Thanks a lot, Jerri.It’s Day 16 at the Villains tribe, and Rob is worried. “For the first time in the three seasons I’ve played, I was shocked last night,” he says. “The more I think about it, something just doesn’t feel right.” He looks genuinely concerned, like he knows things are going bad quickly. I think this confessional comes from later in the episode. Spoiler?
Rob lies in the shelter with Courtney, Sandra and Jerri, telling them that it’s time to get rid of Parvati and Russell. Courtney is simply amazing talking about Russell: “He is a bandy legged little troll who sort of, like, scampers around with his tooth missing and is in and out of the bushes and never washes,” she says. Yeah, that’s pretty much how I see him too. If I were not already in love with Courtney, I would be now, if only because she just used the term “bandy legged” to describe Russell.
“And Parvati? She clearly has no problem flirting with clearly anything that walks,” Courtney continues. The editors very adeptly insert a shot of Parvati running toward Russell shouting “My hero!” and jumping all over him. Rob hears them laughing with each other, suspecting that something is up because they’re not bothered at all by the fact that they’re supposedly outnumbered. “It makes me wonder if there are two people with me in the tent with them, and the joke is on me,” he comments, adeptly.
Is it just me, or has Parvati gotten less hot this season?
After the credits, we’re back with the Villains. Jerri talks to Russell, who spends a lot of time trying to get her to switch sides. Russell thinks that Jerri respects him for the move he made last week, which is completely wrong, because it’s Jerri doesn’t trust Rob at all. Rob’s the Devil You Know, and Russell’s the mystery, which makes Rob predictable, so I have no idea why she would switch, but whatever. Danielle and Parvati work her too, promising her final four; Jerri voices some trepidation about working with Parvati, but Parvati tells her she has a history of loyalty, keeping her promises to the girls she went to the final four with last time. Of course, when you make promises to everyone, there are by default a subset of people to whom you actually keep that promise. That’s not evidence, that’s the exception that proves the rule.
Over at the Heroes tribe, Colby and his denim outfit get up in the morning. I bet he just wears denim everywhere he goes, like, he has a denim tuxedo for formal events.
The Canadian Tuxedo makes its first appearance on Survivor.
Rupert talks about how Colby needs to step up, because Rupert bears no responsibility for the losses, I guess. All Colby’s fault! Burn him!
Reward challenge. Three members of each tribe will swim out to retrieve a ball, and will have to swim back and sink it into a basket. It’s basically the same challenge we’ve seen a dozen times this season, except in the water. Maybe I’ m in a bad mood or something, but I really have no desire to watch another stupid wrestling/basketball challenge. Do something else, show.
The first team to three wins a “healthy meal” at a waterfall, so even the rewards are boring in this episode. At first, Colby keeps shooting and air balling, but he eventually takes down Coach and sinks the first point for the Heroes. In the second round, Colby assists on another point for the Heroes by totally owning Jerri, which I found hilarious.
“And THAT’S for what you’re going to do later in the episode!”
In the third round, Russell and Rupert end up going at it with each other, making a lot of noise and contributing nothing to the team effort, which I thought was a nice little metaphor for how those two exist in general. While Russell and Rupert are having a battle to the death (personally, I’m rooting for some sort of underwater sea creature to emerge and swallow them up), Colby gets after the ball and scores the final point for the Heroes, giving them their first win in awhile. Their celebration is typically lame, as you would expect.
I’m kind of hoping that they bonk heads and knock each other unconscious.
When the Heroes arrive at the reward, they find a clue for another immunity idol on the table with the food. The team tries to put it to the side and read it later, but Amanda can’t help herself and reads it to the group. JT proposes that they all go look for it together and “use it against the Villains”, which a) will never happen and b) allows JT to retain the status quo, which conveniently means he gets to stay in the majority alliance.
Back at the Villains tribe, Jerri has made the decision to side with Russell. The problem now is that Russell also needs Coach, who’s thrown his lot in with her. He promises Coach and Jerri that they will go to the top three together. “I walked over and Russell was spinning a pure line of gold,” Coach says, “And Jerri was buying it hook, line and sinker.” He says that he and Jerri are “honor bound” to play the game together, so he says that if she’s decided to go with Russell, he really has no choice.
