Survivor: Samoa
Taking Candy From a Baby
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
September 24, 2009


Previously on Survivor, a guy burned his teammates' socks. And we're not talking about him doing it in that cute Rupert fashion from the pirate season, either. A rich, crazy, mean guy named, well, Coach 2 gleefully proclaimed to the viewers that he plans to manipulate all of the dumb chicks on the show in a manner that allows him to win the game. He wants to show just how easy it is to beat Survivor. He proceeded to demonstrate this in ways that hearken back to the days of cartoon villainy, wherein a mustachioed evildoer ties a damsel in distress to some train tracks and relishes every moment as the train heads straight toward her. The victim in question, Marisa, was voted off the show, making this the second straight season that the best-looking cast member was the first to go. We call this the Dolly the Sheep Farmer scenario.

We start the evening with Foa Foa, where Evil Russell and Betsy are having a discussion. Betsy approaches him to ask if he will ever talk to her again, realizing that the best way to figure out his angles is to keep him talking. As a cop, she knows Evil Russell will slip up if he keeps flapping his gums. It's like Criminal Minds: Samoa - which CBS is probably very pleased about and considering adding to their lineup as a mid-season replacement. And in fact, Evil Russell does talk too much. He and Betsy agree that they don't trust each other, and she comments that she feels very confident that her early read on Evil Russell is correct. She expresses no regrets in voting against Ashley last week, even though she knows that Evil Russell was able to eliminate the last person who went up against him.

Our first look at the Galu tribe shows Yasmin, the hairstylist, demonstrating why she would have been better served going on the apprentice. She is obviously miserable after having spent an evening outside, as she bitches and complains about camping, people who like camping, and the individual who came up with the notion of "outdoors" in the first place. It seems that she's been told, "If you can make it in Detroit (her home town), you can make it anywhere." We think that the Motor City has just played a tremendous prank on her. Let's just say that if she were to join the WWE, her nickname would not be Nature Girl.

Meanwhile, over at Foa Foa, the redneck known as Ben has captured the Geico mascot and is ready to cook it up for dinner. He's acting like he's ready to feed his entire tribe, but really, the little lizard is probably smaller than one buffalo wing. Also, since he has the British accent, he's probably gamey, too.

While the Foa Foa gang considers eating something that might taste like "chicken fish", Evil Russell has another plan. Obviously, he has watched Survivor before. He realizes that there is a good chance that their small encampment will contain a hidden immunity idol. Rather than wait for clues to appear, why not go ahead and look for it now? He's not very secretive about it, but he correctly notes that his tribemates are a little bit oblivious, and when he does in fact find the idol(!), he's able to stick in it in his shorts and walk away undetected. We don't like the guy, but have to admit, this is a genius bit of game play. His deal with the devil is apparently iron clad.

Interestingly, he does share his secret with Jaison, which tells us that Evil Russell actually does respect the tall, athletic law student. Clearly, he's equating his real-life experiences the oil rig to his Survivor strategy, selecting strong men whom he respects to become his allies. Women are just the moms, the office gals and the sex objects. He's kind of a Mad Men throwback.

Next, we stay at Foa Foa as the tribe discusses Mike's age (though they're polite enough to not comment on his giant man bosoms). The agreement is that if they lose the next Immunity Challenge, he will be the one to go. Unlike previous seasons, both teams do seem focus on eliminating the weakest players early on, which is a breath of fresh air.

We now welcome Emmy Award winning reality host Jeff Probst to our screen. Both teams arrive, decorated in Samoan face paint, to compete in a challenge that has them playing a game that combines rugby and basketball. There is a pit where a ball is thrown, and three players from each team must scrum to gain control of the ball to throw it to their teammates up on a platform above, who will then attempt to throw it in the net. The first team with three baskets wins. In the first round, there's a lot of violence, choking, and boob revealing before Elizabeth scores the first goal for Foa Foa. The second round gets even uglier, and after John scores a point for Galu, Probst brings things to a halt and tells the players that the play is too rough and the next person to throw a cheap shot will be removed from the challenge.

It's not very long before Hillbilly Ben kicks Good Russell in the shin. Hard. Probst has no patience for this gratuitous and needless act and immediately ejects him from the challenge. What this means is that Foa Foa is short one player in the pit in a game that is tied 1-1. Obviously, they lose this round when Erik scores a basket. Several baleful looks are thrown Ben's direction by his teammates.

