Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Recap
Tonight, We Make Our Move
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 5, 2010

I could talk a member of PETA into wearing a fur coat.

Previously on Survivor, an immunity challenge was presented that - let's say this as politely as possible - gave a slight advantage to the physically superior team, the Heroes. We joked about this before the premiere, but the joke stopped being funny after a couple of episodes. To date, this season has played out very much like a wrestling feud between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. You have the physically and morally superior good guys battling the nefarious, clever villains. It's been brawn versus brains with the masterminds taking two of the first three wins with the third one being so fixed that it felt like Probst saying, "It's time for this challenge, which we have named Heroes Win." Shockingly, the Heroes won.

This led to the dismissal of social misfit Randy, who showed a tremendous amount of class and grace during his exit when he angrily threw his tribal buff into the fire. We sincerely hope that this game of attempts to one-up previously eliminated contestants continues throughout the season. In such an eventuality, the last person voted off would have to actually jump into the fire to outdo the others. We theoretically name this person Evil Loser Russell for now since his fate of bathing in flames throughout eternity is a foregone conclusion. It won't happen on Survivor, however, since he's not a savvy enough player to go that far in the game.

Night Eight at Camp Villainy examines the contemplative mood of Coach as he debates whether he was unfairly assailed by Sandra. While venting his frustration to Tyson, Coach offers up this classic bit of self-delusion: "I did noble things out here and I look ignoble." He's a human hallucinogen. Our favorite part of this is when he accuses Sandra of being deceitful. Can you imagine someone lying about themselves on a nationally televised show like that, Coach?

The ninth morning at Legion of Doom headquarters finds Coach still grousing about the incursion against his honor. He goes for a walk while Tyson informs the others that his ally was crying the night before and is contemplating quitting from the game. As always, Boston Rob hits the crux of this, stating: "I don't know. That's not much of a coach if you ask me." He then takes Coach aside and they have a heart to heart complete with fist bump. Rob takes this opportunity to tighten his control over the tribe by assuring Coach that he is "on the inside", which the self-professed Dragon Slayer readily believes. For his part, Rob is hearing angels sing at the thought of being able to play Coach for a patsy for the body of the game.

With Coach having provided the comic relief portion of the show, complete with him quoting Martin Luther King Jr. then comparing himself to King Arthur, we can move on to Tree Mail. And this week's Tree Mail is a giant ad for Sears. Seriously, it's right there on the front of the book, which happens to be a catalog of sorts for people trapped on island that somehow allows Sears delivery from UPS or FedEx or somebody. It's best not to sweat the details on this. Just go buy something from Sears, people.

At the challenge, Probst announces that the Villains have chosen a toolbox that they plan to use to assemble a quality shelter (finally) while the Heroes want a fishing tackle box so that they can enjoy a seafood buffet between James meltdowns. The Villains are forced to sit one player, and they choose Parvati, one of the many useless folks on their tribe. The challenge itself is a variation on the old SlipnSlide game from childhood. Contestants grease themselves up then dive/slide to an area that contains balls. Once said ball is retrieved, the player is required to throw it into a modified basket hoop.

The first two players are Tom and Coach with the former man grabbing his ball first. He is slower in getting off his first shot, however, as he aims more than the crybaby. Both men miss before Tom's second shot circles the rim before falling off to the side. Coach gets a friendly backboard roll on his second shot and wins the round. Then, he does one of those ridiculous Chad Ochocinco dances that spits in the face of Vince Lombardi's logic, "Act like you've been there before." Of course, Coach hasn't. So, we're not sure if it's applicable. Russell then matches up against Cirie, whose size is a disadvantage here. The Fraud slips and slides all the way to the ball while Cirie looks like Bruce Willis navigating an air vent in Die Hard. Russell gets off two shots before she even reaches the shooting gallery, and he makes the second one, giving the Legion of Doom a 2-0 lead.

The next round is the featherweight division as ultra-fit Candice matches up against evil waif Courtney. Candice makes a great slide down the course, edging out Courtney, who seems to have experience in the field of greased shenanigans. Of course, while Courtney giggles and dances as she retrieves her ball, Candice has already scored. This is the most impressive round during the challenge. The next matchup is also girl on girl as Amanda faces off against Jerri Manthey. The race to get off the first shot is close with Amanda's taking flight first; however, she misses and Jerri Manthey ricochets her attempt into the basket, giving the Villains a 3-1 lead. Since they're playing to four, the Heroes are in a lot of trouble.

The good news is that the next match-up is James vs. Sandra and James is fired up. He slides down the course almost instantly then makes his shot before Sandra is even halfway to her ball. With the score 3-2, Rupert matches up against Danielle, who gets to her ball first before dropping it. Her hesitation allows the pirate to catch up in spite of his broken toe. She misses her first two shots while he buries his second one, tying the game up with only one round remaining. It all comes down to Colby vs. Tyson for the reward. Colby has no problem getting to his ball first, but he isn't very good at Horse. This is the first round that goes beyond two shots each as both players struggle to find the range. after Colby misses for the third time, Tyson calmly composes himself and makes his shot, giving the Villains the victory in the challenge. James gonna ye-ell.

