Things are getting crazy on the island, and we're only a few days in! Just like Survivor: All-Stars, there is a lot of turmoil early on. But unlike that show, it doesn't seem to be personalities clashing based on previous relationships. This seems to be more a case of people who have played the game before thinking they know better than anyone how to play the game. And it's not pretty.
The Heroes... well, they're pretty much are on a tailspin. If they don't get their acts together FAST (and the previews for next week's episode indicate they probably won't), they're going to be plucked away one by one as the Villains laugh away in their Fortress of Boston Rob (who assumedly used the tarp, nails, etc. to finally build them a solid shelter). And while all the animosity might be a bit surprising -- at 6 days into the game -- it's not that shocking to see the Heroes lose. How often have we seen the tribe of the strongest and fittest end up losing a multitude of challenges to the rag-tag group. Even though Rob thinks of his Villains as the "buffoon tribe" (and for the most part, they are), because they're willing to buy into team work at the challenges, they're able to win. The Heroes are so full of ego, that they just can't do anything that doesn't involve pure strength.
Before getting to the combined reward/immunity challenge, Rob had decided he was done with keeping his mouth shut amongst his indecisive and argumentative tribemates, and headed off on his own presumably to collect his thoughts. Then he collapsed in the jungle, and after some cheesy camera work trying to take Rob's point of view of the fall, help was called, and Jeff came in with medical to take a look at the near-unconscious Rob. Fortunately (for both Rob and fans of this season of Survivor), it was just a case of the Samoan Flu, and Rob was cleared to continue the game. In a moment of hazy clarity, a slightly slurring Rob told Jeff that he was finally ready to play the game. Fully with it after his brief bout of "crybaby-itis" (his words), Boston Rob said that he was done being cordial and was now playing to win.
This week's lone challenge once again required a mix of physical and mental skills. Originally a challenge in Survivor: Tocantins (making the Heroes choose J.T. as their vocal leader for the puzzle portion of the challenge), the tribes had to move giant blocks in pairs towards the puzzle area, where they would be piled on top of each other to write out the tribe's name along the side and create a giant staircase. The Heroes dominated the physical portion, once again, jumping to a huge lead. But when it came time to align the boxes in the right formation to spell out "HEROES", they just couldn't get it done. It was a case of too many leaders, not enough team players, as just like last week, everyone was chirping and making their opinions on how the blocks should be placed, leading to indecision and miscommunication.
The Villains, however, were listening to Rob through the whole puzzle portion, and along with some physical feats by both Rob and Russell (those 2 really need to form an alliance already!) easily placed the giant blocks in the right formation to take the immunity idol for the second week in a row. Along with immunity, they also took a bunch of building supplies and a tarp, which seemed to finally allow them to build a suitable shelter on their fourth or fifth try.
The fact that the only challenge was already finished, and it was only halfway through the episode, meant that things were going to get crazy on the Heroes side -- and they did. Just as it was the driving force behind the Heroes losing the challenge, Ego strongly contributed to the fallout afterward. While I completely agreed with James that there were too many talkers and not enough listeners during the puzzle portion of the challenge ("One voice!" was his repeated refrain), he obviously has lost it out there in Samoa and went way overboard with things. Yes, it sucks that they're losing to weaker and generally stupider people. Yes, if they worked together and didn't all think they knew best, they'd be a lot more successful. But getting that angry will always make things worse.
James layed it on Stephenie back at camp, and seemed to lay the blame for their loss SOLELY on her. While her constant interruptions and attempt to control at the challenge certainly contributed to the loss, she wasn't the only one talking over J.T., and James probably should've spread the blame to the entire tribe. He also shouldn't have gone ballistic! But Stephenie was an easy target, as for some reason Rupert was already not a fan, and going after her helped deflect the target away from his ally, Amanda, who Tom, Colby, and Stephenie wanted out. In the end, the perceived swing votes (J.T., Cerie, and Candice) ended up siding with James, Amanda, and Rupert -- despite a tribal council where James continued his verbal assault to the point where it was uncomfortable to watch -- and Stephenie was the second person voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
A couple weird moments in tribal came out of the use of the term "y'all". Apparently addressed the tribe post-challenge by saying, "Hey y'all," and when Stephenie brought this up at tribal to lead into explaining when James started going after her directly, James retorted with, "Your name is not y'all. I'll be damned if anybody's named 'Y'all' in here." The whole exchange was odd.
I guess I have to hand it to James, though -- for a guy who was so quiet and shy in China, he's really learned how to speak up, eh? When Stephenie used her last words to take a shot at James, his "Keep your mouth shut!" had me cackling! Though her set-up line was pretty good, too: "Next time ya'll lose a challenge, a little less cursing off your tribe might help." Funny thing is, they're both right.
So, do you like that the Heroes are imploding, or do you wish your past favourites were a little smarter at this stage in the game (and in some cases, the third time playing it)? Was James totally out of line, or was it about time someone took a stand to show the Heroes why they're losing so much? Are you glad that Boston Rob didn't end up leaving the game? And who do you think will be going home next week?
Paul Little is the founder and Managing Editor of ShowbizMonkeys.com. When not interviewing his favourite musicians and comedians, he can also be found at The Purple Room in Winnipeg, where he is Artistic Director. (@comedygeek)
Furhan Azmat says...
I think whenJames told Stephenie (which is spelled terribly btw) to "Shut her mouth" - he should have also told her to "Make him a Sandwich."
Also, Tom and Colby dont like Black People.
James needs to goooooooooo. What a pill.
When I found out he was on this show, I couldn't even remember him. NOW I do. And I also remember how obnoxious he was in both his previous seasons. Such a gross dude.
I miss Steph already.
Also, Paul, I can't believe you thought James's comment to Steph was funny. He is a misogynistic dickhead and needs to be put in his place. Preferably BY A WOMAN. Or does he forget how he was bested--by women and a finger injury--in Fans vs. Favorites?
And Furhan, Tom and Colby like black people fine. I've never seen them disrespect Cirie, for example. They don't like JAMES. Because, as mentioned, he is a misogynistic dickhead who is making their entire team look stupid.
Furhan Azmat says...
Haha - I know Ariana. I was kiding. However, in defense of James, he told Steph to shut her mouth in GENERAL (challenges, etc.) - but it seemed so much harsher when he said it after tribal. Not cool, but still kind of funny. Steph shouldnt be talking when she got voted out. Just leave.
Paul Little says...
I honestly think that the editing made James look worse out there than he actual was. I don't believe he is a "misogynistic dickhead" -- I believe he's a hot-tempered dude who was embarassed in his first season (2 immunity idols when voted out?) and betrayed by Parvati in his second season, and just wants SO BADLY to win this season that he's not using his brain when it counts. Just like Stephenie and others on Team Heroes didn't use their brain in the challenge.
I do believe that if it was someone like Colby who had been as overly argumentative during the challenge, he would've reacted the same way. :
Personally I think talking back after being voted out is AWESOME. Way more people should do it.
I still stand behind my armchair judgment of James.
Paul Little says...
I do think more people should talk back after they've been voted out. Why not? They have nothing to lose! Stephenie's comment was great. I just liked the retort, too.
I also found Tom's indignation a tad frustrating -- nothing is ever black and white (especially on a reality show), and so the truth is probably somewhere in the greys.
Maybe I'm still frustrated by the way Stephenie played in Guatamala. I tend to not like people who think they're always right and think they're better than everyone else (and yes, this includes James in this week's episode, too -- and most of the Heroes crew, for that matter).
Can we at least agree that Boston Rob is awesome, and endlessly entertaining?
I heart Boston Rob, fahevah and evah.