Last week on Survivor, according to the disembodied voice of Host Probst, “It was the perfect environment for Russell to work his Black Magic. JT embraced his dark side. Boston Rob acted heroically. James lashed out, and JT’s duplicity was revealed when he chose not to honor his alliance with Tom.” Fence mending, anyone?
The Heroes camp on Night 6 is an uneasy place. Tom lays his hands on James’s shoulders and tries to calm him, “You coulda been gentler man.” James tries to justify himself, “I just wanna win, y’all.” Just be careful throwing around that y’all, will you buddy—it nearly brought on a fight at Tribal Council.
On his own, Tom’s opinion of James’s actions is quite a bit harsher, “James has gotta bring down Stephenie with nasty brutish bullying.”
JT tries to reconcile with Tom, apologizing for breaking his word and voting against Tom and Colby, claiming that when he first made an alliance with Tom, “it was the only one I had, but when I found out we were on the bottom of the totem pole…”
Tom admits “I feel betrayed by JT, but if he really does feel bad about it, he might be the guy to keep me alive a little longer.” And, he sanguinely tells Colby, “Maybe we were wrong thinking we were gonna come back and everybody would be playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules*. I’m betting that the rest of this crew not only isn’t playing by them, they probably never even heard of them.
SLEEPING WITH VILLAINS
Over in Villainville, everyone’s trying to get some sleep. Everyone, that is, except Parvati and Russell who are cuddled up in each other’s arms and giggling like teenagers.
Boston Rob has an observation on that point, “I’m gonna tell you the secret to Survivor. Watch who’s sleepin’ next to who at night. You’re not goin’ to sleep next to the guy you’re gonna vote off. Russell and Parvati—he won’t do anything without her. Coach and Jerri. I’ve been there. I know how powerful that is.” (For those of you new to Survivor—Rob is indeed an expert on the subject. He’s now married to former fellow tribe-mate Amber. They have a darling daughter.)
WE NOW PAUSE FOR OUR WEEKLY CHICKEN INFOMERCIAL
If anyone reading this has Hollywood aspirations, you might want to try to get the number of the talent agent for the Samoa poultry. They get more camera time on the show than many of the contestants.
Rupert was hoping for a rainy day, so everyone could stay inside and play games. Alas, the day is sunny, so they must chase the chickens for entertainment.
JT has used his farm-boy skills to build a chicken coop, but first the critters must be rounded up. One fowl is particularly adept at eluding his pursuers. Colby puts a price on his head, “He’s now wanted dead or alive.” Surprisingly, it’s Tom who manages to grab the fugitive.
Finally, it’s James with each of his giant fists around a chicken’s neck, “Holding these bitches is making me hungry.” I worry about the continued ill-will James may harbor toward females.
And Rupert is, after all, made happy, “It was a neat experience wrangling the chickens as a tribe.”
DON’T SAY YOU WEREN’T WARNED
Coach tries to warn Russell about being seen to be too chummy with Parvati. As for himself, Coach thinks he’s waaay too smart to get taken in by that one’s wiles, but admits, “People are allured by her charm; they’re smitten by it.”
Rob, too, cautions Russell about Parvati, “I’ve seen this before. She might not be the strongest, but she’s got a lotta friends on the other side. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this one time.”
For Russell, this is all fuel for his fire, “Everybody knows Coach is a big joke. Rob thinks he’s the boss of the camp, he’s the big daddy. That’s what I gotta put up with ‘til he’s gone. I’m the daddy. They don’t know what they’re messin’ with.. It’s Russell Hantz!” Be afraid, villains, be very afraid.
After his discussions with Rob and Coach, Russell immediately trots off to Parvati to have a good laugh about it. Parvati lets him know he’d better not be double-dealing her, because, she says, “The minute I’m gone, you’re next.”
UP TO HIS OLD TRICKS
Night 7 and Coach has launched into one of his endless stories of danger and derring-do in the wilds of wherever. Rob irreverently interrupts, “Is this the same story as last night?”
Finally, everyone, save Russell, is asleep. He chuckles evilly as he heads out to bury the tribe’s all-important machete, “They can’t do nothing without the machete, chicken, coconuts…” He eyes Rob’s baseball cap, and we know it is next on his list to disappear, “Rob thinks he can’t do nothin’ without his little ‘B’ hat. I don’t even like the Boston Red Sox. It’s the Houston Astros all the way.”
