'Survivor: Heroes vs Villains' Recap: Playing Dirty, Featuring Parvati
'Survivor: Heroes vs Villains' Recap: Playing Dirty, Featuring Parvati
Last week on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, the Heroes continued their fall from grace, after a particularly nasty Tribal Council sent Stephenie packing. While all that happens, the Villains find their footing. This week, a lesson for me: don't be very certain, because things have been flipped over. Again.

Heroes rising: If we're to believe Tom, the last vote was cathartic for the tribe, but he isn't hopeful that it would change things. Consider this: James just wants to win. JT just wants to stay on top of the game--his explanation for voting Steph out. Colby is frustrated that nobody's playing fair anymore. The aim: to make it as pleasant as possible at camp.

I think the Heroes still want to make this set-up work. Rupert acts like a camp leader this time: he wants it to rain so everyone will huddle in their shelter and they'll have "empowerment activities". It doesn't rain, but nature cooperates anyway: they found another bunch of chickens, and they catch them all. "It's a neat experience," he said, "and that's what we need."

Well, not really. JT is still at it, trying to break Candice and Cirie apart by telling one that the other doesn't trust her. "My lying ability is better than it should be," he says, because he doesn't really lie outside the show. The two girls sense something is up, but don't find anything yet.

Villains, well, not rising: They may have another night in camp, but Rob's already thinking of strategy. "I don't trust Russell," he says. "He's running around with puppy dog eyes at Parvati." That thought is a bit disturbing, but it makes sense, because they're sleeping beside each other, laughing.

The following morning, Coach and Rob approach Russell. The bottom line, in the Dragon Slayer's words: his alliance is no strategy, but is "puppy love". Russell won't take Coach seriously, but feels a little threatened by Rob.

And so, let us give a big welcome to classic Russell. In an attempt to assert his supremacy over Coach and Rob, he'll burying the camp's only machete in the sand. (He even wanted to toss Rob's cap into the fire, a throwback to Jaison's socks.) That gives Randy a hard time the following morning, as he tries to open a huge clam that not everybody wants to eat.

A dirty sweep: This week's challenge is a throwback to Palau: it's pretty much sumo wrestling with castaways holding bags and pushing their opponents into the mud. Apart from immunity, the winning tribe gets coffee, sugar, a week's worth of rice and luxury items--pretty much items they brought with them to remind them of home.

And man, wasn't this an absolute doozy: the Heroes win all eight match-ups. Some were effortless: Tom just pushed Russell, JT dominated Tyson, and James screwed an old man in Randy by literally nudging him. Rupert had a harder time overcoming Coach: he actually fell in the mud, but it didn't count because Coach used his arms when he shouldn't. Still, a huge win for the Heroes--a really huge win. Me, I'm surprised nobody went for Rupert's toe.

Parvati's charm offensive: "They must've all eaten steroid sandwiches before the challenge," Tyson said afterwards. "I worried for their sanity." Now we're past that, it's time for a frenzy.

Coach and Randy are aiming for Parvati: she's a dangerous player, they say, partly because she's got three friends over at the Heroes side, and partly because she's flirting with everybody else--exactly what you'd expect from her, right? But Randy is on the chopping block, too. It's automatic, he says, but he won't be scrambling for votes.

Parvati's the one scrambling, though. After unsuccessfully hitting on Coach ("I have been coaching college soccer for girls for years," he said) she corners Jerri, who supposedly hasn't made a choice. More or less, nobody knew who they were voting for--Sandra just wanted to go with the majority--except for Randy and Parvati.

Message sent? Coach is the star of tonight's Tribal Council. He left camp quoting Martin Luther King and vowing to defend Randy to the end "for honor". He got to strut his stuff against Sandra--who, perhaps unintentionally, implied that Coach isn't doing anything at camp--by calling her words "a bunch of bulls--." And then, it becomes a conversation about who has the worst shelter in Survivor history. Coach says it's the Villains camp. Jerri and Courtney beg to disagree.

But Parvati's tactic actually worked. In the end, nobody voted for her: the tribe unanimously voted for Randy. Knowing that he's going anyway, he decided to "send a message" by voting for someone else entirely: Rob. "I'm not sure if they got the message," he later said to the cameras. He left his buff in the fire.

Next week: the hidden immunity idol enters the game, as Russell gets another target on his back. And Coach melts down. I never thought I'd see this coming.

(Image courtesy of CBS)