'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains': Boston Rob's luck runs out early
Call me crazy, but ever since the beginning of the season, I've had an inkling that Russell would go really far. I don't have any real justification for the feeling, other than what I witnessed at the 10-year anniversary party, where Parvati and Russell definitely seemed like a team, and Rob didn't seem to carry the usual swagger he did during past seasons. (Check out my video interviews with both Russell and Rob from the event to decide for yourself.)
Despite the premonition, I was still really sad to watch Boston Rob get voted out this week. It was, of course, probably a smart move to get him out of the game this early on -- though his absence could certainly hurt the Villains to some extent. Still, I found myself agreeing with that overly-moral Coach before tribal council -- sometimes in "Survivor," the best players do seem to "deserve" to be there. I guess one could argue that Rob isn't truly one of the better players since he was duped into being voted out. But watching him premeditate everyone's strategy and dominate physically and mentally in so many challenges was constantly impressive.
He even saw his own ouster coming.
"Something just doesn't feel right," Rob said right at the beginning of the episode, as Jerri and Coach were negotiating with Russell behind his back.
As usual, Coach struggled with moral issues over his choices. He got overly emotional when Jerri vowed to vote with Russell before she discussed the idea with him.
"I'm kind of hurt, because you sit there in front of Russell and me ... and you didn't talk to me about it," he told Jerri, his voice nearly quavering.
And what was up with his weird plea at tribal council? "I'm begging you guys to reconsider and keep this tribe strong," he said, presumably trying to sway their votes away from Rob and onto Courtney. As if. Has there ever been a moment in "Survivor" history when tribe members publicly decided to switch their votes only minutes before the ballots were cast? The request was almost more laughable than his feather earring, which he has sported for quite a few weeks now. Does he keep that thing laid out especially for tribal council so he can look extra good for the cameras when he knows he's guaranteed to be on-air? Is it a good-luck charm? So bizarre.
Meanwhile, Russell, love him or hate him, is constantly impressive. Despite his ridiculous bravado (Could you believe when he told Sandra and Courtney to their faces that they should be the ones to go home because they were physically weak?), the others have as of yet been unable to shake his best-laid plans. Rob was the only one who really had it out for Russell, and with him now gone, I think the target on Russell's back will be significantly minimized.
I haven't even addressed the Heroes' comeback yet, but the truth is that I didn't find it all that fulfilling. I'm not really rooting for anyone on the tribe other than J.T., even though Colby did somewhat redeem himself a bit this week by landing a few hoops during the reward challenge.
"Redemption, baby!" Colby shouted as his team won. But do you think the Heroes really have a legitimate shot at a comeback? Or is that just about as likely as the Villains being able to get rid of Russell? Weigh in below in the comments.
-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)
Photo: Boston Rob Mariano was voted out on this week's episode of "Survivor." Credit: CBS