Friday, February 26, 2010

Searching For Signal: #107 - “Survivor” - Heroes vs. Villains - Episode 3

So we start out with the Heroes tribe marching back to camp after Tribal, while the eerie night-vision cameras are rolling, with all of them acting really sad and all, but you know every one of them is thinking “thank God it was Stephenie and not me.” They start unloading their gear and doing boring things around camp.

Surprisingly, Tom actually tells James that he could have been gentler with how he treated Stephenie at Tribal. Which is true, James was an ass, but I’m thinking, Dude, you and Colby are apparently on the outs with the Heroes tribe. Hate James quietly. Don’t get his attention, because James is apparently the sheepherder in the tribe right now. Go clean some fish or something and plot your revenge.

There’s a quick scene where JT is apologizing to Tom for going against their supposed alliance by voting out one of Tom’s buddies. They hug it out and everything, but you know Tom is not pleased with JT and his chipped tooth.

Tom confirms this in a sidebar. He feels that JT betrayed him. That’s right, Tom, he did. JT has changed since his original season, and not just when it comes to dental work. You and Colby better get your act together and force the spotlight on somebody else. Right on cue, we then switch to a scene with Tom and Colby realizing that they have got to play smarter.

Colby’s a little bummed. This is not the game-play that he remembers, and this is also true. “Survivor” was a totally different game back in the day when Colby played it out in Season 2. Strategy was subtle, alliances were strong, and most people played with decency. These days, you’re expected to form 47 conflicting alliances, stab your supposed friends in the back every other hour, and maniacally cavort in front of the camera, proclaiming yourself the greatest thing in the world since the invention of toilet paper.

Opening credits roll.

Now we’re over at the Villains camp, late at night after the Tribal they didn’t have to attend. I’m somewhat repulsed to see Russell and Parvati snuggled up together in the crappy shelter. They aren’t exactly having intercourse, but they might as well be, pawing on each other and bumping body parts and whatnot.

Then the two of them are whispering in each others ear, apparently sharing secret words that make both of them cackle and howl at the moonlight. We get reaction shots from the rest of the tribe as they all glare at the nasty pair shrieking with mirth and keeping everybody awake.

Rob in a sidebar: You really have to “watch how people sleep at night.” Folks are not going to sleep near someone that they plan on voting out. Very sage advice. See, I’m still liking Rob, even though I know I’m supposed to hate him. (I didn’t see his original season, so I don’t know what the hell he did, but apparently it was something not very nice.)

Zip over to the Heroes camp the next morning. It seems that the loss of Stephenie has inspired them to build a chicken coop. They march this contraption out, pick up the chickens who had previously been quarantined in a net and rock condo, and shove them into their new home. Immediately, the chickens escape through the poorly-spaced bamboo bars of their new cell. I guess nobody on this tribe is a structural engineer.

So then we have lots of shots where the tribe is running around and trying to capture the AWOL poultry. Yes, they all work together, and they do eventually snag the birds, but it’s really not anything exciting. This smells like filler to me.

Then we see Rupert in a sidebar. He’s all aglow about how his team succeeded, with him getting misty-eyed that they rounded up the cluckers that wouldn’t have been running free in the first place if somebody had paid attention in shop class. This is one of the times when Rupert got on my nerves. Saving the chickens was a nice little subplot. Winning an Immunity Challenge? Much more important.

And really, Rupert, could you lose the tie-dyed shirt that clashes with the jungle? That thing has got to be totally rank and tattered by now, after three seasons. You got a nice pile of viewer-voted money at one point, and I know there’s a Wal-Mart where you live. They have shirts there that you can buy. Check it out. And trim that damn beard. They also have razors at Wal-Mart. One trip to Wally World could change your life.

Then we’re back over at the Villains camp, where Coach is telling Russell that he needs to cool it with all that dry-humping Parvati business. People are watching and his actions could make him a target. (Wow, Coach is actually saying something worthwhile and it doesn’t involve modified Buddhism? That’s a fresh breeze.) Rob wanders up and agrees with Coach, telling Russell to back off.

Russell appears to agree with both of them, but you know he doesn’t. It has never crossed this man’s mind that anything he does is worthy of criticism. Two seconds later, we have Russell in a sidebar where he is spouting off that “Coach is a joke” and “Rob’s a fool.” He finishes up with “I’M the daddy around here.”

