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Simpsons did it, Russell.
It’s night six, and the Heroes are returning from That Uncomfortable Tribal Council. James tries to initiate damage control for his gross actions last week, going to Tom to try and explain himself. Tom wisely plays it down, knowing that he’s probably in trouble in the grand scheme of things. “You could have been gentler,” he says very even-handedly, putting his hand firmly on James’ shoulder. JT is busy with damage control as well, now that he’s gotten into bed with James. He apologizes to Tom, telling Tom that he was at the bottom of the totem pole and was forced to do something, which is the exact opposite of true. Saying the words “bottom of the totem pole” and expecting that to magically explain everything is pretty ridiculous, especially when everyone knows that you’re sitting pretty.
Colby and Tom talk about just how shitty everything’s gotten all of a sudden, now that the whole tribe’s gotten down to the business of putting their entire crazy out there for the whole world to see. “I don’t even want to be a part of this game if it’s going to be like this,” Colby says. “We were naÃ¯ve in thinking it wouldn’t be this way,” Tom says accurately. To be fair, these are two people who pretty much never had to make a real strategic move during their initial seasons. Tom and Colby both got to the end through a game-long majority alliance and never really had to get their hands dirty, so I could see how this would be a legitimate surprise to them.
That same night at the Villains tribe, Russell and Parvati lie together in the shelter and laugh with each other over what is probably some idiotic inside joke. Jesus, I hope she’s not really planning on aligning with him. That would be truly unfortunate.
Russell and Parvati’s chumminess isn’t getting by Rob: “If you want to know how people are aligned in this game, just watch how they sleep,” he says. “I mean, I would know!” Somewhere, in a hipster neighborhood, Lex curses under his breath and wishes he had gotten a little more spoon-y with Rob last go round.
Spoon with Sandra!
The morning of Day Seven, the Heroes are still not feeling very heroic after last night’s debacle. “I was hoping it would rain today so we could all sit in the shelter and play games and talk,” Rupert says. Yes folks, in addition to being your provider and your Personal Messiah, Rupert would also like to be your camp counselor. Nothing heals the wounds of deep seeded conflict like a rousing game of Duck Duck Goose!
The chickens, on the other hand, have used their time together to formulate an escape plan. I love that the chickens have a better team dynamic than this tribe. “Freedom!” they shout as they scatter in different directions. Rupert and a few other people jump into action to recapture them. At one point Rupert actually grabs a chicken by the neck. I have a feeling that a lot Rupert’s childhood pets died in after he hugged them a little too tightly.
“This is also how I hug my family.”
Rupert, because he is a dolt, thinks that everything’s better now that three or four members of his team have worked together to doom the chickens to a life of imprisonment. The music also seems to think everything’s magically better, judging by the Horns of Triumph Over Adversity playing during Rupert’s confessional. I bet he hears that music in his head wherever he goes. Like, it plays while Rupert waits in line at the grocery store with a cart full of bagged salad.
Upon the safe return of the chickens to captivity, James does a chicken impression that we’re supposed to find endearing, but I am so tired of him that the “Tik Tok” song seems fresh and inspired by comparison. Like, James might as well have a dollar sign in his name at this point.
Over at the Villains camp, Russell is busy capturing yet more chickens. Where are all these things coming from? This is the exact same place where Natalie was eating a rat last season, and now there more chickens than contestants. Did the Samoan chapter of PETA raid a nearby KFC processing plant or something?
Anyway, Coach decides to take it upon himself to have a discussion with Russell about his closeness with Parvati, telling Russell to watch out because Parvati’s a dangerous player. Boston Rob walks up a few seconds into the conversation as well, taking the opportunity to point out that Parvati has friends on the other team. So, to summarize: Coach knows Parvati is dangerous and seems to think this is news, and Boston Rob knows that Parvati has friends on the other team and that this is something to watch out for. You heard it here first, everyone.
“I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, one time,” Boston Rob says to Russell. Surprisingly, Russell does not enjoy being spoken to like that. “Coach is a total joke,” Russell The Total Joke says, “and Boston Rob thinks he’s in charge, but he doesn’t know who he’s messing with,” Russell Who Thinks He’s In Charge And Doesn’t Know Who He’s Messing With says.
