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'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains': Old favorites descend upon Samoa

98305_D00124They're baaaack. All of our favorite "Survivor" contestants made their triumphant return Thursday evening, entering in style while flying in on helicopters above the beautiful Samoan vista.

There was Boston Rob, walking in with his traditionally evil swagger to take part in the new Villains tribe. Russell, also a Villain, still seemingly bitter over his defeat to Natalie on the most recent season. Perennial good guy J.T. was wide-eyed as he observed the members of his fellow Heroes tribe. There was even the hunky Colby, still good-looking and charming 10 years after his debut on the game in Australia.

The producers wasted no time in throwing the players right into a competition. Competing for the beloved flint (which host Jeff Probst emphasized would have extra importance on Samoa, where weather conditions proved to be brutal last season), the players wasted no time getting aggressive. Bikini tops were flying off, and someone even undid Sugar's bra intentionally so she'd have to bare all if she wanted to win. Pavarti not-so-accidentally dislocated Stephenie's shoulder. (Luckily for her, the medics were able to pop it back into place with one horrific-sounding crack.) The endearing Rupert also broke his toe, which is already proving to be an impediment to him around camp.

After the challenges, the tribes headed back to their respective camps to start building shelter. Russell wasted no time immediately forming alliances with two women: Danielle and Pavarti. I thought it was interesting that he began the game with a similar strategy to the one he used on Samoa, befriending as many girls as possible in the advent they might be seen as coattail-riders in a final two situation. (Obviously, that didn't work out so well when he was paired against Natalie.) If the way Pavarti was acting when I interviewed her at the party to celebrate this season in January was any indication, I can see a Pavarti/Russell situation working out well.


I really think Russell has a huge advantage in being the only player on the island whom the other contestants haven't had a chance to observe. I wouldn't be surprised if we see him searching for hidden immunity idols without clues sometime soon.

Over at the Heroes camp, J.T. vowed to play a different game than he had in the past. 

"Everybody's expecting me to stick by my word, but to win this game, you have to have a dark side somewhere," he said, setting up alliances with both lovable giant James and former winner Tom. 

The tribe also scored when a grouping of chickens and roosters happened to walk by. Didn't Shambo lose one of these poor birds on the same island a couple of months ago? The sustenance was enough to get the tribe fired up but not enough to help them solve the puzzle at the immunity challenge, where they lost out to the Villains. 

98301_D4973 I'm also loving the weird romantic relationships that are evolving. Jerri and Coach? Gag me with a spoon. But Coach's crush on Boston Rob? Amazing. After Rob was able to start a fire without flint, Coach went gaga over the Boston stunner. 

"I'm a little in awe of Rob, and I'm not like that," he admitted to camera. On the island, he repeatedly told Rob he was "hanging on his every word." Awkward. Meanwhile, Colby was hilarious in rejecting Sugar's spooning advances when he was trying to get some much-needed shut-eye.

"I'm being flirted with and I'm just not interested," he said. "She's becoming a bit annoying."

From the moment he uttered the words, I could tell it might be the kiss of death for Sugar. And then when she started crying after the immunity challenge, I was sure she was a goner. Never show your emotions too soon!

I can't wait for next week's episode. What the heck happens to Boston Rob!?!? Why does he randomly pass out while walking through the jungle? Let's hope he's not scarily dehydrated like Russell Swan was last season. 

So what did you think of the first episode? Which old player most lived up to their former reputation? Who most disappointed you? Any early predictions on who might be able to take it all? Weigh in in the comments below.

-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)

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Photos (from top): The cast of "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains" arrive on the island of Samoa. The Heroes tribe found Jessica "Sugar" Kiper so annoying that they decided to vote her out this week. Credit: CBS.

 
Comments () | Archives (6)

Sugar was the right choice to go! One of the fatal mistakes that the survivors always make is not keeping the right people that are physically and mentally able to get to the merge they are always thinking about who they can beat to get the million, so I am glad they finally made a good choice and got rid of the weekest link!

Yay Survivor is back!

Russell deserves the advantage after the way the producers screwed him out of the million dollar win, he earned it! I'm still pissed off about that. Last night I didn't understand why anyone would trust his gab if they had seen him play - it all makes sense now - thanks for clarifying.

Parvati was brutal - never liked her anyways - Stephanie rocks.
Sugar's games didn't work on the forever gentleman Colby - he is SO far out of her league. As precious as sleep is for the players - why would you mess with that??? Duh!
Love Rob and I'm so happy for him and Amber!
Jerry and Coach make the perfect couple with egos to match...Coach is all grins!
Tyson is forever annoying and spews the most asinine comments I ever heard. Him and Randy both need to shut up.
Poor Rupert and his toe, ouch!

I've never understood why the teams target the strong players in the beginning when they need to win challenges. The weak ones need to go first, up until the game turns to a one on one battle. Overall - great premiere with good balance to the teams. Glad to see both sides win.

I HATE RUSSELL AND PAVARTI. I ADORE RUPPERT, COLBY, JAMES, STEPHANIE, AND BOSTON ROB. BUT I THINK IT WAS ALLOWED TO GET TO ROUGH LAST NIGHT IN THE FIRST CHALLENGE. I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DIDN'T STOP THAT JEFF. I KNOW YOU WANT SCANDAL BUT HEY MAN DON'T LET IT GET SO BRUTAL. THE ELEMENTS AND MIND GAMES ARE ENOUGH.

I agree with Mary. The rough stuff is a little too much. As you found out, people can get hurt. The challenges and the living conditions are bad enough. Hope Russell gets booted. What a pain in the butt!

I was aggravated and yelling at Probst to stop the brutality against Tom. Sorry, but wasn't Brett kicked out of a challenge last season for simply getting someone in the back of the calf? Brett's incident was nothing like the bone crunching going on in the premier of this season.

Amy,

You said Russel was "still seemingly bitter over his defeat to Natalie on the most recent season". Both Seasons 19 and 20 were filmed during the summer of 09. The final results of Survivor 19 were hidden from even the contestants until the live reunion show in December of 09. Russel couldn't have been bitter at Natalie's because although it had already been determined, as far a Russel knew he still could have won.


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