We have now entered the second half of Survivor Heroes vs. Villains and the game is really heating up. Last week, we saw the two tribes merge into one and now, the game has truly become an individual one with every man and woman for themselves. This week, the post merge game continues on with our contestants strategizing as hard as possible to make sure that they have the best chance of coming out on top. In the previous tribal council, Parvati made a game changing move through the distribution of her idols to her fellow villain tribe mates, which sent J.T. to the jury. Who will leave the game this week? Let's find out.
The Yin Yang Tribe returns to camp after their first tribal council as a merged group. Colby and Rupert have a defeated look on their face knowing that they both are on the wrong side of the numbers. The Villains are celebrating their victory at last night's tribal council, but Russell looks a little troubled. He asks Sandra if she knew that Parvati had two idols in her possession and she says that she did not know. Later, we see Russell, Parvati, and Danielle sitting together near the beach. Russell is upset at Parvati for not telling him about her having both idols and he lets her know exactly how he feels about this. Later, we hear Parvati say in a voiceover that Russell is now frightened because he thought he was in control of this game, but now knows that Parvati is the one running the show. She then goes on to say that she wanted Russell to feel this way and realize that he's not the only one around here who can play the game. This is a very good observation on Parvati's part because it perfectly displays Russell's biggest fault in this game, which is his ego. Any normal person would be ecstatic just at the fact that Parvati played such a wonderful move that got them the numbers advantage, but apparently, this isn't good enough for Russell. He doesn't just want to be in the majority, he also wants to be the shot caller and nothing will deter him from that goal. Russell needs to get it through his thick skull that good relations with his alliance partners will help him get to the end. His obseesion with wanting to be in charge could potentially alienate his allies and cause them to turn on him. Russell, you have to work WITH your allies, not be insistent on telling them what to do all the time. This is something that Parvati understands perfectly. She's able to lead and tell people what to do without making it seem like she is in charge and also while making the people around her feel confortable. Parvati is everything that Russell wishes he could be and that's why he is so angry with her. She also stands a much better chance of winning jury votes at the end than he does because she's done a much better job of making people like her. Russell needs to step back and not tick people off so much. The more Russell displays his anger and his desire to be in control, the less likely he is to win the million dollars.
Now we get to this week's reward challenge, which I believe is another rehash from Survivor Tocantins (I could be wrong on that, though. If I am, someone please correct me). Here, we have Survivor shuffleboard. The nine remaining contestants are divided into three teams. The black team (Jerri, Candice, and Parvati), the red team (Russell, Rupert, and Sandra), and the blue team (Amanda, Danielle, and Colby). One at a time, a member from each team will take a token and slide it now a long shuffleboard in order to get it as close to the red "X" at the end of the board as possible. Each person will have three throws for their team (meaning that each team will have nine throws total). The team that gets one of their tokens the closest to the red "X" on the board will win this week's reward, which is a tour of Robert Louis Stevenson's house and a special screening of the movie "Treasure Island". Very cool reward if I say so myself. The challenge gets underway and it seems as if the red team will be victorious. However, Colby's last throw lands right on the red "X" and the blue team ends up winning the challenge. Amanda, Danielle, and Colby get to go on the reward while the other tribe members must go back to camp. This challenge might have seemed a little tame compared to most other Survivor challenges, but I actually liked this one. It was more of a mental challenge rather than a physical one which I tend to appreciate a lot. Not every challenge can be a hardcore, knock down, drag out physical fight. You have to change it up every once in a while, lol.
