Last week on Survivor: Russell had given the immunity idol that JT and the other idiotic Heroes had passed to him inside a mash-note to his Girl Friday, Parvati. Parvati and her “Lady in Waiting,” Danielle, found a second hidden immunity idol, thanks to a clue in Parvati’s napkin at the reward luncheon. This they kept secret from the Idol King, Russell. At tribal council, Parvati stood up and gave her idol to an astounded Sandra. Then she blew everyone’s minds by giving a second immunity to Jerri. Jerri, who was the Heroes’ intended target, was saved; JT was ousted; and Russell was dumbfounded. Oh, and it’s worth noting: no one ever seems to have enjoyed jury duty as much as Courtney Yates.
Back at camp after tribal, Russell demands explanations. He accuses Sandra, “Did you know Parvati had an idol?” “No,” snorts Sandra, “and I didn’t know she had two of ‘em either.”
Parvati is in big trouble with Russell, “You lied to me! It pisses me off you didn’t tell me you found an idol.” And worst of all, he growls, “You took mine.”
Parvati does not seem bothered by his ire. She confides (PI) "Russell thinks he’s the godfather of this game. He’s kind of scared. Which is kind of what I wanted.”
Ooh, this is getting to be fun to watch.
By the next morning, Russell is back to his game-playing. He immediately targets Candice as a possible switch-vote, and promises her a happy future in the game if she joins his team. He assures Parvati and Danielle, “Right now she’s ready to burn her house down.” As to Sandra? He’s watching her like a hawk.
”TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN”
The reward challenge is a game of Survivor Shuffleboard. The nine members of the new Yin-Yang tribe will be randomly divided into three teams of three people each. They’ll slide wooden pucks across a map-board. Closest to the “X” will win reward, a tour Robert Louis Stevenson’s mansion and a viewing of the 1934 movie version of Stevenson’s book, “Treasure Island.”
There’s nothing interesting to report about the playing of the challenge, except that, if possible, this crew is even less adept at playing shuffleboard than they are at bowling with coconuts. Thanks to a lucky shot, Colby and his teammates Candice and Danielle are the winners.
I’m sure the tour guide at Stevenson’s home, Vailima, must have been terrified. The first thing one learns in “Tour-Guide School” is Don’t Let Them Touch Anything! Amanda is so convinced there’s a hidden immunity idol clue in the house that she’s practically ransacking the place, grabbing any item that isn’t nailed down and turning it over to see if there’s a clue taped to the bottom. Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the profitability of pirate-books: when the Stevensons first built the house on Uponga, in 1891, they imported 72 tons of furniture from England and had a glass case built around the piano in the ballroom so that it wouldn’t be damaged by the tropical humidity.
“NOTHING OCCURRED TO ME SO STRANGE AS OUR ACTUAL ADVENTURES”
When next we see our threesome, they’re lying side-by-side on a bed in a hotel room, watching the movie. Colby is in the middle, and totally immersed in the movie. Danielle looks down at her bowl of popcorn and spies a rolled up clue. Not very subtly, she drops it to the floor. Amanda sees her, gets out of bed and walks around to sit on the floor on Danielle’s side. Amanda picks up the clue.
Danielle is after her in a flash and chases Amanda across the hotel room. Colby’s eyes never leave the TV set. Danielle is screaming at Amanda, “You’re a psychopath!” They’re tussling for possession. Amanda appeals to Colby. He shrugs his shoulders, and says, “I didn’t see. I was watching the movie.” I’ve seen that version of Treasure Island. Trust me, it’s not that riveting. We don’t hear everything that was said, but in the end, Colby decides to play hall-monitor and tells Amanda she has to give the clue to Danielle. And she meekly surrenders.
Okay, Colby and Amanda are both from the Heroes tribe, and supposed to be allies. They’ve endured 28 days of misery already. Here’s a clue to an immunity idol that’s going to get someone much closer to a million dollars, and they hand it over to one of the enemy without a peep?!? Amanda has always been a wuss, but Colby? There’s only one possible explanation for his play this season: Colby Donaldson’s body has been taken over by the zombies.
