Recap – Survivor 20.03 “That Girl is Like a Virus”

Hello fellow Survivor fans! My name is Michael Salerno and I will be offering some recaps of the granddaddy of all reality shows for the remainder of the season. I truly am a fanatic of the show, owning not only a Survivor buff, the Survivor board game, and a Survivor Christmas ornament, but have applied to the show more than a couple times (here’s just one of my audition videos, from last year). Enough about me though…let’s take a look at what happened last night on….SURVIVOR!

The third episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains opens at the Heroes camp post-Tribal Council. James is still angry about what happened during Tribal so Tom, out of probable self-preservation, tries to calm the big guy down. Also trying to make amends, JT approaches Tom with apologies for going against Tom and voting Stephenie out. JT realized he was at the bottom of the totem pole if he stuck with Tom, Colby and Stephenie so he had to align his vote with the Heroes majority. Speaking of Colby, cast in the blue light of Survivor night vision, he confides to Tom that he’s not sure if he wants to stay in the game. To me, he sounds like a sore loser who wants to take his ball home because he’s not winning. And what’s with Tom being the tribe psychologist? It is an interesting position for him to be in. As a kind of tribe father, it appears no one wants to disappoint him. Even James seemed reluctant to really let himself go in front of Tom. It will still be difficult for the former winner triumph again, but he may be safer than he assumes.

After an abbreviated title sequence (what the heck was that?), despite their second consecutive victory, the Villains are not resting easy…thanks to Parvati’s laughing good time with Russell as they fall asleep. Boston rob points out that one of the biggest traps Survivors consistently fall into is that they sleep next to people in their alliance. Every night so far, Russell and Parvati have shared some bamboo, leading Rob not to trust Russell. Back at the Heroes camp, Rupert bemoans the fact that his tribe hasn’t bonded, leading to their consecutive immunity challenge losses. Miraculously, such a desired bonding experience arises when the chickens get out of their coop and the men of the Heroes tribe chase them down. They corral the chickens, and Rupert declares the tribe unified. Easy as that!

Coach and Russell pow-wow over who should be the first evictee when the Villains finally go to Tribal Council (foreshadowing anyone?). Coach informs Russell that the latter’s canoodling with Parvati is putting a target on his back and ostracizing him. Of course, this doesn’t sit well with Russell’s ego. Who dares to take on the superior Survivor skills of Russell?!? He knows he’s in charge. Russell confides to the camera, “I’m the Daddy around here!”…..and then quickly runs to Parvati tattle on Coach. That night, while Coach entertains his tribe with another one of his incredible tales of adventure, Russell decides his tribe needs to be taught a lesson. Since pouring out their canteens or burning their socks is soooo last season, he decides to bury their only machete. With their primary tool gone, anger, dissent and distrust will mount, making his tribe-mates all that more manipulable. He’s a dastardly man, but you have to love his gameplay. Russell isn’t the only one scheming though. Randy, giant clam in hand, opines that he is already sick of most of his tribe. He complains to Coach that they aren’t hard workers, and only get by on a wink and some good looks. The Heroes tribe experiences their own bit of dissent, as well. JT tells Candice that he is scared by her strategy and wonders who she thinks should be next to go. When Candice says that she and Cirie aren’t necessarily aligned (she just wants to get as far as she can, however she can), JT tells Cirie that Candice said she doesn’t fully trust Cirie (which Candice never said). Of course, Cirie confronts Candice, who denies the entire conversation. There’s no time to argue the point though, as it is time for a challenge!

Once again, this is a combo Immunity/Reward challenge (Let me interject here: Personally, I like having two challenges per episode. Maybe having 18-20 people makes it too hard to create large challenges so they need to whittle the numbers down before they can effectively create multiple challenges per episode? I don’t know, but I’d like rewards separate from immunity.) with the winners picking up coffee, sugar, and luxury items from home (which couldn’t have been too great if we didn’t see the victors open them). In a redo from Survivor: Palau, a member of each team stands on a circular platform, armed with rectangular bags that they must use to push their opponent into the mud. Both hands must stay on the bag and no legs may be used to kick the person off the platform. First team to eight, wins. With Courtney and Sandra sitting the challenge out, Tom and Russell start off. Like almost all of the match-ups to come, the Hero quickly dispatches the Villain. In fact, the Heroes swept the Villains. The other match-ups are: Candice over Parvati, Rupert over Coach (after a replay because Coach first used his arm to throw Rupert off the platform), Cirie over a not-even-trying Jerri, JT over Tyson, Amanda over Danielle, Colby over Rob (in the only brutal bout with Rob literally flipping over onto his head at one point), and James over Randy. It was this last bout that was hyped at the end of the previous episode as James losing his mind and potentially becoming dangerous. The reality is, however, that after some trash talking and throwing the bag at a dispatched Randy in the mud, there was nothing more to it. With their first victory, the Heroes returned to camp.

Back at Villains camp, it quickly becomes clear that either Randy or Parvati is going home. Parvati immediately goes at Coach and tries to pressure him into not voting for her. Coach resents the hard sell and evades answering for whom he is voting. Coach then confers in the jungle with Sandra. whose only concern is that she stay as long as she can. Rob spies the whole conversation and surely files the whole thing in his memory. Back at camp, a group including Coach, Jerri, Danielle and Danielle’s boobs (seriously, I think they were more prominent then half the castaways this episode) is assailed by Parvati. When Jerri won’t reveal how she’s voting, Parvati tells the camera that Jerri is just a bitter old cougar. Coach concludes that he is the only “honorable” contestant, and then, inexplicably, quotes Martin Luther King, Jr. WHAT?!?! This guy is out of his mind, but he’s ridiculously entertaining.

