Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Recap
It's Getting the Best of Me
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
February 19, 2010

Don't feel too badly for her. Her husband is a major league pitcher.

Previously on Survivor, 20 contestants semi-triumphantly returned to the show, and we were happy to see almost half of them. The tribes were immediately split into Heroes and Villains, with Cirie and Boston Rob both being miscategorized. What followed was a taut two hours of television, featuring a group of people who clearly do not like each other. The Heroes won the first challenge, while suffering only two broken bones. Then, the Villains attained their revenge by winning the vastly more important Immunity Challenge, overcoming a monumental lead in the process. This caused Sugar to be voted out, breaking our hearts, but also leading to one of the funniest tweets we've ever seen. Sugar claimed that JT loved her and left her - and we do mean physically.

If the advertising is to be believed, tonight's show promises to see Boston Rob suffer a fatal accident and his corpse cooked and eaten by his tribemates. Keep in mind that they are villains, folks.

Tonight's episode picks up with what had been hinted at last week. As we'd predicted, Boston Rob is the only worker on his tribe, and that means when night falls and rainstorms arrive, their shelter is lacking. This causes nine members of the tribe to bitch and moan about the impossible conditions, while the tenth party, Mariano, sneers at them all in disgust. It's evident that he's tried to have the conversation about causality with them more than once, and that he might as well have been trying to teach ancient Latin to apes. Rob humorously points out that for the third consecutive appearance, he's on the buffoon tribe. The difference this time is that he should have seen it coming. In fact, we find ourselves speculating whether they had to transpose Cirie and Rob to make sure that at least someone on the Villains tribe was capable of sustaining the lives of the others.

Jerri Manthey and Coach, the official reality show couple of the #1 film in America this week, Valentine's Day, spend the next morning discussing climate conditions and camp discomforts. Coach cannot stop smiling at her.

A hilarious edit follows wherein the 90% of the Villains who are not Boston Rob grudgingly attempt to build a shelter. Randy describes the creative process as not unlike Windows, in that the first edition was good, while the rest subsequently depreciated in quality. They appear to be currently on what could be described as the Millennium Edition. We hope they get to Vista soon.

As Rob attempts to build a fort, Parvati hearkens back to her many years of experience in construction (hey, walking in a building counts as building a building!) as Evil Loser Russe, er, Whatshisname points out that all of the filthy apple eaters should stop talking while the men are working. Rob eventually gets frustrated and walks away, much to the chagrin of Courtney. She may be evil, but she's still a pragmatist. She appreciates that if Boston Rob stops trying, PEOPLE WILL DIE! Seriously, do we know for a fact that the Villains returned home? Is this another Roanoke colony situation developing?

Day Four at the Heroes camp largely takes on the appearance of an Angels' Party. They've got the ambrosia, they've got the harpsichords, and everyone's cheeks are at their rosiest. We note that several of the players had anticipated a tribe with a strong work ethic, yet to an individual, they are clearly taken aback by just how well they are functioning as a group. A touch of editing demonstrates some potential friction between Rupert and Stephenie, but this is what qualifies as a Survivor tickle fight.

We switch back over to the Villains' camp, where real drama is going down. Rob tells Sandra he's sick of putting forward maximum effort when no one else does. He comments that he feels weak and dizzy, and takes a break to drink a coconut, while a brutal edit shows Courtney, Parvati and Danielle complaining about how they can't coast on the efforts of all the harder workers this time. Rob walks into the forest to decompress, and at this point, he collapses. Jerri had been concerned for his well-being and followed him, and that probably staved off a more serious situation. She goes for help and we have our first Probst sighting of the evening as the medics arrive. It's only Day Four, and the Villains are already facing a doomsday scenario.

The medics arrive and offer news that gives us a tremendous sense of relief. He looks worse than he is in reality. It's described as "the flu, maybe a little case of crybabyitis." Rob tells Probst to look out, because he's going to win the game despite this. He comments that the game of Survivor has given him so much (which is true - he's rich, famous and married because of it). In watching these comments, we feel that this is a good indicator that when Probst retires, Boston Rob could easily take over.

