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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Survivor Heroes vs Villains Episode 10 - Going Down in Flames

This blog post contains Survivor spoilers.

This was a great episode of Survivor, but I expected the person who was voted to be voted off because I have actually been exposed to the spoilers. Here is a little tip for any Survivor fans out there. Do not go to Survivor message boards like Survivor Sucks or CBS Survivor Community Forum. This is because there are people there who post spoilers, and unfortunately for me I was exposed to some of these spoilers, so I know who was going to get voted off in episode 10 and I also know who will be in the final three as well as who wins.

When I saw these spoilers, I was skeptical because CBS makes every contestant and staff sign confidentiality agreements to make sure the results do not leak. Any leak may affect the suspense of the show, which may affect how many people eventually watch the show, which can affect profitability. However, it is clear that there must have been a leakage because the spoilers given by this person seem to be coming true. Instead of going to message board to read extra, I recommend that if you want to get extra Survivor material, you go to the following websites:
  • The Tribe: A Survivor Podcast - I makes it a personal rule to listen to this podcast while I am on my exercise bike, and I have found that I have been exercising quite a lot now. The four people who do this podcast are very funny. The only downside of this podcast is when at the end they read out all the emails from listeners. Some of the emails are long and boring.
  • CBS Survivor - I go to CBS's Survivor website to watch the secret scenes after an episode is over. I enjoy the trivia there as well. The sight also allows you to watch the full tribal council. That is, you can hear what each castaway said during voting. The problem is that when they speak they whisper and it's very difficult to hear them. CBS needs to build the voting booth very far away from where the rest of the castaways sit so that the castaways can speak at normal volume without fear of other castaways hearing. The videos on the CBD website are extremely advertising intensive, but that is not too much of a problem because many of the ads are okay in quality.
  • Survivor Central - Entertainment Weekly - A great site for Survivor news. It also contains Jeff Probst's blog.
  • Survivor Heroes vs Villains - Survivor Fever - The site has great content but the downside is the cheap appearance of the site and the excessive ads--including annoying pop-ups!
Comments on Episode 10

In episode 10, the Heroes and Villains merge and become Yin Yang, which is a suitable name. In the previous episode, JT gave Russell the hidden immunity idol (HII) because he assumed that an all-female alliance was going to get rid of him. This was a risky move JT played in order to get Russell on the Heroes' side after the merge to avoid a tie vote. The assumption turned out to be very bad. There was no all-female alliance and JT was fooled into giving away a HII, which means that the Villains have two HIIs while the Heroes have zero, and therefore the Villains have the upper hand.

Post-merge, Russell pretended that he is on their side and they are going to vote for Parvati next. However, Sandra told Rupert all about Russell's lie. Rupert told the rest of the Heroes who then plan to tell Russell that they will be voting for Parvati but instead vote for Jerri instead. The problem was that this plan was leaked to the Villains, not deliberately but because Amanda went to Parvati and told her that she should play her idol, which must have made Parvati think that they were not voting for her. During tribal council, Colby even said that there was a chance that they would not be gunning for Parvati. During tribal council, Parvati gave two HIIs to Jerri and Sandra. If the Heroes had voted for Russell or Parvati, there would have been a draw assuming that Sandra voted with the Villains. The Villains ended up voting out JT.

Parvati had two HIIs. She received one from Russell but she also found another and she did not tell Russell about it, and based on the previews of episode 11, it looks like Russell is not happy with Parvati keeping secrets from him.


Sandra is in an interesting position. She knows that she is on the outs with the Villains, so if she continues with the normal plan of picking off the Heroes one by one then she will be the first one to go after the last Hero leaves. Her best move, in my opinion, is to allign with the Heroes and vote out a Villain next. Of course, if she aligns with the Heroes and the rest of the Villains are voted off one by one, she will be voted out right after as well. I think the best move for her to make is to vote off a Villain, followed by a Hero, followed by a Villain. However, if this plan is too obvious then they all might just vote her off. She needs to be subtle. She should align with the Heroes and vote out Danielle, align with the Villains again and vote off Rupert, then Jerri, then Candice, and then she permanently joins the Villains Russell and Parvati to vote off Amanda and Colby because going into the final three with Russell and Parvati, who are both hated, Russell probably moreso than Parvati.

Hidden Immunity Idols

Many Survivor purists do not like the addition of HIIs into the game. As I recall, the HII was introduced in Survivor Guatemala. In that season you had to play the idol before the votes were cast. However, in Survivor Panama you play the idol after the votes were cast and read out. The HIIs in these seasons were completely boring and useless. After these seasons, they changed the rules so that HIIs had to be played after votes were cast but before the votes were read out, which in my opinion makes the game a lot better. HIDs make the game more interesting because without it the tribe that has fewer numbers post-merge would be picked off one by one, which is quite boring.

Single Challenges or Double Challenges

Traditionally there would be two challenges: a reward challenge and an immunity challenge. In Survivor Heroes vs Villains, there has been a tendency in some seasons to have a combined reward and immunity challenge. Many Survivor purists do not like this but I happen to prefer it. Survivor is a game of politics, so more focus I think should be on the politics and not on the challenges. If we wanted to watch challenges, we can watch shows like Wipeout (an absolutely horrible show, in my opinion). Furthermore, many reward challenges are for trivial and pointless luxuries like fishing gear. Although these tools may be essential for survival, that is not really what I see is the point of Survivor. It is not about survival in the wilderness or outback (we have Man vs Wild for that). As I said, Survivor is not about wilderness survival but political survival. It is not man vs wild but man vs man. Having reward challenges merely distract from the main point of the game. That being said, I do not like it when CBS just hands out heaps of luxuries to the castaways. I want the castaways to suffer and work for the million dollars, so I am all for having combined reward and immunity challenges and making sure the rewards are not too excessive. I absolutely hate it when CBS gives castaways tools to build houses (Survivor Fiji).

Lessons from this Episode

JT said in the interview after the game that he should not have trusted Russell. He also said that he should never trust women. I assume he was referring to Parvati. JT took a risk and it didn't pay off. But he also made a mistake in assuming that there was an all-female alliance and that he could trust Russell, even though other members of the Heroes tribes expressed skepticism. That JT could so easily fall for a scam like this makes me paranoid about whether I can trust anyone in real life. The lesson we can learn from this is that indeed it is dangerous to trust others and it is dangerous to assume. This does not mean that we cannot trust others and that we cannot assume things. We need to assume things because not doing so is too difficult in a world that is so complex. We also cannot distrust everyone because as social creatures there needs to be some people we trust otherwise we become completely isolated, and there are downsides to being isolated. A balance is needed. For example, I trust that my parents care for me and like me, but I am prepared if they are not. A husband should trust that his wife loves him and will be with him forever, but he should also be prepared if the wife betrays him.

JT won Survivor Tocantins but to me it seemed to be an accidental win. In Heroes vs Villains, it seems as if JT was trying to prove himself by playing harder. He made many moves early in the game and came up with the innovating plan to give the HII to Russell.

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