Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Recap
Knights of the Round Table
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 12, 2010

President of the I Hate James Non-Fan Club.

Previously on Survivor, Tom found the Immunity Idol. Not coincidentally, Tom survived Tribal Council. No one was more surprised by this than Cirie, who believed herself to be the architect of a successful strategy to eliminate either Tom or Colby from the game. Her Survivor voting math told her that each of them would garner three votes, while she would wind up with two. She was right about seven out of eight ballots. The surprise Judas was J.T., who brokered a deal with Tom to eliminate a similarly dangerous threat in Cirie, one who was otherwise useless to the tribe. J.T. made exactly the play we would have, but he will face tremendous backlash from those who were surprised by the events of the evening. Our opinion is that if you're not happy that Cirie is gone, you're not much of a Survivor strategist. Her track record speaks for itself.

When the Heroes arrive back at camp, J.T. realizes that he needs to speak up to keep his status with his tribemates intact. He talks about how his vote was all about what was best for the tribe and that if he had known how he was going to vote before Tribal Council, he would have told them. J.T. talks too much, and Rupert, James and Amanda know that he's being disingenuous. (Colby thinks he's a hero, though. Ha ha, get it? He's a Hero!) Rupert makes it very clear that J.T. is no longer deserving of his trust, and this could be a big deal in the long term, because as we know from the most Tribal Council, Rupert is a guy who will put honesty and loyalty above everything else, even at the expense of proceeding further in the game.

Our first view of the Villains' encampment introduces us to Dragonslayer Chi. If you can't figure out what that is, we envy you oh so much. While most of the villains are dubious about learning this particular "discipline" from Coach, to their credit, everyone goes along with it except for Evil Loser Whatshisname. Guess what ELW does in the meantime? He finds the Immunity Idol, then states that Rob is not in control of the game. ELW thinks ELW is in control. We don't buy this for a second since we know some things his tribemates said about him last week that he doesn't, but possession of the idol at least gives him a chance to survive the next vote.

Probst sighting! Jeff shows up bearing gifts. He had expected to be hailed as a conquering hero for his chocolate, but Colby all but spits in his face as the Heroes turn the offering down. A surprisingly tense confrontation ensues, wherein Colby tells Jeff to get on with the challenge, while Jeff reminds him who is in charge of the show and who was "Head Bodyguard" in Red Eye.

The reason Jeff had arrived with chocolate samples is that today's Reward Challenge will feature a chocolate feast as its prize. The challenge is a combination of rugby and basketball. Contestants jockey for position in a pit to retrieve a ball, then attempt to pass it to teammates on a ledge, who are tasked with shooting a football into a basket. The physicality of the game is quickly revealed, as people are violently shoving each other to the ground. As if there weren't enough violence, James catches a bad break when he lands funny on his knee, causing it to pop out of place. He tries to walk it off after medical arrives, but they state in no uncertain terms that he is out of the challenge and may in fact be forced to retire from the entire competition. The producers seem to enjoy advertising that a particular contestant will be injured, but the thing is, they work so hard to assemble to perfect cast that it's just a disappointment when the unique chemistry is jarred by a player forced to leave for medical reasons. If James is off Survivor, the Heroes tribe stands a chance to be obliterated as the game goes on.

Once gameplay resumes, the Heroes are a player short and should perhaps have tried to win the challenge as quickly as possible. Amanda does score first, giving them hope, but after that point, the Heroes seem to wear down. The fighting is a bit contentious, as J.T. slams coach into the ground, while Rupert drives Jerri's face into a post. He claims it's accidental, but the video is inconclusive on the point. In the end, Tyson scores the first point for the Villains, while Jerri gets her vengeance by scoring the final shot to win the challenge. The Villains will be dining on chocolate tonight.

