GONE IN A FLASH: Heroes Not Sweet On Sugar

“Slay Everyone, Trust No One” – 20 repeats, rejects, and reprobates are dumped in the middle of Samoa in a sad attempt to either extend their 15 minutes of fame or prove they aren’t as pathetic as they were the first (or second) time around. In the process, they manage to put on a pretty good show.

Old concept, new life

It would have been completely fair to expect Heroes vs. Villains to be no better or more interesting than either of the previous two All-Star versions of Survivor, but already this edition is showing promise that the other two never managed to muster. It was safe and somewhat predictable (Russell was the only player to step out of his comfort zone to make an alliance, and even he fell back on old habits by talking up the younger girls of the tribe) and the bootee made perfect sense (we were holding out for a surprise Cirie boot), but it still worked. Two injuries right off the bat were a nice early indication that this was going to be hard core and not a full service resort, and it was nice to see players genuinely excited to be back in the game – as well as nervous to be around their peers. So – we’re off to a great start.

Reluctant Villains

Credit to the producers for the nice touch of using the Villains’ helicopters to kick up sand in the faces of the Heroes. But after that, the Villains seemed bound and determined to prove to us – and themselves – that they weren’t villains. Half the tribe told Jeff they had no idea why they were chosen for the Villain tribe. Boston Rob talked about how he wasn’t the same person he was 6 years ago. 3 days in and the worst we’ve seen of these guys is Sandra unhooking Sugar’s swimsuit top? Someone needs to step step it up.

Winners welcome – for now

One major complaint about Survivor: All-Stars was the instant animosity toward and early targeting of previous winners. It was a waste of hype to have them on, but worse than that, it showed remarkable lack of foresight by the players in choosing a Final 2 opponent. Fortunately, this time around, that animosity seems to be gone. There’s nothing wrong with careful observation, but to take out those players early just tells everyone in the game you are bitter and have no confidence in your game. Hopefully this doesn’t become a problem.

Falling back on old friends

The comfort in sticking with previous alliances is understandable, but boy is it boring. Credit to Tom for thinking outside the box and approaching JT for a winners alliance. Tom is already playing very smart (not to mention lucky thanks to the chickens) and the Heroes would have been wise to heed his warnings against Cirie, because it’s just a matter of time before Cirie starts gunning for Stephenie, or even Tom himself.

Rob’s already on fire

Rob was impressive this episode. Certainly Coach seemed to think so. He might be more understanding and patient, but the mannerisms that made him entertaining are still there. The fire building, though, was just short of awe-inspiring – has anyone built a fire before in this game without flint? There’s bound to be an early perception of the Villains as aimless jerks eager to stab each other in the back but if Rob can continue to lead like he already has the Villains may prove to be as respectable as the Heroes were intended to be.

Heroes and Villains

On that note, credit to Russell for pointing out that this is much more than the extremely superficial name and concept indicate. When it comes down to it, all of these players are victims (or beneficiaries) of editing – the much-beloved Rupert, for example, has long been the subject of complaints over favorable editing. When it comes down to it, in order to do well, players have to rely on equal parts heroism and villainy. The fun part is going to be seeing what contestants play past their labels.

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