What an absolute dream come true. After 20 years on the air, and now into its 40th (!!!) Season, Survivor is back and is as good as ever. The nightmarish ugliness of Season 39 is but a distant memory, and all signs point to this season, “Survivor: Winners at War,” as being one of the best, most epic seasons of Survivor yet. It sure started off with a bang, and if you can’t keep up with the speed of the game, like Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine says, you need to just get out of the way.
Twenty previous winners have returned to compete in “Winners at War,” with a new Reality-TV record-prize of 2 million dollars waiting at the finish line. That’s a lot of money y’all. Perhaps of equal (or OK, lesser) overall importance, these winners are all placing their legacies on the line. Some that are thought of as the “greatest” may reveal – up against other winners – to be less than. While some “lesser” winners may end up truly being thought of as the greatest of all-time.
Some legacies have already began to shift, rise and slide following the first two-hour episode of Season 40, “Survivor: Winners at War.” And it’s a dream come true to be given the chance to continue to analyze and dissect this game that I love after all this time. So let’s do this, shall we?
As I do at the beginning of every recap, please heed the following: Remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s episodeof Survivor: Winners at War. If you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap. It is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR MORE, AND THIS IS YOUR LAST *SPOILER* WARNING!
“Excitement” doesn’t quite do justice to how I’m feeling right now. We are literally just days away from the beginning on not just Survivor‘s 40th (!!!) and 20th-Anniversary Season, but the occasion is being celebrated with the long-awaited, highly-anticipated “all winners” season. Yes, “Survivor: Winners At War” will feature 20 previous Sole Survivors all vying not only for the increased TWO million dollar prize, but for the unprecedented title of “Best of the Best.”
I’m shaking just thinking about this season, and I can’t wait to bring you this special look ahead (and a look back) to the best Reality Competition Show that there ever was, or ever will be. There’s lots to get to, not just the new twists that Season 40 has in store (Fire Tokens???), but we’re going to take a look at each of the 20 returning previous winners and where they “rank” on my all-time list heading into this season…and while I’m super-ecstatic as to the 20 winners that ARE returning, we’ll also examine the ones that were left out, and whose legacies are at stake the most.
If you have “tuned out” of Survivor over the years – especially after the exhausting Season 39 this past Fall – you will WANT TO GET BACK INTO IT THIS SEASON! I’ll be right here Recapping the entire Season 40, and am happy to once again have Survivor Legend and two-time player Erik Reichenbach on-board as well contributing his unique Survivor artwork and creativity each and every week…just wait what he drew up for this special “pre-season” look ahead!
This season’s SurvivorHeroes vs Villains is being hailed by many as being one of the best ever. The ratings also proved to be great, as they were up from last May with over 13 million viewers tuning in.
There is however some controversy over Sandra Diaz-Twine being crowned the winner. Some feel Parvati Shallow deserved to win, while others feel fan favorite Russell Hantz should have won. One person who agrees with the later is none other than Russell himself. In a new interview with ET, Russell, 37, feels he won in his head and also believes he played a good social game despite what his Survivor peers believe.
Excerpts from Russell’s interview below –
ET: Do you feel robbed? This is the second time you made it to the end and didn’t win?
Russell Hantz: When I win the Player of the Game, the MVP of the game, then my argument is legitimate. I am not just saying it. I am not being cocky. It is fact. The fans think I played the best twice. They voted me the fan favorite. I won twice. It is amazing that people get so bitter and can’t vote the way they are supposed to vote. All these weak people who play this game.
ET: All season the voted off survivors told me that they didn’t think you had a good social game. You didn’t receive a single vote last night. Do you think that is why?
Russell Hantz: They are saying I have a strategic game, but not a social game? Look what I did at Tribal Council. People say that, but they get their feelings hurt so much because my social game is so good. Look how I switched the vote at Tribal Council. It was supposed to be Rupert, and Danielle went home. I looked at Jerri and said, “Danielle.” If that doesn’t say right there that my social game was brilliant… How can you get somebody to switch their vote just by looking at them and saying the other girl’s name?
Russell Hantz: She trusted me. She believed me. That is why. She believed me the entire time. They could have ganged up on me. I was one person out there. If I was that weak and they couldn’t take me out, it makes me look even better. If I am that good at intimidation, I am even better.
ET: Was it harder playing this the second time with survivors who had played before?
Russell Hantz: It was really hard. The first time was a piece of cake. It was laughable. The second season was tough. There were really tough players out there. Parvati was really good. Boston Rob, Cirie, Candice and Amanda are all really good players.
ET: Do you think you were at an advantage because they didn’t see your game?
Russell Hantz: I think it was equally the same. Everybody thinks I have a huge advantage, but they were all friends. They all went to events together and know each other. I am sure they were calling each other on the phone before it all started. I didn’t have that advantage. Also, my disadvantage was that I had just played 39 days of a very strategic game. Also, I was physically whipped because I had just played 39 days in a very physical game. You can definitely say I was at an advantage because they didn’t see me play, but you also say, I had a disadvantage because they had advantages on their side, too.
