Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Recap
A Sinking Ship
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
May 7, 2010


Previously on Survivor, Candice lost her damn mind. Sandra had conspired with the Heroes to usurp Parvati as the power player in the game. All she needed to have happen was for the Heroes to remain loyal through that vote. Had they done so, the game would be completely up for grabs with only eight players remaining. Alas, Candice got cold feet after Evil Loser Russell made a very generous offer with her to guarantee her a spot in the final six. Obviously, Candice had to jump all over that. The best she could have guaranteed herself if she had remained with the Heroes after they attained numbers would have been...fifth. Yes, her decision was that dumb.

Let's backtrack for a moment just in case you think we're painting an unfair picture. There are currently five remaining Villains. They are Queen Parvati, "I can't believe he hasn't lost yet" Russell, Parvati's girl-slave Danielle, Jerri Manthey, and Sandra. The remaining Heroes are Rupert, Candice, and Colby plus Amanda, who was voted off last week. With Sandra voting as one of the Heroes, they could have ousted Parvati 5-4. There was absolutely no logical reason for Candice to flip on her former allies.

In fact, this was the most illogical of decisions based upon frustration. Candice had grown weary of following Amanda since they had done so poorly as allies. Right as she and Amanda were poised to have the tightest alliance with the strongest player in the ruling party, she decided this was the perfect opportunity to get back at Amanda. In a season of genuinely idiotic moments, this isn't the worst or even the second worst voting mistake. It is, however, the one that may prove to have the most direct determination over who wins, at least out of the votes after the merge. Tyson's nonsense combined with this makes us start to wonder if Parvati is in fact a witch who is mentally controlling opponents and forcing them to vote as she wishes. The choice is that inexplicable.

Candice's mistake left Sandra in an awkward position. She realized that if she stuck her neck out and voted against Parvati, the four-player alliance of Villains that doesn't include her would target her at the next vote. Sandra pressed Candice to make a decision and once Sandra recognized she didn't have the numbers, she was forced to fall back. The end result is that Amanda was voted off 6-3 with two of the votes against her coming from Sandra and Candice. Spelling it out, had they voted another way, that's a 5-4 loss for Parvati, who was not protected by an immunity idol that round, much to her chagrin.

Instead, ELR kept the idol and used it to save himself, because he once again tricked himself into believing that everyone would see him as the biggest threat and try to vote him off. One of these days, he's going to realize he was a much bigger threat in his own mind than he ever was to one of his competitors. What's important about this is that Parvati was clearly pissed off over this turn of events, berating him after the vote was announced. ELR doesn't take kindly to criticism and Parvati doesn't take kindly to stupid play from allies. This means that the Survivor Divorce we referenced last week is about to come to pass, probably tonight. The previews indicate that two players will be voted off tonight, and we will be surprised if both of them remain at the end of the tonight's show.

Night 30 at Yin Yang features a hilarious sound bite. Given that Candice just betrayed her tribe in order to advance deeper into the game, you would think that she would be treated with a lot of respect. Instead, the first words out of Jerri's mouth are that Candice is too much of a threat and must be eliminated. Given that the edit is clearly from a later period in the game, there exists the possibility that tonight's double vote will not be the slam dunk of Colby/Rupert that it appears to be on paper. Karma has struck back much faster than usual, we guess.

Stating the obvious, Rupert and Colby are irate with Candice. What words do they use to describe her? The laundry list includes "weak", "pathetic", "greedy", "manipulative", "self-centered" and "pitiful". Rupert goes so far as to say that after Colby and himself, there are no other Heroes. We are not expecting Candice to win their votes if it gets that far. We also are not expecting it to get that far. What Candice has done exemplifies the difference between making a good move and simply making a move. She did the latter and as such, she has become the least popular player remaining in the game who doesn't resemble a troll. And we're not 100% sure people like her better than Trolly the Idol Waster.

The big news prior to the first immunity challenge is that Rupert has had up to here (wherever that is) with ELR. Rupert goes so far to say that ELR is worse than Jonny Fairplay. He also makes the decision to attempt to show to the other Villains just how pathetic ELR is. FYI to Rupert: they have been dealing with him the entire month. You just stumbled upon him last week, right after your alliance gave him an immunity idol. They knew what a punk he was a while ago. You just signed your name on the card to his special Survivor gift.