She must be thinking “How can I make Schoonie miserable for the rest of the season?”
Coach gets Jerri alone, telling her that he doesn’t trust Russell and has problems playing the game with him. When Jerri responds by telling Coach that she doesn’t trust Rob, Coach tells her that he played a different game last time, and this time he’s done everything he said he would. “When I look at Coach, I see a guy who just doesn’t…get it,” Jerri says. So, Jerri has a pretty basic understanding of how Coach works, then. Then again, her people reading skills led her to align with Russell, so maybe it’s back to square one, there. Don’t talk to strangers, Jerri!
Immunity challenge. Three tribe members will race along a ropes course to retrieve puzzle pieces, and then two other tribe members will race to solve the puzzle first to win immunity. Man I love the simple challenges.
Because Courtney, Sandra and Parvati sat out the reward challenge (they had to sit out three ladies, but I have no idea why they did it that way when they knew immunity was coming up), they all have to play today. This leads to some hilarious pratfalls by the Villains as the Heroes build up a nice lead when the puzzle portion begins.
Seriously, where is her center of gravity?
You’d think that because there are puzzle pieces involved that this lead would be erased, but no! It isn’t! The Heroes actually win an immunity challenge and send the Villains to Tribal Council. And without James around, at that! Hmm. Could it be that without him bitching and bullying everyone, the Heroes were able to finally work together? Nah, it’s totally Colby.
Back at camp, Coach seems to think that Courtney or Sandra should go because of her poor performance at the challenge. When Coach talks about Sandra, we get a spectacular shot of her tripping over a hole in the sand and falling resplendently on her face, Lisi-style. It’s amazing to watch, mostly because she cannot stop laughing afterwards.
Yes, I laugh like an idiot when people I like fall on their faces, too.
Russell sits down with Rob, Sandra and Courtney. When Rob asks him who should go, he points at them and goes “one of these”, and they start laughing at him. “Not a way to gather friends, buddy,” Rob says, laughing. “I think he’s right, personally,” Courtney says amazingly. I seriously just want to hang out with the three of them and make fun of everyone else in the entire world. Could someone please pay me to do that?
Rob then asks Coach what they should do, trying wisely to make it look like they’re a team. Coach thinks that they should either blindside Parvati or get rid of Courtney, which Rob responds to by asking Coach what makes Parvati more threatening than Russell. When Coach can’t directly answer, he agrees that Russell is the right move. “Let’s get that little bastard out of here,” Coach says, smiling. Remember that.
Afterwards, Coach finds Jerri lounging around with Team Russell, who appears to have successfully annexed her from Team Rob. Russell really, really wants to get rid of Rob using Jerri and Coach as swing votes, and Jerri is more than down to make it happen. Coach has his reservations, however, because he promised Rob that he wouldn’t vote for him. Russell makes the hilarious argument that Rob doesn’t make the team better, and that he and Coach could beat any of their guys. What’s he going to do, hide in his tree and throw Fudge Stripe Cookies at them?
“We can beat any two guys they put against us if those two guys are Rupert and an inbred clone of Rupert!”
Coach is still hesitant, and the editing shows him saying “I’m with you a hundred percent,” but there’s clearly something missing. In confessional, he looks like he’s about ready to cry. Maybe he has PTSD and Russell gives him flashbacks to the midget thing, I don’t know.
Later, Rob sits in the shelter, already aware that Russell and Parvati are coming after him. When he asks Jerri about it, she pretends not to know anything, but Rob can see that she’s clearly lying. In fact, he knows exactly what she’s about to do. “I’m at your mercy, Jerri,” Rob says. “You have to do what’s best for you, and I understand.” That’s a pretty impressive thing to say. He tries half-heartedly to convince Jerri that the best thing for her to do is to come along with him, but it’s easy to see that he knows this is already a done deal.
