Thursday, March 04, 2010

Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, "Tonight, We Make Our Move": PRECIOUS!!!!

Spoilers for tonight's outstanding episode of "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" coming up just as soon as I'm cursed...

Because I had seen tonight's hilarious "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" episodes in advance, I figured "Survivor" had one more week to hook me before I have to deal with major timeslot pile-up issues next week. And after an episode that had me repeatedly fist-pumping and caring about the game in a way I didn't think was possible anymore, I'm absolutely on the hook for a long time, and I'll let the DVRs sort it all out later.

Admittedly, much of my fist-pump-itude came from good things happening for my man Tom, but even had Tom, Colby and JT's gambit not worked, "Tonight, We Make Our Move" represented so much of what's fun about "Survivor" when the game is played at a high level. We saw Candice expertly coming up with the latest iteration of Plan Voodoo (i.e., how to split your votes to neutralize an immunity idol). We saw Sandra and the non-Russell villains all immediately recognize the dangers posed by such an idol and make a coalition to get rid of anyone who so much as looks for it(*). We saw Rob and Tom both do fine jobs of coaching their teams through a tricky immunity challenge. And we saw Tom - who in his own season had to let Ian do most of the thinking for him - form together with JT and Colby to recognize the best way to not only keep Colby safe, but completely disrupt the dominant alliance by taking out its mastermind.

(*) Russell - hilariously, and accurately, compared to Smeagol by Boston Rob - of course couldn't resist hunting for the damn thing. Between hiding the machete last week and being obsessed with idols this week, it looks like he's trying to play the exact same game that, at this point, he thinks won him the million bucks in Samoa. But so long as Rob and Sandra are on a team with him, I don't think the same moves will get him remotely close to the money this time out.

Cirie is a brilliant social player and strategist, one of the best the show has ever seen. She nearly won twice, despite no physical challenge ability whatsoever (which, in the end, is what killed her both times; she lost the final challenge and the winner wisely didn't take her to the jury), because she is damn good at bending people to her will and getting people to act against their own best interests and in favor of Cirie's. We saw that again with how expertly she smacked down Amanda and James after they bought into JT's initial plan to get rid of Candice, and she was ultimately done in because JT came up with an alternate target: her.

Cirie played what's typically considered a "villain's" game, but she was on the Heroes team because she was more likable than Parvati. I'm not sorry she's gone, because it means Tom's got a shot now, and because it makes things much more unpredictable on the Heroes side of things, but I'm gonna miss her as a strategist, and I think the path to victory for one of the Villains just got much easier.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I agree, it was a great episode. Most of the best episodes of the show end with blindsides, so it was good to see this season have it's first surprise takeout.

I thought it was funny how Cirie laughed at Amanda and James about the plan to boot Candice, calling it such a "stupid" plan, when what she meant was that it was stupid to go against her plan.

The Heroes needed to get rid of Cirie for one big reason, and that's so the team would be stronger. Everyone at tribal admitted that the team needs to win, but only JT was willing to go against alliance to help the team towards that goal, so I'm really happy he went through with it.

belinda said...

NO! Cirie! With that, maybe unless the Heroes go on some kind of crazy immunity win streak, I think one of the Villains just got themselves a million dollars.

fgmerchant said...

Gaah! I really wanted Tom gone since he just rubs me the wrong way, but I would have settled for Colby going since he is in the alliance with Tom. Truthfully, I don't care about Cirie, but since I am firmly in Amanda's pocket, I didn't want one of her allies to go so soon!

Stupid stupid Russell! I liked him so much last season, but he is just not playing as intelligently this time! The idol would be a great asset, but you need to be quiet about searching for it. He should have searched at night or on some other day. The risk of searching right after everyone finds the clue is just too high!

Tom may rub me the wrong way, but I guess I have to live with it since I want you to keep blogging about it!

Benjamin Standig said...

- Since Day one, I have been saying the Heroes must get rid of Cirie. She offers nothing in physical challenges, is a cunning player and is part of the largest alliance in the game. Well done!