The conversation goes about as well as you would imagine. Rupert busts ELR for swearing on his children that he would never betray J.T. ELR compares Rupert to the second coming of Christ, making us wonder just how far into dementia he has fallen. Being Parvati's bitch for that long has clearly taken its toll on his psyche. All that is resolved here is that everyone else is moderately entertained for a while. ELR does confide to the camera that Rupert is next out of the game, which means that he is safe for a while. ELR's recent track record of anticipating votes is about the same as JaMarcus Russell's track record as an Oakland Raiders quarterback.

Probst sighting!

The first immunity challenge this week once again favors women. Players stand on small blocks of wood while they are handcuffed to a chain attached to a giant bucket of colored water. We made the joke last time this challenge came up and it still applies. Parvati has a hugely unfair advantage here, because handcuffs, chains and wet t-shirts might as well be printed on her business cards.

In order to prevent the challenge from lasting indefinitely as was the case the last time it was played, Probst quickly offers the contestants various foodstuffs in order to make them drop out of the competition. One minute into the game, Sandra and ELR quit before he can even reveal what the first item is. They are rewarded for their lack of effort with cookies and milk.

Meanwhile, we learn an American broadcasting imperative as the remaining six contestants compete. A month into a competition where players are not allowed to have razors, women should never be asked to raise their arms. Let's just say that their armpits are...very European in terms of grooming. It's not pleasant to the point that evolution has suffered its worst setback since the Scopes Monkey Trial.

After 20 minutes of poor hygiene, Probst returns with donuts and an iced coffee. We are shocked when Colby, one of the two contestants we are calling Dead Meat during tonight's episode, takes the offer. He must feel a lot more confident about his chances with Rupert having had his morning blow-up with ELR. The problem with this logic is that one out of five remaining players is about to win immunity and Rupert is one of them.

At the 35 minute mark, Candice attempts to instruct Danielle in the dynamics of Survivor voting, informing her that someone needs to beat Rupert else he win immunity. We have no memory whatsoever of the first time Candice played Survivor, which appears to be a good thing since we have grown to despise her.

As all of this occurs, Probst returns with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, and "a big bowl of candy" along with two glasses of milk. The two women forget all about Rupert and quickly agree to quit the competition while Jerri jumps in as well. We are down to Rupert, who desperately needs immunity, and Parvati, who is playing the game the right way. Part of this probably stems from the fact that she knows she could have gone home last week and remains the biggest target in the game. Even so, a lot of players with worse positions in the game than her quit while she kept on fighting. We commend her for this.

Thirty-five minutes later, exactly twice as long as anyone else lasted, Parvati is rewarded for her grit and determination when Rupert falls off his pedestal, giving her immunity. To his credit, Rupert channeled his hatred of ELR into a much better performance in this challenge than we had expected, especially when we factor in his toe. Still, this challenge is too hard a task for a grizzly bear of a man to beat a graceful, slight woman like Parvati. It was just too much to overcome and we know we will be playing It's Anyone but Rupert after the commercial break.

Before the contestants leave the challenge, Probst reads them another Hidden Immunity Idol clue, which sets the tone for everything that happens prior to Tribal Council. Once the players get back to camp, they start sprinting to search the areas it may be hidden. Eventually, Sandra finds something we are led to believe is the idol, but it also comes with what looks like another clue. She is unable to read the clue for fear of someone finding her right in the middle of doing so. This leaves us confused as to what has transpired. We are operating under the assumption that she has an idol, but this is not a certainty.

Rupert does come up with a very good Plan B when he is unable to unearth the idol. He puts a rock in his pocket that makes it appear as if he has found the idol. Playing it cool, he casually walks by ELR and lets the man's crippling paranoia do all the heavy lifting here. ELR, self-determined expert of all things Hidden Immunity Idol-related, instantly picks up on the bulge in Rupert's pocket (no, not that one) and confidently states to the camera that Rupert has it. The hilarious part comes when ELR tells Sandra that Rupert has the idol. Intolerant of anything involving his personality, she brusquely states in a camera monologue: "Of course I know that's a lie because I have the freakin' immunity idol." So, that mystery is solved. We are left wondering what the clue she got in addition to the idol will do for her. The table has been set for Sandra to win this season.

