Recap – Survivor 20.08 “Expectations”

If you missed last week’s Survivor, you HAVE to read this recap, or else miss this momentum-swinging, major-player-eliminating episode.

This week’s episode, “Expectations,” begins in Villains camp after the semi-stunning elimination of Boston Rob, and unsurprisingly, with Russell crowing about his latest victory. “I picked the right guy [to align with]. It’s game on now,” Parvati tells her cohort Russell (or, as I prefer to think of him, the guy Parvati’s playing like a fiddle). While Danielle and Parvati revel in the joy of blindsides, Coach and Jerri question the correctness in eliminating Rob. Coach, seeing the way Russell is ruling the roost, remarks that Russell is a bully. Rob was an honorable player and they should have stayed with him. Jerri agrees, remarking that she misses Rob already. “Then why were you so quick to get rid of him?” Coach asks her. The befuddled and exasperated Dragon Slayer sums up his feelings simply, “We’re done. Pray for the Merge.”

At the Heroes beach, everyone is around tending to camp except for JT, who has mysteriously disappeared. Amanda and Candice immediately figure he’s looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol, and go off to find him. Their women’s intuition is correct, as JT is foraging near the roots of a tree, in search of the idol. He finds it, and decides to keep it for himself, the tribe’s agreement to save it for the tribe to use post-Merge notwithstanding. Amanda, however, happens upon JT before he can shove the Idol in his pants, so he quickly comes clean, telling Amanda that he found the idol. We are to assume from the hushed tones that he was going to forge a deal with Amanda that they would keep the idol secret form the others and use it to their advantage, but Candice shows up too. JT tells her about the idol as well, and decides that it is probably best for him if he just stays with the original plan and let the whole tribe know he found it….you know, for the tribe. Later, Amanda and Candice talk about JT’s discovery. “It’s a good thing you walked up when you did,” Candice tells Amanda, implying that JT would have kept the idol for himself if she hadn’t. She continues, saying that JT is the slimiest guy out there, yet no one calls him out on it. Amanda goes further, confiding to the camera that it is in her interest to get rid of JT, the idol, or both. Clearly, the Heroes women have JT squarely in their sights.

The only interest the Villains have is food. Jerri and the other women complain about their hunger, yet refuse to do anything about it. Jerri just lays there, leading Coach to tell the camera that he is worried that his tribemates are shutting down. Things are getting so severe that “the time for exigency has exited,” according to Coach. What will get their spirits up? How about some Tree Mail. The mail is read, with the clue telling them that this challenge will not be strenuous and that the “best meal yet is calling.” Immediately, everyone believes it is time for The Merge, as traditionally, it is marked with the absence of a challenge and a large feast. The Villains decide to be prepared and take apart their camp, including their shelter, and bring it with them for the The Merge. The teams enter the feast location, with the Heroes shocked that Rob has been voted out. Immediately, Rupert assumes, and tells his tribe, that there must be a women’s alliance in the Villains tribe as there are five women and two men remaining. Curiously, JT mouths to Russell of all people, “Hang in there.” What was thatall about? Jeff tells the teams that they have been through the ringer, but have survived eighteen days. So, it is time to “drop your…,” the tribes begin to squeal with knowing anticipation, “expectations. This is not The Merge.” Instead, it’s time for the…

…Reward Challenge. The challenge is a simple game of Survivorbowling. Matching up one player from each tribe, players will throw two balls down the lane. Whomever knocks down more pins wins a point for their team. First tribe to three points wins the feast of pizza, soda and brownies. The Villains need to sit two people. It is suggested Courtney and Sandra not sit out the challenge so they can sit out the Immunity Challenge later, but Coach wants the “A-Team” out there because he really wants to eat. So, he decides that Courtney and Sandra will sit out. Parvati takes on Rupert in the first round, ending Rupert beating Parvati 3-0. Next us: Danielle and JT. Once again the Villains are shut out, 6-0. Russell vs. Colby. Even though the Villains get their fifth consecutive gutter ball, Russell prevails 6-1. Coach takes on Amanda. Coach knocks down six to Amanda’s five, with Amanda to throw her second ball. She rolls, and knocks down two. Heroes win Reward!! With their third consecutive defeat, the Villains retreat to rebuild their camp, as the Heroes dine. The victors enjoy their pizza, but remark that they are still playing catch up. Once again, Rupert mentions that a women alliance must be acting in the Villains tribe, before chomping down on more grub. (By the way Rupert, to paraphrase Rachel McAdams, stop trying to make “Fantastic Five” happen. Thank you. That is all.)