Later, we see Amanda, Danielle, and Colby arrive at the home of Robert Louis Stevenson. His house has been turned into a museum and the tour guide is showing our three victors around his place. Amanda is in full game mode during this tour. She knows that another immunity idol must be hidden somewhere now that Parvati gave away both of hers at the last tribal council. Amanda says in confessional that she is extremely determined to find that idol at any cost. Later, we see Amanda, Danielle, and Colby lying on a bed in the Stevenson house watching the movie "Treasure Island" while eating one big bowl of popcorn. Amanda is not paying attention to the movie at all because she has convinced herself that the idol is hidden somewhere in the room and she constantly darts her eyes around, scanning the room for the idol. Meanwhile, as Danielle is eating popcorn and watching the movie, she feels a slip of paper inside the popcorn bowl. She pulls the small paper out of the popcorn bowl and drops it onto the floor below the bed in an attempt to hide it from Amanda and Colby. However, Amanda notices that Danielle is acting strangely and she decides to go to Danielle's side of the bed to see what's going on. Amanda quickly finds the paper under the bed, but Danielle declares that it belongs to her and a shouting match erupts between the two of them. They grab at the paper and fight for a long time about who should have it. Finally, Colby intervenes and says that it belongs to Danielle. Amanda reluctantly gives it back, knowing that the Heroes may have lost a huge advantage in this game. A lot of Survivor fans have weighed in on this incident. It's pretty much a given that the piece of paper has instructions on it that reveals the location of the next hidden idol and many fans feel that Amanda gave up too easily and that she should have fought harder to keep the paper out of Villain hands. Amanda may not be a very smart player, but it did look to me as if she fought extremely hard to keep it. She argued with Danielle as long as she could before Colby made the final decision, so I can't fault her on that. Many fans have also criticized Colby for willingly giving a major clue in the game to the opposing team. Yes, it was not smart at all for Colby to make that call, but people need to remember that Colby is a very honor bound individual. He wants to do the right thing even if it is to the detriment of his team. In his mind, Danielle deserved the clue more than Amanda because she found it first. Again, not a good move on Colby's part, but it makes sense given his character. Also keep in mind that an argument can't last forever. It had to come to an end and Colby resolved it in the fairest way possible. Colby won't win any awards for being a master strategist, but I can't fault him for what he did. I think Amanda and Colby tried their hardest in that moment, but Danielle got lucky and came out on top. I really don't think Amanda or Colby could've handled this any other way than how they did, it's just that despite all their best efforts, they came up on the losing end. That's how the game works sometimes. You can do everything right and still not come up the victor. I don't normally like to defend Amanda or Colby very much, but I don't really think they did anything wrong during this exchange. They were just unlucky this time around and I don't blame either of them for that.
Later, we see Amanda, Danielle, and Colby return to camp. Danielle immediately goes to talk with Parvati, Russell, and Jerri in private. She tells them that she has the clue to another hidden immunity idol which says that the idol is hidden under some rocks by a stream near their camp. Russell and Danielle run out immediately to find the idol. However, Russell is still upset at Parvati and Danielle for not telling him about both of her idols and now Russell wants payback. While Danielle looks for the idol under some rocks on one side of the stream, Russell goes to the other side of the stream and immediately finds the idol under a rock. But instead of showing the idol to Danielle, Russell sits on it quickly and then puts it in his pocket while Danielle isn't looking. He then later makes up an excuse to get away from Danielle and now, Russell is home free with another idol in his possession (okay, so let's do a count. If you add together all of the idols that Russell has acquired on both of his seasons, you get 6 total. How does Russell keep getting these idols? It's almost as if he has a "sixth" sense for these things, lol). Later, Russell talks with Candice and he tells her that he has a hidden idol. He then shows her the idol in private to prove it to her and then tells her that if she sticks with Russell, she'll make it to the final three. Candice seems very intrigued by this deal. She doesn't want to tell her fellow Heroes that Russell has the idol because she feels that this information could potentially come back to haunt her. So she's going to keep it to herself for now. What will Candice do? Will she stay with the Heroes or will she betray them now that she knows that Russell has an idol? It's an interesting dilemma. Candice is not in a very good position no matter which way she goes, so it'll be interesting to see which way she decides to go and why.
The strategy seesions continue when Colby and Sandra walk out into the forest to have a chat in private. Sandra tells Colby that Russell and his group got rid of her entire alliance back on the Villains tribe and now, she wants to join up with the Heroes to go after Russell's clan. They both agree to not go after Danielle because they believe that she has the hidden idol. The question then becomes one of whether they should target Russell or Parvati next. Later on, Russell chats with Sandra and he tells her to not betray the Villains because one of the Heroes has defected over to their side, making Sandra's plan to get out Russell useless, but Russell won't tell Sandra who the defector is. Sandra then tells Rupert that she wants Russell gone, but that someone in the Heroes tribe might turn on them. Sandra suspects that the traitor is one of the girls (Amanda or Candice) and she plans on talking to each of them later on in order to figure out what's going on. Sandra has a very good plan here. In order for Sandra to have any chance of making it to the end, she needs to join up with the Heroes. If her plan to betray the Villains works, Sandra might have a clear path to victory here. Also keep in mind that Sandra is a Hero at heart. I, along with many other fans, have always felt that Sandra should've been on the Heroes tribe to begin with. Sandra was incredibly popular and well liked by the fans during her initial season, so her placement on the Villains tribe has always baffled me because it feels so out of place with her character. After seeing that Russell and his crew have no intention of working with her at all, Sandra has no choice but to listen to her gut and join the Heroes in getting Russell and his crew out. It's her only chance for survival and I also feel that Sandra simply fits in better with the Heroes. It was where she was meant to be all along. If Sandra succeeds in taking out Russell, she'll most likely make final two (or three) and have a good chance of winning this game for a second time. Never underestimate Sandra for a moment. She may look weak, but she's always full of surprises. Could a second Survivor win be in Sandra's near future? We'll see.