The Villains march into Tribal Council for the first time and get their torches, because, as we know, fire represents your life on this island. Probst runs through a not surprising set of questions (Are you worried about past relationships? Of course. Have to watch out for the Parvati/Amanda/Cirie/James Micronesia alliance. Is performance in challenges important? Yes.) concluding with asking whether the tribe has a leader. Sandra opines that when it comes to construction, Rob is the leader, but otherwise, Coach fancies himself the leader, when he doesn’t disappear form camp. Coach, offended at the suggestion that he would shirk any responsibility, tells Sandra that if she really thinks he doesn’t work had, she should put his name down. She demurs, and tells Probst that they can’t do any work anyway because the machete is missing! What they don’t see is Russell cracking up at this fact. Well, machete or no, it’s time to vote. As Parvati was never shown summing up her time in the game to the camera, I turned to my wife and said, “Randy’s going home.” And so it came to pass. With a 9-1 vote (Randy cast his vote for Rob as a warning to the other players to be wary of Rob), Randy is the third player voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Disgusted with his former tribe-mates, Randy removes his buff and casts it into the fire. With the snuff of his torch, Randy descends into the Blue Light of Death.

Next Week

The preview for next week shows Coach having an emotional meltdown of some sort, the Heroes scrambling to find a hidden immunity idol, and Rob saying it’s time for Russell to go home. Come to think of it, I’m surprised Russell hasn’t been seeking the hidden immunity idol at his camp (if there is one), as he found three of them in his season and no one of the Villains tribe had seen him successfully find them without clues. Maybe he had been looking and just hadn’t found one yet? Hrmmmmm….

Odds to Win

A feature I thought I would add to the end of the recap are odds for each player to win the whole game based on who they are and what has transpired in the game so far. These odds don’t necessarily imply who I think will be voted off next, but rather a player’s chances of winning the whole game. Here are my initial bets based on where we are so far:

Tyson: 3-1. He’s a pretty strong guy who will perform well in individual immunity challenges, can talk his way out of many situations, and I don’t think a focus of concern for the other people on his tribe.

Danielle: 4-1. She’s the classic fly-under-the-radar contestant. She’s so under the radar that most viewers have no idea who she is, but why get rid of her? How can she hurt anyone else there?

Amanda: 5-1. We know she’s got the skills to get to the end, as she’s been in the final both of the times she’s played the game, and I think she can finally master the Final Tribal Council, but the target on her back because of the possible Micronesia alliance keeps me from making her the favorite.

Coach: 7-1. Seriously. A nice physical player who seems to be having a better social game than his first go around.

Colby: 8-1. He seemed to be in a better mental place than his first All-Stars appearance, but his doubts about his participation in the game that he voiced in this week’s episode may doom him.

Candice: 12-1. See Danielle, above. Although, Candice seems to be in the Heroes minority with Tom and Colby. Can she become the internal swing vote usually occupied by Cirie?

Jerri: 15-1. The Black Widow seems to be in the periphery at the moment. She’s no physical threat (perfect to keep around in the merged tribe), but no one really seems to like her, except Coach. You think these top players would want to give Jerri a million bucks?

James: 20-1. Obviously, he’s a physical dynamo, but as we know, the largest physical threat always gets voted out early after the merge. His saving grace may be the possible Micronesia alliance.

Sandra: 23-1. Although she’s a previous winner, I don’t think the other players remember! As she voiced to Coach, she will always do what she can to stay alive in the game.

Courtney: 30-1. I can’t believe I have her this high, but with Randy gone, and since she is no physical threat at all, this floater has a better chance than many.

Cirie: 40-1. Perhaps the best purely social player in Survivor history, Cirie has a target on her back because she is the best social player ever.

JT: 50-1. The likable former winner really only has a chance if he and another previous winner make it to the final two. I give him the edge over Tom because he has a better chance to win Individual Immunity than Tom.

Russell: 60-1. He’s conniving and some of the Villains can see right through him. His only chance is that he makes it to the merge and that the Heroes can’t figure out his game. Always has the possibility of finding multiple hidden immunity idols and winning a couple individual immunities.

Tom: 75-1. A nice guy, but a former winner, on the wrong side of the Heroes tribe and not as physically capable in challenges. Not good signs.

Rob: 100-1. Everyone knows that he can’t be trusted so no one would want to keep him around too long. But, is it just me, or do people seem to be trusting him again? If somehow he did make it to the finals, with such a HUGE target on his back, he’d have to win, right?

Parvati: 2501-1. She has been targeted since Day 1 and no one trusts her except Russell. Add in the Micronesia possibilities, and her prior win, I say the chickens have a better chance of making it to the end.

Rupert: 1,000,000,000-1. He’s already won $1.1 million thanks to the fans. There is no way the other players want him to win. Add in the fact that everybody is already annoyed by him, and only a miracle will give him the win.

So, that’s the way I see the game after three weeks. What do you think? Disagree with the odds above? Anything you’d like me to add or talk about in the next recap? Please drop your thoughts, theories and questions below in the comments section. Please come back after next week’s episode and make sure you check out TVOvermind for all of your TV needs.

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