Survivor 20, Episode 8: Expectations

Seriously, this season has to be one of the best ever, don’t you think. For the past few weeks, the main engine of the show was the battle between Boston Rob and Russell, one of the biggest duel in Survivor (duel of players, duel of egos, duel of everything), and there was a possibility that everything falls flat after this battle is over. Luckily things keep on being more than interesting. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it stays this way until the end. My only fear is that with all the big characters falling one after the other we end up with a winner that’s disappointing…
Heroes

 

Have the Heroes finally got it together or are they winning solely because it’s the Villains that are falling apart? I assume a little bit of both. But united, they’re not.
Amanda Kimmel
She’s a follower, she needs somebody to follow in this game, and right now, with James gone, she must feel quite at loss. Is she really tight with Rupert? No. Candice? Maybe. JT? Maybe she was, but this week she made unwillingly a very big move by catching JT red-handed with the hidden immunity idol. I still don’t think she has a strategy though, and I still think she hopes on being reunited with Parvati soon.
Candice Woodcock
She’s playing a good game right now, but her options are very limited, now that Colby seems to be back in business, if there’s no merge next week and the Heroes go to tribal council, she could be next to go, unless she manages to make everybody else vote JT out, but I doubt it.
Colby Donaldson
What did he do this week? I have forgotten already.
James “J.T.” Thomas, Jr
Did he do the right thing, going and finding the hidden immunity idol by himself when the tribe had decided to find it and use it as a group? Not sure. I guess the answer would have been yes if he hadn’t been caught by Amanda. Although, at this point, he really should play with the group. Thankfully for him, he also had the right reaction, not trying to keep him for himself then. Unfortunately, the damage is done, and I don’t think many people still trust him in the tribe. Rupert maybe?
Rupert Boneham
He’s still clueless about how this game works. Now that I think about it, it’s really a mystery as for about why he’s so focused on the “bonding” of his tribe and nothing else. I mean, in his two previous seasons, he did some strategizing, not the best ever, but not that bad either. I guess he’s simply not aware that the game has evolved, he still thinks that all he needs if to have a strong alliance before the merge, and float with it after the merge or something like that. And what about that ridiculous assumption he made at the Reward Challenge? Simply because Rob (and Tyson) had been voted out it had to be a girl alliance? Really? Why? And more importantly why did he have to tell it out loud? So that Russell can jump on it right away and start manipulating the Heroes even days before the merge? Rupert, your stupidity will hurt not only yourself, but your whole tribe now.
Villains

I’m gonna write pretty much the same thing as an introduction, but it really was Tyson’s awesome personality and Rob’s leadership that held that tribe together. Now that they’re both gone, the tribe is completely falling apart, and will most likely continue to do so until the merge, and maybe beyond that. Oh well, this is what makes this episode great, so I won’t complain.

Benjamin “Coach” Wade voted out
Coach always wanted to be the leader of his tribe. That was his only goal and big delusion in the Tocantins, and it was his undoing (as well as Sandra’s grudge) too. How stupid of a decision it was to sit Courtney AND Sandra in a reward challenge that was mostly based on luck (have you seen those bowling balls?) and as a consequence having to have them participate in the immunity challenge, which of course was quite physical? Sure, Boston Rob made the same dumb decision the week before. I think that pretty much sealed his fate, that and Sandra’s grudge and the fact that his constant flip flopping (cause by his noble intentions conflicting with his less than noble voting strategy) made him totally unreliable to the eyes of pretty much everybody. Goodbye Coach, you were not as funny this time, but you were still good entertainment (and as you’re the first member of the jury, we can still watch you in “Ponderosa” every week.
Courtney Yates
Yeah, Courtney’s sassiness is back!!! I guess just like almost every other Villain’s specialty, it was sacrificed in the editing room to make room for Boston Rob. That being said, it was a close call for her this week, and she’d better pray that there’s a merge next week or she could be the next one voted out. If there’s a merge, she can go very far, as the remaining big guns are going to target each other (Parvati, Russell, JT, Colby, Rupert, etc) and they will leave her alone until they realize that too late, she is in the final three (unfortunately -because I don’t really like them that much- it seems clear that we will have a final three this year too), although her only chance to win it is to have Russell and Jerri (?) with her then. In any case, go Courtney, I’m rooting for you now in the Villains tribe!
Danielle DiLorenzo
Oh, so she can speak…? Actually it was interesting to see her argument with Russell. On the one hand it shows that she has a backbone, on the other hand it shows how a bully Russell is, and the only thing he accepts from his alliance is for them to do what he says, and nothing else, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Parvati and Danielle get rid of Russell sooner or later.
Jerri Manthey
Yeah, old Jerri is back too! She was so nice this season, I have been wondering what was wrong with her. I guess she was not hungry enough, and there was no power vacuum in her tribe. That being said, she’s pretty alone right now, but I guess she could align with Sandra and Courtney. Still, at this point of the game, I don’t see her lasting very long.
Parvati Shallow
Is she being under the radar right now? Or is this just the editing? Not sure. But what is sure though is that she’s still running this game even if she’s obviously using Russell as a shield more and more. And in my eyes, an under-the-radar Parvati is even more dangerous.
Russell Hantz
Russell has only one major weakness: his ego. And with his successful ousting of Rob, it must be off the charts now. Sandra knows it, and Sandra used it to have Coach being ousted. It was stupid of Russell to fall for that. He will need Coach later in the game. I know they don’t really trust each other, but one can be sure that as unreliable as he is, Coach was unlikely to break the oath he took with Russell (one can see it in the secret scenes on cbs.com) or at least not before Russell could use it at his advantage. And yes, even if Russell voted for Courtney, make no mistake, there is no rift between “his” girls and him (at least not yet), he did that for one reason and one reason only (why do you think he signed his vote?) to show Coach that he didn’t betray him, so that Coach doesn’t get mad at him and still votes for him in the final tribal council. Did Coach fall for it? Not sure. But it doesn’t really matter, I don’t think Russell will go til the end this time around. Another question being how are the girls going to react at that vote? Will this put a wedge between him and them? Be careful Russell if you act to selfishly there just could be a all-girl alliance brewing and you won’t see it coming.
Sandra Diaz-Twine
Everybody is talking about the Russell seed, but beware the Sandra one! This week, she reminded all of us that it was not just by chance that she won the first time around. The woman can play that game as well -or even better- than many of the big names of Survivor. What still bothers me with her is that she manipulated Russell not to get further in the game (although that move won’t hurt her either) but because she was pissed at Coach and she wanted revenge. It would have been much smarter to tell to Russell that Coach wanted him out, but then turn Coach and Jerri against Russell, she had four votes (with Courtney of course), and bam!, Russell was killed by Sandra. That would have been an amazing move and would have put Sandra in control of her tribe. But no, she let her feelings take over, and as she hates Coach more than Russell, Coach had to go, and he did. In any case that was a great reminder that Sandra was here too, and that she was here to go far in the game and far she will most likely go.
Next Week:
What was that preview? Will JT really make the stupidest mistake ever? Will he give his idol to Russell? Say it ain’t so? On the one hand the preview is so obvious that it can’t be that. But the preview can’t be a total red herring either… Oh god, I think JT is in trouble, in a lot of trouble…

Apart from that, I’m pretty much sure there’s a merge next week.

Next person voted out:
If there’s a merge, JT is in more trouble than I though, as he’ll be the obvious target from the Villains, and if he on top of that gives the idol to Russell, he’s toast.
If there’s no merge and the Heroes go, JT is in trouble too.
If the Villains go, Jerri is alone now, but Courtney is still in a lot of trouble.

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