Much debate is made over how to split the votes in order to assure the expected result of either Rupert or Colby going home tonight. Jerri asks for Candice to be added into the mix, an idea that gets some resistance, but not as much as the traitor would have hoped. The Tribal Council discussion centers upon the idol and not much else. Right before the vote is announced, Probst asks for the owner of the immunity idol to play it if so inclined. Everyone looks at Rupert who humorously plays this up by scratching his pants pocket before declining the invitation.

Surprisingly, we cut to a commercial break before the vote is revealed, making us wonder if a huge shock is about to unfold. Afterward, we are surprised but not hugely shocked to learn that Parvati and her minions throw Jerri and the remaining Heroes a bone by offing Candice instead by a vote of 5-3. This may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but it strikes us as another situation like with Sandra and Courtney. When you have the opportunity to eliminate a more threatening player, why would you choose a lesser one instead? Anyone and we mean ANYONE who drags Candice to the final vote will beat her, even Trolly. Plus, the continuing presence of a true Hero means that the jury still has a chance to give the million dollars to someone they like. In a season of epic mistakes, this isn't a big one a la what Candice did last week and certain not an epic one like J.T. made, but it's not a good play by any stretch of the imagination.

"Karma is a bitch sometimes." -- Candice, who is at least self-aware and able to laugh about what transpired.

Once they get back to camp, the Villains engage in a spirited discussion wherein ELR of all people appreciates that they made a mistake with their vote. He correctly evaluates the situation for once and also finally picks up on the fact that maybe just maybe he isn't running the show. Sure, it took him about 15 days after Boston Rob's elimination to realize how Parvati was pulling his strings, but we all knew he was slow. What's important about this conversation is that ELR shows all the tell-tale signs of becoming a human hand grenade with the pin removed. He's got the crazy eyes after a third straight Tribal Council that didn't go the way he expected at all. We suspect Parvati is about to regret the deal with the devil she made in order to get Boston Rob eliminated.

Probst sighting!

The pacing of this episode is lightning fast. Everything that happens directly impacts the game and we are loving it. Today's challenge features three heats. The first one involves players digging up a peg then using it to negotiate a series of hand puzzles. Rupert shreds on this competition with Sandra nipping at his heels, offering a strong performance in a challenge for a change. The other three to advance are Russell, Jerri and Danielle.

The next heat of the challenge gives each player four pegs along with a rock climbing wall filled with peg holes. Players may use the pegs however they see fit in order to negotiate the wall and reach the top of the base. ELR cleverly takes a running jump up the wall and spikes a peg hole midway up. This allows him to be the first one to compete the challenge. Rupert and Parvati also advance, meaning there is a two in three chance that one of the Villains can eliminate whomever they want at the second Tribal Council. The final challenge is a puzzle where players must swap around the pieces until they show a picture of the Survivor logo. It is a hotly contested race, but ELR edges Rupert and Parvati to win immunity. So, if Parvati and him do wind up in mortal combat prior to the next vote, only she has a chance to go home. As such, it makes sense for them to kiss and make up. Here's hoping Parvati has better taste than that, though.

Once everyone has returned to camp, Parvati makes her opinion clear that Rupert is about to go home. We grow concerned when a monologue shows her saying, "There ain't gonna be any Heroes left. No Heroes!" This leads us to believe that a Villain is about to go home, but it's hard to envision a scenario wherein that occurs.

Right on cue...

ELR approaches Danielle and talks about what they are going to do since they cannot beat Parvati. Does he want his Survivor Wife gone? Probably not. He does want to scare her, though, and he also wants to find out what the score is within his alliance. ELR's ego dictated that he believe himself to be calling of the shots. If he is an alliance with Parvati and Danielle is in an alliance with Parvati and the two of them do not like one another, that means Parvati has the power position. He should have realized this three weeks ago and we said as much at the time.

