Thursday, March 25, 2010

Searching For Signal: #113 - “Survivor” - Heroes vs. Villains - Episode 6

We start out as we usually do, with the losing Heroes tribe making the March of Shame back to camp after sending home one of their own. This time they’ve said goodbye to Tom, instead of the more obvious choice of the hobbled James. Still not happy about that. We got some stupid on this here island.

First we have an odd bit where James asks Colby if he wants a hug. We can’t tell if he’s serious, joking, or just drunk. Colby takes a pass on the physical bonding. Then we have a sidebar with Candice: She decided not to vote for James because she didn’t want to make the rest of the tribe mad. Really? I think it’s a bit late for that. These people are gunning for YOU next. Amanda confirms this in her own sidebar.

Cut to the Villains camp on the same night, where most of the gang is sleeping peacefully since they’ve still got about 500 people on their tribe while the Heroes self-destruct. Oh wait, Russell’s still awake. And so is Rob. Russell scampers over to where Rob is leaning against some tree. (“I’m gonna make him think I’m not after him even though I am.”) Sure you are, Russell. People completely trust anything coming out of your mouth. Good luck with that.

So Russell stands on several boulders so his short little ass can actually look Rob in the eye. Then he blows obvious smoke about how he thinks Rob is one cool dude and they tight. Rob just looks at him, letting Russell dig a deeper hole of deceit for a while, then cuts him off with “There’s a lot of people mad that you went looking for that Idol.” You made yourself a target. “You need to watch your back.”

Russell, who SHOULD know a lot about backs since he’s stabbed so many of them, forgets that he’s trying to lie and manipulate here, and resorts to childishness, snapping that Rob better watch out, too. (I know you are but what am I?)

Roll opening credits.

Right away we get tree mail that it’s time for a challenge, although we aren’t sure if it’s for Reward, Immunity or both. Hmmm. Something big is coming. This is way too early in the episode for a normal challenge.

So both tribes wander off to wherever Jeff is, with the Villains “getting a good look” at the other tribe and realizing that the Hero idiots kept the physically-limited James and sent somebody else home. As Jeff studies the dropped-jaws of the Villains, he asks them what they think about the Hero vote. Danielle, trying to be polite about it: “James must have a strong alliance.” But her eyes are saying that she thinks it was a stupid move. Parvati’s eyes are sparkling, because the knows just how to manipulate James and it’s just fine if he sticks around.

Then Jeff launches the bombshell that both teams will be going to Tribal this time. The jaws of the Villains remain dropped, because they’ve only been to Tribal one time and that was so long ago that it’s only a distant memory. They’ve been living the high life since then while the Heroes implode. Exactly what is this Tribal thing again?

Jeff explains further: Each tribe will do the challenge separately, with the winners of the two races earning Individual Immunity. Then those two winners will duke it out in a final race, with the winner of the THAT round gaining the Reward prize for their tribe: The chance to eat hot dogs while watching the losing tribe bicker and debate before they send someone home. (When that time comes, I’ll try to refrain from any phallic references about the hot dogs and what the Survivors are doing to each other. Whoops, too late.)

This challenge involves each tribe member clipping themselves to a rope, and then having to work their way along said rope as they navigate a complicated puzzle-fence thing. We’ve seen this type of action before. Skinny and/or small people have the advantage. Rupert is not going to win.

The Heroes are up first. It’s a fairly tight race, with two points worth noting. One is that Colby doesn’t seem to have his act together, despite the fact that he REALLY needs to win Immunity, and he falls behind. The other is that nasty Courtney, watching from the Villains tribe, is smirky and sarcastic with her commentary. She is so useless, people need to write her name down at Tribal just because she‘s irritating. Skank.

Interestingly enough, Candice wins and gains Immunity. There’s a twist that doesn’t bode well for Colby.

Then the Villains go at it. We also have two points of interest with this one. First, Sandra completely sucks. She barely moves more than an inch on her rope. (Hello? Anybody taking notes?) Second, Russell is so invested on checking to see how far everybody else has progressed that he’s not focused on his own efforts and he falls behind. His ego is his own worst enemy.

Rob manages to win, and that pop you just heard was Russell’s head exploding with jealousy.

In the final showdown, with just Candice and Rob, the difficulty is amped considerably as they must now work their way through a massive maze of rope and obstacles. It’s very close, but Rob pulls it out in the end.. The Villains cheer, but really, what’s the point? Both tribes have to send somebody home.

So now we have the mad scramble at both camps while the tribes decide on how to vote.

As the Villains return home to their pathetic excuse for a camp, there’s exuberant praise for Rob and his performance at the challenge. Not surprisingly, Russell is nowhere to be found during this celebration. He’s already raced off into the jungle so he can shove acid-laced pins into his Rob voodoo doll.

