'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains': James may be down, but he's not out
I think we're at the point in the "Survivor" season where there's still too many people, too much food to go around and too few alliances for things to really get good. I found this week's episode to be slow, a pace that was set by an opening in which Coach led the Villains tribe in a weird martial arts and meditation session on the beach.
I know everyone gets on Coach's case for getting all spiritual on Samoa but for some reason, it actually doesn't bother me that much. I mean, you're on "Survivor," you have a zillion hours to kill and are probably trying to clear your mind--it actually seems kind of like the appropriate thing to do.
Nonetheless, Russell chose not to partake in the group relaxation session and went off to search yet again for the hidden immunity idol. This time he found it, which of course, he was exceedingly proud of. But I'm curious to see how he's going to swing the idol in his favor when the whole tribe already knows he has it.
During the reward challenge, the tribes were told they'd be competing for a chocolate feast. To whet their palettes, host Jeff Probst handed out tiny bits of chocolate to each contestant. I was shocked to see the dudes on the Heroes tribe scoff and push the plate away when offered small samples. Really, guys? You think you're helping your focus by not giving in and indulging in a tiny bit of chocolate before a challenge? So dumb.
I was also surprised to see how feisty Colby got over the whole thing. When Jeff asked him why he'd opted out of the chocolate sample, Colby said he wasn't annoyed but was just "ready to get to the challenge." Jeff asked him if the offering offended him.
"Don't need it. Let's go," he said, pretty rudely.
"I got the message, brother. We'll go when I'm ready," Jeff replied. Jeff, for his part, hasn't been taking any crap from the contestants this season. Maybe being marooned in a remote locale a couple of months out of every year is finally starting to get to him.
Colby got his wish when the challenge finally began, but it didn't start off the way his tribe had been hoping. Almost immediately, James injured his knee. It's unclear what exactly was wrong with his leg, but the injury took him out of the challenge, leading the Villains to a sweet victory.
But it wasn't the chocolate that seemed like the real prize on the reward challenge. (Did you see how much was leftover? I mean, how much chocolate can one really eat, anyway? Also, why are the players already getting food for reward challenges? It's only been a couple of days, they're not that hungry yet!) The Villains got to go swimming in this amazing below-ground natural pool that had an awesome ladder leading down to it. I liked seeing how much Rob enjoyed relishing in the cool natural setting.
The relaxed vibe inspired Russell to share with Parvati that he'd found the idol, and that she shouldn't plan on riding his coattails until the end of the game.
"I don't ride coattails, baby," she replied. And so true. I love how Russell thinks he's the ruler of the roost when it seems like Parvati could have him wrapped around her finger in a couple of seconds if she so chose. She's certainly no Natalie.
When Russell let Coach in on the news, he responded in typical Coach fashion, bowing down on his knees to salute Russell's "honor."
"I feel like this is a monumental moment and I honor you for trusting me," he said. How many times is this guy gonna get the wool pulled over his eyes before he realizes honor doesn't exist in "Survivor"?
Back at the Heroes camp, everyone was worried James might be kicked out of the game due to his injury. Amanda even called herself his "little sister" and started crying over the possibility of him leaving. Ugh. Is the Heroes tribe starting to get on anyone else's nerves? Amanda's a baby. Colby has weird anger issues. So does James, and he's hurt now. Candice has good impulses but doesn't stand up for herself. I love J.T., but he's flip flopping so much I don't see how he's going to sincerely win anyone's trust long enough to become a serious final contender.
Plus, they're just not performing well in challenges. I felt bad that Tom got the short end of the stick and was voted out due basically to numbers, especially in light of James being injured. That must have been an ego blow.
Were you sad to see Tom go? Can the nice guys catch a break this season? Weigh in below as we try to kill time before a new episode airs in two weeks.
--Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)
Photos: (From top) Benjamin "Coach" Wade stands pensively on the sand. James Clement injured his leg on this week's episode. Credit: CBS.