Confucius says: "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
In tonight's episode of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, tears were shed and glory achieved for one united tribe, while the other tribe's dissension resulted in defeat and betrayal.
Tonight's surprising backstabber says: "Tomorrow we make our apologies, tonight we make our move."
So which tribe delivered a Tribal Council smackdown? And how do the Castaways really get to Tribal Council anyway? Let's break down the breakdowns...
The Cure for Crybabyitis: Last week, Randy said Coach is an "honorable guy...His confessional last night brought a tear to my eye." Tonight it was Coach who wept. (Aw, maybe he really is "more sensitive than most people.") But while the Heroes alliances' were tearing their tribe apart, Coach's tribemates rallied to support the downcast Dragon Slayer, who moaned, "Why doesn't anybody ever say anything good about me?" Incredibly, caustic "assistant coach" Tyson blew the whistle on his former mentor's pity party (offering advice the self-proclaimed King Arthur will never follow). Boston Rob got tough, ordering Coach to "pick your f--king head up and act like a man." Rob and Tyson's good cop/bad strategy enabled the fallen "legend" to rise again, quote Confucius and slay Tom (Tom!) in the Reward Challenge.
Russell, Get a Clue! The first individual immunity idol was revealed to all, but each tribe—tellingly—responded in opposite ways. Again, the Villains banded together, while the Heroes scattered like their chickens, racing to be the first to find the idol. All the Villains agreed that "it's not fair for one person to use it" and instead focused on building their shelter. Only Russell decided to find the idol on his own, sneaking away from what he called a "bunch of idiots." Au contraire—as Sandra said, the "stupid ass...sealed his own fate." Regardless of how they vote next, Russell has made himself a virtual outcast. Immunity offers safety but it does not grant power—especially when your rival is Boston Rob. (You know, that guy who again singlehandedly led his tribe to victory in the Russell Swan Song Immunity Challenge.)
The Social Gamers Deserve Papa Probst's Scorn: Dude is still pissed Natalie stripped Russell of his Sole Survivor title and wants this season's winner to earn it. The straight-talking host harshed on Rupert's decision to "keep his word" not to vote out the weaklings an ally. "What part of that makes sense? Keeping your word...is giving you more time with me at Tribal Council." It's entirely possible Jeff would've slapped J.T. upside the head if he'd voted for Tom or Colby. Fortunately J.T. is smart enough to know that Outplaying should be the Heroes' focus now—and his tribemates are dumb enough to let the millionaire control the game again.
OK, so maybe it's not a huge secret that the Castaways don't walk all the way from camp to Tribal Council--but they're not swigging champagne in air-conditioned stretch Hummers, either. A Cook Islands jury member told me his tribe carpooled to Council in a hot van with blacked-out windows. Even worse, their ride reeked of burned rubber, and many suffered killer headaches from the fumes. In The Amazon, we saw the tribe merrily rowing from camp to the big vote, and...Cut! Off camera, a finalist tells me, they were transferred to a big motorboat. It too had its windows blacked out (seems a bit extreme for a boat, but you never know when Coach might be kayaking by after escaping Amazonian cannibals), and talking was verboten among the green-gilled Castaways. "Then," says our Amazon insider, "we got dropped off in a duplicate of our original boat for the shot of us rowing up to Tribal Council." Whew! No wonder James behaved like such a colossal dick.
WHO WILL GET VOTED OFF NEXT
The Heroes made the wise, Probst-endorsed decision to choose strength over allegiance, but the tribe might be too splintered to come together (with "one voice," if you will) for the next important challenge. Even so, it is still too early for self-preservation tactics to affect voting, so Candice is the most vulnerable. Rupert is a dark horse: His broken toe, blowhardiness (yes, I said it!) and misguided alliance could hurt him.
If the Villains are the ones grabbing their torches, Russell (aka the "Hobbit on crack," per Boston Rob) might be foolishly egotistical enough not to use his Immunity Idol. He needs to remember that he's not playing with puppets this time around.
Whose torch do you think Jeff will snuff next? Cast your vote in our Heroes vs. Villains exit poll!
Size up the Heroes and Villains in our gallery!