Can you feel it? The electricity in the air? Uncommon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Uncommon Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains! I tend to avoid calling anything "epic" these days, due to its rampant abuse in popular culture, but friends, this is going to be an epic season, as well as an epic recap. The two hour premiere means double your normal allotment of fun!
First, some quick background information: This is the 20th season of Survivor. This season was filmed shortly after Survivor: Samoa, in the same region, so they could save on costs. The cast are all returning members from the previous 19 seasons. There were a few seasons I missed, and a lot of names and faces I've forgotten, so there's going to be some rediscovery. The slogan of this season has changed from, "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast", to "Return, Revenge, Redemption." Doesn't everyone accomplish the first part just by showing up?
Oh man, everyone's getting helicoptered in. It's easier to have awkward silences on a helicopter, that's for sure. There's Zach Galifianakis' dad, Rupert! I don't remember him, but everyone seems to love him. He will be playing the role of Yoda, I'm guessing. Evil Russell just told me to google something he made up, stark contrast to Coach and his ungoogleable martial art. J.T. feels like a hero. Jerri looks like a gargoyle. Gentle giant grave-digger James! He could rip a man in two. There's Coach, I am unimpressed with his proclamation. Fireman Tom still looks tough. There's jbox's favorite, Boston Rob. Wave to jbox, everyone. Colby, I remember you, vaguely! I've never seen this Sandra woman before. Cirie is a gangster in an Oprah suit, and she's deep under cover. Pull out the camera with a helicopter flyover and we are off!
Everyone's star struck by each other. The old people keep saying they're back to prove they can still do it, which is kind of weirding me out. The Heroes land and hug each other. Everyone's happy. Then ominous music plays for the Villains as they land and blow sand on the Heroes. Perfect.
Jeff has a short discussion with all the characters. He talks to Russell first and it hits me, just how long after Samoa is this? jbox's fave cracks a joke on himself, everyone laughs. In my imagination, jbox throws something at the T.V. Rupert is honored to be a hero. People named their children after Colby. J.T. remembers watching these people when he was too young to play. Parvati doesn't think she's a villain. Nice try sister, the villains rarely think that! Jerri is wearing a black hat, Colby is wearing a white hat. Wait a second, I've seen this before... OH NO! James declares Parvati a villain and Jeff agrees, citing his size. Jeff asks James if anyone intimidates him, and he knows the "talkers" are the ones with the strategy. jbox's fave boasts that the villain women are clearly stronger and apologizes to Colby for it. He thinks they have the advantage and they, "won't be dealing with the egos over there." He's right, they'll be dealing with his, primarily.
The Reward Challenge is right now! Teams face off two at a time to go get bags out of the sand and race back, having to fight their way to a goal. Winner gets fire. First up is Stephenie and Cirie for the Heroes and Parvati and Danielle for the Villains. Danielle stole her bikini from a child's closet. Jeff mentions that Cirie and Danielle did this challenge. Cirie takes off with the bag and gets thrown down by Parvati. The women take turns tackling each other. Danielle exposes her breasts and breaks free, scoring for her tribe. During the tussle, Stephenie's shoulder was dislocated. Medical comes in and pops it back into place and she's ready to go. In the next round, Amanda and J.T. take on Randy and Jerri. Jerri discovers the bag and J.T. dives on it. Amanda runs over to pull Jerri out and Randy tries to pull J.T. off, which just pisses him off and makes him ram Randy into the ground. Jerri and Amanda frolic in the sand while J.T. gets up, grabs the bag, Jerri's sandy snatch is blurred. Randy stands between J.T. and the goal and J.T. easily gets past him. Randy gives a nice phony beach volleyball effort, though.
Third round; Colby and Tom vs. Russell and Coach. Tom starts digging right next to Russell, Coach just sits and watches. Russell unearths the bag and makes a break for it. Colby pulls him down as he tries to pass it to Coach, and all four men tangle up.