- good for Tyson, understanding that Coach was having a human moment and didn’t try to play the game with his advice (which was good)…and then he tells the entire tribe about it. Hmmm, that can’t help Coach’s chances… After starting to warm up a little bit to Coach this season, he took five steps back with that display. Dragon Slayer, puh-leze.

- How great was Rob, basically telling Coach to stop being such a wuss and trust him. Coach wants a Bromance with Rob more than Dwight does with Michael.

- At the first challenge, James was looking like a glazed donut

- First Colby gets crushed by Coach, now Tyson beats him. The myth of Colby the Dominator is no more.

- Comparing Russell’s performance from this year to last is beginning to track similarly to Heath Shuler’s Pro vs. College career.

- Love me some Amanda. Sexy and Smart (no matter what Cirie says).

- Boston Rob is making a run at being the best player in Survivor history…Tom is staying in the argument as well with his hustle, but he is looking a one-time NBA high-flyer who know relies on the old man moves…JT is behind them, but gaining on the outside.

- By the way, I prefer the way the heroes handled the Idol. Its every man and woman for themselves. This ain’t now commie game

Wade said...

I agree, Alan, what an excellent episode. From Rob's terrific "man up" speech to Coach (who was in tears!), to Sandra calling Russell a "stupid ass," to the tense Tribal Council - it was a truly great installment.

The Heroes are fools for playing a post-merge game when there are still nine (!) Villains gunning for them. James and Rubert moving against Stephenie is turning out to be a colossal mistake that just cost them the brains of their entire operation.

I've always enjoyed Cirie, the woman can read a room and bend it to her will with an uncanny ease; I think she lost here because she couldn't predict JT's behavior. I also agree that whatever happens next, the Villains' lives just got a whole lot easier (Rob or Sandra for the win!).

Michael said...

it looks like he's trying to play the exact same game that, at this point, he thinks won him the million bucks in Samoa.

Russell isn't stupid - but how does he think that the game he played against a bunch of newbies would work against some of the best of the best? Did his ego totally blind him to that one difference?

Also - something that only comes into play in these all-star games is that when the tribes come to the merge, it's not a typical Team A vs Team B mentality, they've got longstanding personal relationships outside the game that will transcend game alliances. As they get closer to the merge, I hope people remember that.

Johanna said...

It's a pretty great episode when they're able to make me glad Cirie (one of my all-time faves) is gone.

I was actually rooting against her tonight at tribal council, a fact that surprised me quite a bit. I honestly didn't see that coming (both the ending, as well as *my* personal reaction). Fantastic television all-around.

This was a great, great episode, for all the reasons Alan (and others) mentioned. I enjoyed both challenges, loved the in-between tribe stuff, and was riveted (for lack of better word) by the tribal council, even though it resulted in an all-time amazing strategist such as Cirie going home for the, sigh, third time.

It's a good night when you can vote out my favorite player and make me genuinely *happy* to see her go.

I was planning to bail on this season after an episode or two, but I've apparently been sucked in for the long-haul.

>> I'm absolutely on the hook for a long time<<

Just gotta go all Fan Girl here and say: YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!

You made my night, Alan.

I am THRILLED you're sticking around for the next few weeks - will make the whole experience that much more enjoyable. I suspect I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Wade Kwon said...

Nit-pick: I think you may know this, but Russell didn't actually win the million bucks during his season. He was runner-up.

J.T. is to be commended for sticking his neck out. Probst kept berating the Heroes for being selfish and short-sighted in their individual/alliance games. However, by voting to make the tribe stronger, it may cost J.T. a lot sooner.

My recap:

srpad said...

Great episode! Some thoughts:

I was hoping someone would wise up and get rid of Cirie. I felt from the beginning she belonged on the Villains side. I literally cheered when Jeff read the final vote.

Great idea hiding the HII clues in the rewards. Loved that!

I submit that the Survivors should be rubbed in oil before every challenge!

Speaking of the oil-fest, the challenges this season are supposed to be all from previous seasons but I don't ever remember the slip and slide challenge.

Strange how Coach's crush on Jerri turned into a Man-Crush on Rob. I don't think I will ever find the the producers ridiculing of Coach get old.

