Survivor: Samoa
It's Called a Russell Seed
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
October 1, 2009

He didn't want to stay on a tribe with this pansies anyway.

Previously on Survivor, the villain of the show found an Immunity Idol sans benefit of the clue. It was very Hans Gruber of him. Also, one hothead was kicked out of a challenge for tripping an opponent and was unapologetic about it after the fact. Later, some crazy chick went to the other team's camp and proceeded to tell them why they were so awful. This season of Survivor has more heels than the NWO (oh no! Both the Amazing Race Recap *and* the Survivor Recap have wrestling references this week!). One other note: this is pure speculation on our part, but this season is shaping up as one where one tribe gets completely exterminated before the other tribe is forced to turn on one another. Foa Foa is already down 10-7 and the guy who seems to be guiding all the votes is Loki's #1 fan.

We open the show with a conversation between the "tribe leader" Mick and Jaison. They're both pretty pissed at Ben, who did everything he could to belittle and berate Yasmin. Both men seem to agree that there were some racial overtones to Ben's rant, and Jaison comments that it was all he could do not to take action against his tribemate for his vile words. Meanwhile, Evil Russell is asking Natalie who she thinks should be next to go. She thinks they should take a wait and see approach, which leads Evil Russell to feel even more superior about his Survivor skills versus his tribemates. Russell is like a child playing chess. He likes to look at the pieces, he likes to move the pieces and he likes to make big moves. However, he has no real end move to go in for the win.

"I'm gonna have 'em all under control like zombies walkin' around." -- Evil Russell. You and Woody Harrelson, buddy.

Ben diminishes all women throughout the world for their hand size. Bad news for all the Lara Croft types: Your hands are just too small to wield weaponry. Ben wants you to know that any attempt to cut wood, start fires and the like will be undone by, oh, we don't know. Let's just say your boobs. It makes sense to Ben and that's all that matters.

So flawed are his people skills that even Evil Russell is worried that Ben is going to get himself voted off the island too soon. Evil Russ sees his compadre as a strong performer in challenges, which we consider an odd assessment of the first ever contestant to be kicked out of a challenge for sour grapes based cheating.

Let's go over to Galu camp. You know, Galu? Remember them? Things are really tense over there. Why, it's the most stressful yoga exercise we've ever seen! Four of them are completely at peace with nature, including one guy wearing knee socks.

"Screw yoga, man," says Shambo, who doesn't remember anyone ever doing these particular exercises in any Sylvester Stallone film she watch (though she never saw Judge Dredd. Nobody saw that). It's like she's just stumbled into some bad improv class, where people are waving there arms and paddling their legs in the air. Essentially, it's the same thing we see every season. The older generation feels a duty to work and provide sustenance for the group, and then resents the youngsters who are just trying to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience, man.

Back at Foa Foa, a segment occurs where Evil Russell brags about his seed. Or something like that. We got disturbed and kind of tuned him out for a bit. He tells Ben that Ashley is gunning for him to be next person voted out. Ben demonstrates remarkable patience in sprinting across the island to challenge Ashley on the subject. When asked who told him, Ben is a master of subterfuge, saying, "It wasn't Russell, that's all I'm saying." Dammit. Now we'll never figure out who it might have been! Of course, Ashley has no idea who might be planting such ideas in her teammates' heads. This makes us sad.

Now is the time when Galu wipes the floor with Foa Foa! The sack containing the information for the Reward/Immunity Challenge does come with some nice replacement clothing. We continue to see the divide in the Galu tribe as all the cute girls model their new bikinis, while Shambo shows off her lovely sports bra.

The challenge involves a couple of members of each team trying to swim through a goalie-like opposing tribe person to get to a block, which must be dragged back to shore. Each team is required to sit a couple of people, but what's important to note here is that Foa Foa sits Evil Russell, who is given an excellent view of Ben as he falls down repeatedly as he tries to prevent guys from Galu from getting to their blocks. We don't really have to even go further here. Galu blows Foa Foa out of the water (quite literally), though at least CBS gets some nice cat fight footage out of the whole thing when the bikini chicks do battle.