Back at the Villains camp, Jerri is pissed that Courtney and Sandra were made to sit out of the challenge. They do this every time, putting their Immunity Challenge performance at risk. Jerri turns on Coach, blaming him for the poor strategy, but he puts the blame on the two women, saying they should fight to be in the challenges. Sandra is incredulous; she can’t believe she is being blamed for the challenge loss when she wasn’t even in it! Later, she pulls aside Courtney and tells her that she has a plan. Knowing that Russell is paranoid, she is going to put in Russell’s ear that Coach is actually gunning for him. The doubt should lead Russell to focus his anger at Coach, and, hopefully, vote the Dragon Slayer out. In another part of camp, Coach confides that he is hating playing the game without Tyson and Rob, and that he’d rather not be aligned with Russell, but Jerri is, so what can he do. With Courtney being grossly thin on the beach (seriously, she looked like a Walking Stick to me), Sandra puts her plan to action. She plants the seed that Coach is regretting Rob’s ouster, and that the Slayer is after Russell. Russell says that he knew not to trust Coach, much to the happiness of Sandra who knows her plan is working. Russell says that he is convinced Coach is going to flip to the other side after The Merge, so it might be best to get him out now so there would only be one guy left, further cementing the Heroes’ belief that a women’s alliance is at work. Of course, to effect this plan, the tribe would have to lose the…

…Immunity Challenge. The tribes enter a mud arena, where Jeff explains the challenge. Pairs of tribe mates will be belted together. They will negotiate a couple obstacles, grab a flag, then return to the start over and under the same obstacles, all in the mud. First tribe to bring back two flags will win Immunity. As there are an odd number of players on each team, there will be one 1-on-1 match-up. Courtney and Sandra can’t sit out, so Jerri and Danielle do. First up are Russell & Sandra vs. Amanda & Candice. The Heroes take a small lead, but by the time Sandra has to go under the third obstacle, she has no energy left. The Heroes quickly grab their flag and make it back to the start before the Villains can even start their way back. Heroes up 1-0. Next is Coach vs. Rupert. Coach takes the early lead, but Rupert makes up time after grabbing his flag. The two are neck and neck down to the final obstacle, but Coach is able to run faster through the mud to the start line. The challenge is tied 1-1. Last up, Parvati & Courtney vs. Colby & Amanda. In this case, the live match-up lives up to the paper match-up, with Colby & Amanda smoking the Villains. Further, Courtney appears to have twisted her ankle under one of the obstacles. Jeff tells her to just lie there and see if she can walk it off, or they’ll call Medical. She appears to be OK as Medical is not brought in. With Danielle commenting that she hates losing (as if anyone actually likes it), the Villains go back to their beach with a fourth consecutive challenge loss.

The Villains return to camp in despair at yet another loss. Coach opines that he wants to get rid of Russell, but that Courtney is so useless in challenges that if The Merge doesn’t happen, they will need Russell. Coach asks Russell if any “funny stuff” is going on, but Russell assures him that the plan is in place to oust Courtney. Russell then tells Parvati and Danielle that he actually wants to vote out Coach. Danielle is almost apoplectic — why vote out Coach if there are more tribal challenges? She and Russell actually really get into it, with Russell telling her that she’s not making any sense, and her saying he’s not listening to her. Russell, probably having flashbacks to his married life, just walks away to not have to deal with Danielle any more. Sandra, seeing the argument from afar, says she’s worried about Danielle. Eventually, Russell returns, and apologizes; he now thinks it’s better to get rid of Courtney. Parvati admits to the camera that she just doesn’t know what’s going on, other than the fact that her tribe just can’t seem to get its act together.

On to Tribal Council. Jeff notes the tribe’s four straight losses, and asks them if it was smart to get rid of Tyson and Rob. To further illustrate his point, Jeff mentions that Coach was the only one to win his heat at the Immunity Challenge, and that Courtney has been pretty useless, as she’s sat out the majority of the challenges. Courtney playfully fakes insult with “Jeffrey,” but says that she doesn’t have an ego, so she doesn’t need to be in every challenge and win. “Insulting me won’t bring [Tyson and Rob] back,” she notes. Courtney goes on, saying that Coach was responsible for who was in and out of challenges because he wanted the “A-Team” on for the Reward because he was hungry. Jeff asks if the implication is morale is down around camp because of Coach. Parvati won’t place the blame on the Slayer, but does admit she is concerned about the tribe’s continued slide. Too many of their decisions have been made based on assumptions, mostly about The Merge. Jeff lays into Courtney again, asking whether it would be better to get rid of her now as she has nothing to contribute, but she retorts she is “determined,” earning a fist bump from Sandra. Jeff asks Russell how he is determining his vote. His response is that he’s voting to keep the tribe stronger, and to keep trust in place. With that, it’s time to vote. The tribe does, with Courtney calling Coach a “lunatic,” and making fun of the feather in his hair. Jeff gathers the votes and reads them out. Two votes for Coach, then two for Courtney. A third for Courtney, then a third for Coach. Hmmmm…… The final vote is read, “The ninth person voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains and the first member of the jury…Coach!” The Dragon Slayer has been slayed. He rises, has his torch snuffed and walks toward the Blue Light of Death. Jeff leaves the tribe to return to camp, commenting, “You don’t know if trust is gone until it is too late.”

