This week, on Survivor: Sandra becomes my best friend for life. Let’s hang out!Back from the ouster of Tom, Colby looks sad, so James offers to give him a hug. I’ m not sure whether he’s being genuine or trying to be a dick, but I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, since 75 percent of all things James does are done just to be a dick. If I were Colby, I would have punched him in the patella.
Over by the fire, Candace tells us that she voted for Tom “to protect herself”, because she didn’t want to put her neck out there even further than she already has. This isn’t stopping Amanda from taking aim at Candace; Amanda tells us that “everyone’s annoyed at Candace because no one trusts her”. Annoying the annoying isn’t something I’m faulting Candace for. How can you be annoyed by Candace but not be annoyed by Rupert or James? They are walking embodiments of your little brother following you around all, “I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!”
That same night at the Villains tribe, Russell gets out of bed to have a conversation with Rob, who sits by himself on the beach. “I don’t want to be at your throat and you be at my throat,” he says to Rob. Russell tells us that he did this to make it look like he’s not going after Rob when he is, but it’s fairly obvious that the reason why he’s doing it is because he’s terrified of Rob. Rob, of course, isn’t buying it, telling him that everyone’s upset because he went looking for the idol, so if he has it, he’d better hand onto it tight, because he’s going to need it. Russell denies that he has the idol, because he is an idiot (I mean seriously, what’s the point of maintaining that ruse now?), and Rob’s like “Well, go find it then! Watch your back!” and then walks away abruptly, leaving Russell a quivering mess. “You watch YOUR back,” Russell tries to add, trying to sound badass but coming off scared and unnerved. “Good talk, Russell,” Rob says hilariously. Man, I could watch that over and over again. Advantage: Rob.
The next day the Heroes get a treemail filled with a bunch of ambiguous rhymes that mean nothing, so they head off to the challenge not knowing what to expect. When they arrive and Probst announces that Tom was voted out instead of James, the Villains are pretty surprised. “He must have a pretty strong alliance,” Danielle says, nailing it.
The challenge today is going to be for individual immunity, because both tribes are going to Tribal Council. This challenge was done in Tocantins: each person will be attached to a long rope, which is twisted around an obstacle course. The first person from each tribe to navigate along the rope to the end will win immunity. Then, the two people that win will face off against each other for the right to watch the other tribe’s Tribal Council while enjoying a picnic of hot dogs.
The Heroes go first, and James actually does pretty well, despite his injury. He’s even in the lead momentarily, but Candace gets out ahead and manages to eke out a win. “Candace was really the only thing stopping Colby from going home,” JT says.
Villains’ heat. Of course Rob and Tyson are awesome at it (Tyson won this challenge in Tocantins, Probst points out), and Sandra is continuing her tradition of being almost comically inept at all challenges. And thus Rob wins immunity, which made me unnecessarily happy because I was totally thinking that he would be going home this episode, thanks to Russell’s idol.
So Rob takes on Candace for reward, but this challenge is not interesting enough to watch three times, so it’ll come as no shock to you that Rob beats Candace. The Villains will go to Tribal Council first, and then they’ll get to watch the Heroes’ TC while they eat.
Back at the Villains camp, Parvati is already scrambling. “During the challenge, I was thinking that I HAD to win it, or I was going home,” she says. Has Parvati ever won individual immunity? Lemme check quickly…yep! Once. Hm, so I guess she did have a shot then. I was going to mock her, but now I can’t. Damn!
Rob gathers everyone in his alliance (Courtney, Jerri, Tyson, Coach and Sandra) to tell them the plan: they’re going to vote out Parvati, but they’re going to make Russell think it’s him so that they can flush out the idol. Coach tells us that he’s the middleman, but that he’s a man of his word so he’s going to stick with Rob. What happened to being “knighted” by Russell, eh? I’d point out Coach’s hypocrisy, but at this point it’d be the equivalent of going “Hey, have you heard that some people are upset about this health care bill?”
Rob and Russell have another conversation in the woods, and it goes like this. I will transcribe it, because it is magic:
Rob: “You’d better be careful. Do you have the idol?”
Russell: “I don’t have it.”
Rob: “Well, you’d better go get it.”
Russell: “I don’t have it.”
Rob: “Well, it’s been real!”
And then Rob reaches to high five him, and Russell, looking sublimely confused, participates in the high five, which is beyond hilarious. This is all moving way too fast for him!
Later, when Russell’s had ample time to write a comeback, because he’s made it clear that he can’t really go toe to toe with Rob in a war of words by this point, he begins his offensive: “Rob said ‘It’s better to play with me than against me’, and I’m going to make him eat them words.”
He proceeds to call a meeting with Parvati and Danielle, telling them that he’s not dumb and he knows that they’re going to vote for Parvati and not him, so he’s going to give Parvati the idol and they’re all going to put Tyson’s name down. This whole conversation, by the way, looks highly suspicious and heavily edited; we never see anyone’s mouth moving or forming the words on the audio track. I’m sure Russell figured all of this out later, but I very much doubt that he came up with all this on his own, which is what the show is trying to tell us. The much more likely scenario is that Parvati figured it out (especially because it involves her going home), but since this show is determined to show us how “smart” Russell is, we’re just going to have to take it at face value and say he came up with it himself, I guess. Seriously, go back and watch this scene and tell me it makes sense.