And what a feast it is, almost Willy Wonka-esque in its decadence. After the Villains stuff their faces, some of them go off to swim in a gorgeous natural pool. The only ones left behind are Evil Loser Russell and Parvati. Remember last season when ELR started showing everyone his hidden immunity idol? Yeah, he's still an exhibitionist. First he reveals that he found it to Parvati, who somehow manages to make it all about her. Apparently, Evil Loser Russell's having the idol helps her status in the game in a way that only she understands. She then tells him that they should bring Coach onboard, so ELR shows it to the Dragonslayer, who is thrilled that someone is including him in their clique. Coach and ELR have their own Idiot's Renaissance Faire, and Evil Loser Russell is thrilled when Coach kneels before him - not like that, but it does seem like there's an implication there.

Basically, ELR has decided that his main competition is Boston Rob - and he's probably right that Boston Rob is both the best strategist and athlete on their team. He's hoping for a blind side, but we learn as the others are swimming that they're fully confident that Evil Loser Russell has the idol and the best way to flush it out is to vote against him. "May the best man win," says ELR. We hope he remembers that later.

Back at the Heroes camp, not to be outdone by Parvati, Amanda somehow makes James's gruesome leg injury all about herself. She considers herself to be James's little sister, and his removal from the game would be really horrible...for her. Why do bad things happen to self-absorbed Survivor players? Tom, on the other hand, is more pragmatic, commenting that he's not rooting for an injury, but hey, if it happens...

And with that, it's time for another Probst sighting! The Immunity Challenge has one person calling out directions to find puzzle pieces in a field to tribemates who are blindfolded. The Villains choose Jerri to be their caller, while the Heroes are obviously forced to go with James due to his injury. This...does not seem to be in James's skill set. We're proven wrong, though, when James turns out to be really good at giving instructions (Jerri is, too). He gets the Heroes back to the clubhouse first with a decent lead, and all that's left to do is assemble the puzzle.

Do you know who sucks at puzzles? That's right. Everyone on the Heroes tribe. Rob and Sandra get the Villains through the puzzle portion of the challenge pretty quickly once they return with their pieces and have once again thrown the Heroes another beating. At some point, the Heroes are going to have to be able to win once or twice to qualify this as a feud once more.

After the challenge, James comments that Tom is useless on challenges because he can't do puzzles. This just seems like the show's producer's messing with us, though. Tom is really no worse than anyone else on challenges, and it has to be time to play It's Anyone But James, right? If anyone besides James is sent home, they're idiots. There's no way they should even consider someone else. We love James, but he is no help to them in challenges right now (he can't be direction caller in all of them) and they will lose every time until the merge finally occurs.

Back at camp, the discussion turns to James's bitter enemy, Tom. Although both Candice and J.T. know that the logical choice is to eliminate James, they seem to be implementing the type of personnel evaluation that leads a team to draft Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan. We're flabbergasted as we watch the discussions, because we can tell exactly where this is going.

During last week's episode, J.T. was shown negotiating with Tom. Tonight, he talks to Colby instead. You talk to Tom if you're brokering a deal with him, and you talk to Colby if you're brokering a deal with someone other than Tom and Colby.

Before the votes are read, Tom and James make everyone uncomfortable by hating on each other. If celebrity boxing ever returns, we would totally pay to see this match-up. To evaluate fairly, Tom has probably done a disservice to himself. He has made no secret of his loathing of James, to the point that having both men at camp is incredibly uncomfortable. One of them must go - it's just a question of whether the Heroes choose the guy who can do them some good or the guy who might have to drop out for medical reasons before the next challenge. So, naturally, the Heroes vote out Tom. Obviously, we think this is epically stupid. Now down to only six players (to the Villains' nine), they have a guy with a broken toe, a guy in a knee splint, two girls who have proven to be slight liabilities in challenges, and Colby and J.T.

We'll be back in two weeks, since CBS is kind enough to give us the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament off. At that time, we'll apparently be treated to some chest thumping from Boston Rob and Evil Loser Russell. We'll continue to be on the side of the angels in that fight.