A strange double-elimination night on Thursday ...
It's pretty astonishing that, faced with a 6-2 deficit and no immunity, Rupert and Colby survived two tribal councils on Thursday night's "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains." And even though they are both woeful in immunity challenges -- Colby seems to have absolutely no energy or enthusiasm when it comes to winning -- they have stepped up their tactical game to help the Villains turn on each other.
Which they have, far sooner than was wise. Now they have a 4-2 edge on the remaining heroes, and that 4 is so fractured that the heroes' votes have become pivotal in any future tribal councils.
First immunity challenge, Parvati won, setting up the departure of Rupert or Colby. Only, dammit, another immunity idol. Sandra found it, but has kept that information to herself, while Rupert pulled a bluff with a rock in his pocket. Uncertain about whether Rupert had the idol, the Villains opted for a split vote, 3 for Rupert and 3 for ... Candice? Colby would have been the logical choice, but distrust/dislike of Candice by some of the women made her the second choice. And Colby and Rupert, learning about the split vote, put both their chits in for Candice, too, ensuring that she went to the jury.
Second immunity challenge, Russell wins. Now they can't do a perfect split vote, since the villains are 5, and Russell's paranoia has amped up, so he wants to break up the Danielle/Parvati alliance. Russell/Colby join the Danielle vote-out and she's on the jury, and Russell and Colby suddenly look much stronger for future votes, since the remaining Parvati/Russell/Sandra/Jerri combo shows no clear lines of alliance at all. Whoever of that foursome can pick up Colby and Rupert's votes is in a tie with the others, and one more flip -- and Jerri has repeatedly proven quite flippable -- creates a new alliance.
That said, I find Russell's game-playing consistent in terms of his character but puzzling in terms of long-range strategy. To be sure, he only intermittently calls the shots within the villains, but I can't see how Candice won't blame him for her ouster, and Danielle certainly will. So he may have lost two more jury votes. Nor is his bullying of other tribe members a good way to go into the jury, assuming that he gets that far. I also think he tends to underestimate Parvati, and Sandra is zooming along under the radar, with a hidden immunity idol to boot.
Overall, though, last night's episode did not have the OMG quality of some other tribals this season. It was more of a set-up for bigger confrontations down the road, although the survival of Rupert and Colby was quite a surprise.