Pre-credit sequence. Poor Randy. You just know that life isn't going to suddenly become unlivable for the Villains in his absence. He was just one of those things that happened and then ceased to happen. It's Night Eight for the Villains and they return to camp laughing. Well, everybody's laughing except for Coach, whose feelings are still hurt from Sandra's semi-stinging words a Tribal Council. We think Coach is tough, but hath not a Coach hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? "I'm human. I'm sensitive. I'm probably more sensitive than most people. I just hide it behind a lot of things that I've done and accomplished and a lot of machismo," Coach laments, before approaching Tyson to find out why he's unloved. "There's never been somebody like me out here and there's never gonna be anybody like me again," Coach tells Tyson. He's The Man and he doesn't need anybody to tell him he's The Man, but he'd kinda like for somebody to acknowledge that he's the man. Tyson nods patiently, as Coach begins to cry because nobody every says anything good about him. The words and feelings pour out of Coach and the snot pours down his nose. Tyson volunteers to play Henry Higgins to Coach's Eliza Doolittle, tutoring him on how to be more loved. But Coach doesn't want to hear that. He may leave tonight, Coach says. Tyson knows his tribe needs strength and doesn't want Coach to quit.
Full recap of Thursday's "Survivor
: Heroes vs. Villains" after the break...
I'm kinda like Jesus, but not in a sacrilegious way. The next morning at Villains camp, the sun rises anew, but is Coach refreshed and ready to go again? Well, no. He's grumpy and annoyed and isolating, going off into the woods by himself. Tyson tells the other Villains of Coach's late-night confession. "That's not much of a coach if you ask me," Boston Rob sneers. Boston Rob approaches Coach and assures him that he's not on the outside, that everything's OK. They exchange a hug and words of trust, but Coach isn't quite buying it. "Pick your f***ing head up and act like a man," Boston Rob tells Coach. But acting like "a man" isn't the same as being The Man and Coach compares himself to the Last of the Mohicans and King Arthur, "a legend." Then he quotes Confucius. THIS is the Coach I remember. Not that love-sick puppy from the past couple weeks.
Sears. Sears. Sears. Meanwhile, back at the Heroes camp, nothing interesting is happening. They received a Tree-Mail telling them to pick the rewards they're playing for from a Sears catalogue. Everything comes from Sears. They repeat "Sears" several times and we see the logo on camera for an extended period. Yay, Sears!
Glistening, slippery Amanda (or James, if you prefer). Challenge time. Nice. It's a personal favorite, the one with the slippery track that all of the players have to run across, face-planting all the way. From there, anything they do is gravy. Want to know what they're playing for? For the Heroes, it's a tackle box and a fishing pole, plus a cooking kit. For the Villains, it's a toolkit, along with tarp and twine. Parvati sits out, denying us the sight of a slippery Parvati. In the first heat, Coach scores to beat Tom. It's Russell against Cirie next, with Russell hitting the slip-n-slide with authority and winning a second straight point for the Villains. We get Courtney and Candice next. "Both women get to their balls quickly," Jeff Probst observes. But Candice scores first, making it 2-1. Jerri and Amanda go next in what is certainly the most aesthetically pleasing heat thus far. Jerri wins, making it 3-1. It's Sandra against James next, with the Heroes needing a reward. James scores quickly, making it 3-2. Danielle goes against Rupert next, with both contestants jiggling equally. Rupert scores and we're tied up. It's down to Colby and Tyson. Tyson scores. Villains win reward. Colby returns in disgrace.
A clue makes the Villains heroic. The Villains, triumphant, return with boxes and crates festooned with Sears logos. Somehow and somewhere, Coach has recovered his mojo. Thanks, Sears! He's the Dragonslayer again and he vows to play the game the same as he's ever played it, heart on his sleeve. As they through their tools, Boston Rob mentions that pesky missing machete. But something more interesting occurs. Russell opens a blade and clue falls out. Russell's hitting himself for not instantly realizing it's a clue to an Immunity Idol. Clues? Russell don't need no stinking clues. Boston Rob notes that he played the game before stupid Hidden Immunity Idols. Sandra feels the same way and says that whoever finds the Idol should throw it into the ocean, lest they be marked. They vow to find the Idol together, but Russell's having none of it. He years no be powerful. As others are making a new shelter, Russell is scouting out the Idol. He isn't even subtle, going walking off into the woods by himself. Boston Rob is not fooled, nor is Sandra, who either stalks Russell or stalks the Idol herself. "He's a stupid ass," she says after spotting him. She returns and announces, "Russell sealed his own fate." Boston Rob calls Russell "The Hobbit on Crack" and says it's time to get rid of him.
