I've finally started to watch the remaining episodes of Season 20 of Survivor, so I can write some more reviews. I still have a few older episodes to write reviews for, but for now, I'm plowing forward with episode twelve.
This episode has an extra long review because there were two immunity challenges, two tribal councils, and two people voted off. The Yin Yang Tribe has eight contestants, but by the end, there will only be six.
It's evening and the remaining heroes, Colby and Rupert, are extremely angry about last week's tribal council, especially as it concerns Candice's last minute vote switch. Rupert calls her "so weak...so pathetic, self-centered, greedy, [and] manipulative. She killed us." Rupert's anger gives him the courage to confront Russell, which makes Russell mad. Rupert is upset at Russell's behavior, and Russell explains that it's all a game. After all, he is a villain; he's supposed to be conniving and "evil." Russell then calls Rupert the "Second coming of Christ."
I was a little surprised at their argument, and I thought both men were acting ridiculous. Obviously, lack of proper food and nutrition, and probably stress from the game, has changed their attitudes to that of teenage boys tossing insults. I'm sure by the next episode they will have "made up" and formed a new alliance. After all, there is no honor in a television reality show that's about "surviving."
The next morning everyone prepares for the first immunity challenge. Each individual has to stand on a narrow ledge with their hand attached to a bucket. When their arm gets tired and they drop it, paint spills on them indicating that they lost. This challenge is even harder than a simple game of patience because Jeff tempts them to "walk away" by offering them food. There is also a final twist that is revealed at the end of the challenge.
Sandra: White paint, lasts 1 minute and sacrifices immunity for an unknown bribe which turns out to be milk and cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal, Oreo, etc.).
Russell: Blue paint, lasts 1 minute and sacrifices immunity for the same unknown bribe that Sandra wanted. The two end up sharing their milk and cookies.
Colby: Green paint, lasts 20 minutes and accepts the next temptation of four doughnuts and an iced coffee.
Danielle: Purple paint, lasts 35 minutes and sacrifices immunity for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, a big bowl of candy, and two glasses of milk.
Candice: Red paint, lasts 35 minutes and shares the immunity reward with Danielle and Jerri.
Jerri: Blue paint, lasts 35 minutes and shares the immunity reward with Danielle and Candice.
Toward the end of day 31, after 1 hour and 10 minutes, there are two remaining contestants battling for immunity. Rupert has red paint and Parvati has yellow. No final food temptation is offered before Rupert falls. Parvati goes on to express how much she likes this challenge considering she's won something similar to it in a previous year.
Personally, I liked this challenge. The twist of the food temptations was fun, and the contestants only had 20 seconds to decide if they wanted it before it was offered to those who had already failed the challenge. I felt bad for Rupert because he lasted the second longest but received no reward for his efforts. He sure looked ragged and dejected by the end of this episode.
At the end of the challenge, Jeff surprises all the contestants with grand news-- there's a hidden immunity idol at their camp! He reads them the clue: "All hope is not lost if you suffered defeat. Salvation is hidden where two paths meet. A burning bush throws a shadow on top of a stone under which lies the key to not going home."
Once everyone makes it to camp, they split up to look for the "burning bush." Everyone is nervous and excited to find it. Candice and Russell start digging where they found a big red bush. Across from them, there is another big red bush between two paths. Sandra starts digging there, sees the idol, and grabs it. She doesn't have time to read the note because she doesn't want anyone to see her, so she hides the idol in a green bush to use later for protection. At this late stage of the competition, having a hidden immunity idol that no one knows about can propel someone into the final three. It's looking like Sandra has a real chance to win the competition at this rate.
Meanwhile, Rupert decides to "play the game" and act like he has the idol. He puts a rock into his pocket, and Russell believes he has it. Now, Russell wants to split the votes to force Rupert to use the idol. The girls talk about who they should also try and vote out. They are saying Rupert at first and then Jeri says she wants Candice out. Colby and Rupert talk about voting Candice out.
At tribal council, Rupert and Colby are mad at Candice for not saying outright that she wanted to flip to the villains' side. They don't like her excuses or her pretend attitude that she didn't do anything wrong. On the other hand, Russell thinks it was the smartest move she's made thus far.
Everyone votes; Jeff asks if anyone wants to play their idol. People look at Rupert. He doesn't stand up. The votes are read, and it's split. Candice goes home with just one extra vote saying "Karma's a bitch sometimes."
It was funny that Russell thought this was the best strategy for Candice when it lead her to getting voted out. This first part of the episode highlighted that Russell is losing control of the villains. The girls are no longer listening to him. Oh well. I guess every "great" leader must fall. Russell explains it away as the girls making decisions based on their hearts and not with their minds. He's decided that Parvati has too much control of his team, and it's time for him to show that bitch who's boss. Talk about a chauvinistic asshole. I actually get sick and tired of Russell's attitude and how he treats the female villains. They should have voted his ass off the tribe a long time ago. It would have been interesting to see how different the dynamics of the game would have been and whether or not Rob would still be a candidate for the cash prize or not.
Either way, it's all just speculation. The next morning the contestants get ready for the second immunity challenge. It is a three part race.
Dig in the sand to find a hidden peg. Use the peg on a table maze navigating from one end to the other. The first five people to finish move on to round two.
