Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' episode 11 |

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Jeff Probst blogs 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' episode 11

survivor-jeff-probstImage Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSTHE FALLOUT FROM LAST WEEK

Last week, Parvati played not one but two idols.  Russell had no idea she had the second idol or he never would have given her his idol in the first place!  You knew the fallout was going to come and the anticipation of it reminded me of my youth, growing up in the wheat fields of Kansas.

In Kansas, tornadoes are common and they often cause major damage.  But just before the tornado strikes, there is an eerie calm.  The wind doesn’t rustle, the rain doesn’t fall.  It’s just calm.  You see neighbors rounding up the bicycles or putting away the lawn mower, cause they know the storm is a comin’ and it’s gonna be bad.

Russell is like a tornado.  A tornado that is lingering just outside of town, slowly swirling, building momentum and gearing up to do some major damage.  You could feel his anger growing, you could feel the emotions beginning to gather steam as they worked their way through his body.

Swirling.  Faster and faster…

If Russell is a tornado, Parvati is the tornado chaser.  She loves being in the eye of the storm because she doesn’t fear a tornado but is in fact is drawn to its ferocity.

It’s a bit like a Spielberg movie, right?  The world’s greatest and sexiest tornado chaser taking on the world’s biggest and most destructive tornado… in 3D!

Although Russell’s tornado turned out to be a false warning, it doesn’t mean it has gone away.  The anger inside him is still swirling.  He is still lurking just outside of town and Parvati knows it.  Russell will not soon forget, check that, Russell will never forget that Parvati betrayed him and since Danielle was a part of that betrayal she better put her bicycle away too, cause this is only the first act and Spielberg always finishes with a bang.


Warning: For those of you who find my “adult themed” comments offensive, please skip down to the section titled “BACK TO PG.”  Otherwise, read on at your own risk.

Colby, Danielle, Amanda.  Could you have put together a more perfect group to sleep together on one bed?  Colby -The rugged heroic cowboy.   Amanda, the pretty and often shy cheerleader.  Danielle, the sexy tomboy who despises cheerleaders. All together in one room with one bed for one night. Toss in a bowl of popcorn, a movie and a clue to the hidden idol and you have yourself the makings of a very interesting night.  It feels, looks and sounds like Showtime, but it’s just another great moment in a season of great moments on Survivor.


Wow.  Wouldn’t you like to see the left over footage from that scene?  Let’s set the stage.  Amanda dressed in bikini bottoms with a hoodie on top is surveying the room, looking for the clue.  Danielle, dressed much the same way, is on the bed eating popcorn and also wondering where the clue might be.  Colby is the only one actually watching the damn movie and he downs a handful of popcorn.

Danielle finds the clue in the bowl of popcorn.  She carefully removes it and then tries to hide it from the others by dropping it on the floor next to her.  As Amanda continues her hunt for the clue she spots it on the floor.

Amanda grabs it.  Danielle tries to grab it back.  The cat fight is on.

Two women, dressed only in bikini’s who haven’t showered in weeks fighting over a small piece of parchment in a hotel room while the seemingly oblivious cowboy from Texas continues to watch a movie on the television.  (Take a moment, and let that sink in.  Go ahead and read it again if you want, because that is exactly what happened.)

Amanda has it.  Danielle wants it back.  So now we have an interesting situation.  Who does the note belong to?  I am not there to referee or make a decision so this is left to them to figure out.  Does it belong to Danielle because she found it?  Does it belong to Amanda because she found it after Danielle dropped it on the floor?  Should they have to share it?  Or does it go to the winner of The cat fight?  Of course I would opt for the last scenario – let them fight it out and the winner gets it, cause let’s be honest, that would be fun to watch.

INSIGHT:  From a rules point of view, there is no rule that covers something this unique.  Neither Danielle nor Amanda had a clear-cut case of possession, so it was up in the air.

My call would have been to have them “work it out” which probably would have resulted in all three of them sharing it together.  That’s definitely what I would have said if I had been Amanda or Colby, “Let’s work it out together.”  I would never have let Danielle walk away with it by herself.  Never.

But then the most amazing thing happened.  The seemingly oblivious cowboy from Texas suddenly wakes up and turns into a pretty decent game show host and without asking permission declares himself the arbiter of the dispute.  Colby then states with an amazing sense of authority that the clue belongs to… Danielle.  Well executed. Nicely done, dude.  You should host your own show.  Bravo.

And then… even more jaw dropping… Amanda, acting like a 5 year old whose daddy just told her to give the toy back to her sister, hands over the clue to Danielle!  She gave it to her!  Are you kidding?