The fourth round sees Mike quit due to exhaustion, meaning that Foa Foa is effectively short-handed again. The round ends quickly as Laura scores a winner for Galu to take the match. The winning tribe gets immunity and fishing gear. Also, in a twist, Galu gets to send one of their own to spend an evening with the opposing tribe. That person will be able to observe Tribal Council, and also gets a clue to open once they arrive at Foa Foa's camp. Good Russell selects Yasmin, the giant, complaining pain in the ass, thereby ensuring that they will have a pleasant evening along with their other spoils.

We quickly learn the reason why Mike gave up in the final round. His blood pressure has dropped to alarming levels, which prompts a medical examiner to decide that he can play the game. Apparently, immediately after the challenge, Mike was blue. Literally. There is concern that he might be having a heart episode, and Foa Foa tells him goodbye a little earlier than planned. He would almost certainly have been the next player to be voted off anyway, but now Mike doesn't even have a chance to scrap it out.

Even rougher for Foa Foa is the fact that they still will have to go to Tribal Council and vote out an additional member. Mick, who's a smart guy, realizes that they're in a spot of trouble. I'm not sure if the rest of his team does.

We make a brief stop at Galu to see Shambo (remember Shambo? You may remember her from such films as Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Oscar and Over the Top) insisting that she has all kinds of experience in spear fishing. Her tribemates sit back and anxiously await their seafood buffet. Alas, though Shambo considers her day successful because she takes her first bath in five days, her tribe disagrees. Not only does she return with NO fish, but she also broke the equipment. Needless to say, Shambo is in trouble. And we're talking Ivan Drago trouble, not Thunderlips trouble. She's lucky Galu has immunity right now.

But we're quickly back over to Foa Foa, where visiting Yasmin tries to help. In the worst way possible. Basically, she tells them that they suck, they're clueless and they're hopeless. But they shouldn't worry, because she has such a benevolent spirit that she will help them stop being abysmal failures at Survivor. She even tells Ben that he needs private tutoring. Obviously, his problems are more pronounced. We're not being hyperbolic when we say that this is one of the stupidest and strangest things we've ever seen on the show. It's almost like a fan from the stands has jumped out of the stands to tell the Chicago Bears how to play the game. If she gets into a fight with Evil Russell, we might root for Evil Russell.

Alas, she does not get into a fight with Evil Russell. After failing to understand a word of the clue given to her for the hidden Immunity Idol (do you have any idea how many trees there are in a jungle?), she breaks out her wagging as she lays into Ben for tackling her during the Immunity Challenge. This fight lasts longer than Titanic - and we mean the voyage, not the movie. We're sure the scenario played out differently in her head. She gets extremely frustrated that Ben won't just admit that it was wrong to tackle a woman, while he correctly surmises that she is an idiot. The trouble is, he does with an undercurrent of racism. In the end, the rest of the Foa Foa tribe decides to avoid Yasmin, and might have also settled on Ben as their biggest liability. At this point, it looks like he is going to have to work very hard to survive Tribal Council.

This is only exacerbated when Ben begins chopping wood with a machete while his teammates are trying to sleep. Still, the youthful tribe has somehow determined that Betsy is a liability due to her age (47). After pleading her case to Ashley and Elizabeth, Ashley does start to ponder why it wouldn't be smarter to eliminate Ben. After all, Ben did sort of cost them the Immunity Challenge. Her suggestion falls on seemingly deaf ears, though. It also raises the ire of Evil Russell, who wants things to go exactly according to his plan. He wants Betsy gone because she doesn't trust him. Now Ashley has put herself in his line of fire as well.

And Tribal Council reveals that Evil Russell is indeed in complete control of Foa Foa in spite of Probst's laughable assertion that Mick is the tribe leader. The New Hampshire cop puts up some valiant arguments as to why she deserves to stay over Ben (who tells Probst that his strict "no cheap shot" guidelines during the Immunity Challenge were "pussy rules), but ultimately, being 47 is a greater crime than losing a challenge and being completely obnoxious. Logan's Run rules apply at Foa Foa.