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Survivor Recap: The Best Worst Plan Ever

Remember when you were a kid and you did something really, really stupid, like fill the washing machine with shaving cream (hey, it happens!)? There was always that giddy, consequence-free time before, during, and just after the stunt where you felt like you'd been sniffing unicorn dust. Then, of course, you'd get busted and everything would really suck. Welcome to the Heroes' world. They indeed made "Survivor history" last night, by executing a move so mind-numbingly dumb that the Villains (and likely Jeff Probst behind the scenes) laughed out loud, Dr. Evil style, marveling at their stupidity. Idiocy, thy name is J.T.

But while J.T. is responsible for spearheading the Heroes' Campaign of Fail, there is plenty of dumbassery to go around. It begins with the reward challenge, which asks the tribes to rank their teams from strong to weak to determine matchups for an uncomfortable task: perching on tiny footholds. Broken-toed Rupert proclaims himself the strongest on the Heroes tribe (ha!) and reiterates his belief that the Villains have been overrun by a powerful all-female alliance. The challenge, like his theory, isn't even close, and the Villains snap their losing streak. The prize: an Outback Steakhouse feast, which pleases Sandra to no end. The real prize: benefiting from J.T.'s misguided assumption about the lady alliance. "Hang in there, buddy," the cattle rancher tells Russell as the tribes part and he hatches his plan.

J.T. puts pen to paper (Probst reveals in his EW.com blog that these implements were part of the prize in an earlier luxury challenge) and writes Russell an earnest letter he attaches to the hidden immunity idol and marks "read in complete privacy." J.T. makes the hand-off after the immunity challenge, where the Heroes outrace the Villains through a water rope course and Colby promises Russell the Heroes have his back. Of course, Russell shares the note with Parvati, who practically busts an intestine giggling at how it should have been signed "BFF forever, XOXO, J.T." (Watch the hilarity below.) Yes, J.T. actually sends Russell an immunity idol, instructing him to use it at Tribal Council to save himself and eliminate Parvati so he can join up with the Heroes post-merge.

Parvati doesn't really have to worry, though. She's tight with Russell (for now) and even has a secret: her own hidden immunity idol, which she finds after uncovering a clue in her napkin at the Outback reward. (She uses the occasion of finding the idol to share some words of confidence: "[Russell] is not the king of Survivor. I'm the queen. And usually the king does what the queen says anyways, so I'm cool." Parvati is either one of the luckiest or most skilled Survivor players in history — right now it's looking like a little from column A, a little from column B.

So now both Russell and Parvati have immunity idols with a merge on the horizon. If the Heroes adopt Russell as one of their own, he'll likely bide his time and let them pick off one or two of his old female allies until he makes a big move, but will he turn on Parv? Last season, he rode an alliance to the final two, but he was paired with a weak challenger with little game. Parvati is nobody's pawn, and she's walking around with an idol he doesn't even know about — blasphemy for a guy who can't keep his hands off of them ("I don't have to find idols. People are actually giving me idols!" he marvels after J.T.'s folly).

The only people with functioning brains at the Heroes camp are Amanda and Candice, both of whom are skeptical of J.T.'s assurances that Russell will be on their side. If they can somehow align with Parvati while the men pal around, they could be on to something: a real all-girl alliance like the one Parvati orchestrated in Micronesia. Parvati and Amanda are clearly the two strongest women left — both hit the milestone of having spent 100 total days playing the game during this episode — and together they could be deadly.

At Tribal Council, jury member Coach doesn't disappoint in a kimono (we missed you already, buddy!). There's a bit of a dust-up as Danielle struggles with the definition of "trust" under heavy questioning from Probst. Parvati was interested in keeping Courtney around as a loyal foot soldier, but she couldn’t convince the rest of her tribe otherwise and knew better than to push the point. So it's curtains for Courtney, who may have set a record for "Challenges Sat Out," and Sandra is the alliance-outsider who lives to starve another day. As Courtney exits, her torch flares before it gets extinguished (note the surprised look on Probst's face!), and she leaves with her normal feistiness: "Good luck bitches, see you later." Next week: All hell breaks loose with the merge!


Other Recaps:
EW's Dalton Ross determines where J.T.'s dumb move ranks in the pantheon of Survivor Stupidity.
The National Post's Michael Bolen calls out the editors for trying to make it seem like Russell was close to catching Parvati and Danielle on their idol hunt.
E!'s Drusilla Moorhouse joins us in chuckling at how Courtney — who slammed Coach with her vote last week — will be bunking with the Dragon Slayer on jury duty. Have fun, you two!

Photo: CBS