Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Episode 6 Thoughts

In the Pantheon of Stupid Survivor Moves, three tower above all others:

1) Erik choosing to give up the immunity necklace to Natalie, only to get voted out immediately after (Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites)
2) James getting voted out while holding 2 hidden immunity idols, which were only good for the next 3 tribal councils (Survivor: China)
3) Brandon choosing to turn on his tribe to vote out Kelly instead of voting out Lex (Survivor: Africa)

Tonight, a fourth move joined them, and threatens Erik's hold on the top spot. For reasons that are still unclear to me or anybody else watching the show, Tyson flipped his vote and inadvertantly caused his own ouster from the game.

If you watched the previews during March Madness or any of the commercials, you knew it was double elimination week on Survivor, with both tribes being told that they would be headed there. Of course, individual immunity was on the line, with each tribe competing for individual immunity within their own tribe.

The results were, naturally, more interesting on how they impacted the Heroes tribe. Candace was the odds on favourite to get voted out. Naturally, she won, leaving Colby as the biggest Heroes target. Colby even gave a speech about how he knew he was next to get voted out, and he didn't want to scramble around. Fortunately for him, everybody else was willing to do the scrambling for him.

Somewhere along the way, the Heroes gained some sense (or grew a set), and realized that keeping a player who's hobbling aroud one leg and who is eating a lot of their food. This set off Amanda's warning sensors, and he ran to James to tell him that he was in trouble and needed to show eveybody that he was (a) okay and (b) able to follow the "Banana Etiquette" (which is apparently to offer bananas to everybody when you go to get them, not to eat 5,000 bananas for every 1 that your tribemates eat.)

This leads to one of the funniest moments of the season - James challenges JT to a racein order to prove that his knee is fine. Naturally, JT handily beats James, even while running backwards for 3/4ths of the race. James also ends up limping after, thus defeating the purpose of the race and leading the Heroes to vote him out.

One thing that has been bubbling under for a while is how JT is basically controlling the moves the Heroes' trie is making. In week 2, it was up to him whether Stephenie or Amanda went. He chose Stephenie. The week after, he made the move to go with Tom and Colby to vote Cirie out. Tom's elimination came when he chose to side with Rupert/Amanda/James over Colby/Tom. And this week it was his suggestion that James might not be able to perform physically that set the ball rolling on the plan to get rid of James.

Many people have been down on how wishy-washy JT has been, but realistically, his wishy-washiness has allowed him to control the game as much as possible, while still remaining under the radar. It is remarkable to watch, and I have to be honest, I'm very impressed with how JT is playing right now. He is a threat to win it all again.

The Villains continued the Boston Rob/Russell fued, with both guaranteeing that the other would be the next to go. Then Boston Rob won immunity, messing up what the production crew had to imagine to be one of the best tribal councils of all time. Instead, we were treated to a game of cat and mouse that was remarkable to watch.

Rob began by telling his alliance that Parvati would be the target, while trying to make Russell believe he would be the target so the hidden immunity idol would be flushed. Rob and Russell talk, where Rob tells Russell that Russell has to play the idol to be safe this week, since "other people" are very upset with him. Immediately Russell tells his alliance of Parvati and Double D that Parvati is the new target and they are trying to smoke the idol out of his hands. So he tells Parvati that he will give her the idol, and they can get rid of Tyson.

We're then back with Boston Rob coming up with a new plan - divide the votes 3 for Russell and 3 for Parvati. If Russell uses the idol, then Parvati goes on the revote. If he doesn't then she goes. Sound strategy. Russell then takes Tyson aside and tells him that Russell has to vote for Parvati, since he wants to stay and he knows the vote is going her way. Somehow Tyson interprets this as allowing him to vote out Parvati as well (his vote was to go to Russell).

At Tribal Council, Russell takes the immunity idol out and seems to go to play it, but instead gives a lecture about playing like Coach and using honour and integrity, which leads him to give the idol to Parvati, who then uses it. Russell seems serene, as though he's accepted that he might end up voted out. Only Tyson's stupidity keeps Russell around and ends up eliminating himself.

Which brings us back to where Tyson's play stands in terms of stupidity. It's below Erik - giving away immunity at the final 5 against a group of players who were in a tight alliance is still the height of stupidity. It's above Brendon - ultimately Brendon's stupidity would have worked if his tribe had trusted him. But is it a biggr blunder than James? James' was blindsided, and probably felt if he got past that tribal council, he'd be able to just play the idols for the next two weeks. At the same time, James could have used one and then seen what happened with immunity the next week. Tyson was just, well, dumb. There was no advantage to piling on the votes to Parvati. You might want her gone by your hands, but sometimes that doesn't work out and you have to be satisfied with the end result, even if it wasn't achieve optimally.

So there you go. Tyson made the second stupidest move in Survivor history. I was surprised to see him make the move and disappointed that he did not last longer. However, for my continued entertainment from the Rob/Russell fued, I'm glad he's gone. I hope the payoff next week is even better.

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