While I agree dumping Cirie helps the Villains to some extent, I think this will solidify the Heroes into a single tribe which will help them in Challenges.

Question Mark said...

If Cirie had to be eliminated, at least she went out because everyone else was scared of facing her, not because she was 'weak' or 'old' or 'not good in challenges.' It was because Tom/Colby/JT all wanted no part of letting her get an even deeper foothold in the game. JT made a smart flip, given that now he, Tom and Colby need to just get one of the other four to flip and they're suddenly the majority alliance. And Candice/James/Amanda/Rupert will run around like headless chickens without Cirie to guide them.

Re: Russell being dumb by using the same strategy of his season. I'm sure Russell thinks it's a smart move and an advantage since none of the other players got the chance to actually see his season, so he's a total wild card to them. But he's just so brazen in his attempts that it really makes me start to believe Russell's descriptions of the Samoa cast as a bunch of idiots. Smart, veteran players like Sandra and Rob are instantly able to see Russell's tactics.

Nicole said...

I was a fan of Cirie, but agree that she needed to go. However, I wish we could have a double elimination of Candace and Danielle because they are ciphers in this game and I still don't know why they were invited. Amanda at least was smart enough to notice Tom picking up the HII, which made it a detriment and not an asset. I am still not sure if he can make it past another Heroes tribal council because they are still 4-3 and I don't see Rupert, Candace, Amanda or James flipping.

I never hated Coach in his first season, and just feel sorry for him in this one. I don't think he's as much of a target for elimination as Russell is, but I also think that Russell knows how to scramble and while Rob and Sandra don't like him for looking for the HII, if he finds it, he can still protect himself for at least one week. Also, Parvati is still in an alliance with him, and I think that Coach and Tyson are more likely to side with him than with Rob.

For once, the All Star Survivors are actually acting like contestants who know something about how this game works. To have a blindside so early into the season is a good sign.

dez said...

I'm bummed Cirie is gone. I enjoyed watching her bend everyone to her will. I wish it had been Tom, with whom I've become more disenchanted.

Coach cannot be gone fast enough. Gawd, he's a tool. And a f**king crybaby.

Jon said...

Fantastic episode. Like Cirie said in her classy exit, JT made a great strategic move on par with her own classic orchestrated blindsides of the past. So I was fine with how things played out.
Like Alan, I sometimes get irritated with the blatant editing choices that make it painfully obvious who's going home but tonight's final vote stunned me. Kudos to the producers for fooling this longtime fan.
Also loved Probst's smackdown of Rupert at tribal. The only contestant I loathe more than Rupert (my pick for most overrated of all time) is Coach who becomes more of a joke every minute.
Boston Rob for the win!
Boston Rob all the way

Tim said...

Agree totally that this was one of the great season-defining early episodes--and one made possible by the fact that it's a bunch of "all-stars" coming back to play (and this episode featured true strategic all-stars in J.T., Cirie, and peripherally Tom).

Entire thoughts here:

tribalism said...

I loved the attempted high five that Danielle tried to give to Rob while his hands where shackled to the giant rolling ball.

So much of this game is about luck and chance. No way Cirie would have gone home if it wasn't for the fact that JT was able to listen in on the cogent arguments she was making to Amanda. JT is targeting smart people on his tribe, so I think Candice is going to have a tough time working her way into his good graces. As much as I like Cirie, I'm glad that JT voted her out so that we could actually have an exciting Tribal Council early in the game.

The only problem for JT is that he's now switched alliances twice in just four episodes. If he makes it to the Final Tribal Council, he's going to have a tough time garnering votes from people who insist on awarding people who have played the most honourable game, whatever that's supposed to mean.

If anyone is interested, you can find more of my thoughts about this episode at my blog where I go into detail about how Coach is truly an egomaniac and why Candice ensured herself of a limited lifespan in this game by her action last week. Click my username for the link.

