A rumination on a blah episode, after the jump.
Last night's telecast looked to be an attempt to edit a foregone conclusion into something more interesting. And it didn't really work dramatically. For all the discussion, it was pretty clear that Candice was going with the villains before Tribal Council, so they had the five votes; the only mildly interesting revelation was that Sandra voted with the villains, but Sandra has a strong instinct for self-preservation and everyone will know by the way the vote totals that she did not flip. (If there had been one more vote for Parvati, Jeff would have shown it, to set up the deciding vote in what then would have been a 5-4 result.)
So we ended the episode knowing two things. First, the three remaining heroes are collectively dependent on two or more villains for their continued survival, because they have no leverage as a group. Either as a group or individually they have to hope for a sundering of the villains alliance which would make their votes useful to a villains mini-alliance trying to topple another group.
Second, we have seen more piece fall into place for the inevitable battle with Russell (and the trailer for this week, which I could not help but watch, certainly indicates that Russell is going to war). Right now, he has no immunity idol. And for all his bluster, he hasn't really run the last couple of tribal votes. Parvati is clearly driving the game more than he is; he's just, as he says, king of the hidden immunity idols. And Russell as a single, not at all trustworthy vote, is expendable -- but has been only intermittently able to recognize how weak his position is.
Of course, Russell still has the possible advantage that any other contestant would at this point love to go against him with the jury. But I'd much rather see Russell on the jury. I keep thinking of him going full Pacino on the group, or trying to convince the other jurors that they should still vote him the million.