In what some are calling the best season ever of Survivor, 34-year-old bank teller Sandra Diaz-Twine became the first castoff ever to win the show twice when she was awarded the $1 million prize on “Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.”
And it wasn’t an easy task. Sandra had to beat out Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz, who lost his second season in a row. Russell, 37, ended up receiving zero votes, as the jurors determined he played the game too dirty. Russell was however awarded the $100,000 consolation prize yet again. The prize is for being the fan favorite and the winner is determined by viewer votes.
When asked if winning the show twice made her the best player in Survivor history, “It makes me the queen,” replied Sandra. One person who wasn’t too happy with Sandra’s win was disgruntled Russell who believes there’s a flaw in the game, “If [Sandra] can win the game twice.”
Parvati, 27, who placed second, was however a more gracious loser than Russell. Host Jeff Probst also revealed that after 114 days of playing the game over three seasons, she has played it more than anyone else. It was also revealed she’s tied for second for most individual challenge wins. Surprisingly Colby Donaldson still has the record, despite his bad game play this season.
The dumbest move ever award was also awarded last night and the unfortunate winner of that was JT, who was seen earlier this seen handing over his immunity idol to villain Russell.
Going into yesterday’s finale, I was rooting for Sandra and thought she played the best game, but after watching last night, I had a change of heart. I found myself rooting for Parvati, who I now believe played the best game this season and in my opinion is the best player in Survivor history. I believe Sandra had a lot of luck go her way, while Parvati had to win and scheme.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK SANDRA PLAYED THE BEST GAME? IF NOT, WHO DO YOU THINK DID?
Tonight is the long awaited finale of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, and with four villains left standing, it is all but certain a villain will be crowned the $1 million winner during the 2 hour finale.
The favorites to win it all seem to be Parvati Shallow, Sandra Diaz-Twine, and Russell Hantz, as Parvati and Sandra are both past winners. The lone standing Hero Colby Donaldson has a good shot if he makes it to the finale two, however with Colby’s almost non existence game play this season, that seems unlikely.
Russell, who also has a good shot of making the final two, will likely not the $1 million prize. He has simply played too dirty, and will have a hard time getting votes in the end. The finale airs tonight on CBS at 8pm Eastern, followed by the reunion show at 10pm.
Heroes tribe member Rupert Boneham found himself the latest castoff to be eliminated as he chose to align with Russell during the last episode.
In a new interview with PEOPLE, Rupert, 46, discusses his choice to align with Russell, why he turned on Sandra and why the Heroes could have won it all.
Excerpts from his interview below –
You couldn’t possibly have been surprised by that vote.
I knew my number was up at the last few tribal councils. The rock in my pocket trick gave me one more day and the villain infighting that resulted in them getting rid of Danielle bought me another. I tried to do it a third time by going to Russell and saying the girls were trying to get him and going to the girls and saying that Russell was at camp planning to vote them [off]. It just didn’t work that time.
Did anyone have a clue that Sandra had an idol?
None. It had been hours since I put that rock in my pocket and no one called me on it, so I figured it was still out there and the clue was too hard. Up until she stood up and played it, I thought I still had a chance at a tie.
Sandra and you were allies in Pearl Islands for awhile. She narced on Russell at the merge and seemed happy to flip yet you guys didn’t utilize that. Then you sold her out again last night? Why?
I was trying to play them against each other that last day. They didn’t show me asking her why she wrote my name down when she said she wanted to get rid of Parvati or Russell. Her answer was always the same — “I have to stick with my villains.” I never knew when to believe or trust her. I knew she was trying to be honest because Sandra’s my buddy but the other heroes wouldn’t listen. Then we tried to get Russell by explaining that the girls would gang up on him given the chance just like they had for the immunity challenge but he wouldn’t listen either.
Did you ever in a million years think the last Hero standing would be Colby?
Oh my gosh, no, because he’s been a wet noodle in this one. If James hadn’t gotten hurt, Colby would have never made it this far. I really like Colby, but he’s the last standing because no one sees him as a threat. He used to be a big threat.
Do villains play Survivor better?
A villain type has an advantage because they’re more willing to compromise their values and do whatever it takes to win. I’m not willing to do that. I have guidelines and boundaries and I like showing that it matters how you play the game. I still say that if the heroes had stood together, it would have been all heroes in the final five. We had the chance to show the game as positive and we each chose on our own not to. Amanda chose to tell Parvati everything, which is why she gave both those idols away. JT chose to go to the evil side and give Russell our idol. Candace chose to flip. A hero could win this game but it takes more than one. You need a team.
TELL US: WHO SHOULD WIN SURVIVOR:HEROES VS VILLAINS? WHO PLAYED THE BEST GAME?
