Survivor: Defending J.T.’s decision to give Russell Hidden Immunity Idol

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains gave us one of the most notorious moments in the show’s history – J.T. making the decision to Russell the Hidden Immunity Idol when there were 11 players left in the game.

Survivor: Heroes vs Villains is still one of the best seasons in the show’s history and along with it came a huge moment that has gone down as one of the stupidest moves ever.

You all know which move I’m talking about. It was when J.T. decided to give Russell the Hidden Immunity Idol and it did not go well for J.T. to say the least.

Let me make my opinion known before we dive into this – J.T. giving the idol to Russell was a stupid thing to do, especially in a season dubbed Heroes vs Villains. The other 19 contestants didn’t get to see much, if any, of Russell’s season before the show’s 20th season started filming, which gave him a huge advantage.

That being said, he was obviously a villain for a reason and J.T. should have known that.

Anyway, let’s get back to the topic at hand and we’ll start with the backstory.

J.T. found a Hidden Immunity Idol on the Heroes camp shortly before the merge. He and his other Heroes tribe mates were convinced that the Villains were being led by an all-women’s alliance of Parvati, Danielle, Jerri, Courtney, and Sandra, and to be fair, that could have been a strong argument.

For one, the team had voted out Randy, Tyson, Boston Rob, and finally Coach, to make the Heroes truly believe Parvati was running the show over there. Parvati also led a group of women to the top four in the season she won, so that thought process isn’t a crazy one by any stretch of the imagination.

J.T. decided to give his Hidden Immunity Idol to Russell so that he could use it if the Villains went to tribal council and blindside Parvati. We obviously know how stupid this move ended up being because we know the results, but what if the Heroes had been right and there HAD been a women’s alliance on the Villains tribe? Even Jeff Probst mentioned at the reunion show that J.T.’s line of thinking wasn’t crazy.

If that had been the case and J.T. was able to use the idol to get Parvati out and secure Russell as a sixth in their alliance, it’d have been a brilliant move. Sometimes players make bold moves and they either work out or they don’t.

In this case, we know it backfired big time on J.T. and the Heroes because Russell wasn’t on the outs of an all-women’s alliance. He, Parvati, and Danielle were aligned and had been able to pull in Jerri as well. They voted Courtney out right before the merge, but he played the situation perfectly with the Heroes, explaining that he had used the idol (which he didn’t) , but Parvati played one too and that took Courtney out by default.

J.T. came into Heroes vs Villains as one of the best winners through the first 19 seasons of the show and this move has really tainted his legacy unfortunately. Yes, it was a dumb move because as Russell said on the show “You don’t give the enemy the idol”, but bold moves help win the game.

If J.T. had predicted the situation correctly, Parvati goes before the merge, and the Heroes are in control. It’s doubtful that J.T. ends up winning again due to already having won (even though Sandra did just that), but he definitely makes a strong run and cements his legacy as one of the best to ever play.

Instead, this move is continuously shown because of how boneheaded it was.

What do you think? Could J.T.’s bold decision have ended up being a smart one?