He also announces the joyous news that he is going to behave as a villain. If this were a wrestling telecast, he would be superkicking his former tag team partner through a plate glass window right now. The Beast has officially awakened.

Probst sighting! We get deja vu all over again during this Immunity Challenge. The competition is a eight-on-eight challenge, which means that the Villains sit out Randy and Courtney, while Rupert sits out for the Heroes. In the first part of the race, it's very physical, as a boy-girl team has to roll a giant box back to their home base. For the Heroes, James and Colby can basically roll the box by themselves. Obviously, the Villains have no such power players, particularly since Rob was just waylaid with his illness. Due to their superior strength, the Heroes have a half box lead when they start the puzzle portion of the challenge.

JT is given full authority to lead the puzzle compilation thanks to Amanda recognizing that his prior experience on the same challenge gives him a level of awareness that should prove advantageous. Unfortunately, they again suffer from a "too many chefs" situation. This puzzle is not one where one person can move a piece on their own. One of JT's directions is countermanded by Stephenie, who claims that a box needs to be moved differently. A few moments later, JT realizes that his strategy has been thwarted, and the box has to be moved back down and repositioned. James is livid and shouts at Stephenie to be quiet.

Meanwhile, Boston Rob's word is law with the Villains. His every command is followed and so total is their trust in him that several lackluster challenge performers step up their game dramatically. Evil Loser Russell (we're giving him his name back because it's such a great move) holds up a box on his own back at one point, and when Rob is attempting the same move, Danielle literally leaps to his aid. If you didn't know which team was which, you would swear that Boston Rob and Co. are the heroes. The Villains win and are wildly jubilant; conversely, James and Stephenie get into a screaming match. The physical prowess of the heroes is an undeniable advantage, yet they have lost two Immunity Challenges due to the lack of a clear chain of command. This causes us to wonder whether we'd rather have ten of the strongest players in the history of the competition, or nine random scrubs and Boston Rob. Thus far, the Boston Rob side is the clear-cut choice.

Our gut instinct right now is that we're playing It's Anyone But Stephenie. Back from commercial break, James is still pissed. Seriously. He cannot stand losing to Lex Luthor and the Legion of Doom, and he specifically blames Steph. The surprising reveal here is that Tom doesn't like James. He makes fun of the giant's ranting and all but openly calls him a loser. We had expected them to become allies with JT.

The celebration at the Villains' camp continues as Rob is treated like the conquering hero (he is). Right on cue, Evil Loser Russell feels threatened by a stronger player's dominance. He does channel his jealousy positively for a change by hunting and killing a chicken. The villains now have a tarp cover, fire and a delicious meal for the evening. Much has changed in the 24 hours since Boston Rob's collapse.

Back over at Hero Camp, we're once again looking at JT in a position of control. Just as he was in his original season, he is quietly pulling the strings. He can either elect to side with Colby, Tom and Stephenie or he can align with James, Amanda and Rupert (Cirie and Candice would be brought along for the ride either way). The choice seems to be between Stephenie and Amanda, and the players without alliances are the ones with the power. Candice and Cirie have a heart-to-heart talk about how they want to align, and Cirie points out that it's irrelevant who they vote for as long as one of them isn't going home.

Tonight's Tribal Council is an angry one. Probst knows exactly which question to ask and he gets a better one than he was expecting. James is Hulk-furious. He claims it's not all about Stephenie before spending two minutes talking about Stephenie. Colby tries to defend her, and at that point, James brings the Colbster in to the conversation. This causes Tom to announce that his alliance is with Colby and Steph, which gives James pause. He seems to respect Tom more than Tom respects him. Everyone else is obviously experiencing a *lot* of discomfort. The deal is this: James and Stephenie simply can't be on the same tribe together. If James isn't voted out tonight (and there's been no indication he will be), this wound will fester until resolution is found.

By a vote of 6-3, Stephenie is eliminated, but not before she gets off a parting shot at James that she apparently considers a lesson in etiquette. James replies, "Keep your mouth shut." These are the heroes, right?