Jerri looks legitimately confused before Tribal Council, telling Coach that she’s aged five years and recapping what Rob told her about doing what’s best. Coach once again reiterates his opinion that Rob should be kept for challenge purposes, but Jerri is too busy feeling sorry for herself. “I’m not a good villain, she says.” She has no idea how wrong she’s about to be.
“But….I can do puzzles!”
Tribal Council. Probst starts out by asserting that the Heroes have been “destroying them”. Apparently, an episode’s worth of losses constitutes getting “destroyed”. Probst wants to know whether Tyson’s ouster has anything to do with the loss, and Rob argues that the lines have now been drawn in the sand. Russell disagrees with him, I think just to be contrite and rub it in. “I could have blindsided anybody, but I made the best move I could,” Russell says.
Could someone explain to me how what happened last week was anything other than blind luck? Explain to me a scenario in which Russell could have blindsided “anybody”, and I will buy you a nice new pony, and here’s why: If Russell did, in fact, orchestrate Tyson’s ouster last week, he would have known that he needed a member of Team Rob to switch their vote from Parvati to Russell, or vice versa. This means that he would have needed to know who was voting for whom, and if Jerri or someone had told him that, would there be this much waffling this week? What happened last week was almost entirely luck. There was no strategy on Russell’s part to masterfully eliminate Tyson. Russell stumbled upon the right thing to do by accident. When he gave the idol to Parvati, it was not the final piece of his plan to eliminate Tyson; it was a concentrated effort to make himself look like a badass, and nothing more. There is literally no way Russell is responsible for what happened last week, whatsoever. Granted, this week is a different story, but I refuse to participate in propagating the myth of Russell the Great.
Anyway. Rob tells Probst that people are paranoid because they’re thinking in terms of keeping alliances strong, instead of keeping the team itself strong. “How is voting for me last week keeping the team strong?” Russell says. When Rob argues that Russell isn’t loyal and causes strife within the team, Russell argues that his move last week was loyalty at it’s finest. Obviously it wasn’t, but it’s pretty deft of Russell to try to spin it that way, and I give him credit for it. “You don’t have the GUTS to do what I did,” Russell says needlessly. To do what, exactly? Luck out? Talk a bunch of shit? Make a move that draws a lot of attention? Because Rob invented all of that shit, and he was doing it back when you still had all of your teeth, Gimpy Joe.
Anyway, time to vote. Rob votes for Russell. “It’s game over, either you or me,” he says. We don’t see anyone else’s vote, including Russell’s, which I thought was a little suspicious. When the votes are read, it’s three for Rob and three for Russell. Then, what appears to be a random vote for Courtney but is, in fact, Coach being a complete and utter pussy by voting Rob out without having the balls to actually vote Rob out. When the last vote is for Rob and he’s out, he hugs Jerri, respecting that she was forward with him, and then shuns Coach. “You’re a little man,” he says, completely correct.
“Daddy doesn’t love me!”
I’m not happy that Rob’s gone, but let’s be frank: that was happening at the merge anyway. This vote pisses me off so much because it means watching Russell for the rest of the season, and I really, really don’t want to do that.
Here’s the thing: I am not going to deny that Russell did some very strategically sound things in this episode. I’m not going to deny that he’s a good player. However, the amount of bragging he does is in no way proportional to his actual skill, and I will never, ever enjoy watching him for this very reason. Russell is very obviously both threatened by and scared of Rob, so he went gunning for him, which is all well and good. There’s still more evidence against Russell than for him, but I won’t deny that this is a good move.
However, it’s Russell. Think for a minute about what we’re going to have to listen to for the rest of the season: all the gloating, using this move as evidence. The exact same shit we just finished watching last year. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in another season of that. This is the first time in the history of Survivor that I actively do not enjoy watching, and it’s not because the people I like are losing: that’s happened many, many times before. Survivor’s all about the journey, about the thirteen or so episodes we get to watch every year. If those thirteen episodes are a marathon of boring bragging and useless talking? That shit is boring.
The only thing keeping me going through this slog is the inevitable tears of a bandy-legged troll. Because when Russell gets second place again, and he will, I am going eat it up like it’s a Chinese buffet, and I hope you all will join me. Wontons for everyone in about two months!