Now we proceed to this week's immunity challenge, which is a classic from the Gabon season. Each player will be given a pile of tablet like cards. The contestants must then take these cards and arrange them into a structure that is ten feet tall. The first person who can create a ten foot tall structure with these cards will receive individual immunity and can not be voted out at the next tribal council. The losers will be at risk at the next tribal council where someone will go home. As the contestants begin building their house of cards, they run into some problems. Sandra creates a pretty tall stack at one point, but then it all collapses to the ground which makes her have to start from scratch. The same thing happens with Colby also when his house of cards collapses. After a while, it becomes pretty clear that Russell and Jerri are the front runners in this challenge. One of these two will win immunity. Russell and Jerri are both extremely close to the ten foot mark. Russell makes a quick move to try to win the challenge, but the top of his pile collapses. This allows Jerri to place her final cards at the top of the structure for the victory. Jerri has won individual immunity for the first time ever in all three of her seasons and can not be voted out at the next tribal council. Everyone else is at risk. Jerri is extremely excited at winning individual immunity for the very first time. Her excitement causes her to say my favorite quote from this episode. She says "I'm swimming in Yay!!!". lol. I'd be "swimming in Yay!" too if I won an individual immunity challenge. I don't blame her one bit for being so happy about this, lol.
Back at camp, the strategy deliberations spring back up as the tribe must decide who will be the next person to get voted out. Russell and Candice talk privately in the shelter. Russell asks Candice if she's on board with betraying the Heroes and joining the Villains. She says that Amanda has tried to get her out of the game before and now, she wants to get her out. Russell then says that Amanda is like a "female Boston Rob" (which I don't agree with at all, but whatever. lol) and because of that, Amanda needs to be the next one to go. Later, the Heroes and Sandra talk privately and decide that they will vote out Russell at the next tribal council. But after this Hero meeting is over, Candice runs to the Villains and tells Russell that the Heroes want him out and that Sandra is going to turn on him. This causes Russell to go immediately to Sandra and confront her about this. Sandra denies the rumor and says that she will stick with the Villains and vote out Amanda as planned. Realizing that her plan to get rid of Russell is in major jeopardy, Sandra goes to the Heroes and suggests that they vote out Parvati instead since they believe that Danielle has the idol and will give it to Russell to use so that he can protect himself. All of the Heroes are on board with this plan, but Sandra seems a little suspicious of Candice and believes that she may be the traitor who will ruin their plan. Sandra questions Candice privately and finds out that she indeed is the defector. Sandra tries to convince Candice to join the Heroes in voting out Parvati, but Candice doesn't seem to budge very much. Candice is still dead set on voting out Amanda tonight and nothing Sandra says can change that. We have two defectors (Sandra and Candice) who are each betraying their original tribe to join the opposing one. Which way will they both vote and who will go home? Once tribal council occurs, we get our answer.
Before the votes are read, Jeff asks the tribe if there's anyone who would like to play a hidden idol. Russell immediately stands up and hands his idol to Jeff. All votes cast against Russell will not count. However, Russell has miscalculated here because the Heroes successfully fooled Russell into thinking he was the target of tonight's vote. But in reality, they targeted Parvati because they figured Russell would play the idol to save himself. Colby, Rupert, and Amanda vote out Parvati. Russell, Parvati, Jerri, and Danielle vote out Amanda. We have four votes to get rid of Amanda and three votes to get rid of Parvati. The swing votes (Sandra and Candice) are the only two votes that remain. Which way will they go? Both Sandra and Candice vote out......Amanda!!!!! Amanda is the 12th person voted out of Survivor Heroes vs. Villains. She is also the fourth member of the jury. For the first time in Amanda's three seasons of playing the game, she did not make it to the final tribal council. Her torch has finally been snuffed.