“NEVER A MAN LOOKED ME IN THE EYE AND SEEN A GOOD DAY AFTERWARD”
The three return to the tribe in the middle of a downpour. Naturally, everyone wants to hear about the adventure. All Colby thinks worth mentioning is the movie viewing accommodations, “The three of us in one bed. If it had been like me and Rupert and Russell…The three of us barely fit in.”
Off with her crew, Danielle dramatically relates a completely fictionalized version of the events in which she is super-girl. About the clue, she tells Russell, Parvati and Jerri, “Amanda grabbed it off me and ran across the room, and I grabbed her and wrestled her to the ground and ripped it out of her hand.”
Russell and Danielle set out to look for the hidden immunity idol at the “stream near a bendy tree.” Danielle is on one side, turning over rocks, Russell on the opposite bank. Doesn’t it seem just the slightest bit odd that the idol is hidden under the very first rock he touches?
Did you watch the movie “Lord of the Rings?” The evil Gollum never stops trying to snatch the magic ring and run away with it. Russell is a lot like that with a hidden immunity idol. In the blink of an eye he’s unearthed the idol, tossed it into the ferns so Danielle doesn’t see it, then plopped his rotund self down right on top of it. Will he share it with his girl-team? Not likely. Not after their little stunt last week keeping an idol hidden from him and playing it at tribal. In the words of Jim Croce, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape” and you don’t keep idols hidden from the troll. For about the thousandth time, he brags, “I’m the King of hidden immunity idols.”
Russell leaves the hapless bedraggled Danielle in the pouring rain, still frantically scrambling in the mud looking for the idol he has in his pocket.
Russell realizes he can use this new idol to help convince Candice her only hope lies in coming over to his side. He tells her he has it, but Candice is at least wary enough to demand proof. They sneak off into the forest and he proudly shows it to her. They complicitly hug.
Colby, meanwhile, makes a play for Sandra’s allegiance. He (erroneously) tells her that Danielle has the idol. He’s sure Danielle will not be handing it off to another Villain. That’s fine with her, Sandra tells Colby, it’s Russell she’s gunning for. Sandra reveals to Rupert that Russell has told her has six votes—that he’s already convinced a Hero to switch over. While all this conniving is going on, Sandra is also assuring Russell that she’s still solid with the Villains.
“DRINK AND THE DEVIL HAD DONE FOR THE REST”
For the immunity challenge, each player will have 150 square wooden tiles. Using these tiles, they’ll have to build a tower ten feet tall. If you’ve ever tried to build a “house of cards” you can imagine how tough this is going to be. Both structural engineering and a steady hand will be required.
After the first few minutes, it’s clear that this is a race between Jerri and Russell. The others never seem to get more than two or three “stories” high before their towers collapse. By a whisker, Jerri beats Russell and wins the immunity. She’s giddy with excitement—in all her time on Survivor, she’s never won a challenge.
Russell is blasť about the outcome, “I’m fine with Jerri winning. Any one of my teammates could have won it, and I’m fine. Amanda, she’s kind of like Boston Rob in a girl’s body. She has to go.”
Sandra has other plans. She is more than ready to be rid of Russell, “I been waitin to take him down for thirty days. This is for Courtney, Tyson and even Coach, who I don’t care about, but I’ll stick him in there too.”
“THE WORLD WILL SOON BE RID OF A VERY DIRTY SCOUNDREL”
Russell instructs Candice to write down Amanda’s name. She agrees, “She has crossed me too many times.” She knows that Russell, with the idol in his possession, controls what happens, and she’s afraid not to go along with his plan. She blurts to Russell that Sandra is conspiring with the Heroes against him.
Russell is furious, “Sandra told you she was cool with it?” Candice nods. He tears off down the beach in search of Sandra as if he has lit firecrackers in his pants pockets. He confronts Sandra, who denies the charge. He warns her, “An idol gets played tonight.” Still, Russell isn’t actually worried, “I believe that Sandra thinks this is her only chance tonight. But both Sandra and Candice would have to flip.” He’s scornful, “To go to the beat-up Heroes?” Not a chance.
