You know the set up. Ten years, twenty of the show's greatest players, out again to battle for the title of Sole Survivor, and of course, the million dollar prize. Welcome to Survivor: Heroes vs Villains
, kids, and this one promises to be quite a ride. In fact, that's how everything begins: four Army choppers, with five castaways each, gushing over who they're flying with, or thinking about how they'll prove themselves this time around. James wants to make it to the end. Rupert wants to prove that good always wins. Russell doesn't want to get too star struck over Parvati and Rob.
Yes, I'm a bit more interested in Russell. After all, Jeff described him as one of the ten most notorious castaways ever, something that elicits shocked reactions from the rest, who definitely haven't seen him play. This should be very good viewing. After more talk from the rest--JT feeling intimidated, Colby feeling humbled, Jerri feeling like Mother Teresa--it's off to their first reward challenge. They just landed!
For the challenge, pairs from each tribe--that's Heroes and Villains, obviously--dig through the sand for one bag. To score a point, one must race back to their tribe's mat with the bag in hand, and that's where things get absolutely physical. First to score three points gets the prerequisite flint.
Okay. The Heroes won, 3-2. But it does get absolutely physical. Stephenie dislocated her shoulder in the first round. Rupert broke his toe in the final round. Russell was doing this wrestling move on Randy, and Coach dragged Colby (who was holding the bag) to his mat. (Tyson: "I can only imagine what Colby is thinking. He might as well be a woman.") Cirie gave Parvati some serious smacking, and Sandra was pushing Sugar around, even taking off her top. It didn't stop the pin-up girl, though: she scored a point topless, flipping off the reds shortly after.
The Villains head to their camp dejected, but Russell has his game on already. He forms an alliance with Danielle, and then forms another with Parvati. She just takes it, since she wants "the devil on my side." Later that night, Jerri and Coach somehow find a connection, something that puts the tribe abuzz until the next morning. "You don't run away from true love," Russell says. The Black Widow and the Dragon Slayer? Sounds good. They take advantage by forming an alliance.
But the reds are having a hard time starting fire, and building their shelter. The Heroes, on the other hand, are benefiting from good karma. (At least that's what Amanda says.) They build a decent shelter quickly, and Tom spots four chickens, which they catch easily. Their battlecry, in Rupert's terms: "it's good to be a hero."
The Villains soon get their act together, with Rob taking on leadership duties. He makes fire the old-fashioned way despite Randy's cynicism, something that gets Coach really giddy. Rob takes advantage by having him climb a precarious palm tree he can't climb himself. Coach can't climb it either, which is a hoot, considering Rob and Sandra acting like they're drunk, betting on whether he'll do the deed or not. Rob lost a dollar.
Back at the blue camp, Rupert's having a hard time being useful. With a broken toe, he figured he'd start the fire, but even with flint, he can't really get it started. He leaves dejected, saying that starting a fire is a "state of mind", but JT swoops in and quickly burns things up. That night, Sugar gets her game on by cuddling up to Colby--she sure does have a thing for the "sexy young men" on her tribe. He just feels stalked, and to make things worse, she wakes everybody up with her blabbing.
The immunity challenge kicked off with the Heroes having a chicken for breakfast, and the Villains, well, having nothing. In a take off from Cook Islands--all challenges this season, by the way, are repeats from the last 19--six tribe members assemble a boat through seven planks, and then row offshore to grab a fire. The rest then solve a puzzle, after which they make a ladder out of the planks and light a bigger torch.
The Heroes start off very well, getting their torch in the water way before the Villains could even start rowing. But everything collapses with the puzzle, and the blues assemble and reassemble the puzzle, slowly losing their lead to the reds. As the Villains won the first ever immunity of the season, Sugar breaks down. Colby sees it as a sign she has to go. "We're not gonna miss much [if she goes]," he says. Wasn't that obvious?
The Villains are happy that they've broken up the blues. The Heroes are, well, having the blues. First Tribal Council! Amanda's name is floated first, but Colby and JT arrange to eliminate Sugar. Elsewhere, Tom plans to vote for Cirie, seeing her as a "brilliant strategist", Amanda aims for Stephenie because of her strategic chops, and Cirie aims to keep Sugar precisely because she's annoying.
The Tribal Council area is, literally, a treehouse, only without a roof, so all that rain should make for dramatics. The bottom line of the pre-vote talk: there's a reason to vote everybody out, either because they've got previous connections with other contestants, or because they're strong strategists, or--and Sugar's afraid of this--because they flubbed the puzzle challenge. "Well, that's why I was crying," she said. In the end, the votes were unanimous: Sugar was voted off.
Well, that sucks, but if you drain your tribe of necessary energy by flirting with someone who's refusing your advances, well...
Next week, another medical panic, as Rob just... loses it.
(Image courtesy of CBS)