It was one of the most fascinating moments this season.  Human dynamics at play in the oddest context imaginable.

Amanda gave the clue back because she wasn’t strong enough to stand up for herself.  It continues to be Amanda’s Achilles heel in life.  Standing up for her self.  I know she is watching this at home and frustrated once again because she could easily still be in this game if she had only stood up for her self and said, “I’m not giving it back.  I have it.  I’m not letting go.  You were foolish enough to set it aside and I grabbed it.  Now back off before I do one of my favorite high schools cheers and toss you over my back and down the stairs.”   But instead she was intimidated and obediently did as instructed by Colby.

That is what Survivor is all about.  No rules.  Work it out.  The person who makes the most compelling argument often wins.  In this case it was Colby, a guy who didn’t even have a stake in the issue.

CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM TO COLBY:  You did a very nice job of handling the moment.  You took charge and you were clear.  You only made one mistake.  When you fell into the host role, you forgot you were also one of the contestants as well.  You should have made a decision that included you getting to see the clue.  At the very least you should have let Amanda see it.  She’s on your tribe!!!  Giving it to Danielle was a mistake.

What do you guys think?  What should have happened?  What would you have done?


“I am the king of hidden immunity idols.”  I’d have to agree.  Over the last two seasons Russell has proven that he has an uncanny ability to find the idols.  In fact, he’s so good at it that he’s forever changed how we will handle idols in future seasons.

INSIGHT:  Next season it will take more than just looking under a rock to find a hidden idol.  I won’t give away what we’re doing, but in planning our creative for next season we coined a phrase, “The Russell Factor” and it influenced how we will play the hidden idol next season.


She’s a slick one.  She knows when to listen and when to talk.  Sandra is smart.  Who else could tell Russell to walk away and get away with it.

I also appreciate Sandra’s ability to know when to give up the fight and go with the flow.

This is why Sandra is so good… her last question to Candice:  “Tell me who you want out, please.”

Sandra is smart enough to know when she is fighting an uphill battle.  Asking that question was her way of giving in without giving up.  She was offering her vote to the majority to ensure she stays in the game at least one more day.  If you’re in the game you have a chance.


Candice is getting herself into a sticky situation.  When you don’t pull the trigger, people start to doubt you.  When they start to doubt you, they stop telling you things.  When they stop telling you things, you’re in trouble.  Candice needs to make a bold move and soon.


I think the wear and tear of Russell playing back to back seasons may be taking it’s toll.  Far be it from me to criticize how he’s playing, but I think he’s talking too much.


Again, I’m not playing so it’s easy to back seat drive but Rupert’s grudge with Russell seems personal.  Let it go.  Stay focused on staying in the game.  Keep your eyes on the prize.

I love these types of challenges.  Taking a basic idea like “House Of Cards” and turning it into a challenge is what our challenge department does best.  It’s a great challenge because anybody can win and it’s also fun for kids watching the show because this is the kind of challenge you can easily replicate for a Survivor themed birthday party.

By the way - Congrats to Jerri for her first individual immunity challenge victory!


Russell’s quote about Amanda is something I could have lived my entire life and been okay not hearing:

Russell: She’s kinda like Boston Rob in a girl’s body.  It’s a quote I don’t need to hear, an image I don’t need in my mind.  But it lingers.  It’s like when you hear an annoying song by Air Supply as you’re just waking up and the song stays in your head all day.  Now all I’m imagining is Amanda in a white tank-top with a Red Sox cap on—- … hang on a second.  Maybe this isn’t such a bad image after all.


I wish we had more moments like this because they remind me of the reality of what the Survivors lives are really like. They have hours upon hours of idle time where life is absolutely boring.  The fire is stoked, the water is boiled, they’re taking a break from strategy and they’re just hanging out.  This is why, when all is said and done, that so many former Survivors become friends.  It’s a bonding experience that few of us in life will ever get the chance to experience.  I miss these moments in the show.   I wish we had more, but the show is about strategy these days and so that’s where most of the stories lead.


I have to admit and I’m surprised to be saying this… but I found myself a little bummed that Amanda is gone.  As frustrating as she can be at times, she’s a tremendous player.  One of the best.  She only lacks one thing from being an absolute dynamo and that’s the killer instinct.  As stated earlier, it’s the confidence to stand up for her self and claim what is rightfully hers.  Had she done that with Danielle in the hotel room she’d probably still be in this game.

PS.  Sorry I forgot to remind you we were back to the PG rating.

Next week is a biggee.  Two immunity challenges.  Two tribal councils.  Two people gone.

See ya then.


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