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13
Feb 10
Sat

Survivor 20: Heroes & Villains – Episode 1 rundown

The landmark 20th season of Survivor is a special “Heroes and Villains” season. Set in Samoa, they’ve brought back 10 of the most well-liked and 10 of the most devious survivors.

It promises to be a fascinating and really entertaining season. The survivors are all experienced hands. Some are back for the third time, others have played together on the same season. With that comes natural alliances, people trying to mix up their gameplay style, and a whole new set of team dynamics. Continued after the jump (contains spoilers).

The villains feature people like reality-series old-hand Boston Rob; “I’m to survivor what Michael Jordan was to basketball” Russell; and “Dragonslayer” Coach. The heroes have country-boy JT; schemer Cirie; two-times final-three Amanda; and “I watched my grandmother wring a chicken’s neck and spin it around” James. (My favorites for each team are James and Russell. There are some more awesome quotes from Russell this episode.)

The Heroes win the first reward challenge, but from the outset they get injured – Stephenie dislocates her shoulder (ouch) and Rupert breaks his toe (double ouch). Stephanie’s shoulder was reset successfully but, like a bitten person in a zombie movie, Rupert is a dead man walking. The outcome of the challenge reminded of the Stanford Prison Experiment, where the act of labeling people into certain roles made them adapt to fit the label. Now that the villains are naturally predisposed to being scheming (i.e., playing the game and playing it hard), I wonder if this will just amplify the effect.

There’s a lot of respect and mutual hero-worship going around in both teams at the moment (a bit more in the Villains team, though), but I wonder how long that will last. I loved the shot of Tom when the chickens enter the picture – he was talking and then stopped mid-sentence when he noticed the chickens. And then one of the girls is like, “Chicken?!” Like vampires sniffing blood.

Tribal council is in a beaut structure up in the trees, but we’re reminded that this is rainy Samoa, and I suspect there will be long and hard days up ahead. No surprises in this tribal council, with Sugar leaving early.

Promises to be another great season.

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