Next time on….Survivor!

Jeff recaps some of the dumbest moves in Survivor history, including James being voted out with two immunity idols in Survivor: China and Erik giving up his immunity in Survivor: Micronesia. Next week’s move might rival them all. Cut to JT telling members of his tribe that he had a chance to secretly talk with Russell, and he gave Russell the Heroes’ Immunity Idol. Whaaaaaaat?!?!?!?! This would be the most ridiculous thing ever. I think The Merge won’t happen until there are ten people left, so this could be a crazy episode coming up next week. Also notice that a three-person final Tribal Council (which I despise) is likely. With Coach becoming hte first person on the Jury, if there was a two-person finale, there would be ten Jury members, which is way too many and could lead to a tie vote. Yes, a tie vote is still possible with three people vying for nine Jury votes, but it is much more unlikely. I do wonder, though, what are the tiebreaker procedures for the final Tribal Council. I would love to find out.

Odds to Win

Well, another favorite bites the dust, falling prey to Russell Hantz once again. This episode, combined with the potential craziness of JT givingan idol to Russell brightly illustrates the competitive advantage Russell had because the other contestants didn’t see his season. It seems unfair to everyone else, but the Villains do all see his manipulation and his making deals with everyone on his tribe, just like last season in Samoa. He’s just that good that he convinces them to align with him anyway. Russell is one of the best of all time, plain and simple. So, how did this week’s episode change the odds?

Danielle: 5-1.Danielle is still in catbird seat: she is in the majority alliance on the larger tribe (albeit one that is quickly losing its size), and I think she is a prime candidate to flip to the Heroes, having seen Russell’s game-play first hand. Might she be tarred though for aligning with Russell so closely?

Amanda: 10-1. The Heroes beauty is still there, and seems to have aligned herself with Candice. I don’t think anyone on the Heroes tribe considers her Threat #1 on their tribe (that would be Colby or JT), and she’s sure to pull Parvati into the ranks once The Merge occurs. With the Tribes about even, she also doesn’t have to worry as much about numbers once the tribes are one.

Candice: 20-1. Candice’s odds keep improving because she has proven herself a strong competitor with a stable alliance partner in Amanda. It is clear they see eye-to-eye, so she now has some protection. Further, come The Merge, she will not be in the cross-hairs of anyone unless she wins a couple Individual Immunities in a row.

Colby:25-1. Another week without going to Tribal, so another week to stick around for Colby. He seems to have found his mojo, so if he can make it a couple more weeks, he could be golden.

Jerri: 30-1. Jerri lost a major ally in Coach, but she now seems to be protected by Russell. Will the loss of the Slayer motivate her, or will she descend into a shame spiral? If she can remain motivated, she has a large incentive to jump ship and join Colby against Russell, whom she still doesn’t fully trust.

Russell: 50-1. This week’s biggest mover is Russell. Look, I still think he’s going to lose because of his attitude at the Samoa finale, but you have to admit he’s playing another great game. If it is true that JT gave him the Hidden Immunity Idol, well then, all bets are off, because not only will he have an idol, but he’ll have a new partner in JT.

Parvati: 100-1. Most contestants still have no desire to see her win, but she seems to be flying under the radar thanks to the bombast that is Russell. Combine that with a ready-made partner after The Merge, and that could spell success for Parvati.

Sandra: 200-1. Prime choice for flipping, but still a former winner that no one can really stand.

Courtney: 250-1. She somehow managed to stay this week, but Courtney is useless. Plus, she might break in half with a strong wind.

JT: 500-1. If the preview is true, and he really gave an idol to Russell, JT is a moron and will be cut as soon as possible, if not by his own tribe, then by Russell.

Rupert: 1,000-1. Perhaps I should be kinder to Rupert, but even if he makes the final, there will still be two other options for the Jury to choose instead of him. Sorry, Rupert.

OK folks, that’s what I’ve got for this week. What did you think of this episode? Is Russell’s ousting of Coach to solidify the “women’s alliance” ruse an inspired move? I can’t think of a time a strategy was based on the perceptions of the other tribe, can you? Am I being too hard on Rupert? Do you agree with the odds listed above? 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 bathe in the ocean.

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