Russell takes the contents of this discussion immediately to Parvati, in yet another masterful display of the subtlety for which he’s become so renown. He recaps the conversation for Parvati, but does that thing that tools do where he makes himself look like a total badass who stood up for himself, instead of telling Parvati what he really did, which was shit his pants like a five year old.
I’m going to be really disappointed if she doesn’t destroy him.
And just like any five year old who gets yelled at, Russell decides to get back at Mommy and Daddy by acting out. And thus his grand plan to steal the machete from camp and bury it in the sand is born. He’s way, way prouder of himself for this than he should be, as is the case with everything he does. “Hiding the machete will cause conflict,” he says excitedly, unaware that in reality no one will give a shit and it will be, at most, a minor inconvenience. Russell is the Survivor equivalent of Butters as Professor Chaos.
“I’ll make you all pay when I….FLOOD THE WORLD! (Turns on garden hose)
Russell also jokes about taking Boston Rob down a peg by stealing his hat, which is probably a quick way to lose an arm. Also, what are we, ten?
On the morning of Day 8, we get our inaugural shot of Coach doing kata on the beach. We made it all the way to episode three, which shows incredible restraint by the editors, frankly.
“Who wants clam?” Randy asks an indifferent camp. He is met with a chorus of mehs, which annoys him, because everything annoys him. This is his entire personality. Sandra and Parvati finally agree to eat some of it, but Randy has trouble getting it open because no one can find the machete. Eventually, Randy gets tired of looking for it and smashes the clam open with a rock. Oh my god, Russell’s master plan totally worked! The tribe is in shambles due to their inability to locate the machete! Russell is a total genius, you guys. ANARCHY SHALL REIGN.
Also I would like to point out that Russell was just foiled by a rock.
Randy and Coach talk in the water, agreeing that Parvati’s continued presence is offensive to them. In fact, Coach thinks that keeping Parvati around is “unjust”. Parvati’s very existence is an affront to the concept of justice! He’s going to be soooo mad when he finds out about Paris Hilton.
Back at the Heroes camp, JT has decided that Candace is a very serious threat to his well being. JT has singled out That Blonde Chick That No One Remembers from The Season With The Uncomfortable Racial Overtones as a major threat, on a tribe that also features Cirie. This does not bode well for him.
In order to combat the ever present threat of Candace, JT decides to tell Cirie and Amanda that Candace doesn’t trust them. Cirie (who thought she was aligned with Candace up until now) is upset by this information, confronting Candace about it. They part on uncertain terms and we get a random voice over from James about how Candace “talks too much”, which is maybe something he would want to avoid saying after spending hours berating a different woman for the exact same thing.
“Yeah, you’re done.”
Immunity and Reward Challenge! I wonder when they’ll start having two challenges an episode again. Anyway, they’re recycling the very first wrestling challenge (a phenomenon that made its debut during the Palau season), which involves a one-on-one face off in which both players use a heavy bag to joust the other person off of a platform, American Gladiators style. To make things sweeter, the whole challenge will be taking place in a giant pool of mud. The first team to eight (!) wins immunity and reward, which is a week’s worth of rice, coffee and sugar, as well as the individual luxury items each contestant brought from home. It also looks like someone decided to bring a stuffed bear along, which seems both inadvisable and unfair to the stuffed bear.
The first round is Tom/Russell, and Russell doesn’t even get a shot in before Tom knocks him on his ass. Thank you, Tom, for contributing to my growing collection of screencaps of Russell being Knocked The Hell Out. I’m hoping that by the end of the season, I’ll have enough to decorate my sitting room.
This one will be displayed over my mantle, in a matted frame.
After Candace handily wins a faceoff against Parvati, Rupert and Coach prepare for a Battle Of The Egos. The two jockey with each other for sometime until Rupert loses his balance, when Coach gently shoves him off the platform with his forearm. Coach, thinking he has the win, is too busy screaming at the top of his lungs in celebration (which I think is supposed to be a slight to Rupert and his jungle calls, which would make Coach awesome) to hear Probst call shenanigans on the outcome, since Coach used something besides the bag to deal the winning blow. Coach is pretty upset and gives Probst the finger in response, which definitely seems like something a noble samurai warrior would do, especially after losing a particularly grueling Halo deathmatch.
“Death before dishonor, noobs!”
