Night 21 and eleven players are left. Somehow the Heroes have convinced themselves that the Villains’ team is an “all-girl alliance.” This crucial misjudgment and underestimation of Russell’s devious Survivor skills leads the Heroes tribe to make the most bone-headed, dumb-ass move ever in the history of the show. Ever.
The first challenge involved a pain-inducing stress position that could have been dreamed up by Dick Cheney. Players were confined in a narrow boarded space with incrementally tinier footholds to support their weight. Rupert went up against Sandra (“Love you,” he said to her before they began) and gave it his all before collapsing in a pool of sweat and agony. The Villains won this challenge, and in the most blatant commercial within a show I’ve ever seen, the tribe was treated to a dinner from Outback Steakhouse. As the Villains gorged, Courtney did a little Rupert imitation, complete with “aargh!” You go, skinny girl!
The Heroes win the next immunity challenge — in which Rupert performed like a champ — but it is what happens back in their camp that defines this episode. It is there that JT decides to woo Russell by GIVING HIM AN IMMUNITY IDOL. Somehow the Heroes have decided that the women on the Villains team are aligned against poor Russell, and that by giving him the idol they can get him on their side after the merge. Fools! Afterwards, Russell gloats, “Now I don’t even have to find idols — people are giving them to me!”
At tribal council, Coach shows up as the first jury member in full samurai regalia, complete with a huge feather necklace. Courtney is voted off — just when I was starting to like her. With a sense of humor and not a touch of spite she bids her remaining tribe members adieu, saying, “Good luck, bitches.”