Survivor: Heroes vs Villains – Episode 4

Idols appear and idiots emerge.

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains Blog: Episode 4

4th Elimination: Cirie

As predicted, I have had next to zero time to pump out this week’s blog entry.  That’s not going to stop me from trying, though!   Not with the crazy strategic (or unstrategic) moves that went down in Episode 4.  I’m just gonna cut right to the chase…

Obviously the big deal this week were the immunity idols that were revealed.  Ironically, instead of coming out in secret like they usually do, both teams discovered their existence as a group, setting off a frenzy to find them.  Well, in the case of the Villains it was more like a frenzy by Russell to find them.  When the Villians discovered the clue to the idol’s location, Boston Rob semi-intelligently put a curse on anyone who tried to look for it, stating that the group would automatically vote you out.  This brings up two very interesting strategic points that I’d like to dissect…

#1 – Russell is crazy.  He couldn’t have been more obvious that he was leaving camp to go look for the idol.  By going after the idol, the only thing he accomplished was to put a huge target on his back. The Survivor Manifesto states that if everyone knows that you have the immunity idol, then you must play it at the next Tribal Council in which you don’t hold immunity.  If Russell was going to be that obvious about it, strategically, the best the idol could do is get him through the next immunity.  After all he’s pretty much obligated to play it right away, especially considering the tribe’s commitment to voting out whoever has it.  The thing is, Russell’s chances of going home at the next tribal council were pretty small.  So essentially, he went looking for an idol that he would be forced to play, instead of just standing pat and advancing through the next elimination anyway.  The idol isn’t getting him any further in the game, but it is building up a lot of ill-will towards him. 

The worst part is, he may not have even found the idol!  If that’s the case, he may have sealed his fate by making himself a target without any means to defend himself.  This pretty much cemented my previous opinion of Russell.  He’s a great player when he’s surrounded by a bunch of nitwits, but simply plays the game too hard to succeed in an All-Star environment.

#2 – Why keep the idol hidden?  I get where Boston Rob would view the idol as a threat.  Not only is he a prime candidate to get blind sided by it, but he’s also from an era before hidden immunity idols existed.  He’s a legendary player in the old rules, but throwing idols into the mix changes the game considerably.  The chances of it benefiting him are slim to none.  On the flip side, a truly good player would still try to turn the idol to his advantage.  Why not claim “tribal” possession of the idol?  Have every look for it as a group.  When you find it, create a rotation among the Survivors as to who holds it each day. Make them hand it off in plain view of everyone each morning. That way you always know who has it, and if it suddenly goes “missing”, you know who to blame.  You can leave it out in the open before tribal council and have everyone walk away from it, so you know it’s not in play.   When you really get down to it, the idol is most powerful when you don’t know who has it.  Using a group possession technique, the idol is practically neutralized until the merge, and then once you merge, your alliance still has a weapon.  Is it complicated?  Yes.  Is it a bit outside the box?  Absolutely.   But you’re an idiot if you just leave it in the sand for somebody to steal while you’re not looking. 

Now let’s break down the Heroes, who lost immunity, and thus Cirie…

Tom found the idol, and made a play to save himself and Colby.  He offered to make an alliance with JT and Amanda, with the promise that the idol would be used to further them as a group.  Let’s focus on the pro’s and con’s for JT and Amanda here…

On the pro side, you’re now in an alliance with the idol.  Its’ a powerful weapon and you’re playing with powerful players.  It’s a recipe to go far in the game. 

On the con side, Tom and Colby would be nearly unbeatable.  Maybe JT has a shot. Amanda has no shot. 

You play Survivor to win, not to finish third.  With that in mind, this is a dumb, dumb move for JT and Amanda.  What was even dumber though, was when Tom offered to give JT and Amanda the idol – AND THEY DIDN’T TAKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   That’s right, it’s Survivor Manifesto time…

Rule #8 – If somebody offers you immunity, take it. 

Had JT and Amanda taken that idol, they would’ve had several options.  They could go into the alliance with Tom and Colby, except with control of the idol, or they could simply keep it an screw Tom over.  This early in the game, you could make a serious case for screwing over Tom and Colby and eliminating them before they ever got near the jury.  Is it a low-ball move?  Absolutely.  But it’s a move your teammates will love, and your teammates will hopefully be the ones sitting on the jury.  It’s a proven fact that you can get away with murder in this game and still win if A. You simply own up to the fact in the end that you made it this far by being a sneaky jerk and B. You aren’t “hurtful” to the jury members in the way you do it.  Stealing an idol may be a black mark on your resume, but there’s always the very valid excuse of “Hey, what did you expect me to do?  The idiot handed it to me!”

Regardless of which option you chose – going with Tom, but keeping the idol, or taking the idol and stabbing him in the back – either one would be better than what really happened.   JT got the bright idea to align with Tom without Amanda and blindside Cirie.   Yes, he was completely right in viewing Cirie as a major threat, but the price he paid to eliminate her was far too high.

#1 – He’s now in an alliance with Colby and Tom, except he doesn’t have the idol, since it was used to knock off Cirie!   So basically, he’s aligned with people he’s going to have a very tough time beating, they’re three gigantic targets that everyone will be looking to pick off, and they have no idol.

#2- He’s now officially betrayed every single person in his tribe, labeling him a as a giant heel, and practically destroying his image as a “trustworthy” guy. 

With one fell swoop, he went from, perhaps being the favorite in the game, to being some one who I now view as having next to no chance of winning.  Just an awful move.

So where does this leave Amanda?   Well, let’s just say she’s not in a good spot.   Candice appears to be flipping, making it James, Rupert, and Amanda vs. JT, Tom, Colby, and Candice.   She’s just lost the numbers.  Even if she flips with Candice, she’s still stuck in an alliance with people she can’t beat.   At the moment, it appears that Amanda has two hopes…

#1 – That JT flips back. It’s the ultimate stupid move and completely destroys what’s left of his rep.  On the flip side, maybe JT is better off taking his chances with an alliance where he can actually beat who he’s aligned with.  Either way, he’s dug him and Amanda a pretty large hole with his stupid play to take out Cirie. 

#2 – That she can make it to the merge and then scramble into a good situation.  Amanda is the ultimate player.  She’s very good strategically, she’s good at challenges, and she’s easy on the eyes.  She’s never viewed as a major threat and she’s able to get herself in with the game’s major players and slide through as they all get picked off.  She’s the perfect combination of “Flying Under the Radar” and being “Self-sufficient”.  People never go after her, and at the end, she’s played well enough to validate the fact that she should be in the final.  If she can just get to the merge – especially if Parvati’s still around – I still like her chances.   The merge is going to be nuts – you just know it!

So that’s my take on Episode 4.  Soooooooooo much strategy this week, but so little time!

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.