Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBSPREVIOUSLY ON… SURVIVOR

When last I left you…James appeared to be in the beginning stages of losing his mind. Last week’s tribal council ended with the very ugly and unnecessary comment from James to Stephenie: “Shut your mouth.”

Ah, so lovely.

Look, I’ve been a big fan of James from day one. I voted for him to be on Fans vs. Favorites and I voted for him to be on Heroes vs. Villains and up until this season I would have referred to him with affectionate phrases like “James the Gentle Giant.” Yeah… those days are gone.

I don’t know if James was going through something personal like trying to quit smoking or if he had a bad rash nobody knew about but something has definitely changed.

James is just not a nice guy these days. More on that later.


Boston Rob’s strategy tip was absolutely brilliant: “I’m gonna give you the key. Watch who is sleeping with whom at night.”

Talk about insight. It’s amazing what we reveal about ourselves without realizing it. As David Mamet would say, “We all have a ‘tell’.” A tell is something we’re not aware of that gives us away. That’s why poker players wear dark glasses, to hide their tells.

I wonder if Tiger Woods had a tell?


Circus Announcer: “Ladies and Gentlemen, gather your children and circle the wagons, for on this very stage tonight you will be witness to one of the greatest spectacles ever seen by human eyes…it’s the Survivor Black Widow Shooooooooooowdown!”

You knew it was coming. Jerri “The Original Black Widow” Manthey coming face to face with Parvati “I Take No Prisoners” Shallow for the female grudge match of the season. I couldn’t be happier.

Jerri: Every time I’m around her I want to punch her in the face.

Parvati: She’s just a bitter old cougar.


It’s an interesting match-up but I have to give the advantage to Parvati. That doesn’t mean Jerri isn’t long for the game, it only means in terms of playing the “flirt” game, Parvati has no equal.

She’s even got Russell under her spell. Even Russell, the guy who thoroughly dominated last season in Samoa, is susceptible to the charms of a beautiful woman. Of course he is, he’s a man. Rob sees it. Coach sees it. The audience sees it. We can all sense what is going on. Russell may not want to believe it and I’m sure at the live Reunion show he’ll tell me how wrong I was, but from where I sit he is getting played by Parvati the same way my two-year-old honorary nephew Oscar plays with his marionette.

Coach is spot on. Parvati is dangerous. And yes, if Parvati decides to snuggle up against Coach in the middle of the night you’ll hear Coach singing a whole different song in the morning. He’ll be walking around proud as a victorious warrior spouting off pearls such as :”Parvati is a really nice girl. I trust her. She’s worthy of warriorette status.” Of course he will. Why? Everybody together now, “He’s a man!”

Leave it to the oldest guy out there to say it best:

Randy: “Survivor, in so many ways, is like the real world. You don’t get ahead by being smart, clever, and hard working. You get ahead, unfortunately, with a pretty smile and being able to schmooze people, and Parvati is the queen.”


But Russell’s problem is not Parvati. Russell’s Achilles heel is his ego. He keeps saying he cannot stand that Rob thinks he is running the camp. What he really means it that he cannot stand that Rob IS running the camp. If it were only the perception that Rob is in charge, Russell wouldn’t care. It’s the fact that it’s true that has those little hairs on his head standing on end.

Russell: “I’m the daddy around here. Nobody knows who they’re messin’ with. It’s Russell Hantz. Gimme a break.”

If Russell were a leader back in the Roman Empire days he would have been Maximillian I, one of the most egotistical Roman Emperors to ever govern Rome. Maximillian didn’t have the Internet or television to promote himself but he did have the printing press and he used it to share all of his victories with the world. Imagine ‘ole Max on Survivor – now that would be a ratings juggernaut.

Let me say it one more time: Russell continues to miss his single greatest strategic opportunity – Boston Rob. Stop working against Rob and work with him. What’s wrong with you! Rob and Russell together could take it all the way to the end. It’s so easy to see when you’re not stuck in the middle of it.


