Could Survivor 20 continue its streak of highly entertaining and totally exhilarating episodes in week 8? The answer is…sort of. While last week was not as fun to watch as the previous two, there were still some moments and we probably started to see some strategic manoeuvring that will undoubtedly impact the game going forward.
Here’s what went down.
We start out by seeing the continuing demise of the once mighty Villains Tribe. Coach is mad at Jerri for siding with Russell and voting out Boston Rob while Sandra and Courtney are on the outside of any alliances looking in. And Russell is loving it all. The man thrives in chaos and manages to use people and situations to forward his position in the game brilliantly. Even the wily Parvati appears to be in awe of Russell’s abilities although I think she’s batting her eyelashes just enough to make Russell feel like she’s on his side for the long haul…time will tell.
On the Heroes side, JT decides to ignore his tribe’s decision to search for and leverage the hidden immunity idols as a team and instead heads off into the woods to find it…which he does. But before he can hide it in his shorts Candice arrives on the scene and JT has to come clean. He changes gears and assures Candice and the rest of the tribe that he did it to bring the tribe together. Candice isn’t buying it and neither is Amanda.
Coach continues to long for Boston Rob as life in the Villains camp deteriorates. It’s clear that Rob was the glue that held the tribe together and helped them focus in challenges. Without him, the tribe is a bunch of cranky, starving individuals the Russell can expose and eliminate one at a time.
Time for the reward challenge. For some reason, the Villains think that the challenge will include the news of a merge, so they pack their entire camp and bring their valuables with them to the challenge. WHAT? WHY? If there is a merge, Jeff will have the new tribe pick a camp and it’s clear that the villains shelter is way better. There is no way they should have wasted so much valuable energy packing and schlepping their crap across the island…and it shows in the challenge.
Before the challenge even begins JT realizes that Boston Rob is gone which must mean that there is a females alliance in play – how else could Rob and Tyson be eliminated? He mouths “Hang In There” to Russell and then Jeff lets everyone know that there’s no merge on the horizon.
Time for some Survivor Bowling. The Villains argue about who should participate and somehow their two weakest players (Sandra and Courtney) sit out one of the easiest physical challenges. The Fantastic Five Heroes continue their winning streak and partake in a pizza party while the Villains must head back to their camp with all their stuff and set-up AGAIN!
The misery on the Villains side continues when Jerri goes on the offensive against Sandra and Courtney for sitting out the bowling challenge and leaving the tribe exposed in the upcoming immunity challenge. Sandra says it wasn’t her decision and Courtney just looks hungry. Somebody needs to get that girl a sandwich. With the target firmly affixed to her back, Sandra comes up with a plan to create some chaos in the camp by telling Russell that Coach is gunning for him. Smart move by Sandra.
Russell, being the smart guy that he is, realizes that getting rid of Coach will further plant the seed with the Heroes that there’s a Girl Alliance in the Villains Tribe. This will make Colby, Rupert and JT (assuming they’re still in the game at merge time) fearful of Parvati, Sandra, Jerri and Danielle, and make them come directly to Russell to work together. Russell has a post-merge plan in place to work both sides of the game…brilliant.
The Immunity Challenge is a muddy obstacle course where the tribes compete in pairs against each other. Because of their silly bowling move, Courtney and Sandra must play, meaning Danielle and Jerri (obviously better at physical challenges) are out. It isn’t long before the lack of strategic planning hurts the Villains and the Heroes take advantage to win another challenge and send the Villains back to tribal council once again.
Here’s where the show got a little dry. Nothing seemed to happen between the challenge and tribal council. No strategy, no discussions and no intrigue. Other than Coach declaring that “the Dragon Slayer is just coming in to his own” – which I immediately realized meant he was toast – nothing happened. At tribal, Coach and Courtney jab at each other but the Dragon Slayer’s game is over. Coach is the next one out of the game and the first member of the jury.
With Coach out, Russell is in cruise-control for the time being. A merge is probably about to take place as the remaining players will be involved in the inevitable outcome either as part of the jury or fighting for the money. I still think that Sandra is in a power position to build a counter-movement against Russell – especially if a merge happens and she can bring Amanda and Candice to her side with Courtney and potentially Jerri. If, however, Russell manages to convince JT, Colby and Rupert that the girls are in control, he will be able to further manipulate both sides. Should be very entertaining as long as Russell stays in the game.
The Scribe Has Spoken…