Survivor: Samoa

The Puppet Master

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

September 17, 2009

At least she doesn't have to worry about people mispronouncing her name anymore.

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He also makes an alliance with Betsy, a cop. He tells her that this is part of his plan to join forces with "the old lady". She agrees to it, then tells the camera she doesn't trust him a bit, thereby making her the wisest of the four.

Over at Galu, the tribe continues to dislike John, as he wants to be proactive and plan. Unfortunately for him, he's with a group of reactionaries who just want to move forward and build the shelter already. When the rain comes, no one will remember the rocket scientist's argument. They'll just be pissed that their shelter is no good. Sometimes in Survivor, you just have to let people implode and learn things the hard way.

Now, it's time for a new game! Let's find out which contestant idolizes Jonny Fairplay! Yes, you guessed it. It's the same guy who won the sexual predator game, villain-in-training Russell (the short, bald, white one. Not the cool, awesome lawyer on the other team.) He randomly decides it's the perfect time to make up a story about Hurricane Katrina. He announces he was trapped in his home when it happened and that his German Shepherd drowned in front of him. He also claimed that his skills as a fireman allowed him to escape. Hey, it's his fantasy. He can claim whatever he wants. The fact that none of this happened doesn't preclude his dumbass girl alliance from feeling tremendous sympathy for his plight. The only way this segment could be funnier would be if it was sponsored by the upcoming movie The Invention of Lying.

And before we cut to commercial, he also burns the socks of some of his teammates and dumps out the canteens of water. That's right. He's definitely making good on his promise to make everyone miserable, most especially us. Why would he do this, you ask? Well, he's already a millionaire in real life, so it seems that he's just there to cause havoc. Russell claims he wants to prove how easy it is to win the game, but nothing he has done so far would lend itself as proof for that statement.


Probst sighting! We're hopeful that Jeff will ask if anyone's burned any socks lately, but no. Before the challenge begins, Probst asks Russell (the good one, not the dickweed) how he and his new tribe are getting along, and he is genuine as he compliments his group. The Foa Foa tribe takes this opportunity to toss back some childish remark about how that's "loser talk". You can tell this pisses Good Russell off, and there might be some hell to pay at some point in the near future. Possibly within the next five minutes.

The challenge involves each tribe climbing over three a-frames, then lugging a heavy trunk along some tracks. Once they have pulled the trunk to the end, it contains a set of puzzle pieces that must be assembled. Galu has a wonderful strategy and works brilliantly as a team. They romp over the first a-frame, then position themselves so that weaker team members can actually climb over the stronger ones. This allows them to get well out in front, so that even when Evil Russell is the domination in the trunk-pulling portion of the game, Galu still gets their puzzle pieces first. Then, Shambo, who claimed to not be so smart, figures out the puzzle and takes her team across the victory lap. Despite their smack talk, Foa Foa is going to Tribal Council.

Back at camp, the Foa Foa tribe members are maneuvering for position. Old chef dude Mike tries to convince everyone to vote off Ashley, who he says is the weakest player, and he gets some people onboard for the plan. But them Marisa tells Evil Russell that she doesn't trust him, which sets him off even though her intuition is exactly right. He goes around and tells the rest of the group that she has to be the one to go, and believes himself to be so in control of what is happening at camp, that everyone will fall into step with his wishes. He calls himself the Puppet Master, and thus we know the source of the episode's title. Betsy, the cop who Evil Russell calls the "older lady", has a feeling that the Puppet Master needs to go. We're desperately hoping she can convince enough of her teammates that this is true. If not, we're in for a very long, very annoying season.

Tribal Council involves a few arguments, mainly between Betsy and Ashley, the latter of whom is hurt when the cop says she is the weakest member of the tribe, and Evil Russell and Marisa, because of the reasons noted above. The only question is whether Evil Russell is really in control of the tribe or if he's, well, wrong. Unfortunately, it looks like Evil Russell has assessed his own persuasiveness accurately. We're doomed to at least one more episode of him being the centerpiece. We have serious concerns about this season.

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