JP said...

wade kwon: russell participated in All-Stars sometime between the final vote for his samoa season and the live finale months later (december) when they revealed the results of that vote. so at the time of all-stars, russell had no idea if he had won/lost the million dollar prize in samoa. But he probably thinks he won. I think alan is saying that russell is playing the same game in all-stars that he THINKS has already won him a million dollars in samoa.

oh, it doesn't get said enough, but the MUSICAL SCORE they play during the tribal councils is amazing. just brilliant.

Alien_Dwarf said...

Best episode so far, no doubt about that. JT is the man, Cirie is a great great player, and he did what he had to do. Now if Candice goes with Cloby-Tom-JT, they clearly do whatever they want until the merge.

I'm very disappointed in Russell, he's playing a very dumb game. I agree with a comment posted at the 3rd episode's post, that it's a huge disadvantage for him to not have watched his season and the mistakes he did (some things he did, didn't give any more advantage at all, but he thinks they did and his pulling them again). Anyway, he's going home next time for sure, unless he plays the idol, so he's going after that. :P And that's too bad because he really deserved to win his season and he's not going anywhere here.

Maggie said...

I also thought it was a great blindside, but it suffers for the same reason people usually wimp out at those kind of shake-up moves: now JT is on a minority alliance of 3 vs. a majority alliance of 4. Unless they really are confident they can get someone like Candace to flip, they've only set themselves up as the next three in boot order.

Rob is the best player, hands down. The way he handled Coach: priceless. The way he dominates challenges without being a physical brute: amazing. I want him to crush Russell like a bug...

On the Russell intelligence debate, I am on the side of not-so-smart. It puzzled me last season how he kept blowing up his own strategy - bragging to the cameras about how he kept his real job/affluence a secret, then revealing it for no good reason. Telling everyone and their brother about the HIIs. Etc., etc. Pointless, and it backfired, as we all now know.

I also think that even if he thinks his strategy got him the $$ last time, a really good player adapts their strategy based on the people they are up against.

And although I can't wait for James to get off the island, there was some joy last night in seeing his oiled-up body. As long as he doesn't say too much, he's okay, for now at least. (I think that is the textbook definition of eye candy.)

Chris said...

I don't think Russell is stupid, he's just trying to play with the same tactics that got him to the final two in his previous season, only the people he's up against are infinitely smarter than the Samoa group.

However I think the other villians are kinda stupid for ignoring that idol. There is one way to guarantee that you will stay for a couple more days, immunity. Without it anyone can go home. People just seem to think oh he'll just go home next week, but in case you've missed it, the villians have won 3 of 4 immunity challenges, so who knows when they will go again. And when they do, he will possibly have an idol which means no matter how they vote, if he plays it someone else will go home. That's why it can be such an important tool.

Just look at how the heroes used it. It wasn't so much to save Tom as it was a way to disturb the rest of the votes and to oust Cirie.

Chris said...

How you could not begin this post with "Spoilers for...coming up just as soon as I look ignoble despite having done noble things" is beyond me.

To have a quote goldmine like Coach in the game and to not mention him in every other breath seems like some real sloppy journalism to me, guy.

Nevada Smith said...

Never understood the Cirie love. She's useless in challenges and pretty annoying and obvious in her manipulation. Glad she was blindsided. Don't understand why they felt they had to split their vote and get a tie. If they were so sure that Tom was going to use the idol just throw all your votes to Colby. Tom uses the idol, Colby goes home. No tie. I love the outcome but that was a real stupid plan.That was real stupid Last thought-it seems like more than ever Survivor has amped up the soft core porn aspect of the show. I'm not complaining but it seems every challenge oils, wets, sweats or otherwise accentuates the players and then the camera focuses on the naughty bits (or is that just me freezing my Tivo). Go Survivor girls!!!! (and cameramen)

Unknown said...

When Danielle dove onto the oil-slicked ground, landing on those silicon orbs she has grafted to her chest, I'm surprised she didn't bounce right back up on her feet again.

Sandra is made of awesome. In a battle of wits vs. Russell, Sandra is the Ewoks swinging from the trees and he is the stormtroopers getting bashed in the head with rocks.

Like Coach, I am the only noble person posting on this blog, the only one with any courage. Now excuse me while I go get some Chinese-looking gibberish tattoed above my nipples.

