After a week off due to March Madness, we had our annual special Wednesday episode of Survivor, and what a spectacular episode it was! There was individual immunity, team reward, both teams going to Tribal Council, an immunity idol in play, and a questioning of a Survivor legend's legacy. And we got to finally REALLY see the promised showdown between Russell and Boston Rob, both self-proclaimed masters of the game. But would this be the last showdown between the two?
Nope! We'll definitely be seeing more of the brewing feud between last season's favourite villain Russell and All-Star runner-up Rob, as made 2 big moves -- one physical, one psychological -- to secure his and his allies' places in the game. Tonight's episode actually started with a one-on-one chat between Russell and Rob, where Rob essentially told Russell he better watch it because people were gunning for him after he searched for the hidden immunity idol, and Russell told Rob he should watch his own back. It was a bunch of alpha-player chest thumping, and both certainly have a case to make for saying they're one of the best the game has seen, but tonight anyway, Russell got the last laugh.
The challenge was once again combined this week, but with a twist -- each tribe was competing amongst themselves for individual immunity (because both were to vote someone out that night), and then the winners would face off for their tribe's reward: hot dogs and pop while watching the opposing team's Tribal Council. Candice won immunity on the Heroes side (I'll get to that in a bit) while Rob won it for the Villains. Rob also took down Candice for the team victory. With Rob winning individual immunity, it took any chance Russell had of going after him away, but it probably helped Russell out because he was able to target a weaker-minded player.
Rob's plan was to get Russell to believe his name was being written down to force him to play the hidden immunity idol, but to then vote out Parvati. Russell, of course, figured that out pretty quick, so he planned to give the idol to Parvati. Through clever editing, right after that, Rob realized that the best way to ensure all their bases would be covered would be for the 6 Villains not in the Russell Alliance to split their votes, causing a tie between whoever Russell's group voted for and whoever didn't play the hidden immunity idol -- and with a re-vote, they'd all switch their vote to the non-idol player. Russell also realized that this would probably happen, and somehow, he managed to convince Tyson that he was sticking with the majority and voting out Parvati, which gave Tyson the freedom to also vote Parvati and make sure she was going home.
Now why Tyson would do this is anyone's guess. Assuming Russell was telling the truth, then sticking to the 3-votes-a-piece plan would still have sent Parvati home. And if he was lying, well then he'd save his own behind by sticking to the plan. Just before the votes were read, Russell went to play his hidden immunity idol -- only to declare specifically to Coach that he's a man of his word and his alliances and give the idol to Parvati to play. Then the votes were read, Parvati's 4 votes (including Tyson's) didn't count, and the 3 for Tyson were more than the 2 remaining votes for Russell, sending the sarcastic one home.
The Heroes side was a much different tale. Having already been decimated by loss after loss, the Heroes were coming off a Tribal Council that kept a hobbling James instead of a healthy Tom. That left Colby and Candice on the outside of the dominating Heroes alliance of Amanda, James, Rupert, and J.T. But since Candice won individual immunity at the challenge, it meant Colby was definitely going home, right? Well, not quite.
After the challenge, which Colby wasn't really close to winning, he basically told the tribe to enjoy the afternoon and not give away too much information to the Villains at Tribal Council. He was definitely going home, after all, so why bother making a fuss all day scheming and what not. This attitude shocked James, who despite his injury desperately wanted to remain in the game, and Colby's status as one of the best players ever was openly questioned ("It's like finding out Superman was in a big girdle!").
This was actually a bit of a redeeming episode for James, at least for his on-camera persona, as he was a lot more like the James of old, spouting off hilarious lines in confessional and at Tribal Council. To his tribemates, however, he was a big question mark. His injury was finally starting to be a concern for his own alliance, and they had him race J.T. down the beach to prove that he could still run if need be (he couldn't, really). Several of his tribemates also had concerns over his titular "banana etiquette", as he apparently ate them at will -- 3 or 4 at a time -- before and after challenges, when the tribe as a whole was struggling to find food day-to-day.
Ultimately, despite Colby being beaten "by a cripple and a fat dude" (James and Rupert) in the challenge, the injured James was voted off the Heroes tribe, much to the delight of many Tom and Stephenie fans out there who had been angry at his behaviour a few weeks ago and frustrated by his alliance's votes.
So does Colby have a chance in hell at sticking around past another vote? Can he redeem any of his status as a true Survivor Hero? And what's going to ultimately happen in the showdown between Russell and Boston Rob? Will both of them survive another Villains Tribal Council? Will there even be another Villains Tribal Council, or will the Heroes continue to flounder in the challenges? This season is shaping up to be a very good one, and I personally can't wait for next Thursday (at our regularly scheduled time)!
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)
This really has become a more interesting season than I first thought, and very entertaining. And yes, James did redeem himself a bit this week. I think they will have to merge soon- the heroes are disintigrating before our eyes! (Does this mean that nice guys really do finish last?) What devious plots will Russell and Rob concoct? Or perhaps others are even more devious! Wish it was next Thursday already!