Friday, March 12, 2010

Searching For Signal: #110 - “Survivor” - Heroes vs. Villains - Episode 5

So the sad little Heroes march back to camp, fresh from watching Cirie trottle off to wherever the evictees go when Jeff snuffs out their torch. (I think there’s a slight sadistic side to Jeff that really enjoys this part of the ceremony, no matter who is leaving. He just has that look. I‘m guessing he played with matches a lot as a child.)

First we have a sidebar with Colby, who has glowing words for JT’s last-minute switch that saved Colby from the march of shame. Then we cut to JT explaining to the rest of the tribe that his vote was nothing personal, he did it for the betterment of the team. Some of the folks just glare at him as they unload their gear and fiddle with stupid things so they can look busy and useful while the night-vision cameras are rolling.

The next morning, JT is on the beach with Amanda, where he’s still doing damage control, explaining that his vote wasn’t FOR Tom and Colby. “I just got rid of Cirie when I could.” JT should have left it at that, but he keeps babbling, repeating “I swear” at least ten times, which is a clear sign that he’s lying. Amanda just nods vacantly, because supermodels in skimpy attire are trained to do that.

Amanda in a sidebar: She’s not buying it. JT is in “like, twenty alliances”. So she has a moment of insight. Then a palm frond waves in the wind and she loses her train of thought.

Opening credits roll.

Now we’re at the Villains camp, where Coach is leading most of the tribe in some crappy group yoga thing. (Coach calls it “Dragon Slayer Chi” in a sidebar, and you know even the cameraman is rolling his eyes because the picture wobbles.) I’m amazed that these folks are even participating in this joke fest, then we see Sandra and Courtney barely able to hold back wild laughter at the fact that Coach is singing some mindless ditty about supernovas or something.

Why are you doing this, people? WHY, when you know this man is insane with self-worship, are you encouraging him by pretending that you really enjoy stretching your muscles in ways that are unimportant and possibly hazardous? This will only make Coach love himself even more, and I don’t know if I have the strength to tolerate that.

The only person who is NOT playing the Shogun Richard Simmons game is Russell. He’s off tearing up the island in search of the hidden Immunity Idol, sand flying in all directions. The rest of the tribe knows this, but they LET him do it anyway instead of calling him on it. And of course he finally manages to find it. Took him three days, but the deed is done.

Russell in a sidebar: “Now everything changes.” Very possibly. Then again, Russell has a habit of playing the Immunity Idol when it’s completely unnecessary, just because he can’t help himself when it comes to any opportunity to show somebody up. The munchkin has issues.

Time for the Reward Challenge, where the Survivors have an opportunity to win a “chocolate feast”. Love chocolate in all it’s possible forms, but I’m thinking that’s a pretty crappy prize. Sure, you’ll get a nice buzz, but thirty minutes later you’re in a coma. This doesn’t stop most of the Survivors from wailing like the ultimate in sexual gratification is just on the horizon.

Before they start, Jeff hauls out two plates with tiny little bits of chocolate as a teaser for the tribes to sample. The Villains attack their plate with gusto, clawing and fighting to get the biggest piece. The Heroes, interestingly enough, decide to pass the plate back to Jeff with nothing touched.

This pisses Jeff off for some reason. (I told you this boy had a troubled childhood.)

Jeff focuses his anger on Colby. “Why didn’t you take the chocolate?” (Jeff, NOBODY on that tribe took the chocolate, why are you singling Colby out?) Making matters worse, Colby is not really impressed with being targeted and smarts off a bit. “We’re focused on the challenge. Don’t need it. Let’s go.”

This sends Jeff over the edge. “We’ll go when I’m READY!” Then he purposely drags things out by asking various Survivors questions that are boring and pointless. Even the Villains are looking at him with irritation.

So stop the cameras, folks. Jeff is going to get all drama queen over Colby and his blinding teeth being a little bit snippy, but Jeff didn’t have a problem with Coach flipping him the bird a few competitions ago? Are you playing favorites, Jeff? Sure looks like it.

Anyway, the competition gets rolling. This is one of those spectacles where there are competing Survivors in a pit fighting for balls that they have to throw up to their teammates on a higher platform, and then those teammates have to throw the ball at a basket on the other side of the pit. First team to get two points wins a chance at a chocolate nirvana and the intestinal complications that will follow, since they’ve been eating rice for a while by now, and fancy taste sensations will surely lead to impromptu recycling activity.

In the very first round, James goes down. Something is up with his leg, and Medical pulls him out of this particular game. So the Heroes have to play one short. Great. But despite this, Amanda manages to score the first basket and the Heroes take the lead. Cries of joy fill the air. Well, at least one side of the air.

The camera pans to Coach and JT standing off to one side while waiting for an opportunity to grab an available ball. (No pun intended.) Stupidly, Coach is poking and prodding at JT for no apparent reason other than to be an ass. (Hey Coach, is this another example of you acting noble and spiritual?) JT finally has his fill, picks up Coach, and slams him to the ground on his back.

I found that to be very satisfying. (Hey, Coach asked for it.) More, please.

Then Tyson hits a basket and the score is tied. One more point and either team could win. In all the excitement, there’s a startling moment when Rupert manages to smack Jerri’s face into a fence railing. (He didn’t mean to do it, rewind for verification.) To her credit, she manages to shake it off, but not without making nasty comments about his apologies. She is just a bitter woman. And that poor fence. It will never be the same.

But I guess the face butt gave her an edge, because seconds later Jerri scores a basket and the Villains win. While they hoop and holler, the Heroes are sent packing once again. Jeff makes James stay behind, and Medical swoops in to see if he even gets to stay on the island.