Me said...

Outstanding. As a fan of smart, strategic play I adore Cirie but I do love a good blind side at Tribal Council. Shocked, SHOCKED JT came up with this move on his own as his bff Stephen was the brains behind his earlier win. JT was just too well liked.

Guess we shouldn't be too surprised JT found a way to get rid of Cirie. His pre-show interviews are explicit in his desire to see her gone immediately. He seized the opportunity so good for him. We'll see how it all plays out, though....

I'll never understand the misconception that physical strength = strong tribe, though. Cirie was NOT a challenge liability - smart, cunning and a physical force is an asset in most of the competitions. The Heroes dominated the physical aspects of the challenges; this was not their undoing. They lost because 1) they couldn't do the puzzles, and 2) total lack of team unity. The disruptive force within the tribe appeared to be James so fail to understand how getting rid of Cirie helps to make the tribe "stronger" now that JT has shattered any trust he had built with the other 4 in his (previous) alliance. As for the puzzles, do you really want James, Amanda and Rupert as your brain trust? Suggestion for future brain teasers - let Candace and Tom work and stay out of their way.

Personally, don't see how the Heroes ever recover. Their best bet is to hope for some tribe switch up or other twist.

Alan, glad to hear you're on board. Based upon all the information out there already, you won't be disappointed!

Anonymous said...

Once again Boston Rob wins for the Villians. That's 3 out of 4 challenges that he has won for them almost single handedly. As soon as they explained the challenge, I knew Rob would be in the ball directing traffic. He's the man!

I thought JT made the right move getting rid of Cirie simply b/c I think while you are competing against another tribe it is stupid to weaken your own which getting rid of Tom or Colby over Cirie certainly would have done. Tom and Colby may not be smart, but neither is Cirie. At least Tom and Colby are strong. Although I want Rob to make it to the end so I kind of wish Tom or Colby had gone home. The heroes have a huge advantage in strength and athleticism, but they're not all that bright.

I thought Coach was being a bit of a wuss. I would have told him to toughen up. Are you going to let one comment cause you to curl up the fetal position? So much for all the Tai Chi he does that is supposed to make you mentally tough.

Marc said...

Observation from last night:

Coach = Dwight Schrute

Hilary W said...

I think it's actually Coach = Michael Scott. Listen to their talking heads. Amazing mangling of English. Asking questions in order to answer them. Self-aggrandizement. Sense of being wronged/misunderstood. I think you could easily play a "Who said it?" game out of their quotes.

Marc said...

Yeah, but the whole dragonslayer thing, the tai-chi, the stories of kicking ass. Total Dwight.

JT said...

that scene with coach and tyson was hilarious. Coach is Michael Scott, and Tyson is Dwight. When Tyson is comforting Coach and makes the comment "I'll tell you things that you wont want to hear" and Coach stops sobbing to ask "like what" and Tyson immediately, without even thinking, rips off three things that Coach does that are annoying. Classic. Pure Dwight Shrute.

Anonymous said...

the reason everyone didnt just vote for colby is because they wanted to flush out the idol, and because it seemed like colby and tom were all alone if you get rid of colby and tom still has that idol then your turning on one of your own needlessly, the only problem with that plan is the problem that ended up happening, the perfect opportunity for a blindside, needing less votes to get someone voted off

Anonymous said...

everybody didnt just vote for colby because they couldn't be sure Tom wouldn't give Colby the idol. And if Colby played it, votes against him would be null and then whomever Tom & Colby voted for would be the runner up with 2 votes and, thus, eliminated. This way they split their bloc of 6, giving 3 votes each to Tom and Colby so regardless of who played the idol, their other three votes would still beat out the Tom/Colby bloc of 2.

annie said...

I was indifferent to Tyson during his original season but his handling of a weepy Coach was so hilarious and spot on that I'm rooting for him. Like a poster said, I loved his spontaneous list of 3 things for Coach to change and I'm guessing it took restraint for him to rattle off more.