“Daddy” is not what people are calling you, Russell. Just thought you should know.

Then Russell races off to find Pavarti, where he proceeds to fill her slutty mind with lies about what Coach didn’t actually say. She nods her head knowingly with every word that oozes out of Napoleon’s mouth, while still managing to shove her breasts at the camera and fiddle with her skimpy bikini bottoms.

In a sidebar, Parvati actually utters “I’m just a sweet innocent little girl.” Then even she can’t help but crack up at this ludicrous statement, although she still manages to hump the tree trunk she’s straddling while the cameraman attempts to keep the frame in focus.

Now we’re in the Villains camp, at night, and Coach is telling one of his totally bogus stories where he supposedly decimated an entire Incan tribe using nothing but dental floss. Rob tries to call him on it (“Is this the same story from last night?”) but Coach doesn’t stop, gushing crap like there’s been a sewage mishap.

Meanwhile, Russell, caught up in another one of his delusional schemes, decides that he needs to take the camp’s machete and bury it somewhere in the sand, so that the missing item will cause chaos in the tribe. Okay, Russell, you really aren’t thinking this thing through. We already know that you steal things. Do you think these people didn’t watch your season?

Then it’s the next morning at the Villains camp, and Coach is out on some sandbar where he’s doing the Eastern yoga thing. Oh, and he’s singing, if you can call it that. Birds are dropping out of the sky, but he doesn’t stop wailing. And what’s with the feather you’ve shoved in your greasy, unconditioned hair? You are not an Indian, or an eagle, or… whatever you’re going for. Stop it.

There’s a brief bit where Randy drags a big-ass clam out of the water, and tries to share it with the rest of the tribe. Most of them just glare at him like they’re watching the pea soup scene in “The Exorcist”. As Randy says in a sidebar, it’s protein. Why would you not take advantage of that? In the end, after Parvati takes a bite and then classily spits it out on the sand, it’s only Randy and Sandra chowing down on the clam meat. Things look dim for Randy on the social scale.

Time for a visit to the Heroes camp. JT is chatting with Candice, and all the sudden Candice is spilling everything about her thoughts on strategy. JT, emboldened by this inside scoop, races to Cirie and Amanda and reinterprets Candice’s words to meet his needs, telling Cirie that Candice doesn’t trust her. Cirie and Amanda gasp and make appropriate startled noises.

Not really caring for JT this season.

Cirie, being who she is, confronts Candice directly. Candice denies hating on Cirie, but then Cirie won’t say who gave her the intel. (This is where Cirie is sly, and why she’s not necessarily a hero. She’ll throw a brick, but not follow through or come clean.) Candy girl then embarks on a mission to find out who is throwing her under the bus.

Candice approaches Tom. Candice approaches Amanda. Candice approaches James. They all tell her the same thing, they don’t know where the slam came from. James goes a bit further, because he’s still got something up his butt this time around, and basically tells Candice to shut up. We have competitions to win.

Which is true, you need to win, but Candice is justified in trying to find out what’s going on. Rumors can kill in this game. After all, James, that’s how YOU went home in the past. Or did you and your muscles forget about that?

Time for the only Challenge this episode, a combination of Immunity and Reward.

This one involves what is basically a modified Sumo wrestling competition, where the Survivors thrust their hands in a pillow thing and then try to shove their competitor off a wooden platform so they will fall into a mud pit. Jeff makes it very clear that you must keep both hands in the pillow bag at all times.

We get going, and the Heroes totally rule this challenge. Right away, Tom slams Russell into the mud. (Loved that.) Candice does the same with Parvati. There’s a brief interruption in the Hero dominance when Rupert and Coach are dueling. Coach clearly cheats by taking one hand out of his Sumo pillow while making a suspect move that sends Rupert into the mud.

Coach is so busy screaming victory noises that he initially doesn’t hear Jeff saying that this round has to be a do-over because Coach didn’t follow the rules. When the words finally sink in, Coach amazes me with his next move. He flips off Jeff.

Wow. Did you really think that was a smart thing to do, Coach? Or do they have such things as smart moves on the planet where you live? Wait, do they even HAVE moves on your planet? Or does everyone just stand around in the Whooping Crane position and talk about themselves?

