Will this season ever have a bad episode?!? Each time something happens that makes it seem the next episode is going to lose some momentum, something crazy happens, and this week was no exception. Were the previews from last week right? Could JT be as stupid as it seemed? Would Russell continue to control Heroes vs. Villains? Could things get any more insane on Survivor?
Well, I would normally say they couldn't possibly, but this season just keeps surprising me with great moves and boneheaded moves. This episode was filled with both. And if you thought that last week's preview couldn't possibly be the whole story, you were wrong! JT proved to be an idiot, and while it didn't hurt him this episode, it definitely will once the merge hits, which if the previews are any indication will probably be next week. But let's backtrack a bit, because the way this episode went down needs to be discussed in order, because it probably couldn't have been scripted this way even if the best writers were planning it out.
First off, there was a return to the balance endurance challenge from Tocantins (the one that JT won, and Coach ended with a giant scream and a supposedly badly injured back). Instead of being everyone against everyone, though, the players were paired up (based on ranking done within each tribe) and faced off, with the first team to win three individual one-on-one matches winning reward. Reward this week? All the food you could imagine from Outback Steakhouse. Really? A show that actually spent a season in the real Australia? Whatever corporate money they can get, I guess.
Anyway, the Villains finally won a challenge after losing four in a row, and won the reward. The Heroes, meanwhile, saw that Coach was voted out, which only solidified their theory that there was an all-girl alliance going on at the Villains camp. JT once again mouthed to Russell to "hang in there", and Russell played it up in the way only he can. We'll get to the further ramifications of that silly assumption by the Heroes (especially JT) in a bit, even though you know exactly where this is going.
With the Villains enjoying their reward at the makeshift Outback Steakhouse in the jungle, Parvati found a note indicating the location of hidden immunity idol in her napkin, and somehow nobody saw it and she slipped it in her underwear. After excusing herself to go to the washroom a bit later, Danielle also went along, and Parvati shared the clue with her to build some trust. She deliberately kept Russell out of it, hoping to keep Danielle a little closer should Danielle need to make some tough choices later in the game.
The next morning back at camp, Parvati and Danielle snuck away with a shovel to look for the idol, and sure enough, they found it rather quickly! The cameras showed Russell sneaking around in search of where they went, but there was nothing to indicate he saw them find the idol. In a confessional, Parvati said she wasn't keeping the idol from Russell because she didn't trust him -- she just wanted to see him squirm a little bit first. She was the Queen of Survivor, after all, and the so-called King usually does what the Queen says, anyway.
Back at Camp Heroes, JT decided that he wanted to somehow sneak the hidden immunity idol to Russell should the Heroes win the immunity challenge, because JT's an idiot. While some of the tribe supported the idea (mostly Rupert), Amanda thought it was crazy (because giving up an idol to someone you don't even know is crazy). Candice -- who doesn't want JT to have the idol period -- thought at least it would get the idol out of JT's hands, and could potentially give the Heroes the numbers post-merge as well. Considering how little she trusts JT, that at least made a little sense.
JT then wrote a lengthy letter to Russell to include with the idol, telling him to use the idol to defeat the "all-girls alliance" and vote out Parvati, and then he could join the Heroes post-merge... because JT's an idiot. Hey, at least the Heroes got a little less boring this episode!
At the immunity challenge, Russell and Colby were left by their respective starting lines alone, and Colby told Russell about the plan to grab the idol from JT should they win and to vote out Parvati. Russell said that Parvati was running the show, and said he wished he could shake Colby's hand (they were separated by water -- though the type of challenge was pretty unimportant, to be honest). The Heroes did indeed win, and JT handed over the idol to Russell, insuring his place in Survivor history as the stupidest player of all time. He surpassed both James, who was voted out in China with 2 unplayed hidden immunity idols in his pocket, and our own former recapper Erik Reichenbach, who in Fans vs. Favourites was manipulated into handing over individual immunity and eventually getting voted out. All this from a former Survivor winner?!?
Russell, naturally, was overjoyed. He didn't even have to find this one. I don't know how this man manages to be such a snake, but look like such an honest person to people who don't know him. It's absolutely remarkable. The best part was how proud of themselves the Heroes were. Sure, they're proving they can win some immunities (after Russell has knocked off the 3 strongest Villains), but they're still as stupid as they were from the beginning of this game, and it's been hilarious to watch.
There was still a little more chaos at the Villains camp, because everyone wanted Courtney to go home, but after talking to Courtney, Parvati tried to make the case to vote off Sandra instead. Russell was worried that Courtney would have the chance of flipping should a merge happen, meanwhile Parvati wanted Courtney so she'd have another ally on her side over Russell (just like Danielle) for when the game nears its end. It's smart thinking on Parvati's part, but it didn't end up working. The funny smart-ass from NYC who couldn't compete in physical challenges to save her life was sent home.
With Courtney gone, and Russell and Parvati clearly in control of the game (but against each other at the same time), how do you see things playing out? Will the Heroes just be picked off one by one thanks to some smart idol play, or will alliances move around a bit (Amanda joining back up with Parvati, for instance)? Things will stay interesting, I'm nearly certain of that!
Russell: "I don't even need to find idols anymore. Now I've got people giving me idols!"
Parvati (after Russell showed her the idol and note JT gave him): "Why would you hand a villain your heart? JT gave Russell his heart today, and Russell is just gonna stab it a million times over and hand it to me... and I'm gonna eat it!"
JT (not realizing the irony of his statement): "Gonna make Survivor history with this one today, guys!"
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...
Probst - "Rupert, slobbering now".
This show is actually scripted, yo. And when will they make a Survivor in the Arctic Tundra (or Winnipeg Downtown)?? Oh right, no bikinis that way. RATINGS RATINGS RATINGS!!!