Morning finds Coach on the beach, practicing his secret meditation/martial arts and humming a tune from the Methodist hymnal. I’m wondering if some sort of medieval canticle wouldn’t work better. But wait, what’s this? There’s a translucent yellow circle right over Coach’s face? Is the sun granting him it’s blessing? Nah, just the film editor having a bit of fun at Coach’s expense. I’m sure he’s loving it.
Randy is thrilled to find a giant clam on the beach. Like a hero entering with the slain dragon thrown over his shoulder, he returns to camp and offers to share the feast. No one is interested. Randy’s crestfallen, “I’m used to Survivor where if somebody catches a little fish (gestures about three inches), everybody gets excited.” Finally Sandra decides to have a bit. Parvati tries it and nearly barfs.
Randy really doesn’t care for Parvati, “Survivor’s like the real world. You don’t get along by being smart or clever. You get ahead by being pretty and Parvati’s the queen.”
BURR UNDER THE SADDLE
At Herotown, Candice cautions JT about his game-playing, “You’re a great player and I’d like to make it to the end with you, but you can’t just come to people the day of Tribal Council.” That makes JT uneasy, so he decides to worry Cirie by telling her that Candice doesn’t trust her. Cirie, without mentioning JT, goes straight to Candice and confides that her trust is shaken, “I’m nervous now.”
Candice’s annoying reaction is to give everyone the third-degree to try to find out who’s making accusations against her. No one seems very concerned. James offers his assessment, “Candice is a nut. It’s pointless to worry about all that stuff. I just want to get to challenges and win.”
I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY TO SEE THIS
Today’s combination Reward/Immunity Challenge is a repeat of one from Palau. Reward will be the “luxury” items the Survivors have brought with them (don’t know what others brought, but I saw Tom with a bottle of wine when they hopped off the helicopters), coffee, and a week’s supply of rice.
The challenge is a sort of gladiator combat on a platform surrounded by a mud pit. One on one, the challengers, holding heavy bags (which look like seat cushions scavenged from an auto junkyard), will try to push their opponent off the platform into the mud. Their hands must remain on the bags at all times, and feet cannot be used as weapons. To even things up, Courtney and Sandra are sitting out for the Heroes. I’m wondering if it’s fair that the Heroes always get to sit out Courtney, who probably weighs about sixty pound soaking wet and probably has the body strength of a fruit fly. Oh, and to get onto the platform, they have to wade through the mud first, just to assure that no one escapes the filth.
First up, it’s Tom against Russell. Tom makes short work of Russell, who looks disgusted. Parvati and Candice go at it pretty hard, and both wind up in the mud pit, but Candice is the one on top, so gets the point. Rupert takes on “the Dragon Slayer,” Coach. It’s hard-fought, but Coach karate chops Rupert and he’s over the edge. Coach starts to celebrate as if he’s won the Super Bowl. Host Probst is screaming at him that it’s a do-over because he used his bare hand. Coach continues to do his voodoo victory dance. Finally, Jeff gets his attention and they go again. This time Rupert shoves Coach into the mud. Coach is so furious he uses both hands to gesture obscenely at the Host.
Cirie makes quick work of Jerri, then JT wins over Tyson. Tyson’s a much better sport than Coach; he embraces JT and lays a muddy kiss on JT’s cheek. Danielle and Amanda seem well-matched, but Amanda makes a spin move and in a flash, Danielle is off the platform, trying to figure out how to get rid of a mouthful of mud.
Colby and Boston Rob have one of the longer and rougher battles. In the end, Colby knocks Rob off his feet and slides him across the end of the platform. The Heroes at this point are winning seven/zip. So who’s left? Why it’s geriatric couch-potato Randy against the behemoth James. If I’m Randy, at this point I’m just going to run over and jump off the platform. Jerri yells at Randy, “fight as dirty as you can.” Using little more than his finger, James knocks Randy into the mud. This doesn’t seem to satisfy James, he throws the seat cushion down onto Randy, and curses, “Get yo [bleeping] old ass outta here.” I’m thinking they should just straight-jacket James and ship him straight to Celebrity Rehab. Or the Jerry Springer show.
The Heroes win and the villains are chagrined. Courtney taunts James, “I Told you you were in the wrong tribe!” Truth be told, the Villains are no worse off; Russell would undoubtedly have stolen their goodies and buried them out in the woods somewhere—or thrown them down a well.