The contestants in round two of the race have four pegs that they use to get to the top of a climbing wall. The first three at the top will move on to the final round.
One simple task: Solve a slide puzzle, which the heroes have had loads of trouble with in the past.
As for the results of each round, here's who makes it on:
Round 1: Rupert, Sandra, Russell, Parvati, and Danielle
Round 2: Russell, Rupert, and Parvati
Round 3: Russell wins
It's no surprise that Colby lacked the fire and grit to make it through any of the rounds for this immunity challenge. He's been lagging in competitions for a while, and Rupert is the only one still fighting for the Hero's name. I was cheering for him even though I figured he would lose. Rupert has a lot of heart, and those are the types of people I like to see win reality shows.
Now, it's time for the strategies and double-talk, my favorite part (rolls eyes). Parvati makes her opinions known-- she wants Rupert to go home. Contradicting her, Russell decides it's time for either Danielle or Parvati to go home. He needs to break up their friendship because it's not working to his advantage. Since he's always liked Parvati more, he's inclined to keep her with him longer. After all, she's his precious "trophy wife." So, Russell goes to Danielle to tell her that Parvati wants to get rid of her. It's time to vote for Parvati, he explains, before it's too late. Then, Russell goes to Parvati and feeds her the same load of crap he's already spouted to Danielle. Parvati is not buying it, though. She is visibly upset and refuses to listen to Russell. She immediately goes to speak with Danielle about what's going on. It doesn't take a rocket scientist for the girls to realize what Russell's doing, and they assure each other that they will not vote for the other person. Who would trust a liar like Russell? They immediately warn Jerri not to listen to Russell and stick to her vote of Rupert. At that time, Jerri seems sure of her decision.
While all this is going on, Russell is aligning with the heroes and telling them to vote for Danielle. Colby's shocked, but what choice do they have? They agree to vote Danielle off. Danielle and Rupert's fate lies in the hands of one vote. All they need is one person to change their mind and they are both saved from going home.
At tribal council, the shit really hits the fan. The host, Jeff, asks the group who's running the show. Rupert is honest saying Parvati or Russell. Meanwhile, Danielle makes up some fake scenario about how the villains are making their decisions together. Of course, that's a bold-faced lie, and Jerri calls her out. Jeff questions the need for an illusion of one happy family. Danielle and Parvati explain that there was a simple misunderstanding. They were pitted against each other. Parvati says that Russell got caught in his lie while Russell maintains that he wasn't lying. He was telling the truth. He's 100% loyal to Parvati. Then, for some strange reason, Danielle starts to cry. Danielle and Russell start arguing. Danielle says she's closer to Parvati than he thinks. Russell begins to mouth to Jerri to vote for Danielle.
As all this was going down, I was like...what the...? Danielle was an idiot. Why didn't she keep her mouth shut? Saying less during tribal council is always safer than saying more. Danielle showed weakness, and Jerri picked up on the bond between Parvati and Danielle. This was the final push Russell needed. The suddenness of what happens is best expressed by Jerri's final words before voting: "With this vote, I'm sealing my fate."
I wasn't surprised by the outcome of this episode. Danielle was voted out. Jeff concludes the show with these thoughts: The villains are not one big happy family. Colby and Rupert live to see another day. Is Jeff trying to act like Jerry Springer by introducing a final commentary after the episode? It was a little obvious and unnecessary waste of time.
Overall, I really enjoyed this episode of Survivor. For once, there was not a major emphasis on fighting, mud, or half-naked women. There was one point during the standing and bucket challenge where someone's pants fell off, but I didn't see anything (probably edited out). There was a lot of double-talk and betrayal, which contrasted nicely with Rupert's and Colby's self-righteous attitudes, which I find extra amusing considering the preview for next week-- Sandra goes with Parvati. Russell says that the greatest villain and the greatest hero should align. It's him, Colby, and Rupert. Alas, there is no true hero or villain in the game of "Survivor." There are just a lot of desperate people hoping to win a million dollars.
This episode didn't have as many nature or transition shots as in the past, and I didn't notice any unique music being played either. The lack of nature shots could be a result of their time restrictions (they had a lot of material to pack into one episode). After the first tribal council when Candice was voted out, there was an interesting shot of bugs attacking a dead crab in the middle of the night. It was eerie and reminded me of what had just happened during voting. The later nature scenes again reflect what's going on in the tribe. When Russell breaks up the female villain's alliance, there are some shots of a crab digging a hole in the sand to bury itself in. As the negotiations get more intense, we are shown some footage of snails digging in the green dirt, maybe eating a dead corpse. Whatever the snails are doing, it's rather nasty and reflects the actions that Russell takes with the entire tribe. The final nature shot is of the snails captured in a glass jar. And with that, it's the end of the episode-- game, set, and match.
Things are winding down for this season of Survivor, but be assured that the strategic maneuvering is not done and over with. We have eight contestants left in the merged Yin Yang tribe and the Villains are the ones in control. They've stuck together and made it this far on their quest to oust the Heroes. The unlikely pairing of Russell, Parvati, Danielle and Jerri has been a force to reckon with and the final four spots seem to be theirs for the taking. Last time, the … more