Rob gathers his alliance (Jerri, Coach, Tyson, Courtney, Sandra) and tells them that they should vote for Parvati to go home, but they should convince Russell that it’s really HIM so he’ll play the Immunity Idol. Then Rob marches up to Russell, who is still claiming that he doesn’t have the Idol even though the entire world knows that he does, and warns him that “you need to go get that Idol.” Then Rob adds, digging the knife in even deeper, “it’s better to play with me than against me.”

Russell almost has a coronary, he’s so livid that his delusional World of Superiority is being challenged. He races to find Parvati and Danielle, telling them that the rest of the tribe is voting for Parv (good insight, gotta give him that). Then Russell announces that he’s going to give the Idol to Parvati, and that all three of them should write down Tyson’s name.

Oh my. Something wicked this way comes. About 5’2” of it.

Cut to the Heroes camp. Colby gathers everyone around and tells them “I know I’m going home, there’s no need for scrambling, no hard feelings. Just relax, and don’t reveal anything at Tribal” for the Villains to use against them. (Gotta hand it to Colby, he still plays honorably.) The rest of the tribe actually looks a little disappointed that the vote decision is going to be that easy. No scrambling and strategizing? What are we going to do for the rest of the afternoon?

Turns out things are not going to be that simple. JT, Candice, Rupert and Amanda are on the beach trying to decide between Colby and the injured James. At first it appears that Colby is a done deal, then it starts flipping around as folks vent that James is kind of useless and he eats WAY too many bananas. (Seriously, these people have some strong emotions about fruit.)

Amanda then races to James. “You’re gonna have to show your strength. And quit stealing bananas!” James is confused by what this really means, but at least he realizes that it might be time for some PR. Amanda has more advice: If you’re going to eat the bananas make sure everybody else has one, too.

So James hobbles over to the rest of the tribe, and challenges JT and Rupert to a foot race. Rupert, who would much rather just sit on his butt, immediately declines. But JT thinks that’s a swell idea, and off they go. JT wins easily, even turning around and running backwards over the finish line. That little stunt might have back-fired there, James.

Over to the Villains camp, where Rob tells his alliance that they have GOT to split the vote, 3 for Parvati and 3 for Russell. With the numbers the way they are and the almost certain fact that Russell will play the Idol or give it to Parvati, this will cause a tie and a re-vote, at which point all 6 of them can vote for whoever doesn’t use the Idol. (Courtney just stands there the whole time, eating a banana and therefore instantly doubling her weight.) Got it? Everybody mumbles agreement.

Two seconds later, Russell snatches Tyson off to the side and fills him with lies about how Russell has had a change of heart and is voting for Parvati. This is probably one of Russell’s finer moves. He knows Rob’s alliance is going to split the vote, and he’s trying to rupture that split by appealing to Tyson’s strong desire to ensure Parvati goes home. (In a sidebar, Tyson confirms that he is indeed salivating at the thought of a Parvati exit. Stupid Tyson. The mere fact that Russell is even talking to you should be a warning sign.)

Time for the double Tribal.

First the Villains. Jeff starts out with some boring discussion about how the game has changed over the years. Things pick up a bit when the Immunity Idol is mentioned, and Sandra blurts “We all know who has it.” (Camera cuts to Russell, who is staring at the ground in his troll-like way.) Then she gets more direct: “Russell, if you DON’T have it, you better find it.” Russell continues to deny ownership.

Then Jeff grills the rest of the folks, and despite all the covert strategy we’ve seen up to this point, it’s really not clear what’s going to happen. The only thing we know for certain is that no one can vote for Rob with his little necklace. Cue the dramatic music as people wander across the bridge and scribble a name.

Finally, Jeff returns with the carefully arranged votes in the rustic bucket. Anybody wanna play the Idol? The troll jumps to his feet and Rob’s alliance breaks out in smiles. The grinning quickly stops, however, when Russell makes an annoying speech about trust and integrity, and then hands the Idol over to Parvati. She races to Jeff so she can play it, moving faster than she’s ever moved in three seasons.

End result? Two votes for Russell. Four votes for Parvati, which don‘t count. (As the fourth Parvati vote is revealed, confusion shows on Rob’s face. Somebody didn’t follow the plan.) And we end with three votes for Tyson, who’s going home.

Jeff: “Well, that was definitely a crazy tribal council.” Tyson in his exit interview: “I ended up being a victim of my own stupidity.” Yep, that you did. Don’t have any sympathy for you. Come on, you listened to RUSSELL?

Now we have the Heroes sitting around the fire, while the Villains are off to one side, shoving hot dogs in their mouths and gulping soda. This session is nowhere near as exciting as the dramatic trauma of the Villain showdown, but we do have some fun when James is discussing The Banana Etiquette. He doesn‘t think he should have to worry about whether or not everybody has something to eat. “If yo ass is hungry, you go get a banana.”

Then Jeff sends the belching Villains away so the Heroes can vote.

James votes for Colby. Everybody else votes for James, including a sobbing Amanda who tells James she loves him while they hug. James’ final words as he disappears into the night? “I’m gonna be good and drunk in the next five minutes.”

And I would imagine that he snatches up a banana or two on his way out…

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