Friday, March 5, 2010

Searching For Signal: #108 - “Survivor” - Heroes vs. Villains - Episode 4

So once again, we’re traipsing back to camp after someone has been evicted. This time it’s the Villains tribe, and Randy is the one who has gone home after destroying fine couture in the tribal fire. They don’t even pretend to miss him, and really, what’s the point in getting emotional about someone that nobody really liked?

Still and all, they should have sent Parvati home. The remnants of this tribe will regret their decision. I realize that I seem to be a bit fixated on the ouster of this trollop, but seriously, these people need to understand that Parvati will work you over. Why do you THINK she’s on the Villains tribe? It’s certainly not for her humanitarian work.

We suddenly cut to Coach standing somewhere that’s not near the rest of the nasty villains. It’s hard to tell what’s going on with the night-vision cameras they use. And really, what’s the deal with those things? Why do they use them? Do the producers actually expect us to believe that the Survivors aren’t going to notice the cameras just because they don’t light up in the night?

Come on. These people know where the cameras are at all time, even when they’re asleep. That’s WHY they are on the show. Especially on the Villains tribe, where any one of them would happily club a baby seal with a piece of bamboo in order to get to a cameraman first. So ditch the stupid night-vision hardware and turn on some lights so we can see what’s what and people don’t look like possessed Smurfs.

Anyway, back to Coach. He’s getting all teary-eyed because of something Sandra said at Tribal. (As I previously mentioned, Sandra did slam him a little bit, but she was speaking the truth. When it comes to physical labor, Coach is nowhere to be found, instead opting to stand on a beach and praise himself while in the Downward-Facing Dog position.) If Coach is going to be devastated by THAT remark, the dude is in trouble.

Right then, Tyson stupidly wanders by and gets caught up in the self-imposed trauma. “I’m sensitive!” Coach wails, followed by “I did noble things!” Sadly, Tyson, along with the viewing audience, stops to stare in disbelief at Coach, and Tyson is therefore trapped and must respond in some way, He should have just kept walking and try to look for the machete that Russell buried.

Coach, realizing that he finally has someone paying at least partial attention, really puts on the waterworks display. He’s sobbing big time, making him look even less attractive, as if that was even possible. (By the way, where’s Jerri during all this? Aren’t those two playing slap and tickle among the coconuts?) Tyson, to his credit, because I wasn’t aware that he even realized there were other people on the island, tries to be supportive.

They hug it out a bit, twice in fact, and then Tyson offers to coach Coach on what he should do to get back in good graces with the tribe. Coach, because he’s not used to listening to anybody and instead assumes that people should listen to HIM, is a little startled. “What do you mean?” he asks, taken aback.

Tyson: “Don’t wear feathers to Tribal. And don’t tell your stories. Nobody believes them.” (I almost wet myself over that bit.)

Coach sniffles and then says haughtily. “I might leave tonight. This game doesn’t deserve my nobility.”

Oh please. Are you seriously that far gone? Nobility? Are you missing some pages in your dictionary?

Opening credits roll, and they are surprisingly short. As in just a bit of music, a few snippets of the island, and we’re done. No roll call whatsoever. What’s up with that?

Then we’re at the Villains camp the next morning. Coach is full drama-queen mode, announcing that he’s going for a walk and then he and his feather march into the jungle. After he flits out of the scene, Tyson spills to the rest of the tribe that Coach cried like a baby.

Rob is not impressed with this. He tracks down Coach quite easily, because Coach ain’t going anywhere far since that would require physical effort. Rob is pleasant at first, with another man-hug and all that, but then he tells Coach to toughen up. “Act like a man!” Then Boston Rob wanders off in search of a bar where everybody knows your name.

Coach in a sidebar: “Nobody out here has got what I have.” (Hallelujah for that, nobody should WANT what you’ve got.) Then delusional Coach compares himself to a Fierce Warrior (heard that before, still looking for proof) and to King Arthur. That one’s new. Still wrong, but new.

Then we have a brief scene in the Heroes camp where they get a modified Sears catalog in the tree mail. This means, of course, that the upcoming Reward challenge is one where the tribe gets to pick out, and hopefully win, something fancy from the catalog. But I think they only did this scene to remind us that there is actually another tribe, because it’s been total Coach TV up to this point.

