In this episode: Russell makes a mistake, and Rupert talks strategy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Bizarro Survivor.
Let’s zip through the early stuff. We are merged, now. The new tribe is called “Yin Yang”. Rupert wanted to call the tribe “The Winners”, apparently forgetting that seven out of ten members haven’t won the game just yet.
Sandra immediately blabbed to Rupert about the dastardly “woman’s alliance” ruse. As a result, Rupert is the only Hero that doesn’t buy Russell’s immunity idol sob story. For once, Rupert wants to play a snake move: he wants to test Russell’s willingness to flip by telling him to vote Parvati, then wait and see if he actually does it. Meanwhile the five Heroes will vote Jerri, who is unlikely to be in possession of an idol herself.
There are so many smokescreens at this point about who has idols, who believes who has an idol, who knows who has an idol, who thinks they know who has an idol, etc. On top of that there are several layers of plans and schemes going on. So I’ll recap:
Heroes: They believe Russell is idol-less and alliance-less. Russell told them neither he nor Parvati has an idol. They’re going to test this by telling Russell to vote Parvati just to see what will happen. If they’re right, it will be five votes vs. Jerri, one vs. Parvati, and four vs. whichever Hero the Villains decide to go against. Jerri goes home, Russell is solid, the endgame is nigh. (Nobody really discussed what the outcome would be if Russ isn’t solid. I guess they figured they could win the tie-breaker.)
Russell: He believes the Heroes will be voting for Parvati. He doesn’t know Parvati has an idol, so he gives her his in order to save her. He’s banking on it being a 5/5 tie between Parvati and J.T., with Parvati’s votes being thrown out.
Parvati: Kind of on top of everything, Parvati accepts Russell’s idol. That gives her one to play for herself tonight, and one to pocket for later in the game. She’s expecting to see the same tie Russell is expecting.
If Yin Yang were to go to tribal right now, you can see it’s a huge cock-up. Parvati plays her idol, but receives no votes. Who knows how the re-vote between J.T. and Jerri would shake out? Fortunately for everyone, Amanda did us all a favor and simplified everything by spilling her guts to Parvati.
Well, that’s not fair. She didn’t, really. What she tried to do was lie to Parvati about who was going home and why. “Play your idol,” she told her. “Then you’ll be safe and we can play together.” Just like old times.
Parvati immediately saw this was bullshit. She and Amanda are BFFs going back a few seasons, sure, but they’re also both smart players. Parvati knows Amanda’s not in a position to flip, and has no real need to. She’s still Amanda’s buddy but she is not her ally. Amanda telling Parvati to play her idol was a huge red flag: the only reason Amanda would want Parvati to do this is if Amanda and the rest of the Heroes were not voting for Parvati.
But, then, who were they voting for?
After some random grumbling about bananas, things did shake out with a tie. The Heroes aimed at Jerri, the Villains at J.T. Parvati used both her idols in order to shield the lowest-laying Villains, granting immunity to Sandra and Jerri.
Because, see, she knew nobody was voting for her. And she knew the Heroes might think she’d protect one of her closest allies. What better move, then, to vote out one of her distant ones?
Jerri’s votes went straight in the trash, and J.T. absorbed the remainder. His blind faith in Russell cost him the game.
Russell, meanwhile, tells Parvati she’s got some explaining to do. He might just know, now, how dangerous his number one ally is.
(Oh, and somewhere in there Danielle won immunity or whatever. But nobody knows who Danielle is, so who cares.)
Who’s gonna win? I think one could make an excellent case for Russell or Parvati at this point. One could make a somewhat weaker case for Sandra, who is about to become a pretty powerful swing vote. I don’t think you could make a case for anyone else. It is nice, though, after nearly three full seasons, to see Rupert finally make a halfway decent move.