Survivor: Heroes vs Villains – Episode 12

Russell turns ugly.

Survivor: Heroes vs. VillainsBlog: Episode 12
13th Elimination: Candice
14th Elimination: Danielle

Nothing like a solid double-elimination episode to get things moving!  When they started the show by letting us know there would be two tribal councils, I was expecting a snooze fest in which Colby and Rupert predictably were voted off.  Needless to say, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One quick observation before we head to discuss Candice’s elimination – I was dumbfounded by how quickly everyone quit the first reward challenge for food.  I mean, did nobody learn from what happened to Coach a few days earlier? I was especially shocked that Russell, of all people, fell into the trap.  I’ll get to this later, but after locking up the “best player ever” award with Amanda’s defeat, he’s seemingly become dead-set on proving me wrong.  Once again, let’s take some time to review the Survivor Manifesto…

Survivor Manifesto Rule #8 – No matter how hungry you are, or how safe you may feel, never jeopardize immunity for food.  You never want to look back and realize you ate a million dollar meal.

This time around, it was Candice chowing down on some million dollar peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Yes, you can make the argument that she could have easily been gone in the next vote even if she’d won immunity, but the game of Survivor is just far too unpredictable to ever count anyone out.  I mean, did you think that Rupert and Colby would BOTH be left after a double-elimination episode?  Had Candice won immunity, the Villains would’ve likely taken out Rupert.  Then who knows what would’ve happened with Russell going crazy and turning on Danielle?  Candice could easily still be alive if she’d stayed in the challenge and won. 

Then there’s the question of whether or not it was the right move to off Candice anyway.  Don’t get me wrong, she made a stupid, stupid decision last week that cost me my “pick”.  It’s a rare thing in this game when stupid people receive their dues in such a timely fashion and I was happy to see her go.  However, the longer you let Rupert and Colby linger, the better the chance of one of them running the table. Meeting either of them in the final could spell big trouble for one of the Villains.  Personally, I think it was smart of Parvati and Danielle to pick her off.  Candice is a proven flopper and by getting rid of her early, they eliminated the possibility of her pulling a move with Sandra or Jeri to knock them off at the end.

Then it came time for the second elimination.  Russell won immunity, which empowered him to do some crazy maneuvering that I doubt he would’ve attempted if his neck could’ve possibly been on the line.  Parvati and Danielle had pulled some sneaky moves the past two weeks and Russell wasn’t liking the fact that A. he wasn’t in total control of the game, and B. that Danielle and Parvati were growing close.  So he decided to pit the two girls against each other.  In a regular season, this type of manipulation may have worked, but this sesaon is chock-full of great players and everyone is well aware that Russell’s a snake.  The chance of Russell successfully turning Parvati and Danielle against each other had to be about 0.5%.  Predictably, the plan blew up, but somehow, Russell leveraged Jeri’s blind trust in him to influence her vote.  The two of them, along with Colby and Rupert sent Danielle to Ponderosa. 

As I mentioned earlier, Russell displayed some pretty questionable strategy this episode.  The food thing was dumb, but ultimately not costly.  This vendetta against Danielle, however, probably cost him any shot at winning the million.  Everyone was already under the impression that Russell was a lying piece of scum.  However, I had always believe that in the end, with a jury made up of fairly smart people with a great respect for how this game is played, that Russell could defend his aggressive strategy and reference some of the mind-blowing and game-changing moves he’s pulled off to swing the vote his way. 

After this latest bulldozing of Danielle, I don’t know if anyone would vote for him.  Russell’s been sneaky, dishonest, and nasty.  That’s his M.O.  But this past week, he came off as just plain mean.  I may be the biggest supporter that he has, but even I had a hard time stomaching this last move.  Parvati, Danielle, and him had a tight, tight alliance.  They were strong to the final three and neither of those two had really even contemplated stabbing him in the back.  Then, for really no good reason, Russell just decided to turn on Danielle like a crazed dog biting it’s owner.  It was a hurtful move, plain and simple.  And the worst part is, I can’t really think of a good strategy to justify it. 

Let’s look at the remaining contestants.  Would Russell beat Rupert?  Not a chance.  Parvati?  No way.   Jeri?  Doubt it.   Sandra?  You could make a case that she’s too passive, but on the other hand nobody on that jury hates her and the same can’t be said for Russell.   Colby?  The dude has clearly played the worst game of anyone left and I could see him crashing and burning hard with the jury.  Still, it’s reeeeally hard for me to see the Golden Child losing to Survivor Satan.

The bottom line is that in a final two, Danielle was ABSOLUTELY Russell’s best person to sit across from.  They were nearly equally as responsible for all the dirty moves and double-crosses.  Danielle was clearly somebody Russell could talk circles around at the final tribal council, and he could easily make the argument that he was the puppet master and she was his puppet.  I can see Russell beating Danielle.  I could also see Russell beating people like Colby and Sandra had he not completely blemished himself with this latest low-life move.  Now, his rep is damaged nearly beyond repair and he’s lost his best partner for the final.  I’m sad to say it, but Russell = Done.

So now that my “pick” has been plucked and Russell has been ruined, who do I like to win?  All signs point to Sandra who has a hidden immunity idol that’s actually hidden and who’s also played a very solid social game.   What did I tell you?  Don’t sleep on Sandra!

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson is the founder of the Bloguin Network and has been a Patriots fan for more than 20 years.