Over at the Heroes tribe, Colby is telling everyone that he knows his time is up, so there’s no need to scramble, he has no hard feelings, and everyone should just relax and enjoy their afternoon. James, however, can’t keep his mouth shut, and decides to tell Colby that he’s a shadow of his former self. “You’re The Great Colby, but if your sleepy ass gets beat by a fat man and a cripple, you have not done anything.” Hey, um, James? NEITHER HAVE YOU. Yeah, you yelled a bunch a couple of challenges ago, but after that your largest contribution to the tribe was to scream at them a bunch about how they can’t use One Voice and then beat up an old man.
“Oh, you don’t mind, do you? Well, I’m glad I have your approval, Limpy Jones.”
Meanwhile, the unholy triumvirate of Amanda, JT and Rupert talk about who to vote out. Apparently, they’re considering getting rid of James because they’re worried they may have to run eventually, and he also does no work around camp and eats way, way too much food. They want “the strongest possible five”, which apparently means getting rid of Colby or James, but really should involve a debate between Rupert and James, not that Rupert is going to tell you that.
Amanda, who wants to keep her ally James around, decides to ask him to prove himself:
“Can you run?” she says, “Because you’re gonna have to show everyone. Also you can’t steal any more bananas.”
“Also, can you teach me how to move my face?”
When the banana issue is brought up, James gets very defensive. “You do take a lot of bananas,” she says, and they get into an incredibly banal argument about how he never offers anyone else any. Amanda does make the very salient point that when you’re part of a group of very hungry people, eating too much can be a big, big problem. “You need to prove that you can run, because if there’s a chance that you’re not okay, that’s bad,” Amanda says. James’ response? “I’m tired of talking.” Oh, James: you could never get tired of talking.
James walks up to Rupert and JT: “We’re gonna have the Hero Olympics, let’s race,” he says. He lines up with JT, who of course smokes him because James is legitimately injured. “James is the kind of guy who will never admit that he’s hurt,” JT says. That’s true, but it has more to do with the money than whatever heart you happen to think James has. He’s made it pretty clear that his only heart has to do with wanting to win, not because he has any sort of love for competition. In fact, if there weren’t money involved, I’m pretty sure James would be posted up in a corner somewhere.
“Gandalf and one of the Mario Brothers are going to be participating in the javelin competition.”
Back at the much more interesting Villains tribe, Rob has finally arrived at the revelation that they don’t need to pretend to vote for Parvati; they have enough of a majority that they can split the vote 3-3, flush out the idol, and get rid of whomever they like with a revote. Rob also knows they’re going after Tyson because he’s the second strongest, so it benefits him the most to stick to this plan. They decide that Courtney/Coach/Jerri will vote for Parvati, and the other three will vote for Russ. At this point, I’m starting to lick my lips at the thought of a Survivor without Russell. You guys remember that from, like, a billion years ago? It was pretty cool.
Sometime before Tribal Council, Russell pulls Tyson over and tells him that there’s nothing he can do to save Parvati, so he’s going to vote for her as well. Tyson tells us that this presents an excellent opportunity to flop his vote to Parvati to make sure she goes home, because he really wants her gone. Of course, none of this makes sense: his additional vote does nothing to help, and all he has to do is follow the plan and she’ll go home anyway if she’s eligible for elimination. But pretty much everyone with half a brain would realize this, and I guess he’s too busy coming up with sarcastic repartee to process properly. We will address this later.
“Hey, you think you could do something incredibly stupid and needless for me? Thaaaaaaanks.”
Russell, meanwhile, has figured out that he’s probably fucked, telling us that he knows that they have enough to create a 3 way tie and that will mean that they can do whatever they want. “But are they smart enough to do that?” he wonders. Answer: yes and no.
Tribal Council. The Villains file in; Probst asks some of the old school players how the game has changed since played last. Wait, we’re not going to talk about past relationships for once? I’m confused.
Jerri tells Probst that the actual survival aspects of the game aren’t as important, and Rob says that the most important change is the advent of the immunity idol. “We all know who has it, RUSSELL,” Sandra awesomely volunteers. Man, do I love her.
I may just screencap Sandra’s face for the rest of the season.
He continues to deny that he has the idol, which again is idiotic, because I’m sure Coach has spilled the beans. “Well, if you don’t have it and you didn’t find it, you best look for it,” Sandra responds. Let’s get married!
Tyson points out that the idol is pretty useless when the numbers are this large, because you can refute it if you vote properly. Yeah, but that would require you to vote properly, TYSON.
After a short interlude in which people point out that Parvati and Rob are threatening (WE KNOW), it’s time to vote. We see an unprecedented number of votes this time; pretty much everyone but Tyson and Russell are shown. Sandra’s vote is (of course) the best; she votes for Russell and says the following: “You need to get in the ocean and wash your ass.” Just…perfection, that. Shut this whole thing down, because that’s the best it’s going to get.
