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The 20th season of Survivor’s season premiere was aptly named: Slay Everyone, Trust No One. Borrowing from one of Survivor’s most colorful characters, Coach, the tone was set early for the start of Survivor’s second version of an All-Star show: Heroes vs. Villains.
After a typically over the top helicopter entrance and some verbal grab-ass between host Jeff Probst and Survivor legends Boston Rob and Colby, Probst dropped the first surprise on the twenty new castaways – their initial reward challenge would be right now.
Survivor’s latest trend is to have at least one challenge every season that is a close as you can get to assault (and in this case sexual assault) without actually being arrested. Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains’ version would pit teams of two against each other to dig up what amounted to a stuffed “H vs. V” duffle bag and whichever team could get it back to their mat won a point for their tribe.
Disorganized, lawless wrestling ensued (Jeff Probst yelling “play fair!” to Russell and Tom was hilarious) and the injuries (both physical and mental) mounted. While the Heroes would eventually win, Stephanie suffered a dislocated and then relocated shoulder, Rupert thinks he broke his toe in three places, Sugar lost her top (and then gave a wonderful two-fingered salute to Sandra for the help undressing) and Colby had the embarrassment of being outwitted by Coach.
Back at camp, Russell opened up his Survivor: Samoa playbook and called the Dumb Blonde Alliance triple-option. The only problem for Russell this time - Danielle and Parvati are neither dumb, nor blonde. The man inspires fear as Parvati acknowledges that he’s the devil, but she’d rather “make a deal with the devil because she wants the devil on her side.”
Fresh off their win, the Heroes seem like a well-oiled machine back at camp, erecting a shelter in what seemed like two hours. Then, four chickens just happen to walk in to their camp and with Tom’s guidance, they successfully catch all four chickens with the conveniently provided fishing net. A bit fishy? Pardon the pun, but even JT’s skeptical at their luck, expressing amazement that they caught all four. We all just have to hope CBS isn’t blurring the line even further between reality television and scripted drama.
All is not well with the Heroes as rumors spread over what pair of former cast mates needs to be broken up. Tom and Stephanie need to be broken up. Amanda and Cirie organized an alliance that made it to the finals. James and Amanda were really close on their season. Rather than take advantage of this obvious rift in the tribe and get the focus off of her, Sugar manages to alienate one of the nicest Heroes, Colby, by following him around like a puppy at night. Colby warns that if Sugar ruffles the feathers of the tribe, she won’t last long. Foreshadowing, CBS?
The first immunity challenge, Jeff points out, is a redo of a challenge from Survivor: Cook Island where Candice and Parvati competed as teammates but are now, *gasp*, enemies! The Heroes races out to a huge lead by assembling their boat quickly and efficiently, but, Amanda, Sugar, Rupert and Cirie manage to blow their gigantic lead at the dubious puzzle. For the Villains a duo to be watched in the future, Rob and Sandra, blaze through the puzzle and blow out the Heroes in the process. The stunning loss causes Sugar to cry, to the surprise of no one Jeff points out.
CBS attempts to build some drama towards the end of the show by implying that someone other than Sugar is going to be voted out. Perhaps we should take this opportunity to break up one of the pairs, like Amanda and James, Tom wonders. Or maybe it’s a good opportunity to get rid of a strategist like Cirie JT argues. Despite its best efforts, voting off Sugar is the obvious move and the Heroes oblige.
Before tribal council, Russell notes that the loss will divide the Heroes, but the vote suggests otherwise.