As soon as she has an opportunity, Sandra reveals Candice’s idiocy to the Heroes, “Candice went and told Russell everything. Now we’re screwed and he won’t trust us any more.”
Rupert, with cause, goes into panic mode, “Oh, my god. We are trying like heck to keep everyone calm. I think Russell got wind of our plan and will talk Danielle into giving him the idol.”
Colby, who should be shouldering the blame for the impending disaster, instead points the finger at Candice. Sandra, less calm, screams at Candice, “This is your fault!” Thinking quickly, she says, “We need to vote out Parvati. If you’re scared, I’ll bet you one hundred percent Danielle won’t give him the idol.” She can’t believe Candice is bouncing around like a ping-pong ball. Exasperated, she finally sighs to Candice, “Everything we worked for is going to go down the tubes. Tell me who you want out. PLEASE.”
“THAT CONDITION—AS YOU CALL IT—OF BEING ARRANT ASSES”
The tribe arrives around the campfire and the jury files in. Jeff goes first to Rupert to ask “Looking at the villains, how do you figure out who might be vulnerable?” Rupert, rather stupidly, assures them, “There’s no need for the Villains to do anything but stay with their five.”
Sandra does a good job “covering” for herself. She admits the Heroes have made advances to her because “they sense I’m on the outside.” But, she avers, “It’s better just to stay with who you’re with.”
Cocky as ever, Russell grins widely as he pigeon-holes his team. “Everybody plays different. Jerri, she’s the calming one. Danielle plays aggressive; Parvati, she’s the charming one.”
Sandra is visibly aggravated, “What about me?”
Russell shrugs his shoulders, “Sandra, she’s just there with us.”
Jeff is amazed at Russell’s move, “That’s a big statement.”
Jeff asks about the hidden immunity idol. Colby doesn’t hesitate to announce, “Danielle has it. That’s the consensus on the Hero tribe.” Jeff prods Russell as to what happens if one of the Villains has flipped. Russell is sanguine, “I play hard. If you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you’re gone, but I’ll take that risk.”
As Russell walks over to cast his vote, Courtney mimics barfing. He votes for Amanda, “I found the idol and I’ll be using it to get rid of you.” Amanda votes for her former buddy, Parvati, “I have to play my game; you have to play yours.”
“YOU CAN GO HANG”
When all the votes have been cast, Jeff makes his usual announcement, “I’ll go tally the votes.” Courtney giggles and whispers audibly, “You do that, Jeff.”
With the vote pot before him, Jeff asks if there’s a hidden immunity idol being played. Russell rises and pulling out the idol, surrenders it, “You know Jeff, for some reason, I think somebody has flipped tonight. To keep ‘em all hones, I hope I’m doin’ the right thing and playin’ it for myself this time.”
The first two votes are for Amanda. Parvati gets the next two. Courtney is loving this. Amanda gets two more, Parvati a third, then Amanda gets the deciding fifth vote and becomes the twelfth person voted out and the fourth member of the jury. Giving Jeff her torch she smiles ruefully, “OK, Jeff, I know you’ve been waiting forever to do this.” (Although she’s never won, in previous seasons on Survivor, Amanda has made it to the finals, and thus never had her torch snuffed.)
Parvati’s look at Russell is not one of loving devotion. He protests, “I had to play the idol.” Parvati rolls her eyes in disgust, “You wasted one.”
In the end, it was Candice who controlled the outcome. She not only decided to flip to the Villains, but she also foolishly revealed to Russell Sandra’s possible treachery. That left Sandra no way to protect herself except by staying with Russell and the Villains. Of course, if either Amanda or Colby had been anything but wimpy and held on to the clue to the hidden immunity idol, things might have taken a decidedly different turn. Will Candice come to regret her treachery? Has Sandra raised Russell’s ire to the point she’s put herself in danger?
Tune in next week, when, according to the previews, and the man who knows all, Jeff Probst, “The powerful Villains’ alliance comes apart at the seams.”
*Title and headers are all quotes from Stevenson's Treasure Island