As the Villains celebrate victory - their mood has done a complete 180 from the previous night - Evil Loser Whatshisname fixates on a knife in the toolbox. At this point, he unsheathes the blade in front of the entire tribe and a hidden immunity idol clue falls out. As the woman hater seethes at his mistake, Rob asks the group what they want to do. Sandra emphatically states that they should find it then throw it in the ocean, because whoever finds it will be voted out immediately. They all (eventually) agree with this logic and go back to working on their encampment. ELW is having none of this, of course. His massive ego dictates that he search for it, so he tries to sneak off to find it. Rob notices (dude sees EVERYTHING) and instructs Sandra to follow him to monitor his progress. She reports back that he has gone against the group and tried to find it on her own, stating that everyone should vote him off at first opportunity. They all quickly agree with Rob offering a monologue about ELW's stupidity that makes our hearts sing.

"He's a stupid ass." --Sandra, aptly describing Russell the same way we have for a while now.

In a strange twist of fate, the Heroes are making coffee at their camp when Tom and JT notice a piece of paper in the container. Had they been more alert the previous episode, they would have noticed it then. Instead, the entire tribe is immediately made aware of its existence. They choose to go a different way with their idol. Everyone goes treasure hunting. Eventually, Tom, Amanda and James target the same area with Tom sneakily capturing the prize while the others aren't looking. He hides it in his sock and pretends to continue the search for a while before walking off. Amanda takes Candice then JT aside and informs them that she is certain Tom has attained the idol. Tom and Colby confirm that the others know, but they deftly evaluate that this is a bargaining chip for them to use in order to gain a spot in the primary alliance. Tom is irrefutably one of the best overall players in the history of the game. This is further proof of it.

Probst Sighting!

Today's challenge is notorious in that it's the one from last season during which Good Russell collapsed and almost died. As such, it's the only challenge in the history of the show that has never been completed until now. The idea is to require blindfolded players to push a navigator in a giant ball until arriving at a puzzle. This must also be solved by blindfolded contestants seeking guide a ball through a maze. Tom and Rob are chosen to be the instructors, a wise decision on both sides.

Rob leads his troops to the puzzle first, but the puzzle portion is where most of the time is spent. Both signal callers are exemplary at their given task, with the result being a photo finish. Rob's instruction almost gains victory for his tribe, but the ball lips the cup before sliding by. At this point, Tom coaches his people in a way that puts the ball in the hole...briefly. To his extreme frustration, the ball pops back out and their opportunity is lost. Rob regroups the Villains with the board tilt needed to end the competition. The Villains have won their third Immunity Challenge in four tries. At this point, we're desperately hoping that Tom and Boston Rob are both in the final five players this season. What a finish that would be.

It's time to play It's Anyone But Tom...except Tom has the hidden immunity idol. So, we guess we should say Colby. Somehow, we don't expect it to play out like that, though. Right on cue, Cirie and Candice start discussing Colby and Tom as the obvious targets. Their idea is to split the vote between the two men in such a way that even the idol doesn't protect Tom. Meanwhile, JT and Amanda are discussing their options and they are honing in on...Candice. This is getting good.

JT correctly deduces that if he works with Colby and Tom, he knows they will be above board in their behavior. The same is untrue of Candice and Cirie. This leads to the revelation we have been expecting. After Tom offers to give away the hidden immunity idol if it helps his candidacy, Amanda runs over to the person she swears isn't an ally, Cirie, and reveals the ongoing machinations. Now, it's a slam dunk that Cirie has to go home. To wit, she brings in several other players to try undercut JT's idea. Cleverly, JT watches from out of sight as Cirie's argument leads Rupert to exclaim, "Cirie is right." JT goes to Tom and recounts the events that have led him to lose control of his own alliance. At this point, Tom does the math and realizes that if he springs the hidden immunity idol, they can take out Cirie. This is the move that needs to happen, because she's such a master manipulator. If they don't act now, she'll be making her case at the final Tribal Council. It's that simple.

Tribal Council features a fascinating discussion about voting patterns. Probst queries Rupert on what strategy he has used to determine his vote tonight. After Rupert offers a pregnant pause in the middle of his reply, Probst busts him on this, stating that Rupert is voting based on his alliance rather than what he thinks will help the tribe. Rupert openly acknowledges this. Meanwhile, James rather naively states that he wants to get this vote done so that they can move past "the whole social thing". Yes, James, we're certain that all the social stuff will end now that we're down to the last...16 players. Strategy is out the window at such a late stage of the game.

At this point, Tom and Colby once again grow combative toward James, which continues to frustrate us. This is an instance where the people are too similar to work together, so they instead butt heads. This is working against Tom and Colby, who need all of the allies they can get, particularly ones who can out-work them in camp and during challenges. There aren't many of those people in the history of the game yet they keep antagonizing one of them. It's odd.

The vote plays out exactly like Tom had predicted. JT casts a vote against Cirie, as do Tom and Colby. Amanda, Candice and Cirie all vote against Tom (remember that Cirie swears she has no alliance with Amanda and yet...) while Rupert and James vote against Colby. With Colby only garnering two votes instead of the expected three, only Tom and Cirie wind up with three. When Tom plays the hidden immunity idol, the blind side is complete with Cirie eliminated from competition. This is either a masterful play by JT or suicidal, depending on what happens next. His body language as the vote is revealed is one of a traitor. He knows there may be serious repercussions from this but watching Cirie bend James and Rupert to her will made up his mind for him. She's simply too dangerous to allow to move forward in the game. The fallout from this should be interesting to watch. There are now five men remaining on the tribe who are all generally straightforward in their gameplay. With Cirie gone, will the machinations continue or will James get his wish for a while?