Boston Rob is just fun to watch. And I do hope Russell goes quickly. Last season would have been boring without him but he's not needed this season to maintain the interest.

Johanna said...


So glad someone posted about Coach being "ignoble." We laughed really hard at that one, and I actually backed it up and watched it again.

Johanna said...

Actually, I think Coach is sort of the perfect Michael Scott/Dwight hybrid. As others have mentioned, the Dragonslayer, Tai Chi, crazy stories thing is totally Dwight -- but the desperate need to be liked, the mangling of words, the total lack of self-awareness and even the "Boston Rob" man crush are very Michael Scott. Dwight is weird and crazy, but he doesn't give one flip if people like him, whereas Michael only ones to fit in and be loved (which Coach has shown as well).

P.S. Sorry for posting so many comments on the thread. I just really, really loved last night's show, and keep thinking of new things to add. I'll quietly go away now.

Anonymous said...

I like Cirie during her first season, but turned against her when she engineered the ouster of Yau-man in one of the early episodes of Micronesia. Karma.

Unknown said...

I was right there fist-pumping with you. I'm a sucker for the "good guys" of Colby and Tom, and when Stephenie got ousted from the island, I thought they were done for. I was so thankful for JT sticking with them and I hope they continue to keep their heads above water until the end.

My one "shocker" this episode was Tyson's caring for Coach. I am so used to seeing Tyson in a different way, so I half expected him to pat Coach on the back and then mock him to everyone else. It's nice to see that even he has a heart. ;)

Anonymous said...

Definitely a great episode. The one thing I didn't like was the silly scene of Sandra trying to sneak up on Russell and the two of them pretending to duck behind trees.

That was obviously staged because they would have both seen the camera crews on the beach that were following each of them!

Brian said...

I think it needs to be said too how great Probst was at the Tribal Council. He lit into Rupert and the team by proxy with a completely logical argument. It may have been the final argument that swung JT to vote the way he did.

Also, I didn't see her original season but I'm in love with Danielle. Seeing her all oiled up in that challenge only reaffirmed it.

Wade Kwon said...

JP: Thanks. I forgot that Russell hadn't been back for the finale yet.

Love reading everyone's insights into the strategy.

Anonymous said...

Okay, someone talented will have to do an Office/Survivor Mashup video on Youtube asking the question - Is Coach more like Michael Scott or Dwight Schrute? The comments here have been brilliantly funny and accurate!

Anonymous said...

No one pointing out James' TC remark "Social Game is Not James".
Which is why he was a loser (with two HII in his pocket). If you can't 'read' the other players, you gonna get blindsided.
Basically, Brains is not James.

Jill Mader said...

I think JT made the wrong move. He went from being in an alliance with the majority of his tribe and almost all people he can beat, to being in an alliance with 2 other strong guys. He's on the bottom of his alliance with Tom and Colby. With Cirie, Amanda, Candice, James and Rupert, he would have had a lot more control. He's also flip-flopped way too much too early in the game.

- Jill (

Anonymous said...

I disagree. cirie would have orchestrated getting rid of JT once easy targets tom and colby were gone. When the alliance of 6 started turning on each other cirie would have started the "JT's already won a million dollars" talk and JT would have been the first to go. JT wasn't a threat to cirie because he is strong, he was a threat because he is so likeable. Their biggest mistake was in thinking an alliance of 6 people would work. People can usually tell when they are the 5th or 6th "ranking" person in a group or alliance, and those are usually the people that will flip on you. JT may not win this game, but he probably will last longer now than he would have had he not flipped.

Adoodles said...

I agree that it was a fantastic episode, but just to play devil's advocate and find something wrong with it, I'm starting to get bugged by how much Jeff is asserting his voice into tribal council. It's like he wants to be playing, since he knows all these people so well. I think he's bordering on influencing the game too much, and should try to be a bit more objective.

Anonymous said...

I am going to argue that Russell going for the idol was not dumb. Now he can use it for strategy or just play it at the next tribal council. Assuming the villains have a 50/50 chance to win immunity each round, Russell may not be on the block for another 2-3 rounds. By that time things may have changed dramaticly in the game.