Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
March 23, 2010
We conclude the message portion of our show with James demonstrating that he has learned proper banana etiquette. "Hey, JT - would you like a banana?" It feels like we're watching PBS for kids.
The majority alliance in the Villains tribe meets to discuss strategy. AWR has thought ahead, and points out that as long as the six of them vote correctly, tonight's result will be satisfactory. A 3-3 split vote between Parvati and ELR will eliminate whichever one of them fails to produce the hidden immunity idol. In case you're confused on the math, once the players are in a tie vote, the majority alliance wins the runoff handily. It's a plan that has no downside in our estimation. Given that the episode is barely half over, however, we doubt it goes that smoothly.
And...it doesn't. Rob and Sandra (and we should include Sandra whenever we discuss strategic moves because it's apparent that the two of them are tightly aligned) specifically define who should vote for whom. AWR, Sandra and Tyson will vote for Evil Loser Russell, while the other three will vote for Parvati. ELR himself states that it's a genius move if their plans are built around flushing out the idol and creating a three-way tie. Rob and Sandra have maneuvered the board perfectly to get what they want with this vote, assuming the competence of all the voters. This is the brilliance of Survivor as well as the primary frustration of master strategists. You can tell a person who to vote for and explain why it's the best decision at the time. You can do all the voting math correctly. But you can't write down the vote for them. The maxim about being only as strong as your weakest link is proven time and again, and tonight is one of those instances.
Awesome Winner Rob has manipulated Evil Loser Russell into a circumstance where he will be voted out if he gives away the idol. To his credit - and anyone who reads this column knows that we have been less than lavish with our praise for ELR in the past - Russell makes a fantastic move here. He informs Tyson that even though he hates to do it, he has decided to sacrifice Parvati in order to secure his place after tonight's vote. We dismiss it at the time as a transparent ploy that only an idiot would believe. Alas, Evil Loser Russell picked the right idiot. When the night's vote is revealed, five members of the majority alliance perform their task correctly. Tyson, seeking to...hell, we don't even know - it's that inexplicable. He says he wants Parvati gone right away, but if she's not out today, they can eliminate her the next time, so...
Anyway, Tyson doesn't vote for Russell, which screws up EVERYTHING. We're not joking here. Tyson effectively pulls the pin on a hand grenade and drops it in his own encampment. His own vote for Parvati means that she gets four, Tyson gets three and Evil Loser Russell gets two. Everything was based on there being a three-way tie. Rob and Sandra had pushed the necessary buttons to eliminate ELR from the game. He should have gone home. Tyson's stupidity (and a clever amount of manipulation by Evil Loser Russell) means that someone else goes home. That's right. Tyson has just effectively voted himself off the show, which the rules theoretically prevent from happening. This is not a joke. This is what actually happened. Tyson voted Tyson off the show by being easily duped and failing at math.
This is in the conversation for stupidest personal decision in the show's history, right there with James not playing either of his two idols and Randy playing a fake idol. We're flabbergasted, and have to concede that we cannot call Russell "Evil Loser Russell" for a least a little while. He's back to just Evil Russell (but can you be evil on a tribe of villains? Hmm).
As the Villains eat their hot dogs and watch the Heroes' Tribal Council, Rob stews and Evil Russell somehow struts while sitting. Rob's frustration is understandable. This would be like going for checkmate in chess only for one of your pieces to say, "I think I'll stop right here instead."
And oh, yeah, James gets voted out at the Heroes' Tribal Council. Amanda is crying before the vote is revealed, while James doesn't seem the least bit surprised. We therefore assume that the choice was made in advance and with James's knowledge. We have no doubt that the producers of Survivor were fist bumping and high fiving like crazy at these turns of events. The perfect scenario going into this evening was a AWR versus ER battle in a Batman versus Joker type war. Tonight's episode sees Gotham imperiled despite the fine detective work of its Dark Knight. Next week's episode is going to be very interesting indeed.