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‘Survivors’ get oiled up for a slippery challenge

The remaining Heroes and Villains spent the latest episode of "Survivor" with shiny, oily skin. That was thanks to a slip-'n'-slide reward challenge that not only left them covered in oil, but also left them slipping and sliding in their tribes over an unexpected reward: a hidden immunity idol that gave the season it's first truly shocking Tribal Council result that sent master strategist Cirie home.

It seemed obvious that Colby and Tom were on the outs in the Heroes tribe and were targeted by an alliance that made host Jeff Probst almost pop a vein in his neck with frustration. "What part of that makes sense?" he asked Rupert, in disbelief that the tribe was sticking to alliances and voting out strong people even though that meant they'd continue to lose and continue to vote out strong people and continue to lose and ... you get the idea.

But they didn't do that because of JT's decision to vote against that alliance. Instead of dumping Colby or Tom, the tribe voted out a player who came in fourth and third place during her previous two seasons and was an integral part of strategizing both times. That was Cirie, and she said afterward, "I don't blame them at all."

All of this started at the reward challenge, a repeat of the one we saw a few months ago on "Survivor: Samoa," where two members of each tribe first oiled themselves up and then slid down a long ramp and grabbed for one of two balls. Some of them didn't actually slide. Cirie crawled, for example, while Rupert belly flopped.

After grabbing their balls, they had to attempt to make baskets, which was complicated for some of them because they had oil in their eyes or were slipping around, dropping their balls. Ultimately, the Villains regained their momentum after the tribes went neck and neck for awhile, and won, heading back to their camp with Sears products as a reward.

After the reward challenge, each tribe received clues to the location of the hidden immunity idol, which was placed somewhere in their campsite. As luck would have it, both tribes discovered the clues when they were gathered together in groups, and the Villains decided not to look for it, while the splintered Heroes all went off on their own to find it.

The Villains' consensus, though, didn't stop dummy Russell from running off to search for the idol, which isn't going to help him because now the tribe trusts him even less. Sandra said, "He's a stupid ass" and told the others, "Russell sealed his own fate." Yes, Russell is the undisputed king of bad players who're convinced they're good.

At the Heroes tribe, Tom ultimately found the idol, and though he tried to hide it in his sock, Amanda saw him. That left the tribe's dominant alliance to decide that they'd flush out the idol and break up Tom and Colby's alliance by splitting their votes between them. But JT wasn't as convinced, thinking they should vote for someone like Candice, and he also thought he could trust Tom and Colby.

The big Heroes alliance made delusional arguments at Tribal Council about their strategy, stubbornly sticking to their plan to get rid of Colby or Tom. James even said, "I want everybody to stop all this crazy stuff" — meaning strategizing — but of course, they wouldn't have to strategize if they didn't go to Tribal after losing because he helped vote off a strong player like Stephenie. Oh, logic.

The alliance split their votes between Tom and Colby in case Tom played his idol, which he did. But JT switched his vote, leaving two votes for Colby and three for Cirie, sending one of the game's best and slipperiest players home, and surely causing even more turmoil in the already dysfunctional Heroes tribe.

is a writer, TV critic and editor of reality blurred. Follow him on and .

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