but to follow her to Russell’s alliance. Jerri, sensing Coach’s reluctance, tells him that Rob is untrustworthy, but she can trust Coach and Russell. Coach is hurt by the fact that she lumps his honor with Russell’s, but Jerri protests that is not the case. Later, Jerri tells the camera that she loves Coach (not in that way…I think), but he is naive — he wants to be the good guy to everyone, but this is Survivor; he’s going to have to stab someone in the back eventually.
On to the Immunity Challenge. Individual immunity is out of play; tribal immunity is back up for grabs. Three players for each team will individually run up a ramp, across a bouncy net bridge and up a rope web to grab a bag of puzzle pieces. Each of the three runners will do the course twice. Once all six bags of pieces are secured, two other tribe members will assemble the puzzle. The Villains sit out Jerri, Danielle and Russell. The runners are Rupert, Candice and Colby for the Heroes; Parvati, Courtney and Coach for the Villains. JT, Amanda, Rob and Sandra will solve the puzzles for their respective tribes. First up: Rupert vs. Parvati. Rupert, running on his broken toe, falls a little behind, and Parvati is first back with her bag. Courtney and Candice take to the course. Each of the waifish ladies has some trouble negotiating the bouncy net, but Courtney (who looks like she’s going to snap in half at any moment) makes it back first. Coach gets on the course, with Colby a little behind. Coach makes it back first, but Colby closes a bit of the gap. Parvati and Rupert go back out, but Parvati has learned how to better maneuver on the net and web. She climbs quickly to the higher set of pieces, falls backward onto the net, bounces up and runs back to her mat, opening a large lead. A lead Courtney cannot hang on to. Tiring, she has terrible trouble trying to negotiate the net, and has little strength to climb the web. Candice takes the opportunity to blow past Courtney and open a lead. Colby takes to the course for a second time, as does Coach, but Coach has some trouble climbing the web as well. Colby swiftly grabs the Heroes’ final bag, falls backwards and runs back to his mat. With a significant lead, JT and Amanda start the puzzle. They complete about a third of the puzzle before Sandra and the Puzzle Master himself, Rob, start theirs. The Heroes are halfway done, two-thirds, and then have just a few pieces. Sandra and Rob switch places trying to move faster, but JT and Amanda have four pieces left. Three, two, one…Heroes win Immunity! As the Heroes celebrate in slo-motion, Russell says, “We got whooped.” Coach notes that it was Courtney who blew the challenge; it may be time to get rid of her.
After their first Immunity loss in quite some time, Rob, Russell, Sandra and Courtney talk strategy. Rob asks Russell who he thinks should go, and Russell points to Sandra and Courtney who are right in front of him in the conversation! Rob is flabbergasted at Russell’s brazen attitude. The guy is clearly crazy. Russell confesses that he acted that way on purpose to further worry Rob. Licking his chops, Russell explains that Rob knows that once Courtney is gone, he is at Russell’s mercy. Probably sensing this, Rob goes to Coach to solidify his alliance. Coach offers up that Courtney is the worst and a drag on the tribe in challenges. Rob suggests they get rid of Parvati, as she can’t be trusted. They banter about the two women, until Rob homes in on his true target: Russell. Coach hesitates, saying they need Russell for challenges and he just wants to keep the strongest team, but Rob presses, until Coach swears on his honor that he is with Rob. Rob tells the camera that manipulating each player is different. One needs to find the thing each player holds dear, and then use that to secure the person. Coach holds his loyalty dear, so Rob uses that to his advantage.
Russell gets his turn at Coach, suggesting they have a perfect opportunity to blindside Rob. Coach continues to push for Courtney, wanting to keep Rob for challenges. Russell has Jerri in his corner though, and uses her to push Coach. “I’m with you guys 100%,” Coach finally commits, but in his confessional, Coach admits he doesn’t want Rob out — he wants to hold true to the Bostonian. Having worked on Coach, Rob turns to Jerri. Playing on her feelings of self-intelligence, he tells her that she’s smart, she knows what to do, it’s easy. She should just be true to herself. The circle is closed when Jerri and Coach confer over their votes. She tells Coach that she can’t trust Rob, but Coach wants to keep him for challenges. Jerri is confused, leading her to lament, “I’m not a good villain.”
