The fifth episode of Survivor Heroes vs Villains< read all 3 reviews
This was an interesting episode of Survivor because I learned a valuable lesson: You can't trust anyone, especially your teammates. This reminds me of life outside the reality program. Ironically enough, the players don't even see the dichotomy of ideals they grapple with: loyalty and betrayal.
The show begins with betrayal. On the Hero's Tribe, Amanda is suspicious of J.T. for switching his vote last minute and getting rid of her friend in the previous episode. She acts like she trusts him but secretly confides to the audience that she doesn't. There is no loyalty between any of the members on the Hero's Tribe.
The scene shifts to the next day and a trust/team building exercise: Coach leads the Villain's Tribe in Dragon Slayer Chi. Even though a lot of the female tribe members think Coach and the exercises are silly, they participate anyway. They are loyal to their team...all but one.
Whenever any sense of unity is hinted at, the producers immediately show us that human nature is one of betrayal, as demonstrated by that one team member who has better things to do than tai chi. Russell, also known as the Super Villain, has finally accomplished his goal and found the hidden personal immunity idol. All that "I don't care about any of you attitude" finally paid off. Good for you, Russell. He's ready to cause some havoc as soon as possible.
There is a short break from the overarching themes of trust and betrayal during a reward challenge. Everyone is trying to win a chocolate picnic out in the jungle. Wouldn't that be so divine? There's a heated moment between Jeff, the host, and the Hero's Tribe, who refuse to sample the succulent treats that await them if they win. Jeff becomes the insulted host and actually draws attention to the rude behavior of the Hero's Tribe: How dare you not eat my hard made chocolate! Colby and Rupert try to smooth Jeff's ruffled feathers by insisting that they are trying to remain focused on the goal: to win that chocolate picnic. They are confident that they will sample the sweet treats shortly.
This response seems to soothe Jeff for the time being, and the game begins. The challenge is another basketball one. Instead of a rubber ball, the teams are throwing large stones into the basket. There are three people on the floor playing offense. They are in the pit getting down and dirty. There are also two shooters on the outside of the pit (the ones the offensive players are passing the rocks to). It seems like a pretty mundane game, although there is a scene where Rupert knocks Jeri in the face. Out of nowhere, James gets injured. How and when did this happen? Now, the Hero's are down one teammate. Ultimately, they lose.
The physical challenge is forgotten as the main theme of the episode emerges once again. The villains are celebrating at their chocolate picnic and swimming in a large and deep lagoon. There is a false sense of unity among them because they have won again. This "loyalty" is destroyed by Russell who admits that he won't be happy until he destroys the leader of their tribe--Rob. He is ready to betray their king for his own personal glories. And guess who he drags into his devious plan? May I dub thee, Sir Coach. Yes, there was a knights of the round moment when Coach kneels in front of Russell, his king. He promises to be loyal and serve only him. The poetic irony of the situation was not lost on the viewers. Russell is a usurper. He is no King Arthur. That role belongs to King Rob. Coach mistakenly thinks he is doing the loyal deed by supporting a teammate. He is blind to his own deceitful nature.
Contrasting this disharmony is the hero's welcome James receives from Amanda when he returns to his team determined to keep on playing the game. Hell, I would be too if one million dollars was at stake. She appears very loyal to him explaining that James is like a big brother. She's not afraid to show the rest of her team how she feels either. Hopefully, he doesn't betray her like Cain did to Abel in the Old Testament. Only time will tell.
The themes of loyalty and betrayal take another back seat in the show, at least for the moment. It's time for the team immunity challenge. As soon as Jeff announced that it was a puzzle, I knew the Heroes would loose. They cannot do puzzles no matter how much of a time lead they gain. They don't know how to work together.
The last part of the show was about the strategies as the Heroes decide who to vote off. I wasn't surprised by the result. It was pretty obvious that J.T., Sir Wishy Washy, was going to betray those he promised to be loyal to. Perhaps J.T. should be dubbed king of the Hero's Tribe because it appears he is the one with the most power. I wonder how long he will be able to keep his throne before someone tries to steal it.
And none of them lived happily ever after.
The show ends on a sour note for the audience. We are left knowing that all are betrayers but the characters themselves foolishly believe they are loyal knights. Talk about delusional thinking. It's really quite sad.
Because I was so wrapped up in the thematic material of this episode, I didn't pay as much attention to the camera shots or the music. I did notice quite a few beautiful nature shots, such as the moon turning to the sun, a cute little crab, blue starfishes, and of course, the hidden grotto/lagoon (paradise for the victors). It's depressing that in a place of such intense, natural beauty there are such viciously deceptive people. The island hearkens me to memories of Lord of the Flies. Human nature will always emerge no matter the setting.
Despite the rather depressing overtones of the episode, I still hope that "good" will prevail in the form of an unlikely hero and king located on the Villain's Tribe. The preview for next week hinted at a showdown between him and the false usurper. It'll come down to a battle of wits, and it could be anyone's game with the personal immunity idol in play. We'll all have to patiently await for the final battle between two worthy foes.
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