Anyway, time for the Reward Challenge.

This one involves people hurling their bodies down a giant slip-n-slide, grabbing a numbered ball, and then throwing that ball in a primitive hoop basket. The competition is actually very tight, with the decision coming down to the final pair of sliders. (In the interim, the only things worth mentioning is that Cirie falls on her butt and is worthless, Courtney is too freakishly thin to even be alive, and James, despite his messed-up attitude, looks really good when his muscles are slickered up with oil.)

The Villains eventually win, but just by seconds. The Heroes stand around looking sad, waiting for Cirie to finally get all the way down the slip-n-slide run even though her round was four players back.

Then we’re at the Villains camp, where everyone is really psyched over the win, and Coach seems to be in a better mood. (Which sucks, can’t stand him, want him to suffer.) While they’re screwing around with the tool kit that they won, Russell is fiddling with a knife sheath of some kind and a rolled-up clue drops out. What’s this?

Rob snatches it up (while Russell glares at him) and proceeds to read aloud the contents. Seems there’s a hidden Immunity Idol, and Rob shares the details of this first clue with the entire tribe. Some mess about certain oddly-growing trees on the beach.

Sandra immediately bellows that they should find the Idol and throw it in the ocean so no one can have it. Everyone (minus Russell) seems to think this is a swell idea. In fact, the tribe decides (minus Russell), NO ONE should even go look for it. Instead, they should work on the shelter, screw the Idol, because if you find it and we know it, you’re a marked man.

So they start working on their Hud Housing with the new tools they won.

Within 15 seconds, because he can’t help himself, Russell announces that he’s “going for a walk.” (Gee, Russell, I don’t know if that was obvious enough. Perhaps you really ARE just trying to get some exercise. Not.)

As soon as Russell runs away to dig for the Idol, Rob tells Sandra to follow him and get the scoop on his actions. Sandra, totally loving this assignment, races through the jungle and down the beach, dodging and weaving and hiding and craning for a good view. She gets one, as she catches stupid Russell pawing at the sand.

Sandra light warps it back to the rest of the tribe and confirms what they suspected. Immediately, everyone is calling for Russell’s head and screaming that he should go home next. While this is thrilling, because I can’t stand the little man, we’ll have to wait and see when it comes to actual votes. These people are not faithful to any concept for any length of time.

Rob, in a sidebar, compares Russell to “a hobbit on crack.” Priceless, right?

Zip over to the Heroes camp the next day, where they manage to find a similar Hidden Immunity Idol clue in the coffee beans they won last week. Wait, the beans they won LAST WEEK? Damn, these people are slow.

Anyway, JT reads the details of the clue aloud, and this time there’s no agreement that nobody should look for the idol. Next thing you know, the whole tribe is thundering around the island, with sand flying in all directions and people grunting as they rip and tear in desperation.

Tom manages to find it.

Amanda sees him find it (oops) and practically breaks her neck running to tell the others. Within 15 seconds, the entire Southern Hemisphere knows that Tom has the Idol.

Tom tells Colby that they will have to use this Idol as a tool to get back in good graces with the tribe. True, you need to do exactly that. But you better be careful. People with a constant supply of sand in their cracks are not rational.

Immunity Challenge.

This one involves the giant hamster ball thing, where blind-folded people push a sighted person strapped in the ball along a path up to a table-sized maze, and then the sighted person instructs other blind-folded people who are operating the maze, so they can maneuver a silver ball into a hole.

This is the same setup where “good Russell” from last season suddenly collapsed and had to be removed from the show, thus resulting in the only “Survivor” competition in history that had to be completely stopped and no one actually won.

Jeff makes a big deal about this, which I kind of understand, but at the same time I’m thinking, why would you bring this particular challenge back? Shouldn’t you just let it go, out of respect, because it was pretty traumatic when Good Russell fell. But maybe that’s just me. I sometimes forget that this show is no longer about doing the right thing. My bad.