Once all the votes are cast, Probst asks for the idol, and then…COMMERCIAL! I bet the editors have been just dying to do that. When we get back, Russell gets up just like everyone thought he would and pulls out the idol. He goes to hand it to Probst and stops at the last second, because Russell has scripted this moment out in his head for maximum drama because he is the biggest queen ever. “No, not this way,” he says to Probst, turning to the rest of his tribe. “You know Coach, you always say loyal, honesty and trust is the best thing, and I’m gonna stick to that. Parvati?” he says, handing off the idol and smirking. Way to botch your big moment by saying “loyal”, by the way.
Parvati plays the idol. “Such a gentleman,” she says. I will say this for Russell: that whole thing, while overly dramatic and idiotic, was pretty smart in that it likely got Coach to think about working with him again.
“Man, I’m going to look REALLY cool here! Get my good side.”
The votes are read: The first two are for Russell, and then there are three for Parvati. Now, the next one should also be for Russell, but it’s not: it’s for Parvati too, because Tyson switched his vote. Then there are three votes for Tyson, and because Tyson himself switched his vote, that’s enough to send him home. What a dumbass. He is, literally, the first person ever to vote himself out of the game. Way to go!
God, we were THIS CLOSE to getting rid of Russell. It would have been so poetic, to see him get sent home as a result of over thinking the game and giving the idol to Parvati. Instead, we have…this. Not great. A lot of people have been giving Russell credit for convincing Tyson to change his vote, but I’m much more inclined to attribute it to Tyson’s stupidity. Russell’s trying whatever he can at this point, and I’m not sure he deserves the credit that’s being heaped on him for this particular move. I mean, it’s moderately smart to tell someone you’re voting for your own ally, but on the other hand, Russell has been so inept this season that taking out one person isn’t exactly turning the game around for him. It’s like, “Congratulations, you managed to briefly overcome your almost unprecedented social incompetence by playing an idol! You’re the greatest player ever!”
Wrong. The “Greatest Player Ever” would never cause everyone to hate him, playing the social game so poorly as to be almost hopelessly outnumbered. I mean, we all know that Russell knows how to work an idol; that’s been established. But as I’ve said a million times, that doesn’t make you a great strategist. He’s pretty much hopelessly fucked himself by acting like an asshole and making no friends, and while Tyson’s elimination is a temporary setback, Russell is still massively outnumbered. Even if he finds another idol and saves his ass again (which is not out of the question), he’s still pretty screwed because he’s unlikable and full of himself. Even if he does get to the end, odds are that the jury’s going to be stacked with Villains, and they all clearly hate his ass and thus would never vote for him to win.
And that’s my point: Finding idols will, at best, only allow Russell to continue his inevitable march toward second place. This is the very best Russell could ever hope to do, because he is Russell. Everyone who’s ever won the game has one thing in common: they can make other people like them. Even your Parvatis and Jenna Morascas have the skill to make friends with others; Russell’s too busy making everything about Russell to bother, which is why he will never, ever win. Bet on that shit.
Anyway, Russell benefits from Tyson’s incredible stupidity and stays around, so he and the rest of the Villains get to eat in front of the Heroes while they conduct their vote. After some standard salivating over the hot dogs, Probst turns talk to James’ injury. When James tells the group that he lost in a footrace to JT, Probst points out that most healthy people would lose to JT. He also asks JT if he’s single, but that part gets edited out.
James takes this opportunity to get all disappointed daddy on Colby, telling the room that Colby was his hero, but that he’s been brought down to earth this season. “It’s like seeing Superman up close, and he’s wearing nothing but a fat suit.” A fat suit? I think he means one of those suits that make you look like a muscleman, but trying to make sense of James’ words is…not the greatest use of anyone’s time, so we’ll move on.
“And you know how you get to be fat, don’t you? BY EATING APPLES.”
“Colby, do you want to be here?” James continues. “There are doers and there are say-ers, and I’m a doer.”
Yes yes y’all, the guy who has spent an entire season bullying people and shit talking them for hours at a time and constantly referring to himself in the third person just called himself a “doer”. Reflect on that shit for a minute. He could, literally, not be more wrong. He is the antonym of everything he just said.
And then, to prove my point, James continues to talk, delivering a long soliloquy about how he had no idea that there’s “banana etiquette”, and that you have to ask everyone else if they want a banana whenever you eat. He’s completely missing the point, which is that you’re supposed to be considerate enough to leave food for everyone else instead of just eating everything in sight. Yes, they’re the ridiculous ones for wanting food left when they’re hungry. HOW DARE THEY?
Why should I leave you food, sayers? JAMES THE DOER IS HUNGRY.
Of course, everyone thinks that James is just hilarious, because his home spun, frank attitude is just so damn charming. Quit laughing at him, all of you!
Time to vote. I was pretty sure that Colby was done at this point, but when the votes are read, it’s unanimous for James. Hey, the Heroes finally got rid of someone shitty! He hugs Amanda goodbye and heads off, telling them that he’s going to be good and drunk in the next five minutes.
You know what the best part of all this is? We’re not going to have to listen to a self-centered James jury question this year! But how will we know who’s eating the apple? HOW?