Russell Hantzof Survivors: Heroes vs. Villains was arrested this morning, reports TMZ.
According to TMZ, Russell was arrested in Louisiana early this morning for attacking someone at a street festival. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Russellwas partying at the Festival International de Louisiane, when he allegedly “shoved” somebody to the pavement.
Russell, 37, was then arrested and taken to jail, but has now been released.
On the topic of Survivor, how amazing was last night’s episode? Parvati‘s move to give both of her idols to Sandra and Jerri was not only genius and entertaining, but proved to be effective as the Heroes’ JT was sent packing.
The question now however seems to be whether or not Parvati made the best move for the long term. When you think about it, Sandra isn’t exactly on her “team” or “alliance.” So why waste an idol to save her? More importantly, why not get a deal from Sandra before you decide to use your idol on her? Plus by not telling Russell about her idol, she has now somewhat alienated her strongest ally in the game.
So it seems though while a great move at the moment, it will likely hurt Parvati in the long run, and I still can’t get over just how much JT trusted Russell. Hello? The guy’s on the villain’s team JT! It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. The show’s definitely getting good.
UPDATE – Russell’s mugshot has been released, as can be seen above.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF PARVATI’S MOVE LAST NIGHT?
Tyson Apostol‘s move of changing his vote at the last minute based on the urging of a non alliance member not only left a lot of viewers scratching their heads, but it ultimately led to his demise on Survivor.
In a new interview with PEOPLE magazine, the 30 year-old college dropout and cyclist from Utah, opens up about his poor choice to follow Russell Hantz’sscheme, why Parvati was a big threat, and why he believes Russell will never win Survivor.
Excerpts from Tyson’s interview is below –
Once again, we’re talking to you way early.
You’re telling me. And I have no one to blame but myself. Maybe the worst play in Survivor history.
Why didn’t you follow Boston Rob’s surefire plan?
It was a risky move I was willing to take because if it worked, I would have looked like the most badass dude ever to play. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have. Here’s what my thought process was: I told Russell, Danielle, Parvati that we were splitting the votes and there was nothing they could do. Russell had to vote Parvati or play the idol to save himself. I could use Russell to get farther in the game and Parvati was a bigger threat. I was going to vote Russell but switched it thinking even if she switched her vote to Russell, she’d still get the majority. I knew he had the idol but I never thought he’d play it for her. Who does that?
Why was Parvati the biggest threat?
Because she had played with the most people. Like 18 of these people played together in Micronesia. Just knowing people is a huge base to start from when trying to build alliances.
So who is better, Boston Rob or Russell?
They both have skills but I’m willing to bet my life that Russell, no matter who he’s playing against, could never win the game because he rubs people the wrong way. I have nothing against him, but there isn’t a single person more disliked by contestants. The name of the game is slitting people’s throats with finesse and he doesn’t have that. He can get to the end but there’s big difference between first and second.
TELL US – WAS TYSON’S MOVE THE DUMBEST IN SURVIVOR HISTORY?
CBS has officially unveiled the 20 former castaways who will be competing on the 20th season of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
The latest season of Survivor will premier with a special two-hour episode on Thursday, February 11 at 8PM ET on CBS. The castaways will be divided up into two tribes of 10. It will be a Heroes vs Villians theme, with the “Heroes” being “defined by their decisions of integrity,” courage and honor, and the “Villains” having “mastered their skills of deception, manipulation and duplicity,” according to CBS.
The show’s host Jeff Probst also discussed the upcoming season, “This season we’re bringing back some of your favorite past competitors — 10 heroes going up against 10 villains in a knock-down, drag-out brawl.” This season was also filmed in Samoa, the same location as Survivor 19.
Back in the mix isRussell Hantz — a favorite from the Survivor:Samoa. According to reports, season 1 winner Richard Hatch was asked to return for this season. However, he had to apply to leave the country since he is under house arrest. His request was denied by a federal judge in Rhode Island.
The two separate teams are listed below –
Heroes: Amanda, James, Cirie, Tom (Palau), Stephanie, Rupert, Candice, JT, Colby and Sugar.
Villains: Boston Rob, Jerri, Russell, Parvati, Sandra, Coach, Tyson, Danielle, Randy and Courtney.
JAMES CLEMENT: HERO
Occupation: Gravedigger Past appearances:China; Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites His M.O.: Known for his smile and impressive pecs (he made it to PEOPLE’s Sexiest Men issue!), James won the Sprint Fan Favorite prize of $100,000 in back-to-back seasons.
BENJAMIN ‘COACH’ WADE: VILLAIN
Occupation: Soccer coach/orchestra conductor Past appearances:Tocantins: The Brazilian Highlands His M.O.: The self-titled Dragon Slayer, who slung his jacket over his shoulder while approaching the voting lectern during tribal councils, told wild but seemingly true stories by the campfire