They restart the round, and almost instantly Coach is knocked in the mud by Rupert. Cirie takes out Jeri in just a few seconds as well. JT trumps Tyson. Amanda knocks off Danielle. (I keep forgetting Danielle is even on the show. Has she done anything?) Colby routes Rob. The Heroes have not lost a round yet, it’s actually very exciting no matter who you are rooting for. Finally, James smacks Randy into the mud with just one blow.

The Heroes win Immunity. (And a Reward, but who cares about that right now.)

Forebodingly, as James finishes his round, he takes his Sumo pillow and slams it down on Randy after Randy is clearly down and out. It’s not a pretty thing, and it’s completely not cool. I’m tellin ya, James is about to implode.

So then the Villains march back home, caked with drying mud and bickering. Then most of them jump in the water to clean up and before you know it they are rubbing mud off of each other in what looks like some twisted soft-porn movie involving serial killers. (“The Creep End of the Ocean”?) In a sidebar, Randy rants about the girls flirting with the boys all the time. Especially Parvati. They need to get her out.

Interestingly, Parvati corners Coach and accuses him of trying to just that. While she’s making her claims, Parv manages to caress and/or somehow highlight most of her 2,000 body parts. (Does she not know how to do ANYTHING else?) In HIS sidebar, Coach says that he can’t stand Parvati, but it sure looks like he enjoyed the show and would certainly buy season tickets.

Anyway, it becomes clear that the Villains will be sending either Parvati or Randy home. So now we have the typical pre-Tribal montage of people running up and down the island, lying and back-stabbing and jostling to get the best sound-bites on camera.

Sandra tells Coach: “If I’m not up, I’ll vote whatever.” Then she stomps back into the jungle to drink more water from the Bad-Attitude Spring that she’s been sucking on since she jumped out of the helicopter. Jerri about Parvati: “I just want to punch her in face.” (I’ll hold her still while you do it.) Parvati about Jerri: “She’s a bitter old cougar.” (Honey, you better take notes, then, because you’re going to need them in a few years.)

Then Randy sums up the situation best when he tells Coach that “this is Micronesia 2.0” They can’t let Parvati survive until The Merge because she’ll get together with Amanda, and most likely Cirie (despite what she says, Cirie will ride the Parmanda train for everything she can until the train either derails or pulls into the station). A 3-person alliance after the merge basically means everybody else goes home.

Now we have Coach in a sidebar, where he proclaims that “nobody out here is honorable. Except for me.” (What?) Then he actually quotes Martin Luther King. (Dude, you are SO not MLK. You’re not even Y2K. We don’t believe in dragons any more.) At the end of this bit, Coach swears that he will fight for Randy. Uh huh. We’ll see, Mr. Honorable.


Jeff brings up the impact of “past relationships”, which is a valid point, but Jeff really needs to work on some new material. Sandra dings Parvati a bit, but basically they all agree that former networking is a critical thing in this game. (Then you should send Parvati home. Randy doesn’t have a friend in either camp. He probably doesn’t have a friend in either country.)

In response to Jeff asking about who is leading the tribe, Sandra starts babbling again (she sure was chatty tonight) and only takes a minimal swipe at Coach, it really wasn’t that bad. But Coach goes ballistic and lashes out, showing us exactly how one does NOT remain spiritual and calm like he claims to be. That boy is messed up.

Trying to switch subjects, Sandra suddenly blurts out “We ain’t got a machete! It grew legs and walked off!” (The camera briefly cuts to Russell, grinning in the firelight like the evil leprechaun that he is.) Jeff points out that this group is a mess. Parvati: “We’re just a tribe full of misfits.” I think I would have used a different word, Parv, but I understand that your vocabulary is limited to what you’ve read on the back of cereal boxes.

Time for the vote.

And it’s a landslide for Randy, he’s going home. (The only dissenting vote is his own, and he threw a curve ball with that by voting for Rob.) As he gets up, Randy takes off his buff and throws it into the Tribal Fire. Poor sportsmanship, but hey, I get it. I’m done with this tribe, too. They should have sent Parvati home.

We get a final shot of the buff in the fire. Interestingly enough, it’s not burning, just sitting there in the flames, a little ball of bitter coldness that refuses to go away. Wait, is this really Russell’s buff?

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