ALL THE PERFUMES OF ARABIA
The Villains, returning to camp, have all jumped into the ocean in the hope of getting rid of at least some of the mud that encrusts them head to toe. Courtney is bathing Boston Rob.
Randy is rueful about his fate. “I’m the oldest guy in the game. Thse girls get what they want by flirting. Parvati skates by ‘cause she’s got a nice wiggle.”
Coach and Parvati carry on a little flirtation of their own in the water. She’s smiling and he has his arm around her tiny waist.
Coach assures those of us at home that he is not going to be one of her victims, “She thinks she can bat her eyes, wiggle her hips and roll down her already skimpy bathing suit. It’s not gonna work. I’ve been coaching women’s soccer for years and never one of ‘em batting their eyes got ‘em any more playing time.” (What is this thing the guys have with Parvati’s “hip wiggle”? She barely has hips.)
The strategizing for the night’s vote has begun. Almost everyone is afraid of Parvati. Rob wants to be rid of Randy, who’s not much of a player. Tyson warns him that Parvati is dangerous and Randy “doesn’t have any friends.”
Jerri despises Parvati, “Parvati’s like a virus. That girl thinks she can just make people do whatever she wants. Every time I’m around her I just wanna punch her in the face.” Parvati isn’t particularly worried about Jerri, “she’s just like a bitter old cougar. I think her days are numbered.”
Randy makes a feeble effort to recruit Coach, “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking to Parvati about. This is Micronesia two point 0. I’m not gonna scramble today. If I’m a dead man walking, I’m a dead man walking.”
Sandra, playing her usual “I’m invisible and I like it that way” game, won’t get drawn into a discussion with Coach, “I’m not in trouble. If they wanna write her name down; if they wanna write him down, fine. BOOM.” She strides off.
Let us now pause for one of our regularly scheduled Dragon Slayer moments. “There’s nobody out here anymore that’s honorable. Except for me.” He then recites a specially-memorized-just-for-Survivor elegiac quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. about “the measure of a man…” And yes, he too, has a dream, a dream that Randy may survive tonight’s ordeal (and you thought Shambo’s dreams were the scary ones), “Yes, there’s still hope. While I have a brain cell in my head I will fight for him.” I’m having a hard time equating the struggle for Civil Rights with saving Randy from Ponderosa.
LET VILLAINS BE VILLAINS
At Tribal Council, Jeff tries to instigate some dissension, wanting the villains to point fingers at one another about alliances from past seasons. Sandra notes that Parvati is friends with James, JT and Cirie. Parvati defends herself. Russell claims it’s a huge advantage to know people from past seasons.
So, then, Sandra, Jeff wants to know, who’s the leader of your merry band? She identifies Rob as the person to whom they listen when a task needs to get done. Coach, she notes, will make a big speech, then “just wander off.” Coach is furious and disdainful of the Villains’ teamwork, “It’s like herding cats.”
And to add to their woe, Sandra announces, “We got no machete.”
“Realllly?” Jeff’s eyes widen and his mouth falls open in pretend-shock. “What happened to the machete?”
Sandra rolls her eyes and wryly replies, “It just got legs and walked off.”
Before voting, there’s a bit more chit-chat. Russell again lays on the flattery, claiming that the people he played with last “couldn’t hold a candle to these guys.” Coach gets in a dig at Rob by claiming they have “the worst shelter ever.” Jerri and Courtney beg to differ; they’ve been in worse.
The vote isn’t hard to predict—curmudgeon Randy will be going home to lick his wounds. After all the negative talk at camp about Parvati, she doesn’t get a single vote against her. In a mini-protest, Randy writes down Rob’s name. Everyone else votes for Randy. Does that mean Coach was lying--or is he really left without a brain cell in his head?
Hearing his name called, Randy rises slowly, rips the buff off his head and throws it into the fire. He’s gritting his teeth as Jeff snuffs his torch.
Jeff warns the Villains, “Even though we’re only eight days into the game, if you don’t get your camp together, you will be going home.” After nineteen seasons, he’s almost run out of “parting remarks.”
Don’t miss next week’s episode: there’s going to be a free-for-all looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol. What—has Russell lost the transceiver they gave him for the geo-locator attached to all immunity idols? Interesting.