Cut to the chocolate feast for the Villains. Russell is gloating that “we got rid of the big boy James.” Nice, Russell. His leg might be jacked forever, but you’re clapping and cheering. While Russell is doing his obnoxious victory dance, several of the other Villains are figuring out what to do with a certain slacker at camp. Rob: “We should flush out the Idol.” Yes, you should. As soon as possible. Hurry.

Meanwhile, Parvati, wearing the least amount of clothing that is allowed on a “family show”, wanders up to Russell and his ego. He tells her that he has the Idol. She begins ovulating, but also tells him that “I don’t ride coat tails.” Really? When did you make that decision? Two seconds ago? Russell: “I wanna blindside Rob.” They make a chocolate milk toast to such a splendid idea, then eye each other seductively. It’s very creepy and twisted.

Then we have a nauseating scene with Russell and Coach. Russ is spewing crap about how he would give the Idol to whoever in his alliance needed it. Coach extols the virtues of tiny people with big goals. Coach actually kneels before Russell and allows himself to be knighted by the Munchkin King.

I’m at a loss for words while watching the madness. Is this really happening?

Zip over to the Heroes camp, where everyone is pondering the fate of James. We have a sidebar where Amanda is sobbing that she doesn’t know what to do if he doesn’t come back. (Gee, I don’t know, maybe make some decisions on your own?) JT thinks James is out of the game, and Rupert agrees.

Lo and behold, here comes James hobbling up the beach. He can barely move, taking tiny steps while snails race ahead of him on the sand. Amanda thunders down the beach to greet him, stomping on all the snails while tears drip off her chin. James: “It don’t hurt. They don’t know what’s wrong without an MRI.” Clearly, we’ve got a problem here.

Candice in a sidebar: “James has to go, he’s dead weight.” (And it’s true, whatever you might think of him. He’s no longer going to be able to help you in competitions. This is not good.)

Time for the Immunity Challenge.

First, Sandra is sporting some really weird pigtails, making her look like a demented doll that will stab you in your sleep. Second, this event involves a “caller” shouting directions to blind-folded teammates who are grouped in sets of two. The pairs have to find these giant puzzle pieces and carry them back to the staging area. Once all the pieces are collected, the blindfolds come off and you have to put the puzzle together. James is the caller for the Heroes (because he can’t walk) and Jerri is calling for the Villains (because no one wants to stand next to her and get slashed-up by her barbed-wire hair.)
And off we go. It’s actually a very close race for a while. Toward the end, the Heroes pull ahead, finding all of their pieces before the Villains do. (Watching the competition was a hoot, because it’s always funny when blind-folded people run into things and fall down. Just one of those things.) But once again, the Heroes completely suck at putting a puzzle together, and the Villains manage to catch up and triumph.

What is WRONG with the Heroes and puzzles? Hell, what is wrong with the Heroes and ANY competition in this season? They just cannot get it together. Except, of course, when it’s time to get in a single-file line and march to Tribal. They’ve got that skill DOWN.

So then we go back to the Heroes camp, where they’ve got to figure out who is going home. The mad scramble is off and running as people barter, cajole, lie, swear, pose for the camera, stab each other in the back, deny there was any stabbing, and then stab again. It’s just like what happens when any family gathers for Thanksgiving.

Tom and Colby want James out (natch), and they think they can get JT to go along with it. Rupert, JT and Candice have a confab where Rupert is insistent on sending Tom home and Candice is arguing that James is worthless at this point. Rupert gets pissed off that Candice is not bowing to his hippie wisdom, so he runs to Amanda and says that Candice needs to go. What the hell?

Side note: Rupert has gone from tolerable to irritating. I know I’m apparently being blasphemous by saying that, because the entire world supposedly loves him, but the thrill is gone, Huggy Bear. He hasn’t done a damn thing this season, other than whine to the camera and show us his ugly broken toe. And sit on a tree stump.

Back to the negotiations. Amanda tells Rupert that she doesn’t want to vote Candice first, it should be Tom, then Candy. JT, Tom and Candice swear a blood oath that it should be James. JT and Rupert swear it should be Tom. (But wait, both of you just said… aw screw it. Let’s just go to Tribal.)

Campfire time.

Jeff gets right to the heart of the matter by pointing out that “my niece could beat James in a race” right now. James is not pleased by this comment, and boasts that he could still beat anybody in a race. Really don’t think so, guy. Courtney has more mobility than you right now, and she hasn’t ingested protein since 1993. She could fall to the ground in an anemic collapse faster than you could take a step.

While James is spewing garbage, Jeff calls him out on his body language. “Why do you keep looking to your left?” James says he’s looking at Tom and Candice. This doesn’t sit well with those two, and they both go on the offensive. Candice spells it right out, saying that James is a liability since he can’t do anything. Tom warns against “keeping a weak player just for a vote.” Very good points.

James reacts by being a complete ass, trashing both of them and saying stupid things that don’t make sense. They argue back with an intelligence that James can’t handle or just refuses to understand. James finally ends with “fine, vote for me, put me out,” but he does so with a cockiness that doesn’t bode well. Some weird agreement has taken place that we haven’t seen.

Time for the vote.

Two votes for James (Colby and Tom), the rest for Tom.

This tribe is actually sending home an able-bodied person over someone who is physically useless. These people are not thinking right. They chose numbers over strategy, even with Jeff pointing out that it was not the right thing to do at this point. Unless something amazing happens very soon, this tribe is going down in flames.

Guess I better take another gander at the Villains cast list and figure out which one is the least annoying, because in a few more episodes there might not be any Heroes left and I gotta root for somebody….

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