Pre-credit sequence. So how will JT’s first alliance handle his betrayal? And how will JT’s second alliance handle the fact that despite one great blindside, they still don’t have the numbers? The Heroes return to camp and Colby is pleased. “Tonight, JT is a hero,” Colby grins. JT goes around and says that he didn’t do what he did for personal reasons. He did it for the team. He tries to argue that he made his decision at Tribal Council. “I’m really pissed off right now,” Rupert says. The next morning, JT and a pouty Amanda parlay. JT keeps insisting that what he did wasn’t a matter of joining forces with Tom and Colby so much as taking the opportunity to boot Cirie. He repeats multiple times that he’d never turn on Amanda and the rest of that alliance. “I see right through him,” Amanda tells the camera, noting that JT has made 20 alliances so far. But she’s prepared. “Bring it on,” Amanda announced. Now that’s the Amanda I like. Does that mean she’s doomed?
[Full recap of Thursday’s “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” after the break…]
Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again. Coach is teaching his yoga-tastic Zen ways to his fellow Villains. He calls it “Dragonslayer Chi” and, remarkably, he gets pretty good participation for his drill, even if Parvati is giggling. Nowhere to be seen? Russell. Guess where Russell is? He’s off looking for that Immunity Idol. For a few minutes, the editing makes it look as if Russell is struggling, as if the Idol Master is being stymied. Ha. It’s a joke. Russell finds the Idol and announces that everything is about to change, that Boston Rob is no longer in control. “Here it goes again,” Russell sneers.
It puts the lotion in the basket. Time for a Reward Challenge, a reprise of the brutal game that mixed Rugby with basketball. Want to know what they’re playing for? The winning tribe gets a chocolate feast at a local watering hole. James doesn’t look at all interested. Jeff Probst taunts them by passing around a plate with chunks of chocolate. The Heroes barely look at the treat and pass the plate around untouched. The Villains dig in. Colby sneers and hands the plate back to Jeff, who’s insulted that his hospitality was rebuffed. Colby and Rupert say this is about their focus. Russell mocks the Heroes by saying that he can eat chocolate and still concentrate on the challenge. The game has barely begun when James goes down and medical has to be called in. The concern is his knee. The doctor rules him out for this challenge and nobody knows what will come next. JT knows that if James is out of the game, his strategy has to change. Really, the entire game will change for the Heroes. The game’s first score comes from Amanda for the Heroes. Yay! Tyson equalizes for the Villains, but as the point is score, Rupert tosses Jerri into a pole. He swears he didn’t mean to do it, but it’s hard to know what else he could have meant to do. We’re all tied. Next basket wins. Vengeance is Jerri’s! She scores the final basket and the Villains win. It may be the most substantive thing she’s ever done in this game. James has to stay afterwards.
James and the Giant Knee. The doctor wraps up James’ knee. She wants to see if he can walk on it before she pulls him. Uh-oh. We cut away as James stands up. I guess we’ll see if he hobbles his way back into camp.
Where my Oompa-Loompas at? First, though, we have to watch the Villains gorge on chocolate. Russell thinks this is a double win, especially if James is done. Now I’m not a nutritionist, but I’m thinking that loading up a group of malnourished castaway with piles and piles of pure sugar isn’t necessarily healthful. Indeed, it’s no time before several of the “winners” are complaining about headaches, while Jerri mumbles, “I’m in a mix of chocolate euphoria and sickness.” The water hole is quite lovely. While Parvati and Russell are still relaxing, everybody else goes for a did and they discuss the inevitability that Russell found the Idol. Old Man Boston Rob plays the “Back in my day, we had no Immunity Idols” card again. Russell tells Parvati he has the Idol and she’s overjoyed. She knows there’s a target on her back and she thinks that this gives her security, even as she tells Russell that she doesn’t believe in riding coattails. Russell’s plan is to bring Coach into the mix and then blindside Boston Rob. He pulls Coach over and Coach is impressed that Russell has been willing to level with him. He kneels before Russell and pledges his troth. “He was the one kneeling to me and I knight him, like the king that I am,” Russell gloats. He’s got it out for Boston Rob.