I have to give Amanda a lot of credit here. She may not be the smartest player to ever step foot in the game, but she is a great competitor. She seemed to be much more strategically focused this season than she was the last time she played. Back then, all she cared about was being Ozzy's love toy, lol. This time, she actually tried to make some moves and stay focused on the prize. Granted, some of Amanda's attempts to control the game fell flat (She failed at deceiving Parvati last episode, she failed to get the clue from Danielle this episode, she failed at keeping her buddy James in the game longer, etc...), but at least she tried and gave her best effort. I can't completely fault her for that. She can also be proud of the fact that she currently holds the record for playing Survivor longer than any other contestant in history (108 days or something like that. However, Parvati might beat her record very shortly depending on how long she lasts in the game) and she also is the only person in Survivor history to make it to the final tribal council twice (she lost both times, but at least she made it there two times, which is an amazing feat in and of itself). No matter what happens, Amanda will always be known as one of the most successful Survivors to have played this game without winning it. The only question left to ask is did the tribe make the right call in voting Amanda out? Normally, I'd say no in this situation. Colby and Rupert seem to be overall better competitors than Amanda and I think from a pure strength standpoint, one of those two would have been a better choice to get rid of. However, this situation is a little different since a defector is involved. When someone wants to jump ship and join your team, it's always smart to do what they want in order to keep that person on your side for the numbers advantage. Candice wanted Amanda out and to keep her happy and keep the numbers up, you do what she wants. Period. However, Russell seemed to have wanted Amanda out also which is probably why he didn't fight Candice too much on the issue. I don't think Amanda was the right person to get rid of, but I can understand why Russell and Candice wanted her out. It makes sense, so I can't argue with it too much. It was smart for Parvati, Danielle and Jerri to go along with it because again, it keeps their numbers strong. Sandra also made a smart move in voting Amanda out. Sandra really wanted Russell out, but after Candice ruined her plans, she went with the majority decision to keep herself safe. This is a cornerstone of Sandra's gameplay. She'll try and get people out when she needs to, but when the jig is up, she knows to fall back rather than risk challenging a decision. Sandra's "anybody but me" motto came in handy tonight and because of it, Sandra may have bought herself more time in this game.
I'd also like to address one more point before I end this week's review. I've noticed that many Survivor fans have been very upset with Candice's decision to flip and join the Villains. Many people have said that her move this week was "stupid" and "idiotic". While it is true that this is a very risky move in general, I wouldn't go so far as to say it was stupid. As a matter of fact, I think it was the best move she could've made right now. Granted, if she had stayed with the Heroes longer, she might've made it to the finals, but I don't think she would have won the game this way because she would be up against some of the most popular Survivors in history for the final vote (Colby, Rupert, Amanda) and I doubt she could've beaten any of them. She also would get the label of "coattail rider" and that would hurt her chances of winning as well. But by defecting to the Villains, it shows that she's capable of making a big move in this game. Even though this approach could get her voted out sooner than later, it could also have some big benefits should she made it to the final tribal council. She'd be up against one (or two) hated Villains for the final vote and that would increase her chances of winning significantly. Aligning with the Villains poses a greater risk, but the rewards could be far greater here than if she had stuck with the Heroes. However, most people seem to disagree with me on that. I think part of this anger at Candice's decision is due to the fact that her choice benefits people whom the fans don't like (mainly Russell and Parvati). It's time that fans realize that contestants don't play this game for the public, they play it for themselves and that means that sometimes they'll have to make decisions that fans won't be happy with. Also keep in mind that Candice is a Villain at heart. Just like with Sandra, I have believed from the beginning that Candice was on the wrong tribe to start with. She never has been popular with the fans and now she's finally done something to cement that dislike in the fans' minds once again this season. The difference this time is that I believe there was a good reason for doing what she did. It might all blow up in her face and she could very well get voted out next week because of it. But I don't fault her for trying to make a big move in this game. Candice seems to have come a long way from her first season and we'll see how much farther she goes as this game rolls along.
Well, that ends another installment of Survivor Heroes vs. Villains. The game is really moving along now and it'll be interesting to see how things shake out next week. Till then.
What did you think of this review?