A clue makes the Heroes villainous. How could anything interesting be happening with the Heroes. Did we even see them last week? They're well-rested and more concerned about coffee than losing that challenge. And good thing, too! Hidden amongst the beans is their Immunity Idol clue. While the Villains immediately determined they'd rather play the game without an Idol, the Heroes go scrambling, each individually hoping to get an edge in the game. Tom is especially worried about his fate if he continues Idol-less. The Heroes scatter. Tom thinks he seems the location first, with Amanda and James right behind. Tricky Tom finds the Idol, slips it into his pocket and continues his search as if nothing happened. Amanda isn't stupid. She sees Tom acting suspicious and makes sure that everybody knows. Tom knows he can't use the Idol as a surprise, but he and Colby can use it as a tool to work their way into an alliance.
Maybe I'm a-mazed. But enough Idol searching. It's time for Tribal Immunity. We're redoing the challenge that nearly killed Non-Psycho Russell last season, with the blindfolded table-maze and all of that fun stuff. Because of Non-Psycho Russell's emergency, the challenge was never completed last season. Tom is the Team Guide for the Heroes. Boston Rob is the Team Guide for the Villains, who have a lead starting the maze. Both teams are frustratingly close, but it's the Villains who win Immunity. Probst makes sure to credit Boston Rob. The Heroes look dejected, but Cirie says the plan is to get rid of either Colby or Tom. Is Cirie forgetting about the Immunity Idol and the bargaining chip it brings? I would just love for the Heroes to make their decision without ever mentioning Amanda's name. Is that too much to ask?
Three plausible targets in seven minutes. My head spins. The Heroes are sad and Tom is apologizing to everybody. Tom plans to bide his time and look for cracks in the powerful alliance. Cirie and Candice come up with a strategy to split votes between Colby and Tom, trying to flush the Idol, or force a tie. The plan, however, requires that everybody be on the same page. And guess what? JT's on a different page entirely, what with his tacit alliance with Tom. He'd rather see Candice go and tries making his case to Amanda. JT doesn't trust Candice as far as he can throw her. Tom approaches Amanda and JT, claiming that the Idol is scaring him and he volunteers to give the Idol to either of them. James is easily yoked into this newly constructed alliance and it looks as if Candice is going. But when Amanda shares the new plan with Cirie, Cirie doesn't shy from calling the whole plot stupid, going so far as to call Amanda stupid. For shame, Cirie! Suddenly Cirie is fomenting confusion and revolution, with JT hiding in the background watching with concern. JT goes to Tom and tells him that he has no control anymore. Time for a new plan! Forget Candice. Let's vote out Cirie, The Puppetmaster? Colby, Tom and JT sketch out a plan that involves splitting votes, playing the Immunity Idol and sending Cirie home, blindsided. "Tomorrow we make our apologies, tonight we make our move," Tom growls. JT now finds himself the swing vote. He can either join the majority or make his stand with Colby and Tom.
Tribal Council. Jeff Probst begins the discourse by chiding the Heroes for voting Stephenie out last time. Tom and Colby both declare that great people are going home just for being on the wrong side of an alliance. JT wants people to stick to their promises. Rupert just wants everybody to bond together and win challenges, keeping his word as top priority. Probst is incredulous, blaming Rupert and his philosophy for the tribe's disfunction. Cirie says she's worried she might be going home. Tom doesn't believe her. Colby says that without a bold move, he'll be gone. James wants strength for his tribe. "Social game is a distraction," James says. JT doesn't feel like he's going home. He's probably correct.
The vote. Candice writes Tom's name. Tom writes Cirie's name down. Well, now what? Jeff Probst goes to tally the votes, but Tom stands and pulls the Idol from his sock. Jeff agrees it's actually an Immunity Idol. The votes? Tom. Tom. Tom. None of them count. Colby. Colby. Cirie. Cirie. HA! The final vote goes against Cirie. The JT has turned. Candice doesn't have a clue what happened. Rupert is frustrated. Jeff Probst congratulates them on their first blindside.
Bottom Line: Cirie sortta blew this one, right? She's wicked smart and she was moving the pieces around the puzzle and she was successfully able to sway Amanda and some pieces of that alliance back to her side, but she just didn't do the math and didn't begin to acknowledge the possibility that she might get blindsided. Seems like what went down might have been avoided if Cirie had played her cards right. Meanwhile, is JT going to be OK, having chosen his side? Probably. JT, Colby and Tom makes for a pretty strong alliance.
What'd you think of Thursday night's twists and turns? Did JT go the right way?