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Survivor Recap: Attention, The BachelorThis Is How You Make the Most Shocking Ceremony Ever

Remember when James got voted out of Survivor: China with not one, but two immunity idols in his pocket? The exact opposite happened on last night's kinda-snoozy-until-the-big-holy-crap finish episode of Heroes vs. Villains. If you've ever wanted to root for Rupert (suddenly the voice of reason!), throw flaming bags of poo at J.T. (suddenly the most frustrating man alive!), or smirk with Russell (still a devious, egocentric scoundrel!), this was the episode for you. And it wasn't too bad for a little player named Parvati, either. In fact, by the end of the hour you had to ask yourself just who on the villains tribe is the greatest player to ever hit Survivor.

Last week J.T. stunned everyone who's ever watched, heard of, hosted, or played Survivor by writing a love note to super-bad Russell and attaching an immunity idol, falsely believing Russell was about to become the next victim of a powerful all-female Villain alliance. It's worth noting once again that one of the only reasons the Heroes buy this gamble is they've never seen Russell play, and therefore don't know the extent of his black heart. But J.T.'s conviction that Russell is a good guy is so passionate and misguided, he eats up the bogus story Russell concocts to explain why Parvati wasn't ousted at the last tribal council (they have plenty of time to talk after the sides merge into the new Yin-Yang tribe). Russell even pulls out one of his signature slimy Samoa moves — insisting, "I swear on my kids that I am onboard with y'all" — which is enough to have J.T. insisting, "He's a good old country boy." Watching these scenes was almost as tough as seeing season two's Michael suffer after he fell into the fire in Australia. But can you imagine how Russell's kids feel? Arguably a bit worse.

Tribal begins with Rupert's rampage about … banana etiquette. If you're starving on a remote island, and a bunch of chicks invade your camp and gobble all the ripe bananas, that is fairly good grounds for a meltdown. Parvati has her own little hissy fit about being ignored at camp, giving Probst a chance to deliver the beauty, "Isn't that because you're used to getting attention all the time in life?" (Yes, we did have an entire episode this season devoted to how much Parv loves attention.) Well, she's really earned it now: When the full Heroes tribe votes for Jerri, thinking she's the least likely to have scored an immunity idol from her cohorts, Parv dramatically rises after the votes are tallied. She pulls out one idol and hands it to Sandra, leading us home viewers to smugly think, "Ha! Close but no cigar!" But then she dramatically reaches back into her bag for the second idol (the one only Danielle knows she's got) and passes it to Jerri. Yes, she protects her two biggest enemies on her own tribe to steal the vote and oust J.T., but more importantly to outfox the idol fox himself, Russell (question: who looks more stunned in the clip below, J.T. or Russell?) and seize control of the entire game. Full credit should go to her, but much blame can go to Amanda, whose horribly overplayed and transparent lies of, "You have to play the idol. Seriously, play the idol. Hey, why not play the idol?" tipped off Parvati.

As it gets closer to tribal council time, the Heroes are stuck banking on J.T.'s hypothesis that Russell is a good guy. Thanks to Rupert's shred of doubt (seriously, have you ever wanted to hug the big guy more than when he growled his distrust for Russell?), the Heroes decide to "test" their new pal by telling him to vote for Parvati and then all voting for Jerri. If you thought the vote would go down like that, you're not a real fan of Survivor, but nobody could guess what Parvati started plotting for tribal. And that's what makes her so damn good.

Last week J.T. stunned everyone who's ever watched, heard of, hosted, or played Survivor by writing a love note to super-bad Russell and attaching an immunity idol, falsely believing Russell was about to become the next victim of a powerful all-female Villain alliance. It's worth noting once again that one of the only reasons the Heroes buy this gamble is they've never seen Russell play, and therefore don't know the extent of his black heart. But J.T.'s conviction that Russell is a good guy is so passionate and misguided, he eats up the bogus story Russell concocts to explain why Parvati wasn't ousted at the last tribal council (they have plenty of time to talk after the sides merge into the new Yin-Yang tribe). Russell even pulls out one of his signature slimy Samoa moves — insisting, "I swear on my kids that I am onboard with y'all" — which is enough to have J.T. insisting, "He's a good old country boy." Watching these scenes was almost as tough as seeing season two's Michael suffer after he fell into the fire in Australia. But can you imagine how Russell's kids feel? Arguably a bit worse.

Knowing what we do about Russell, this move will infuriate him to hell, but it's not like he can turn to the Heroes for support now. And the ladies Parv just saved are going to owe her a big debt. There's a great poetic justice to this scenario: The master of the "dumbass girl alliance" from Samoa has been outthought by a girl who's pretty adept at hiding her real wisdom beneath her bikini. Because of his deception, Russell still has to be Public Enemy No. 1, so Parv may have bought herself an extra week on the island with this power move, too. Pure Survivor genius. Next week: Sandra goes on a rampage!


Other Recaps:
EW's Kate Ward can't get over the fact that Coach isn't around at camp to inform the new Yin-Yang tribe that their name does not, in fact, mean "good and evil."
E!'s Drusilla Moorhouse reminds us why J.T.'s sign-off — "People are villains for a reason. Don't ever trust 'em. Worse than that: Don't ever trust women" — is so ironic, citing the rumor that he messed with Sugar's trust before the game ever began.
The National Post's Michael Bolen applauds Parvati's ability to easily figure out her old ally Amanda isn't telling her the whole truth. If viewers thought old relationships were going to rule the game post-merge, they were definitely wrong.

Photo: CBS