After winning the challenge, Galu's leader Good Russell must decide between "comfort" or "function" for his team. You can pretty well guess what each one involves. Russell is given only five seconds to consider and he is not allowed to consult his tribemates. He goes with comfort, which pleases the ladies (except Shambo) and pisses off the dudes. Russell's rationale is that it will be a lot easier to live with the girls if they have the pillows, blankets and towels they so desire. We'll see how that comes back to bite him later. God Russell must also choose someone to hang with Foa Foa through their next Tribal Council, observing and taking in information. Who better to infiltrate than Shambo? The end result can't be any more horrific than what happened with Yasmin.

And in fact, this proves to be more than correct. Shambo is the most popular mullet on the show, and the Foa Foa folks like her so much, they want to adopt her. She's very genuine with each of them, giving off a positive energy that they seemed to need. For her part, she feels more in touch with this group, many of whom are closer to her age - and if they're not, at least they're a bit more mature.

Unlike Yasmin, Shambo does read the clues regarding the hidden Immunity Idol and begins pondering how to solve them. Of course, it won't do her any good, but it's nice to know someone's playing the game. Yasmin was much more inclined to ignore the clue and focus on the many failings of Ben, which we must admit is kind of addictive.

The problem with these single challenge episodes is that there really isn't enough going on at camp to justify this much downtime - at least not at this point in the season. Over at Galu, Good Russell attempts to justify his selection of comfort, the guys roll their eyes, and the girls cuddle with each other. Foa Foa features Jaison threatening to quit if Ben isn't eliminated, while Evil Russell shows Mick his thingy (the Immunity Idol, you pervs) in an effort to foster a better relationship with the doctor. He also gives Mike his word that he will vote for Ben once Ashley has been eliminated.

Before Tribal Council, Evil Russell does everything he can - with Mick's help - to bully Jaison into voting for Ashley. Evil Russell's rationale is that he doesn't want the girls to have numbers so that they can gang up on the dudes. In bewilderment, Jaison asks, "You're worried about 3-3?" Evil Russell says yes, but we all know that he just wants to get rid of Ashley because A) she's a girl and B) he doesn't think he can control her. For his part, Jaison stands his ground, letting Evil Russell and Mick know that he will not accept keeping the racist around camp, and that if Ben does stay for another night, things are going to get very ugly afterward. This is commendable, and causes Evil Russell some concern, because he truly does want to keep all the strapping young men close to his side. We won't analyze that too much.

Who are we going to root for the rest of the season? At Tribal Council, Jaison gets our vote with this mocking response to more of Ben's blustery nonsense. "Oh my God! I'm an outlaw! I'm a renegade! But they splashed me in the face! I can't tackle anyone now. I'm sorry! I got splashed!"

The argument between the two of them goes on for about five minutes, with Jaison saying that no million dollars is worth staying at camp with someone like Ben. For what it's worth, Ben really was attacked last week by Yasmin, he just took things too far on his end, not knowing when to stop. He's completely lacking in tact and has a chip on his shoulder that is too big for him to handle. Ben just can't help himself and he just can't stop. He's transferring some of that anger to Jaison tonight, but Jaison is also right when he tries to explain why some of Ben's comments might be offensive to him. Jaison doesn't back down at all, which is admirable.

In the end, we see that Evil Russell has taken the temperature of the tribe correctly, which is to his credit. He realizes that it will be important at some point in the future for Jaison to have his back, and to that end, Russ has secured the tribe's vote against the antagonistic Ben. Everyone votes for Ben except, well, Ben. They've eliminated a guy who is an albatross in challenges and a miserable human being to boot. This was the right call. Much as we dislike Evil Russell, we have to admit that he does seem to know which moves are the right ones to make at this early juncture. We're still not convinced he can carry through to the finish, but it's solid early strategy.