In by far the best episode of Survivor Season 20, Russell demonstrated once again why he may the best to ever play the game.
Episode 6 began with a little foreshadowing as Russell and Boston Rob warned each other to “watch your back” during a sidebar meeting at the Villain camp. It was the classic showdown between two Survivor heavyweights, with neither backing down – all that was left to do was touch gloves and come out swinging!
The tribes were summoned early in the show to a challenge but it was unclear if this was for immunity, reward, both or nothing at all. Once they arrived, Jeff informed the group that today they were playing as individuals against their own tribes and each tribe would be voting one member out that night – Double Elimination!!! Also, one player from each tribe would win immunity and then go head-to-head against the other tribe’s winner for the chance to win a tribe reward consisting of hotdogs and the chance to watch the losing team’s tribal council. Lots on the line for both teams!
The challenge was the old Survivor ‘tied to a rope obstacle course’ thing where the players need to jump, slide and slither their way to victory.
First up – the Heroes. It is clear that James is slowed down by his knee injury as he is unable to make much of an attempt to win the challenge. Even more surprising is that Colby did even worst than James. In the end, Candice wins immunity quite easily.
On to the Villains who always seem to be more interesting and entertaining. Five players were in contention at the halfway mark of the challenge with Tyson, Russell, Parvati, Jerri and Boston Rob all in it to win it. In the end, Bostson Rob held on for the victory, setting up a duel with Candice for tribe reward on a much bigger, multi-story obstacle course.
Give Candice credit, it was neck-and-neck for most of the race but in the end, Boston Rob was able to push himself to victory winning a valuable food and information reward for the already dominant Villains.
Knowing that he hasn’t performed well and feeling on the outs with his tribe, Colby arrived back at camp and all but resigned himself to the fact that he would be going home. Despite Colby’s poor performances, the tribe began to wonder whether James’ bum knee was strong enough to keep him in the game. Amanda tells James that he might be targeted because of his injury and lack of banana etiquette (James eats too many bananas) so James challenges JT to a race on the beach to prove his health. Let’s just say I believe Rupert could have won that race as James was clearly hobbled and unable to run at full speed leaving the door wide open for Colby to remain in the game.
Over on the Villains side, Boston Rob suggested to Russell that he better find the immunity idol and use it at tribal council tonight. Russell tells Rob he doesn’t have the idol but Rob isn’t buying it. Pulling together a six-player alliance, (Sandra, Tyson, Jerri, Coach, Courtney and Rob) he is convinced that Russell will play the idol so he wisely instructs his alliance to split their votes – three for Russell and three for Parvati – just in case Russell gives her the idol. This way, one of the two is going home for sure and the alliance is safe.
But leave it to Russell to be one step ahead of the competition. Russell pulls Tyson aside and tells him that the vote could be tied three ways (Parvati, Russell and Tyson) leaving Tyson exposed to a second vote. Russell tells Tyson that he’s in it for himself and is therefore voting for Parvati. He tells Tyson to do the same in order to ensure no re-vote. Tyson buys it…large.
It’s off to tribal council and the Villains session is first. Everyone takes their shots at Russell, all but insisting that he is holding the idol. Russell shrugs it off, even Sandra’s advice that he better go find it if he doesn’t have it. Time to vote. Jeff collects the votes and makes the customary ask for the immunity idol. Russell slowly pops up and walks over to Jeff revealing the idol…then…he pulls one of the greatest moves in the history of the game. Russell says, “not like this,” and hands the idol to a clearly shocked Parvati.
Believing that they have flushed-out the idol and eliminated Russell, Rob and Sandra exchange smiles and Jeff starts counting the votes. They soon realize that something is wrong. Four votes for Parvati (don’t count), two votes for Russell and three votes for Tyson. Russell pulled it off and the totally ‘awesome’ Tyson is eliminated from the game, breaking up a strong Rob-Coach-Tyson alliance and vaulting Russell to immortal status.
Next up the boring Heroes take the stand with the Villains looking on from their hotdog party. Lots of talk about James’ knee and Colby’s lack of heart. James says watching Colby’s poor performance is like seeing Superman in a fat suit…at least I think that’s what he said? Time to vote. The Heroes make their first somewhat intelligent decision by eliminating James and his wonky knee. Now it’s time for Colby to get his act together, strengthen his ties with JT and make a run at this thing.
My guess is we are still a week or two away from a merger. The Heroes really need a win this week to make the merge interesting. If they loose, I think they need to look at Rupert to go. He is too likeable to take to the merge. Colby, JT and Amanda need him out of there. On the Villains side of the island, look for the Boston Rob/Russell feud to hit a fever pitch, which is exactly what Russell wants. He is trying to expose Rob as a weak, paranoid player that is too dangerous to take to the merge. Russell doesn’t have the numbers right now, but if he can swing Coach, he probably gets Jerri (and the numbers) as well.