Survivor: Samoa

Houdini Magic

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

October 31, 2009

Russell said he was gonna vote for Jaison. I can totally trust him, right?

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Previously on Survivor, the show narrowly avoided its first body count. Or, as producer Mark Burnett probably sees it, they missed it by -that- much. Good Russell, the tribe leader of Galu, became dehydrated during a challenge and then the situation went from bad to worse as his heart rate and blood pressure precipitously declined. In interviews after the episode, the event has been described as "extreme dehydration", but it felt much more serious than that. With Good Russell's removal, no one else was voted out, something the members of Foa Foa misguidedly took as cause for optimism. They've lost five out of six immunity challenges and are forced to see the failed health of a competitor as a positive. The moral of the story? We don't expect members of the losing tribe to stop being losers simply because they weren't given the opportunity to finish losing last week (yes, we know they were ahead at the time the challenge was called off last week. But they would have choked. You know it. We know it. They know it).

Galu's discussions all focus on the aftermath of Good Russell's misfortune. Erik the bartender worries about the changing dynamic within his own alliance. The five men in the group had previously outnumbered the four women of Galu. With Good Russell's absence, there is no voting advantage for either gender. Dave, Brett and John join Erik in a debate about which of the ladies is closest to being a dude, and we think you see where we're going with this. Shambo is immediately chosen as the dudette most like a dude. They view this strategy as Bros Before Hos...except for Shambo, the Ho-Bro.


Day 16 at Foa Foa finds five remaining remembers of what once had been a ten member tribe. Given that a person gets voted off every three days and they already have lost five people (again, it's day 16), Foa Foa's performance to date is aptly summarized as an unmitigated disaster. That's what made their would-be smack talk at the previous tribal council so marvelously absurd. You don't see the Washington Generals calling out the Harlem Globetrotters for a reason. Most people are aware of their failings. Foa Foa thinks that they're doing great now that half their team is gone. If this were a horror film, Evil Loser Russell (we've updated his moniker to better fit his profile) would be happy that so many of his co-workers had been brutally slaughtered. Okay, bad example.

"It's five to eight now. It's pretty damn close." Who taught Evil Loser Russell math?

A funny segment occurs wherein the men of Galu prove that they too can manipulate a gullible woman. Debating the best way to earn Shambo's loyalty, they embark on a strategy to get her elected leader of the tribe. With Good Winner Russell gone, there is a power vacuum that needs filling. Their idea is to have a full tribe vote wherein it is obvious that all of the men support and trust Shambo. Moments later, all eight members are sitting in their hut and the men are holding up the appropriate signs to indicate that they all vote for Shambo.

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