I'm coming off a bit of a cold/flu thingy, and now we're right in the heart of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival, so my apologies if this is a little short this week. There's lots of great comedy to check out (and later write about) -- but I want to get this up tonight for you party people, so here goes!
Tonight's episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains had a bit of challenge from the get go, following the great Rob vs. Russell showdown of last week. But the victor of that battle almost immediately faced some dissension back in camp (which, thank goodness, makes for wonderful TV), with Coach miserable, Jerri somewhat regretting her choice, and Sandra hating everyone. That doesn't mean Russell went home or anything, but if Rob had been in control of this tribe instead of Russell right now, you can be sure things wouldn't be nearly as chaotic. Especially this season, Rob seemed to have a calm demeanor around camp, where as Russell's entire strategy involves a level of discomfort around everyone -- even his strong alliance with Parvati and Danielle had some frustration tonight in deciding who should be sent home.
And yes, it was the Villains who sent someone home once again, with the Heroes on a bit of a tear. Besides winning the immunity challenge by a pretty good margin, the Heroes also won the reward challenge for pizza and garlic bread. After winning both challenges last week, the "Fantastic Five" (Rupert's silly name for the remaining Heroes) are absolutely dominating, and seem to be on the verge of pulling the numbers even before a merge takes place. They also have a collective immunity idol in their pockets, which should help them out post-merge (though had Amanda not walked up right when she did, JT would have gladly had it in his back pocket without the rest of his tribe knowing -- and he still might have some nefarious plans for it, given the way he's played so far this season).
But anyway, back to the Villains, the focal point once again this week. They thought everyone was headed for a merge this week, so lugged all their crap from camp to the reward challenge -- which made them look ridiculous when Probst announced that it was just a normal tribe vs. tribe reward challenge. This week, they were a mess all around, with that decision just one amongst many. Coach, who really wanted food in his stomach, petitioned to have Courtney and Sandra sit out the reward challenge (which meant they had to compete in the immunity challenge, since the numbers are in their favour but nobody can sit out back-to-back challenges). Why their overall weakness played a factor in a BOWLING challenge is beyond me, but the two challenge-challenged Villains were forced to compete for immunity, and were obvious weak links in the head-to-head battle with the Heroes.
But their decisions on who to compete were nothing compared to their decision on who to send home. The logical choice would be to send home one of the two weakest competitors, especially since they're on the outs of the majority alliance. Even after Sandra told Russell that Coach wanted him to go home, Russell still should've realized that Coach wasn't a danger to anyone at this point -- they still had the numbers within their own tribe, and if they won immunity (which would be much easier with Coach staying vs. the original choice of Courtney), they'd have the numbers heading into a merge, too. Regardless of common sense, Sandra and Courtney's plan won out, and Coach garnered enough votes to be sent home a very unhappy (and even angry) Dragon Slayer. I'm sure Jerri's a bit unhappy, too, which can only be bad for those of us watching in the weeks to come. It's not the last we've seen of Coach, though, as Probst also mentioned that he's the first member of the jury.
Regardless of the true reasons for getting rid of Coach (and I think their reasons were really rather weak, especially when Courtney and Sandra -- who are clearly scrambling to survive -- were the ones starting the ball rolling), they will be able to use Coach's ouster to their advantage. Russell alluded to how, with the Heroes all thinking there's an all-female alliance (see, it's not just the Villains who can come to dumb conclusions), Coach going home just solidifies that theory and definitely gives the Villains an advantage. The Heroes will for sure think they can count on Russell to join their alliance should there be a merge, and unlike the Villains, they have no clue about what kind of player he is. Based on what we saw in the previews for next week, it looks like things are going that way, which could spell disaster for the Heroes just when they're starting to get on a roll.
Also, did anyone else notice how Danielle and Parvati voted for Coach, but Russell wrote down Courtney's name? Considering he always signs his name so people know who he voted for, that was clearly a message sent to Coach that he tried to get Courtney out but failed, which is funny because it was Danielle who wanted to vote Courtney but ended up going with Coach. Maybe Russell is learning from his Samoa failings (a little bit, anyway) and doing what he can to keep the jury on his side. Too bad he's doing it by being dishonest -- not that I have a problem with that in the confines of this game, but Russell has a tendency to let his dishonesty bleed out and make it known to everyone.
So what did you think? Are you even still watching with Rob gone? Do you think Russell is ruining the Villains' chances with some of his decisions, or enhancing them? Or does it even matter, because he at least makes things entertaining? With JT finding the hidden immunity idol, why hasn't Russell found the other idol on his own yet (or has he)? And finally, do you think having more Villains on the jury than Heroes will be a factor at all in the end? Give us your thoughts, because I can't be the only one with strong opinions on this awesome season of Survivor!
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)
Ramya Velmurugiah says...
To answer your question, Idon't think the villians found a clue letting them know that their was an immunity idol (unless I missed something). I love how two men kicked out in a row and the natural assumption is that there is an all-women's alliance. Nice work, JT.
Paul Little says...
But Russell showed last season TWICE that he didn't need a clue to find the idol. You'd think he'd already be looking for it, assuming it's in play.
And yeah, JT was not using his brain.
It was an interesting show. It's nice to see the heroes happy for a few weeks. I think they will be merging next week, so should be a good one! Sandra really needs to leave, and while I don't like Russell for the win, he does know how to stir up the hornet's nest and make it an exciting show. He is SO loving this! You notice the twinkle in his eye? And that evil laugh?
I will reserve further comment until next week's episode.