Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, week nine

Well, after a 20-ish minute commercial for Outback Steakhouse we finally got to watch some Survivor tonight. Somewhere in there Parvati and Danielle found a hidden idol, and none of the Heroes bothered listening to J.T. about the challenge they were about to play (which he had already won once). Bloomin’ onions!

J.T. and the rest of the Heroes made a huge tactical error. Of course they don’t know just how big an error they made, but I think I can make a reasonably good case for why they should have known.

Here’s what went down: J.T. packed up the Heroes’ hidden immunity idol, wrote detailed instructions with how to use it, and gave it to Russell. As soon as the Villains lost their immunity challenge, J.T. handed off the package where nobody else could see. So strongly does J.T. believe the Villains are controlled by an all-female alliance that he’s willing to bet his life to get Russell’s swing vote post-merge.

These… these posts don’t make a lot of sense if you don’t watch Survivor, I guess. Imagine playing a version of Monopoly where everyone always keeps all their money and holdings under the table where no other player can see them. Now imagine seeing the player across the table land on an expensive property. Believing this player to be in trouble, you slide him $500 to pay his rent. You have no idea how much money this person has — hell, it might even be his own property. But you pay it for him, based on nothing but wishful thinking that the favor will be returned.

The case for: J.T. and his alliance have no idea what’s going on over there, but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck etc. They’re going to need Russell’s vote after the merge, which means they need Russell to survive the last pre-merge tribal council. So it makes sense.

The case against: Don’t ever give your goddamned idol to someone on the other tribe. Jesus.

(Actually this ploy was used once before, as Amanda well knows: she and Todd gave their idol to James, along with instructions on how to find the other one. This bought James’s loyalty for them as long as they needed it, then they cut him loose with both idols still in his pockets. If Amanda saw any parallels in this situation they weren’t shown on camera.)

Maybe J.T. could explain this to me, but I’m not sure what was so terrible about the original plan to just use the hidden idol internally against the Villains’ alliance. Do he and Colby and Rupert just feel bad for Russell?

Russell, of course, shared the idol and the letter with Parvati. They got a good chuckle out of it! So now Parvati knows about Russell’s idol, but Russell doesn’t know about Parvati’s.

The only question was who to send home? Sandra did surprisingly little to keep herself afloat, but it turns out she didn’t need to: Courtney put on her best bitch-face at tribal council, and then got sent home anyway.

Next week is the merge, or at least something incredibly merge-like. Game on.

Who’s gonna win? Parvati and Russell both have idols and are in the controlling alliance on the dominant tribe. The question is which has the advantage over the other. Russell doesn’t know about Parvati’s idol, which gives her a little nudge, but he’s also got the option to betray the Villains, flip his vote, then use his own idol to squeeze by whatever tumultuous votes the Heroes throw at him. Parvati, on the other hand, has the option of blindsiding Russell by baiting him into betraying her, then playing her idol and sending him home. Really, it’s going to come down to which of them turns on the other first. I’m betting it’s Russell, but I’ll keep a close eye on his lady friend just in case.

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