So the Villains were the tribe to beat on Survivor
this season. Sure. Strong leadership, good performance in virtually every challenge, that ever-so-elusive "one voice"... okay, you can scratch that. Last week's events exposed the tribe's weakness: factions one-upping each other, aiming for an advantage. This week, that still goes into play.
Old school vs new school: The split is, of course, between Rob and Russell. You can say it's a battle between the old school and the new school. "For the first time," Rob said, "I was shocked last night. I completely didn't know what happened." Of course, he meant Russell almost playing the hidden immunity idol and forcing Tyson out of the game.
I can't blame him for being anxious, though. It seems he can't understand why Russell and his gang are just giggling and, Rob's words, "making fun of other people." He can't figure out why they're so confident. What if some members of his alliance are actually on Russell's side? He can only hope to "knock them out."
Thing is, there are some quells within his alliance. If it was okay, Jerri wouldn't be talking to Russell, right? They're trying to get her to their side but she isn't willing to commit just yet. Cue Parvati talking about every person who broke Jerri's heart over the past years. Russell? He's just proud to have brought two sworn enemies together.
The birth of the "fantastic five": Things are going a little better over at the Heroes side. Sure, they lost another one, but Rupert figures they have to kick James out in order to keep the tribe strong--and keeping someone with an injury isn't going to help matters. Colby, on the other hand, is still surprised that he survived Tribal Councils with his neck on the line. Again, Rupert's words: "he's got something to prove today."
He did get a chance to prove it during the reward challenge. Imagine basketball in water with elements of football. It proved to be a natural thing for Colby, who scored two of the Heroes' three points to give the tribe a trip to the waterfall with a really decent lunch. (He was so pumped up he just bashed Jerri out of the way in the third round.)
All of a sudden, the tribe is well again. "A win like this relieves the tension in the tribe," Colby said. Suddenly they're "family" (JT's words) but I prefer Rupert's term more: "fantastic five". Of course, there'll be a monkey wrench in that euphoria--in this case, another immunity idol back at camp. They all decide to read it (it's unusually detailed) but they decide to look for it together and use it only against the Villains, during the merge.
Another crack on the wall: "We might be eating chicken from the camp," Sandra said as the Heroes whooped them during the challenge. Hey, at least it's chicken. But the tensions just continued: Russell still tries to pull Jerri and Coach to his side.
She's already convinced--she doesn't trust Rob and she's in awe of what Russell did last week--but Coach isn't. He feels betrayed, because she did not tell him anything. "I just can't believe you threw all your eggs in Russell's basket," he went. Jerri tried to pull him in, saying she can't just stick with Russell alone. He feels he doesn't have a choice: it's his loyalty card in play again. It's an oddly enlightening conversation.
But that's breaking the two apart. Jerri thinks she gets it more than he does. "You can't be the good guy to everything and win this game," she said on camera. She's in it to win it. I smell a break.
Two masters, one Coach: The Villains' seem to have really lost it. The immunity challenge had a net walk, a rope climb and six bags of puzzle pieces: they blew the lead and scrambled with the puzzle, and the Heroes easily handed it to them. "We got whooped," Russell said. No, you got whooped earlier, too.
So with another Tribal Council vote, all eyes were on Jerri--Rob simply went, "do what you think is best for you"--but especially on Coach. Rob, still confused after seeing Russell's strategy of bluntly telling Courtney that she's going home, played the loyalty card on "right hand man" Coach. He figures his reputation is at stake, so he'll kick Russell out.
But Russell knows better. He wants to break Rob's alliance by aiming for the head, and tries to convince Coach to do the same thing. In a slightly hare-brained decision, Coach commits to voting Rob out, too. Imagine him looking really dejected in front of the camera. "I came here to win this game, but not at all costs," he said. "I want to be true to Boston Rob..." and then he trails off. He talks to Jerri. She's similarly torn ("I feel like I've aged five years in one day) but it seems she's got it all down already.
"Everybody is so damn paranoid about alliances": Coach said it perfectly during Tribal Council. Now that Tyson's gone--he called him the person who "bridged the gap" within the Villains tribe--everybody's scrambling to save their side of camp. He's pretty much echoing Rob, and completely defying Russell, who believed losing Tyson made them stronger. Quick rebuff: Rob and Russell start throwing word-bombs at each other, arguing about what loyalty really means. Quick poll: is it sticking to your word, or is it being "willing to go home"?
Coach wasn't having any of it. He's decided to stick with his original decision: to vote Courtney off, since she dragged down the Villains during the immunity challenge. "She's a weak link," he said earlier. So I guess he's serving three masters, then? But Jerri's flipped sides, and she voted for Rob: with Russell, Parvati and Danielle being predictable, it was Rob who was sent home.
Next week on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, one of the scenarios Jeff floated during Tribal Council happens: the red break apart. Sandra versus Russell, I smell. Who'll win?
(Image courtesy of CBS)