The Puppet Master
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
September 17, 2009
Continuing the examination of first impressions, the two leaders are asked to pick various tribemates to compete in a challenge based on certain attributes. Remember, they've had no time to even learn the names of the other players. First, they must select the person who they think will be the best swimmer, and Mick hits this out of the park. He picks man-giant Jaison, who then reveals in confessional that he is on the national water polo team. Russell chooses a handsome young man named John.
Next, they're asked to pick the person they think is strongest. Russell, who is a dead ringer for former ECW Champion and current TNA announcer Taz (this is pro wrestling, people), is the obvious choice here. The other Russell (we'll call him Leader Russell), chooses Erik, who had received several votes for tribal leader. They do look to have made wise choices here. Then, Yasmin and Marisa are chosen most agile, while Liz and Shambo are chosen the smartest. Liz is a little riled up that she is selected here because she feels he's playing to a stereotype because she's Asian. She's afraid that she'll get typecast as a conniving schemer. Meanwhile, Shambo declares that she's smart in the ways of life, but not books. This might be the first bad choice unless Sylvester Stallone's hair gives her the power to overcome all.
The first challenge is divided up exactly as outlined - a swimming competition followed by a power contest, etc. Nothing personal against John, who does everything he can to keep it close, but Jaison completely destroys him in the swimming contest. The only comfort we can give to John is that we're relatively certain no one else on his team would have done better. Stamina becomes an issue during the weight competition. Both Russell and Eric do well on the first bundle, but then struggle to lift the second set of weights. Russell finishes first and tags off to supposedly agile Marisa. Erik eventually gets there, and Yasmin makes her way across the balance beam behind. Ultimately, we see that it's Jaison's amazing performance that makes the difference in Foa Foa's win.
Of course, no one knows that Jaison is a world-class swimmer, so both John, Galu's swimmer, and Russell, the team leader who picked him, are in a little bit of trouble with their tribe. It's not really fair, but it looks like John got whipped by the other guy, and his team feels let down by what they perceive is an underwhelming performance.
It's time to play "Guess Who's a Sexual Predator in Real Life?". Short, white, bald Russell arranges a secret alliance with every single female on his tribe. He makes alliances with - and we do quote him verbatim - "the dumb, short-haired blonde", "the even dumber long-haired blonde", and the "dark-haired girl". He likes to call it his "dumbass girl alliance". His bio states that he's a happily married father of four. They must be so proud. We're guessing his wife doesn't let him hire any more female interns.