When life gives you sprained knees, make lemon-knees.. Back at Heroes camp, Amanda and Candice are frustrated. They’re very frustrated, especially Amanda, who laments that this could be the second time James has to be pulled for medical reasons. James’ possible exit makes Amanda cry, which is very sad. Poor Amanda!!! JT, though, thinks James is through. Rupert agrees. Tom says he doesn’t want to root against a teammate, but he still seems the advantage in James exiting. At that moment, James comes limping toward camp. Amanda goes running across the beach into his arms. It’s mighty sweet. Rupert pretends to be relieved. Everybody else makes nice. James vows to take his lemons and make lemon-knee, or something to that effect. Candice talks sweetly to James, but she calls him dead weight and announces that if they lose the next challenge, there won’t be any hesitation. James has to go.
Blind Justice. It’s time for Immunity. Coach declares he’s happy that James is back, calling him “a worthy competitor.” The challenge again relies on a caller, helping blindfolded teammates to accumulate giant puzzles. The callers are Jerri and James, who appears chagrined to be in this sedentary position. There’s stumbling and bumbling aplenty, with the Villains moving out to an early lead. The Heroes seem to be in a bit more chaos, but whether that’s because James isn’t a good caller or because the Heroes aren’t good listeners is unclear. James’ barking is making every view at home experience a sore through. James is nothing if not passionate and forceful and he successfully guides the Heroes back into the lead. Again, though, this is the Heroes in the lead, but having to complete a puzzle. The Villains have managed to come back in this situation at least twice already this season. And again, the Villains make up time on the puzzle, again with Boston Rob calling the shots. The Villains win Immunity by leapfrogging the Heroes on a puzzle. Amazing. “Me injured has already proven to be better than Tom,” says James, who places the blame for the puzzle confusion his teammate.
Starfish James, Jellyfish JT. The Heroes are back at camp. But first, we see starfish in the water. Starfish can regrow their limbs, right? Are the editors trying to compare James to a starfish? Will he be similarly resourceful? “It’s been established that they can beat us in puzzles,” Tom grumbles. Colby adds basket shooting to the things the Villains are better at. JT caps the defeatist argument by saying the Villains are apparently better at everything but sumo wrestling. That’s the spirit. Strategy time! Colby and Tom agree that James should go out first. But Rupert and JT agree that no matter what’s wrong with James, he’s still stronger than Tom, who should go next. Candice doesn’t get it at all. She doesn’t get keeping a guy who can’t run, though Rupert points out he hasn’t been able to run for days. Candice just doesn’t get it, even when James limps over and agrees that he’s good. JT knows that logic says voting out James is the right call, but he doesn’t want to do something snaky for a second straight week. While Rupert and Amanda wonder if maybe Candice could go out first, logic is nagging at JT and he has an outsider alliance of two with Candice. JT is the swing vote. He swears to Rupert that he’s voting for Tom. He swears to Colby that he’s getting rid of James. Colby, though, isn’t pleased with JT’s wishy-washy game play.
Tribal Council. Jeff begins by talking James through his injury. He tells the gravedigger that his niece could be him in a race. James glowers and rumbles, “No she couldn’t.” James instructs Jeff that the host couldn’t beat him in a race, brace or not. JT says it’s about keeping team strength and James blames the lack of mental strength in the tribe on Tom and Candice. Tom says James’ condition is irrelevant and he’s only being protected for the loyalty of his vote. James calls Tom stupid. Tom calls James stupid. Spineless JT is all, “Guy, we’re all stupid.” Tom says a vote for him is a vote for strength and unity. James tells them that if they honestly think that Tom is stronger than him, they should write his name down and they’ll be cool. Interesting.
The vote. Tom writes James’ name, saying “All mass, no class.” James as no such bon mot, but he does write Tom’s name. Time for Jeff to tally the votes: Tom. Tom. James. James. Tom. Tom. The fifth person voted out of “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains” is a former winner, Tom.
Bottom Line: The Heroes are a flippin’ disaster. They can’t win anything. They can’t find team unity. And, if you ask me, their problems go so deep that it wouldn’t matter which way this vote had gone. Tom gone? James gone? Everybody’s hoping to survive to a Merge in the hopes that some spineless Villain — Courtney and Danielle hardly exist and might be malleable — might be swayed. Pretty weak. But if you accept that this tribe is a disaster and this vote was a mess, it’s probably the right move for the remaining Heroes. At least the numbers alliance held together? Dunno. Pretty weak. Also, what’s up with this new JT strategy? This is not at all the JT everybody liked back in the day.
What’d you think of Thursday’s “Survivor”? Should the Heroes have voted James out or do you agree that it wouldn’t have made a lick of difference.