Tribal Council. Jeff says that the Villains have been utterly dominant, but have now lost the last two challenges. Can they turn it around and grab momentum back? “At the dawn of every morning, hope springs eternal,” Coach philosophizes. He continues that the tribe really misses Tyson, who not only was good in challenges, but was the bridge between the two alliances within the tribe. Jeff asks about how the alliances might effect the vote, and Coach says that is the decision tonight: keeping alliance strong, or keeping the tribe strong. With the alliances, and their leaders, named, Russell goes after Rob. He quotes Rob, saying “If you’re not with me, you’re against me.” To which Rob replies, “Well, you’re against me.” Russ continues, taunting Rob, by saying that he would never have the guts to pull the move Russell did by giving his idol to Parvati. With the tribe dissolving in front of him, Coach begs that they vote to keep the tribe strong. If they continue to fight each other, the tribe will suffer. Rob responds that Coach and Jerri (who Jeff noted is literally sitting in the middle of the two alliances) just need to pick someone to trust. It’s time to vote. They do, and Jeff tallies the votes. Rob and Russell alternate votes until each has three. The next vote is for Courtney (it is at this point I thought maybe there would be a tie between the alpha dogs, with both Coach and Jerri voting for Courtney). Jeff pulls out the last vote. “The eight person voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains is…Rob!” Rob rises, and hugs Jerri (who actually voted for his expulsion), but says to Coach, “You’re a little man.” He brings his torch to Jeff, has it snuffed, and makes his way into the Blue Light of Death. Jeff notes that voting out Rob was the biggest move the tribe has made so far. Will it bring them together, or will it destroy them. “Grab your torches. Head back to camp.”
Next time on…Survivor!
While the Survivors get down and dirty in a mud-filled challenge, every alliance in the Villains camp crumbles. Each player is shown questioning the loyalty of someone else, with Coach finally saying, “Pray for the Merge.” There are twelve contestants left, so The Merge is a possibility, but I think they will hold off at least one more week. My prediction that the Villains would vote someone out this week because of a lack of Heroes in the previous week’s preview held true, so I’m going with that again. The Villains will lose another member next week.
Odds to Win
Perhaps it was silly to have Rob as the third favorite, but I really didn’t foresee Jerri being that impressed with Russell’s move that she would actually trust the unknown quantity that is Russell (remember, no one had seen Samoa when they filmed Heroes v. Villains). Yes, everyone knew they couldn’t trust Rob as far as they could throw him, but I figured he still had the numbers at this point of the game, so he still had a good chance. Like Syracuse and Kentucky, even the favorites go down from time to time. Further, what difference a week makes, huh? Colby, with his back firmly to the wall, was finally motivated to push himself in the challenges. He was superior in both the Reward and Immunity challenges and almost single-handedly led his tribe to victory. With the Villains imploding and the Heroes seeming to have put aside their in-fighting, the big Mo’ (momentum) is clearly in their favor. Methinks their odds have improved!
Coach: 5-1. Coach may be reluctantly following Russell, but he is not Russell’s target. Barring something miraculous, Coach will make The Merge, and will be the prime choice to flip to the Heroes and join JT, his former season-mate.
Danielle: 10-1. Danielle is clearly in the majority in her tribe now, and is protected by Russell. She is not as polarizing as Parvati, so she won’t be high on the Heroes’ hit list when The Merge occurs.
Amanda: 15-1. With the Heroes rolling, I can see her making some major moves once they fuse with the Villains. Russell has something going on with Rupert, so Amanda will not be in his sights, although she should be.
Jerri: 20-1. She has made her choice, siding with Russell, and I can see Russell taking her far instead of Parvati, who he knows he can’t trust. Further, Jerri is in a great position vis a vis The Merge with an opportunity to jump sides with Coach, making sure she’s not alone at the bottom of any Heroes totem pole.
Candice: 30-1. As a member of the Heroes, she automatically gets a boost do to their winning. Also, as long as the Heroes don’t lose again before The Merge, she won’t be at the center of anyone’s target. Once she makes it to one tribe, Candice is going far.
Colby: 32-1. Well how about that, Mr. Donaldson? See what a little effort will get you? Not only a couple challenge wins, but an improvement in your odds! Yes, he will be the first Hero the Villains will target, but he’s riding high, and with a couple Individual Immunity wins, he could do some serious damage.
JT: 100-1. Still a long shot as a former winner, but he’s congenial and the Heroes won something, so he moves up.
Parvati: 200-1. Parvati is getting closer and closer to The Merge, and having eliminated Rob, her chances have improved.
Sandra: 300-1. She’s dead in the water. The only reason she’s above Courtney is because she’s a little more valuable to the tribe in challenges.
Courtney: 400-1. Not only does she not have Rob to protect her anymore, she is a complete waste in challenges. Sorry Twiggy, but you’re not going to be a millionaire.
Russell: 500-1. You’re the man now, dog! Russell is in charge, but this only puts a brighter target on his back. I doubt Coach and Jerri would realign with Sandra and Courtney, but come Merge time, Russell will be persona non grata.
Rupert: 10,000-1. Just as I said last week, “Every time someone else goes home, I’m forced by the laws of mathematics to give Rupert a better shot at winning the game.” Plus, he somehow won the ire of Russell, so should they both make it to The Merge, the pirate will be in the cross-hairs.
OK folks, that’s what I’ve got for this week. What did you think of this episode? Are you surprised Russell was able to get rid of Rob? Are you surprised Jerri was so easily swayed? Think one of the Heroes has a real chance to win now? Please leave your questions, comments and thoughts below. Please be sure to check out TVOverMind for all of your TV needs, and come back next Friday for another recap. Until then, I’m off to enjoy a healthy lunch.