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Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Recap

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

February 16, 2010

We have to use these pics of her while we can.

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Almost ten years after the debut of Survivor, the show that kick-started reality television (for better and for worse) returns with this, its 20th season. Rather than introduce a series of new contestants, the producers of Survivor acquiesced with CBS' request to do something special this season. After years of saying that an All-Star competition would never be attempted again due to the troubles arising from the first iteration in season eight, a variation on the theme was attempted in season 16, which featured Fans vs. Favorites. Given the overall success of that season, the handlers for Survivor determined another All-Stars competition could work if done well. The key would be the casting. Thus, we find ourselves beginning a new season full of familiar faces, some of whom we are thrilled to see return, some we are less enthusiastic about watching again and a few we never wanted to see ever again. As such, we are conflicted about the idea of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, but as long as Boston Rob is back, we're cautiously optimistic.

Our recap of the first episode, which CBS was kind enough to stretch out to two hours in order to make us write more, will be split into two parts. Here in the first part, we'll remind you of where we stand on the various Heroes cast members selected to participate this season while examining the season premiere up until the end of the first challenge. In the second part, we will scrutinize the Villains and recap the second hour of the show.




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For the most part, this season represents a phenomenal cast. The first Hero is Jessica Kiper aka Sugar, whose determination in doing the right thing allowed her to overcome a tight alliance and make her way to the final vote. There, she aided Bob Crowley in convincing the jury that he was a worthy champion, albeit at the cost of her own triumph. Sugar received no votes from her competitors and was later revealed to have been generally despised by her opponents, probably because she has a tendency to go on prolonged crying jags. In fact, we believe a great idea for a webcast would be recording Sugar watching Ol' Yeller. Nonetheless, she's one of the most innately good people to ever make it to the final vote on the show, which means we like her a great deal. She's one of our all-time favorite players.

Arguably the two most beloved competitors making a return appearance this season are Rupert Boneham and James Clement. Both of them have appeared twice in the competition. Rupert stole everyone's heart when he stole the opposing team's shoes, which is theoretically villainous behavior yet he found a way to rob with the sort of charm usually reserved for movie characters like Thomas Crown and Danny Ocean. Rupert finished eighth during his initial appearance then worked his way up to fourth place on Survivor: All-Stars. James earned his way in the Survivor Hall of Shame during his first season by failing to play one of his two hidden immunity idols at Tribal Council, thereby finishing in seventh place in a competition where he was a strongly positioned to win. He was doing quite a bit better in the Fans vs. Favorites competition during the Micronesia season before bad luck struck. James injured his finger and the medical staff eventually settled upon removing him from the game rather than risk amputation of the digit. He finished seventh that year as well. Between the two men, they have won the Fan Favorite $100,000 reward three times.


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