The End of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villians

I love Survivor.

I have seen almost every episode of 18 seasons (I missed Season 1: Borneo and Season 4: Marquesas).

My family loves Survivor.

We get together every Thursday (and Sunday for the finales) for dinner and to watch each episode.  We cheer, we yell, we try to guess who’s going home each week – sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re not.

As Survivor marked the end of its tenth year and twentieth season with a Heroes vs. Villians final tribal council and reunion show last night, I thought I would reflect on the game, particularly this season since it is arguably one of, if not the, best season, probably due in part to the experience of those playing (several contestants were on for their third season).

However, this season was also marked by two of the dumbest moves in Survivor history, which I guess helped make the game more exciting.  The first happened early on in the game when Tyson changed his vote – a vote that would have ousted Russell (and had me cheering wildly) – but instead got himself voted out instead.  I’ve never been a Tyson fan and this boneheaded move is just another reason why.

The second move actually won the award for dumbest move ever, though I think that prize should go to Erik from Micronesia (Fans vs. Favorites) when he handed over his immunity necklace to Natalie and was then voted out (he would have been in the final four if he held on to his immunity).  Back to this season…JT wanted to give Russell a hidden immunity idol, and not only did he want to give it to him, he wrote the cheesiest note to go along with it.  It definitely made for some good TV, especially as half of my family was yelling at the TV trying to tell JT how stupid he was and to not do it!  Of course, as with the two previously mentioned bone-head moves, this play ultimately resulting in JT’s ousting when Parvarti handed JT’s idol to Sandra and one of her own to Jerri, securing the upper hand for the Villians tribe for the remainder of the game.

While this season had you on the edge of your seat many times, there were a few disappointments along the way – and not from the play, within the game itself.

Now, I understand the hidden immunity idol thing and with its introduction in Guatemala, it certainly created a new and exciting twist to the game.  But, the past two seasons, these idols were falling from the sky as frequently as it rained!  I understand that they re-hide the idols after they’ve been played, but I think it makes the game so much less interesting when they do that.  It doesn’t make the players really strategize about the best time to use their idol – and they don’t think twice about telling people they have it (especially Russell who seems to think that’s information that needs to be given to everyone playing the game!).  If there was only one or two idols throughout the game, it would take a lot more strategy to ensure that it was played at just the right time instead of trusting that an idol would always be around the corner.  With four, five, six chances at hidden immunity, it just makes the players reliant on those idols instead of their own strategy and wit to advance themselves and their alliance in the game.

Of course, we can’t talk hidden immunity idols without talking about Russell.  In his first season, he found THREE idols without any clues at all.  Impressive.  But he tops my list of most hated Survivor contestants.

And he is definitely NOT worthy of the self-proclaimed title of “Best Survivor Player Ever” he tried so hard to convince people of, especially in Samoa.  He’s outright mean (really, burning socks, dumping water from canteens, and hiding the machete are necessary in this game because…?), arrogant, cocky, “vile” (thanks Rupert)…you get the picture.

And he definitely does NOT get this game.  As much as I loathe him, he did play an amazing game in Samoa, much better than Heroes vs. Villians, but as was revealed at the reunion show last night, he plays to make it to the final tribal council, not to win.  He lacks any social game whatsoever (he could be labeled the worst social player ever after calling Sandra the worst physical player ever) and gives no thought to the jury when choosing his strategy.  He seems to forget that he has to earn the respect of the people he’s voting out in order to win.

Further proof that he doesn’t get the game is that he blamed the game itself for his failure to win – he claimed the flaw in the game of Survivor was that America did not get to have a say in who the winner was.  Well, duh, Russell, as Jeff pointed out, that’s not the game you’re playing!  You LOST the game you played.  If you want to play a game where America has a say, go try out for Survivor Idol…oh wait, that doesn’t exist!  I hope Boston Rob does take you back to the island and kicks your rear end!

Oh, and Russell, you played TWO games, not just one really long one.  That means you lost TWICE.  Learn to count, sore loser!

Ahhh…I feel much better now!

Congrats to Sandra!  You are a deserving two-time winner and I love that you hate Russell just as much as I do (and realized just how awful he is while still playing the game).

Can’t wait for Nicaragua this fall!


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