Episode Nine of Survivor 20 will certainly go down as one of the most memorable and astonishing in the show’s history. From a statistical perspective, Amanda participated in her 100th day in the game to lead all players (Parvati is right behind and will hit the 100 day mark in the next episode). But the real shocker took place right after the Immunity Challenge with one tribe secretly handing the most dangerous player in the game a hidden immunity idol.
Episode nine started off with the down-on-their-luck Villains decompressing after their elimination of Coach at the last Tribal Council. Jerri is shocked at Coach’s departure and realized she is likely on her own with the members of her alliance all out of the game. Danielle and Russell assure Jerri that she is safe for the time being with Sandra and Courtney next in line to join the jury.
It’s already time for the Reward Challenge, but not before the tribes are asked to rank the five participants for the challenge from weakest to strongest. There’s some strategy here because you have to try and match-up with the other tribe without knowing how they will rank their own players. Should be interesting.
The challenge is a touch physical test where players compete head-to-head by using their arms to brace themselves between two walls, while their feet are perched on very narrow footholds. Every ten minutes, the castaways will move to smaller footholds. When they arrive at the challenge and see Coach has gone home the Heroes are convinced there is an all-female Villains alliance and Russell is next on the chopping block.
Russell sits out the challenge and the Villain women do surprisingly well and easily beat the Heroes. Jerri defeats Colby, Sandra trash-talks and defeats Rupert, and Courtney outlasts Amanda for the sweep. JT tells Russell to “hang in there” which puts a smirk on Russell’s face.
For Reward, the Villains win an Outback Steakhouse feast with all the trimming (no blooming onion?). While on Reward, Parvati discovers a scroll hidden in her napkin. She hides it and later discovers she has a clue to a hidden Immunity Idol. She shares the news with Danielle and they decide to keep things quiet from Russell and the others for the time being. When they get back to camp, Parvati and Danielle search for the Idol and find it with Russell lurking in the bushes.
Back at the Heroes camp, JT devises a plan to give Russell the Heroes’ Immunity Idol at the next challenge so that Russell can protect himself and blindside one of the girls in the process should the Villains lose the challenge. Somehow JT manages to convince the rest of the Heroes that this is a good idea – I can’t believe they all went a long with this strategy – and he drafts a letter to wrap the Idol in so that Russell understands their intentions.
The Immunity Challenge has one tribe member at a time from each team moving a bag of puzzle pieces along a rope obstacle course. Once all the bags are across the course, the tribe will need to put the puzzle together.
The Heroes take a slight lead and then once pathetic Courtney is on the course for the Villains, the Heroes pull away. This gives Colby the opportunity to tell Russell about their plan. “When the challenge is over, go to JT. He has something for you,” Colby informs Russell. The Heroes go on to easily win Immunity and Russell makes his way to JT who slips him the package while they exchange hugs. Russell has ANOTHER Immunity Idol.
The next segment of the show was hilarious as Russell himself couldn’t believe that the Heroes had given him the Idol. “You don’t hand the enemy the idol, especially when his name is Russell Hantz,” says Russell. Russell shares the news with Parvati and the two of them have a good laugh while reading JT’s note.
With Tribal Council on the horizon, Courtney and Sandra make a last gasp effort to try and stay in the game. Courtney tries to cozy up with Parvati and Sandra…well she’s Sandra. Things go as expected at Tribal Council and Courtney, the self-proclaimed ‘skinny chic’, is eliminated and becomes the second member of the jury.
Speaking of the jury, what was up with Coach and his Japanese Kimono/bath robe accented by a long feather necklace? He’s kind of like the Keith Richards of Survivor as Keith’s been known to wear feathers and coins in his hair and don some interesting attire. In fact, it looked like Courtney was laughing at Coach, who was sitting Buddha style, as her torch was snuffed-out.
Side note: Why didn’t Parvati take the opportunity this week to get rid of Russell? As soon as he showed her the Idol she should have rallied the girls to get rid of him. That was a huge opportunity as Russell’s trust-level for her was at an all-time high. It truly looks like Russell has the female Villains mesmerized by his abilities to manipulate and manage the game. Maybe they’re just keeping him around as the ‘ultimate bad guy’ that nobody will give the money to.
It looks like we get the merger next week, which will make things really interesting. How long can Russell keep the Heroes thinking that there’s this all-girl alliance? Will Sandra be able to connect with anyone on the Heroes side and make things difficult for Russell, Parvati and Danielle? Will JT and Russell connect and form a new alliance?
The Scribe Has Spoken…