Anyway, we get going, with Rob leading the Villains and Tom leading the Heroes. The Villains pull ahead at one point, then the Heroes catch up, and it comes right down to the wire. In the end, the Villains win.

We cut over to the Heroes camp.

Tom, in a sidebar, says he is looking for breaks in the current alliances, anything that can help him flip the situation. Good plan. But in the end, don’t do anything stupid with that damn Idol in your sock. You might need it.

Then we have Candice babbling about the numbers strategy, where if they split the vote, half for Tom and half for Colby, they guarantee one of them going home, even with the Idol in play. Sounds good on paper, Candy, but all it takes is one person to jack things up. Word.

Then we have JT in a sidebar. He’s seriously thinking about an alliance with Tom and Colby. (See, Candice, this is what I’m talking about. You might have interesting teeth and a head for numbers, but logic is not a high priority in this game. And by the way, didn’t you abandon your original tribe during your season? Thought I’d mention that. Again.)

Tom approaches Amanda and JT. He’s willing to give the Idol to them, so it can be used as “community property” in a new alliance. JT is very pumped about this. (Amanda appears to be distracted by something shiny in the sand. She’s just not the sharpest tool.) James wanders up, and he seems down with the new alliance. The four of them (and really five, since Colby will follow Tom) agree that Candice is the one that should go home. Clap and break huddle.

Then stupid Amanda goes to Cirie, and spills all. Cirie immediately tries to spin this around, insisting that Tom or Colby needs to go. This could be a major mistake on Cirie’s part. Why would you mess with things, when YOU are not the target? (Especially since Candice is not trustworthy and will jump alliances quicker than Russell will steal something from camp.) Shut up, vote with the rest, start a new week of negotiations, and prepare to once again be worthless in a challenge.

JT overhears the Fab Four changing things up, so he goes scampering back to Tom and they come up with Plan B. Cirie is too good at manipulating people. Maybe SHE should go home? (I’m sayin.) And since everybody knows that Cirie and the Supremes are going to purposely split the vote (three for Tom, three for Colby) in order to minimize the damage if the Immunity Idol comes into play, Tom and Colby only need one person to change their vote and they can send somebody ELSE home.

Hi there, JT. How ya doin? You’re lookin really good today, nice hair. Say, we have a little idea that you might be interested in….

JT in a sidebar: “I gotta make a decision.” Does he stick with the Supremes and remain in an alliance that has bigger numbers (at least for now) but questionable players, or does he go with Tom and Colby, both very strong, and risk the remaining four Heroes possibly coming after him? Hmm.

Time for Tribal.

And immediately Jeff focuses on this numbers issue. Are you people doing the right thing here by making it all about the numbers and mini-alliances and bickering? Because there’s this OTHER thing you might want to consider: Actually winning the challenges so you wouldn’t have to keep having these little votes. Hayyy.

He keeps harping about this until Rupert finally confesses that he’s not happy about tonight’s intended vote. This sends Jeff over the edge, and he basically starts yelling at all of them for being stupid. I’m fascinated by this development, since Jeff usually just stands there all stone-faced and wearing his perfectly-positioned necklace. Clearly, Jeff has eaten something disagreeable for lunch.

There’s a bit more discussion. Tom states “I believe Cirie is not worried at all” about going home tonight. (The camera cuts to Cirie. Nope, she’s not worried. Instead, it appears that she’s thinking about her next album cover.) James rambles for a while about the social aspect of the game being “pointless”. Can’t say that I agree with him. You can only win so many challenges, so at some point you will have to talk to SOMEBODY or you might end up socializing with Jeff as he puts your torch out.

Time for the Vote.

Just as Jeff is about to read the purposely-arranged votes, Tom plays the Immunity Idol, as fully expected. (Tom should have just handed the idol to Jeff as they marched into Tribal.) We end up with three votes for Tom (which don’t count), three votes for a very-surprised Cirie, and only two votes for Colby. JT has flipped, and Cirie is going home.

If you’d just laid low, Cirie, this wouldn’t have happened. You weren’t even on the radar until you spoke up and tried to force your will. Yes, it IS a social game. But sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and go look for seashells.

On a happier note, at least you finally ditched the Supremes and can go have that solo career you always wanted….

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