Colby emerges with the bag with Coach hanging on him while Tom holds Russell. Colby starts to drag Coach, then Coach drags Colby. Tom and Russell come running up from behind and Coach is able to drag Colby to the Villain's goal. Tyson was so impressed with his hero, Coach, he nearly creamed himself. I can tell he didn't though from those indecent hot pants. Next round is Sugar and Candice against Sandra and Courtney. The villains find it first and quietly unearth it, Courtney just wraps herself around it. Candice drags Courtney through the sand while Sandra pins Sugar.
Candice passes the bag to Sugar as it's nearly ripped away from her by Sandra, who immediately tackles Sugar and it's a FUMBLE! The bag sits free on the sand and Sandra gets so excited she undoes Sugar's top. Sandra pulls them back together but Sugar frees herself from her top, grabs the bag, and ties the game for the Heroes. The topless double half-peaces were awesome. Where do I get the Too Hot for T.V. version? The final round is Rupert and James vs. Tyson and jbox's fave. James scoops entire trenches of sand out with one arm while Tyson pats at the sand like a cat. jbox's fave just watches. Tyson discovers the bag first but is immediately spotted by James who engulfs him. A slap fight ensues as James frees himself, gets up, easily bypasses jbox's fave to win it for the Heroes.
Rupert suffered a broken toe on the play, but he doesn't want to leave. The Heroes emerge beaten but victorious. Evil Russell isn't phased.
The Villains arrive at their camp and begin planning. Russell lays out his goal to beat the best of the best. He selects Danielle as his confidante, then he goes to Parvati. She knows he's telling everyone the same thing, yet at the same time, she can't help but want to be on his side. He's already got his game running, and aside from Sugar, he's the only one I see doing anything to gain allies so far.
The Heroes arrive at their camp and it starts to rain on them. J.T. pretty much sums it up, it was the best first day of Survivor he'd ever seen. From Sugar's breasts to Stephenie's shoulder getting popped out and back in, and Rupert's broken toe, it's already been crazy. Colby is shaking the dust off and he's embarrassed he was beaten by Coach. As they're building, Tom hears chickens clucking. Sure enough, like he's Snow White or something, chickens have come to hear his cheerful song. This is Shambo's doing, I know it. They grab a net and toss it over the chickens and just like that, they're gifted with four birds. Of course they think it's because they're the Heroes. They're making me sick with all their self-righteousness.
Night 1 at camp Villain is a barrel of laughs. Tyson congratulates the Heroes on their injuries. Coach is mad that they lost, but he can't stop championing himself, even though he hated losing. Jerri is quite taken with Coach, and he's taken by her. They're going to cuddle.
Day 2 at camp Villain is filled with construction. Russell tells Coach to just go for it with Jerri. They peak at each other through the trees and flirt. They kind of look like brother and sister, to tell you the truth. They have a little pow-wow and basically say it without saying it: they love each other. Coach looks as happy as a schoolgirl.
Day 2 at Hero Land has alliances being forged beneath the cover of rain noise. J.T. and James link up and Colby and Candice are watching each other's back. They're worried about Cirie and Amanda being on the same season together and they have just as fuzzy a memory as I do. Were they friends? Who could know such things? Well, Amanda, for one, they went to the end together. Fireman Tom and Stephenie share a warm embrace and discuss who to take with them. Tom talks to J.T. and tells him they share a common bond since they both won. They shake hands and look each other in the eye. Oh, Heroes, you're so silly with your morals and customs. J.T. confesses in the background that he's not afraid to lose his Hero label if he has to do it to win.
Day 2 in Mordor, and everyone hates working. jbox's fave says they need water if they want to win the next challenge. Parvati plays with coconuts, Coach is doing his yoga. jbox's fave is getting impatient with them all. He's trying to build a fire, but Ray of Sunshine Randy tells him it's hopeless. jbox's fave continues anyway and they get some smoke between two sticks of bamboo onto some coconut husk. He breathes it to life and my imagination has jbox lying on his back kicking his feet in the air with rage. Coach and jbox's fave pal it up, with Coach proclaiming that he's "bromancing on his idol." Evil Russell is a little jealous of this, he doesnt think jbox's fave is a hero at all.
Rupert spends the morning walking over a cove before he goes to work on the flint and magnesium. He's awful at it and it looks harder for him than it was for the Villains. Colby and J.T. step in to get it going. Rupert sounds kind of like he's in the fog.