When the light finally does go on for ELR, his plan becomes the most straightforward route, the one he always chooses. He attempts to create discord by turning the two women against one another. First, he talks to Danielle about voting out Parvati and then he quickly reports back to Parvati that Danielle is trying to orchestrate her elimination. It is a dumb move of course, as Parvati has a very good BS Detector.

After hearing what ELR says happened, Parvati tells him that she will go talk to Danielle about the situation. Russell panics at this news. He has gotten away with so many transparent lies during his two times playing Survivor that he has forgotten that it is easy enough to find out the truth in such instances. When Parvati heads in Danielle's direction, Russell throws himself in front of her and begins to berate her for being so much of an idiot that she would go talk to the person she talks with the most in the game. This actually happens.

ELR's desperate gambit blows up in his face quickly in that Parvati and Danielle catch him in the act. They have a specific conversation on the beach wherein they realize what he has done, but the cameraman offers the best performance here. He catches shots of the other players, particularly Sandra, paying careful attention to the conversation. Moments later, ELR moves on to Plan B. He knows that he has burned a bridge with Danielle that will never be rebuilt. He isn't quite sure where he stands with Parvati, but he realizes that what has to happen is that he has to orchestrate Danielle's elimination from the game. Immediately.

Russell goes over to first Colby and then mortal enemy Rupert and offers them an alliance. Rupert hypocritically fist bumps him after the men agree to work together. We do not expect this to be a longstanding agreement. It does make sense for Colby and Rupert, though. Both of them have a chance of getting out of tonight's episode with their game status intact, something we hadn't expected to be a possibility prior to the show.

"Danielle, I'm not changing my vote. I'm voting for Rupert. Rupert needs to go." -- Jerri, whose vote is about to determine the next phase of this season of Survivor.

Yes, Jerri changes her vote. While she was right that Rupert needed to go, he does not. How does this happen? Jerri votes for Danielle. How does this happen? Let's just say that Danielle has no one to blame but herself.

Right before Tribal Council, ELR attempts to berate Jerri into voting off of Danielle. His argument is the same nonsensical garbage that Parvati saw right through and our inclination is to believe that the same is true of Jerri. She asks all of the right questions when ELR threatens her about her impending elimination after Danielle goes. Jerri specifically states that she wants to know who will get her voted off and how, but all ELR can offer, the tell-tale sign that he is making the whole thing up is when he says those dreaded words all liars use when they're desperate: "Help me help you."

So, if Jerri says she won't vote off Danielle and she blows off ELR when he tries to manipulate her into voting off Danielle, how does Jerri become the swing vote that eliminates Danielle? Jerri watches Danielle cry at Tribal Council. No, it's not as simple as that, but this is the first domino to fall in the process. Danielle is overly defensive from the start of Tribal Council, trying to justify actions that frankly didn't need a lot of justification.

As we have noted at several points since the merge, a certain portion of Danielle's self-esteem comes from her tight alliance with Pavarti. This proves to be her undoing as having that threatened causes her to meltdown when pressed to define it. She slips when she offers the tell-tale words that the real alliance, the one driving everything is Parvati, ELR and her. This is news to Jerri, whose eyes widen when Danielle utters that statement.

For all of our criticism of Jerri's play this season, she has demonstrated learning curve from prior outings. She clearly wants to win this time or at least make it to the final vote. When Danielle effectively states that the plan never really included Jerri, her voting decision becomes clear. With Danielle out of the picture, Jerri can slide into that spot. Danielle utters the one phrase that notifies her opponent that if the opportunity exists for Jerri to eliminate her from the playing field, Jerri has to do it.

The end result is that ELR gets what he wants, at least theoretically. He blows up the tight Danielle/Parvati alliance by orchestrating Danielle's elimination. We are of the opinion that he did this two votes too soon, as the continuing presence of Colby and Rupert matters a lot more than the Villains are acknowledging. As was the case with choosing Courtney over Sandra, Parvati and ELR have once again left the dangerous players alive while eliminating someone who wasn't a threat to win. The one thing we can take from tonight's events and say with certainty is that Parvati is no longer the power player in this game. With the idol in hand and no one unwilling to work with her remaining in the game, Sandra is well positioned to win for the second time.