Could tonight measure up to last week's astounding tribal council?
No, but it had its moments. The good news was that the heroes tribe -- what was left of it -- managed to win both reward and immunity. In addition, it won a physical reward challenge in more than convincing fashion, with both Russell and Coach getting knocked around. And it won an immunity challenge that finished with a puzzle, which up to now has been the heroes' Waterloo. To its benefit, the challenge did not make the puzzle-solving a group effort, so two players could focus -- and the villains had an unfortunate pairing with Sandra and Boston Rob. Rob's a good leader, but did not do well in tandem with Sandra.
Of course, the immunity win set up a collision between Rob and Russell, and the bad news is that Russell spun so many nasty webs (and Coach, on the heels of Tyson's miscalculation a week ago, cast a stupid vote) that Rob went out. I haven't been a fan of Rob's swaggering and scheming on other shows but had come to like him this time. He played tough, but he also -- as far as "Survivor" is concerned -- played fair. Unfortunately, he also played old school, and Russell has thrown out the old-school playbook. Usefulness to a tribe is meaningless to Russell; he has made clear that he will personally sabotage tribe-mates and hurt the group overall for his own amusement, let alone his advancement. So after completely outfoxing Rob a week ago (thanks to Tyson's gullibility, which Russell sensed and exploited), he was able to out-play him this week.
But one of the things about teaming up with Russell, as Jerri so clearly indicated, is that, unless you're as amoral as Parvati, you don't feel good about doing it. And everyone has to know that Russell will destroy someone on a whim. So, as Coach says in the promos for next week, pray for the merge.