Sunday, April 25, 2010

April 25, 2010: Survivor Recap

I was away on Thursday night and for most of the weekend, so I wasn't able to watch the April 22 episode of Survivor until today. I had succesfully (and surprisingly) been able to avoid hearing or reading anything for 3 days, which was pretty after finally being able to see the episode, here is this week's recap.
We all knew the merge was coming this week. It was previewed last week at the end of the episode, and the commercials all week had told us that it was coming (see photo above), so it wasn't a surprise in any way. I liked how they mixed it up with the Villains getting the key, and the Heroes getting the chest. Showing up at a challenge to hear blue-shirt Probst say "Drop your buffs" was getting a bit stale.

Although when they did merge, and opened the chest to find their new buffs, and food...and a ham (remember when Survivor contestants used to run out of they get a new feast every other day)...they seemed to have a lot of trouble picking out a tribe name. So the producers made us wait, showing the team name as 'Merged Tribe' until they met up with Jeff at the Immunity Challenge. Then they told Jeff that their team name was Yin Yang, which is just idiotic because it makes it painfully obvious that they aren't merged at all, the Heroes and Villains are still sticking with their original tribes, the Yin and the Yang. Russell specifically should have never agreed to this if he wanted the Heroes to believe he was with them.

The Villains correctly assumed that they would have to come up with a story as to why Parvati was still there, and they did that...but it was with a ridiculous story of how Russell AND Parvati both played an immunity idol at their Tribal Council. As they were coming up with this story, they made a point to specifically NOT tell Sandra, which was stupid because she is the only one who could blow it for them by telling the Heroes the truth.
Which she did...and Rupert believed her. But J.T. didn't. J.T. also went on to say how ridiculous it was that Rupert believed it. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that there would have been a complex strategy implemented by the Villains which Rupert (the loveable buffoon who never won anything but a fan vote) figured out, and J.T. (the previous winner) was the idiotic moron who fell for it, I never would have believed it.

Up until the mid-point of the episode, there was very little drama. Very little to talk about. When the biggest drama of the first half of the episode is Danielle and Parvati helping themselves to bananas, you know it's a slow episode. I think that future seasons of Survivor will include a Banana Etiquette Handbook, authored by Rupert, of course.
But then something inexplicable happened. Amanda and Parvati went for a walk and had an in-depth conversation. I don't know why Amanda gave Parvati any information at all. If anyone knows how dangerous Parvati is, it's Amanda, who went to the final with her in Fans vs. Favourites...and lost. And I have no idea why Parvati told Amanda that she had an immunity idol, unless she thought that she could sway Amanda over to her side, which seemed pretty unlikely.

Curious and confusing behaviour from the 2 players that have played more of this game than anyone else in history. But I did love how their conversation ended with them telling each other "I trust you", when you know that it wasn't true for either of them.

The Immunity Challenge was another recycled event, although this time we didn't see the contestants sliding down and getting slivers in their thighs like last time. Looks like some of them actually learned from watching the show. I knew that Rupert and Russell didn't stand a chance, and I figured Danielle would win just because she could wedge the pole between those gigantic breasts of hers.
I was shocked at how many people just gave up on the challenge and stepped down. And the most shocking of all was Candace, who inexplicably stepped down with only Danielle and Parvati remaining. But not before Jeff Probst did his best to talk her out of it, which I felt really crossed the line in terms of Jeff getting involved in the game. At the time of this writing, I have not yet read his blog on this episode, so I really hope he addresses that incident. (I'll post a link to his blog at the end of this recap)

After Danielle won immunity, the Heroes scrambled back at camp to figure out what to do at Tribal Council. Amanda talked to Parvati and tried to get her to believe that she was the target, and that she should use the Idol. But Parvati was too smart to buy it. Here's an idea...if you want to lie to one of the shrewdest and smatest players in the game, don't send the worst liar on your team! And as a major bonus for Parvati, Russell (who for the first time this season, didn't tell us his name was 'Russell Hantz') kept up his lovesick puppy-dog behaviour and gave her the Hidden Immunity Idol that he got from J.T.
So off we headed to Tribal Council, and for the first time in a long time, I really had no idea what was going to happen. The conversation was uninteresting, and Coach once again looked like an idiot, but when we got to the vote, we saw what I truly believe was one of the smartest and ballsiest moves I've ever seen on Survivor.

When Parvati pulled the immunity idol out, I did not expect her to give it to Sandra (and neither did Sandra...did you see her face?), and when she pulled the second immunity idol out for Jerri, everyone except for Parvati was stunned.

This was a fantastic move. First of all, it shows that Parvati is willing to play the game...and use the idols as a tool within the game when she thinks they are necessary for her alliance...not just for her. Think of the players that have left this game with an unused immunity idol. Ozzy, Jason, and James (with two!), among others. Parvati wasn't willing to have her name added to that list.

This move also showed the Heroes that this Villains tribe is solid, and if there was a chance at splintering, Parvati's move likely solidified the trust that she needed Jerri and Sandra to have in her. Russell will assuredly be pretty pissed that Parvati didn't reveal to him that she had the idol, but what can he do? He can't switch over to the Heroes side because he just swindled them by lying to them about what he was going to do. How could they possibly trust him after he took the idol from J.T. and then voted him out? The only shot that the Heroes have now would be for Sandra to flip.

Two things to note coming out of this episode:

1) This is all Amanda's fault. If she doesn't have that conversation with Parvati, then Parvati likely uses one of the idols for herself and we have a tie vote. Who knows what happens next? But I can't think she uses the 'two idol plan' if she hadn't been tipped that she was off the block.

2) The idol was found by J.T., who gave it to Russell, who gave it to Parvati, who gave it to Sandra/Jerri, who wasn't expecting it. How crazy is that? Seems like nobody wanted it.

Next week: Looks like Sandra hates Russell enough to flip and vote with the Heroes.

Related links:
Entertainment Weekly: Jeff Probst's blog.

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