And thus Rupert and Coach must square off again, and this time Rupert emerges victorious, bringing the score to 3-0. After Cirie owns Jerri, JT beats Tyson and Amanda punishes Danielle, the Villains have yet to score a point, and at 6-0, they’re running out of time.
This is completely irrelevant, but scary enough that I had to showcase it.
Boston Rob and Colby face off in what one would think would make for an epic battle. Instead, Colby shoves Rob off the platform pretty quickly. The last round is James versus Randy, and the much-hyped footage from the previews of James finally going off the deep end is pretty underwhelming. I mean, he manhandles Randy, but it’s nothing too terrible, and I’m saying this as someone who dislikes James intensely.
And with James scoring the final point, the Heroes end up winning a challenge entirely dependent on their superior size and bereft of any teamwork or puzzle component whatsoever. Now all they have to do is hope this challenge is repeated over and over again, and it’s an easy road to the finals!
Back at Camp Villain, Randy knows that he’s probably screwed, and has decided to redirect attention to Parvati. He tells us that if Parvati makes the merge, she’ll joins up with Cirie, Amanda and James (who is continually included in the Micronesia discussion, despite the fact that he was never a part of their alliance).
Coach seems to think that Parvati’s a problem as well “She’s dangerous, but her flirting doesn’t work on me at all,” he says as the editors cut to a shot of him being utterly charmed by some idiotic thing or other that she says. Oh, show. I forgot how entertaining your utter disdain for Coach can be.
Tyson, Rob and Sandra debate between Parvati and Randy. Tyson argues that Parvati is a threat and Randy really isn’t. Sandra, in her typically awesome way, doesn’t care who goes as long as it’s not her. This is exactly how she won last time, too, and also why I love her.
“I know people are talking about me,” Parvati says, “especially Jerri.” Parvati thinks Jerri is jealous of her because Parvati got to the end playing the game that Jerri tried to play. “She’s such a Fakey McGee,” Parvati says.
“I want to punch Parvati in the face,” Jerri says not-quite-seriously. I kind of feel like this “rivalry” is largely contrived, so we’re going to ignore it until it goes somewhere.
Randy tries to work Coach again. We’ve only really seen him talk to Coach, which is not a good sign. Randy tells Coach that the Stephenie boot mans Amanda/Cirie/James are solid (which is an absolutely correct statement), and that Parvati needs to be eliminated immediately. “No one here is honorable but me,” Coach tells us. Oh, and he has a Martin Luther King quote for us, since it’s Black History Month and all. Cue the majestic music! “The greatest measure of a man is not in the way he handles times of comfort, but in the way he rises with controversy and challenge,” Coach says with great portent. Hey, remember when we got a whole season of that shit? I am not nostalgic about those days.
Next week: Coach teaches us about George Washington Carver
Tribal Council. Probst begins by asking Sandra about past alliances. Jesus, Probst, we know people have past relationships. Let’s move on. Sandra’s response is hilarious, though: “Some people have lots of friends in the game and have won before, for instance, Parvati.” Way to not-so-subtly distract from the fact that you won too. Parvati’s response is not great, telling Probst half-heartedly that her allegiance is to this tribe, not her friends on the other team.
Probst asks about leadership, and Sandra talks about how there are different leaders in different scenarios, pointing out that Rob takes the lead in challenges and Coach takes the lead at camp. “I take offense to that, Sandra, because we have the worst shelter in history,” Coach says. “It’s not the worst shelter in history,” Jerri says, because she will never forget about her terrible All-Stars shelter, when she learned a very important life lesson: Never do anything Rupert wants to do, ever, because you will end up buried in your sleep by a never-ending cascade of sand.
Sandra’s like, “Our camp sucks, though. And where is our machete?” People laugh, because they are minorly inconvenienced. Wait, you are not supposed to be laughing about that! You are supposed to be spectacularly exploding! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?
It’s time to vote, and we see only Parvati voting for Randy, which is usually a clue that a blowout is eminent. And a blowout is what we get, as Randy is unanimously evicted (save for Randy’s seemingly random vote for Rob). On the way out, he throws his buff into the fire in disgust.
Gabon is not representing this season.
In the previews for the next episode, Probst tells us that Russell’s in trouble, and we see Rob talking about how it’s time for him to go. One can only hope, but if there’s one thing I learned from the Samoa season, it’s that Probst voice overs regarding Russell’s safety are never to be taken seriously.