I love this challenge. We could do this challenge every year and I’d be happy. And if Coach could play in this challenge every season I would never stop hosting Survivor.

But first…

The “Didn’t See It Coming” match: Did anybody actually think Amanda would take out Danielle? That was the biggest upset of the match. A total shocker.

“The Most Exciting” match: Colby and Rob. That was a fantastic match-up. Exactly who we wanted to see go at it. Chalk this one up for Colby. That is how this challenge was designed to be played. Aggressively.

“The Most Embarrassing” match: It’s now official. James has clearly lost his mind. It’s el gonzo. It was the most lopsided match of the challenge. There was no doubt who was going to win. James knocked Randy off with one small push and then…he threw his bag on top of him and as always had to have the last word. “Get your f—ing old ass outta here.” Sorry James but this is where I get off the James train. It’s not that I think Randy is the nicest guy in the world either, but that was just unnecessary and truly ugly.

And now…to the greatest moment of the episode…

“The I Can’t Hear You, Jeff, Because I’m Too Busy Posing For The Camera” match: Coach, you are a gem. You are the greatest. I loved this moment when it happened. I love it even more now that it’s on my TiVo and I can watch it over and over and over and over.

Hopefully you all saw what happened. The rules state that both hands must be on the bag at all times. One of Coach’s hands slipped off the bag and inadvertently helped push Rupert off the platform. A technicality yes, but still an enforceable rule. So we had to play again. But Coach didn’t hear me and went into a 30-second pose down that was absolutely brilliant. One of his best ever and his reaction when he found out it was all for naught was even better.

And here’s something I’ll admit. When Coach flipped me off it didn’t bother me. I understood it to be in the heat of the moment and not really directed at me so much as it was just frustration in general. It could bring up the question: Am I holding James to a different standard? I certainly don’t feel like I am. I feel like James’ attacks have been very personal, but I’m aware that it could seem like a double standard. Whatever it says about me, I didn’t find Coach’s flip-off to be ugly, but as already stated, I think James has blown a gasket.

Side note: Some of you may be wondering about the sit-out rule pertaining to back-to-back challenges. That rule only applies within an episode. Each new episode it starts fresh. Typically we have two challenges within an episode, but not always. So Courtney was able to sit out the last challenge (last week’s episode) and sit out again in this week’s challenge (new episode.) Hope that clears up any questions.


She did it in the Pearl Islands and she’s doing it again. Sandra is employing the single greatest and most simple strategy you can have on Survivor: As Long As It Ain’t Me. That’s really all you have to do to win this game – just make sure it ain’t you every single time you go to tribal council. Easier said than done for sure, but Sandra has it down to an Olympic-caliber science. She’s so good at it that at this point she is nowhere close to being voted out. Nobody’s even talking about her. She’s just minding her own business, going with the flow and staying out of the way. I love it.


In an episode filled with fantastic quotes, this was my favorite.

Coach: “There’s nobody out here that’s honorable anymore…except for me.” Admit it, you just laughed when you read it, right? It’s that good.

“There’s nobody out here that’s honorable anymore…except for me.” If I could write stuff this good I’d be taking home an Oscar this year.

The thing about Coach is he wears his emotions right there on this tattooed body for everybody to see. He is clearly upset by the lack of honor but in typical DragonSlayer fashion, he rallies with a quote from the great Martin Luther King, Jr.

Coach: “The greatest measure of a man is not the way he handles times of comfort but in the way he rises through controversy and challenges.”

Now the minute I heard Coach spouting off with an MLK quote I just knew it would be a complete bastardized version of the original. But I was wrong. I Googled that quote and Coach, you were spot on, brotha. Bravo.


The villains made the right move. Randy was the best person to vote out. He said it best, he just never fit in with the tribe and with his already sour attitude and marginal strength in challenges, he seemed the perfect and easy target to vote out. Randy I hope you’re happy and if you’re not happy – I hope you’re happy being not happy.

See ya next week.

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