Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains finale analysis: ‘But I don’t know about that…’

Still from Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains episode 14. Image is a screengrab via CBS
Still from Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains episode 14. Image is a screengrab via CBS /

To wrap up our summer of Survivor rewatches, it’s time to look at the Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains finale, and how exactly Sandra won (again).

It’s officially September, which means that Survivor will soon be back with new episodes for us to enjoy and salivate over, and it’s also time to wrap up our last rewatch of an old season for this off-season! It’s Heroes vs. Villains, and let’s get into it.

At the final five immunity challenge, Jeff Probst explained that everyone would pile dishes up and hold onto the handle balancing them as long as they could. Sandra, Jerri, Russell, and Colby all challenged Parvati, but she fended them all off and put the necklace back on.

Colby tried to convince Russell that Sandra was the good choice for elimination, especially since Parvati had immunity. And for a second, Russell actually considered it, even making it apparent why keeping Colby would not be good — if he hit the top three, there was no way for Russell to win.

On top of that, Russell had also convinced himself that Sandra could not win, even dubbing Jerri and Sandra his ideal top two, and Colby even picked up on Sandra’s apparent inability to win the game at Tribal Council! Colby went home despite his attempts.

In his voice over summing up the season, Jeff Probst said that “stealth” characterized Sandra’s game twice over. Call it an inability to read the strategic game or whatever you like, but Colby and Russell in particular seriously missed the mark in discerning where the threats were for jury votes. (Jerri, after the Colby vote, also expressed similar opinions.) They got one correct — Parvati — but they forgot that there were two winners on both the Heroes and Villains, and that two were still in the game at that point.

Sometimes, big moves blind everyone.

Now, this actually worked in Sandra’s favor, too. Everyone else was so fixated on Parvati that they forgot about Sandra, and forgetting about Sandra is basically what her game requires.

It also didn’t hurt that the blindfolded maze that served as the final immunity challenge saw Sandra take last place while Russell, Jerri, and Parvati raced to the end, but Russell was just a few steps ahead of the other two.

He told her that he thought she would lose to him, so he would keep her around. Sandra’s response in a confessional? “But I don’t know about that…”

Parvati also knew exactly what would happen and tried to impart some winner’s wisdom about garnering jury votes. He did not listen.

At Tribal Council, he tried to backpedal about telling Sandra she couldn’t win, and Parvati tied herself to Russell pretty tightly, saying they had each shielded the other. Jerri and Parvati voted for each other, but Sandra and Russell both threw their votes Jerri’s way.

Once Russell walked away, though, Sandra delivered the coup de grace and literally threw Russell’s hat in the flames, with Parvati laughing all the way.

It came down to the Final Tribal Council. Parvati called Russell her “pet.” Russell said he had just “played the game.” And Sandra? Sandra simply pointed out that she didn’t have a single friend after Courtney went to the jury.

Things started off hot, with Colby deeming Russell “delusional.” It did not get easier from there for any of them … well, except when Courtney and Sandra got to talk to each other. The most brutal takedowns for Parvati and Russell came from Candice, and Rupert then offered defenses for Sandra and Parvati while also knocking Russell.

Quick notes:

  • Parvati came with the Micronesia shout-out of “redeem yourself” at the final four Tribal Council.
  • Once again, the camp got burned down.
  • Watch the reunion show if you can.
  • Can you imagine how it would have gone if Probst had turned things to the forum-style Final Tribal? That would have been completely bonkers.

Next: Survivor's best seasons are ...

We’re just over two weeks away from Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers, so it’s time to set aside the Survivor retro rewatches until next off-season. Is there a season you want Surviving Tribal to re-watch this winter? Let us know in the comments or on social media.