Tyson and jbox's fave decide they need to climb a coconut tree. jbox's fave acts like he's going to do it, and when a crowd gathers, he decides it's too risky. Coach takes his turn. Sandra says she's most like jbox's fave and she likes him best. She is now jbox's second favorite. Coach backs down. jbox's faves are jokingly telling Coach about their bet and he's taking it very seriously. "No, I could've done it... really!" It's funny that he can't let it go.
Over at Team Heroes' second slumber party, Sugar can't fall asleep. She also can't tell that she's pissing everyone off. Colby complains that she keeps putting his hands on her. He gets up to cry and she begs him to go back to the corner with her. Rupert wants to see some of that action so he's keeping his eyes out. Eventually he gets up and goes for a walk. She's like his puppy. Oh, and the night vision cameras are so good in HD, I could see her veins through her skin.
Day 3 at Camp Hero starts with deciding which chicken to eat. They all decide that it's the rooster's time, since he's not doing anything. J.T. offers everyone the honors of the kill, they decline, so he spins it around by the head until it stops moving. James was impressed as all hell as it brought back a traumatic childhood memory.
Day 3 in Mordor, the Villains get themselves pumped up, with the usual metaphor-laden speech from Coach.
Immunity Challenge Time! Plank paddle boat ladder puzzle torch race? Winners get immunity and the Villains will get fire if they win. The Heroes work together nicely and assemble their boat and claim an early lead. They get all the way to their fire before the Villains get going. Jeff makes a crack about Coach's life experience in a kayak. The Heroes keep their lead and start working on their puzzle. The Villains finally show up and begin working and the Heroes hit a wall with their puzzle. The lead disappears and then swings over to the Villains as the Heroes start their puzzle completely over. The Villains complete their puzzle and start to build their ladder and insert the puzzle. The Villains strut to their goal and claim immunity. Sugar cries and Colby marks her for elimination in his mind.
The Heroes are stunned. Rupert goes so far as to say that nobody in a million years would have guessed that they'd be going to Tribal Council on day 3. Somehow I think someone would've guessed the 50-50 chance a little sooner. Rupert is so mad he's breaking sticks on his knees. He is like the anti-Coach. Sugar, Cirie, and J.T. say they're voting for Amanda. Sugar starts to cry again in her confessional. What is wrong with her? The rest of the Heroes separate from her in little groups and decide they all want to do Sugar tonight (giggity). Fireman Tom has a more strategic approach, he appreciates Sugar's follower quality and fears Cirie's ability to play the game. I don't remember Cirie being the brilliant strategist that Tom seems to.
Amanda, Candice, and Cirie, however, have decided that Stephenie and Tom need to be split up. Cirie also understands that Sugar is a valuable asset to have around. Cirie and Amanda go back and forth on the issue.
Tribal Council Time! Jeff goes through the ceremonious part. First tribal council back. What's everyone's reasons for voting people off? Tom says he's not worried about prior history, but Sugar, the one who hasn't played with anyone, is lonely. Amanda made it to the end of both seasons, but she hasn't won. James congratulates her for finally answering a tribal council question. Jeff highlights that Cirie is a threat, and she deflects it onto everyone else. Steph's strategy is to get rid of the weakest member, she's not hiding it. James explains the breakdown of the puzzle. Cirie, when asked by Jeff, says she doesn't think one challenge counts in the long run and names the two people she's gunning for. Do these people hear themselves talk? Sugar explains that she cried because she is worried she'll get voted out for the puzzle. Candice says the puzzled puzzlers were brave. After a couple more questions, the vote is on!
Jeff collects the votes and begins reading: First three votes are Sugar. Then a fourth. Amanda gets a stray vote, and the last two necessary votes read Sugar's name. At first she's sad, but she seems happy to be gone.
Was it just me, or were the Heroes the only ones getting rained on the entire time?
By the numbers: I used the term "jbox's fave" fourteen times.
Speaking of jbox's fave: Next time he's found unconscious in the jungle! jbox is sure to watch that one!
There will be a Heroes vs. Villains logo for next week. Technical difficulties and all that.