Down in Flames
A brief statement before
this episodes recap. Is it just me or has this season been so perfect
that it feels scripted. They say that truth is stranger than fiction but
at some point don't we have to tip our hat to the imaginations of
producers who have been at this for 20 seasons? Either way you look at
it, this season of Survivor has been maddeningly good and it shows you
how good this game can be when you have very little dead weight and a
ton of thinking active players.
Now, I said thinking, not necessarily smart. You'll remember that last
episode JT handed over an Immunity Idol to Russell. Someone who taped
this season before his prior season even aired. Thus, all JT had to go
on was his assumption of a women's alliance (pro), the fact that Russell
was a villain and not a hero (con) and the fact that he was cast on an
All-Star season (again as a villain, again con) You can tip the scales
any way you like, but it still seems immensely stupid.
Let's consider that fact that Parvati is still in this game and is
sitting on her own secret (Except to Danielle) Immunity Idol. This
episode begins with Tree Mail. The Heroes get a chest, the Villains get
a key and a map to the Heroes camp.
Considering the facts previously mentioned the Villains, sans Sandra
need to get their stories straight to explain why Parvati is still in
the game to the Heroes. They decide to say that both Russell and Parvati
played immunity idol, thus resulting in Courtney's ouster.
The plan is set and the Heroes are not happy to see Parvati. JT and
Rupert corner Russell for an explanation and Russell spins the yarn. I
should pause to say the routine bit about the merge feast, the black
buffs and the development of a new tribe name (Yin Yang)... Whoops,
looks like I just did.
Back to the interesting stuff. JT and Rupert corner Russell. Russell
says both Idols were played at Tribal. He explains how the votes went in
a way that frankly makes no sense (saying he and Parvati couldn't vote),
but neither Rupert or JT are smart enough to catch it (shocker...). They
buy the story... for now.
Parvati meanwhile feels like she has been shipped to Exile Island. No
one is talking to her. She is persona non grata. Danielle helps her
cope, but don't worry Parvati is still in game mode.
Ms. Diaz-Twine decides to get in the mix. She catches Rupert alone on
the beach and tells Rupert the truth. Rupert buys Sandra's story, but
now is charged with convincing the rest of the tribe.
Rupert's attempt at convincing the Heroes results in one charge: Rupert
you're being paranoid. Why does this episode feel like more and more of
a Shakespearean play every minute?
Now for a conversation between Amanda and Parvati. They have a
history/friendship from previous seasons and Amanda let's Parvati know
she is the target. Parvati reveals to Amanda that she has an Idol.
Parvati says she is trying to establish trust with Amanda so that she
has an open line of communication, but I don't know if revealing that
secret, which may verify Sandra's story, was very smart.
Let's throw a wrench into things with the immunity challenge.
Each Survivor will cling to a 20 ft tall pole with small footholds. JT,
Parvati and Candace have done this before. Last person on their pole
I know they are re-hashing challenges, but considering the last foothold
challenge, aren't these a little too similar too soon?
Colby and Sandra drop out in the 1st minute. Then Russell drops. As more
flies fall the final three are Candace, Danielle and Parvati. Candace
seems to voluntarily step down approaching the 2hr mark. Probst quizzes
her and she claims to believe the remaining two ladies would outlast her
With 2 ladies remaining, Parvati and Danielle chat it up and Parvati
decides to step down with Danielle reminding her that they'll both be
protected considering the hidden immunity Idol in Parvati's possession.
Danielle wins immunity!
As if more red flags couldn't be tossed into the Heroes face, Rupert
tries to use the fact of Parvati stepping down as another reason to
believe something is fishy (well, duh!)
The Heroes have taken a mild hint though making the decision to swap the
vote from Parvati to either Sandra or Jerri figuring Parvati must plan
on playing the Idol tonight to protect herself.
Russell's thinking is actually falling into the Heroes plan. He passes
his Idol to Parvati to which Parvati says goofily that he shouldn't
have. (Yeah, because she already has one!) Parvati is finally starting
to believe the hype that she is as dangerous as everyone is treating
Parvati has one last conversation with Amanda prior to Tribal and this
is where America learns that Amanda is a horrible liar. Amanda tells
Parvati once again that she is the target and that she had better play
her idol. Tonight. Or you're going home. Amanda literally beats Parvati
over the head with it so hard that Parvati knows with certainty that she
is NOT the target. Now the only question in Parvati's mind is who the
target actually is...
At tribal there is the usual degree of banter and Russell points out
that even thought there is a merge that there are still 2 separate
tribes. He states if a Villain goes home, the Heroes are the top 5 and
vice-versa. Parvati says that she feels like a leper because she has
been much ignored since the merge and Probst calls her out saying that
maybe it's just the fact that she's used to being an attention whore.
Parvati admits it but also points out that this situation is different.
Well, it's time to vote.
We initially see that Russell, Parvati & Jerri vote for JT. Amanda,
Rupert & Candace vote for Jerri. Candace admitting that if Jerri is the
target because if there is an idol, Jerri is the least likely person
they would give it to.
Jeff tallies the votes and asks if anyone wants to play a hidden
immunity idol. Parvati speaks up and passes an Idol to Sandra. Sandra
seems pleasantly surprised. So do the Heroes. Then Parvati states that
she would like to increase her odds and passes a second Idol to Jerri.
Jerri is flabbergasted. JT cusses. Russell shakes his head in gleeful
disbelief. Parvati is grinning wider than the Cheshire Cat. As someone
who was not always a Parvati Shallow fan, this moment alone validates
her presence on the Earth and on Survivor. I still giggle every time I
replay it. Sheer epic-ness!
5 VOTES FOR JERRI DO NOT COUNT ... but 3 votes for JT do and the
Tribe has spoken. JT shakes hands on the way out and says "Well Done."
Russell whispers to Parvati
that she has some explaining to do and she simply says, "Secret."
And we now all wait with
baited breath to see how Survivor could possibly ever top this episode.
Heck, maybe Jonathan and Wanda will show up as Outcasts...
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