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Review: Survivor Samoa - The Day of Reckoning

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Nov 20th 2009 12:30AM
Dave, Brett, and Laura worry about Russell's mojo
(S19E10) Now, isn't this a good time to be a Survivor fan? Part of the problem with long-running reality shows is that they've run out of ideas and it's hard to keep things fresh and new. They end up depending on whatever outlandish and over-the-top characters they can line up for the season. Some are a dismal failure. Case in point, "Coach" Ben Wade last year. Sure, he was a nutty kind of guy. But he couldn't play the game well despite all of his bravado. This season is casting done right. And tonight's episode was just as good as last week's show.

I feel like a broken record about Evil Russell. I don't condone misogyny. It repulsed me that he lied about being a Katrina victim. He's a slimy snake oil salesman. He's sneaky. He's evil. And he's playing the best damn game of Survivor ever played by anyone in 19 installments. So many others have claimed to have studied the show. Dang it, this dude has the entire game covered from plotting vote numbers to being able to find hidden immunity idols. And, at least for now, he's loyal to his Foa Foa friends. I can only think that Russell is what they expected of Ben last season.

The Palm Pre product placement in the reward gave me a moment of panic that this might be the "loved ones" episode. But I like how they worked the hidden idol clues with it instead. It showed how people can look and really not see. Every one of the folks who won reward saw the same picture of the rock hiding the idol. Dave, who saw the picture, actually had the rock before Russell and cast it aside. Not only has Russell really studied the types of places they hide the idols, he studied that picture. He deserved to snag it for an unprecedented third time.

When the immunity challenge hit just past the halfway mark in the episode, I knew something had to be up. Immunity is usually placed so we only get about ten to fifteen minutes of scheming. So, the fire-making tiebreaker is history and we're back to the purple rock, eh? Gee, what a time for that to come back! But since the castaways knew about it, I guess it wasn't tailored for this situation.

About the only move that the ex-Galu folks made which surprised me was deciding not to vote for Russell and flush the idol again. They actually made a good move with picking Natalie to target since she was unlikely to have the idol. Of course, that didn't help them any when their boy John flipped on the second vote. Oh, but it was all so priceless! Bye-bye, Laura!

Dave's shock, Erik's (over on the jury) glee, Shambo's giggles, the smiles of Foa Foa. Another plan executed with perfection. It's great to see the underdog team come to life. It's like David and Goliath. But the whole shebang is due to one man -- Russell. On gameplay, right now he deserves a win. That will only happen if someone else can outwit, outplay, and outlast him. Currently, I don't know if anyone has enough game to do that. Your thoughts?

[Watch episodes and clips of Survivor over at SlashControl.]

Your opnion of this season?
Same old, same old19 (3.2%)
Best season in a long time415 (69.3%)
Not my favorite by a longshot31 (5.2%)
Best ever132 (22.0%)
Worst ever2 (0.3%)

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Joyce N.

PLEASE don't compare Russell to Rupert. Rupert is a VERY lovable guy. Russell is anything but.

November 24 2009 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Aside from burning the socks, I don't see how Russel has been all that unethical. When he perceived a threat, he worked to get a person voted off. And since the merge, he's done everything he could to make sure someone from the other side went home.

Getting upset that he lied about surviving Katrina is like getting offended that someone bluffs in poker.

I have no idea what Russell is like in real life, but he is probably the best player in Survivor history.

Richard hatch was an unlikely winner -- who would have thought one could lie as much as he did and have everyone continue to believe him -- but he had the advantage of being on season one.

Personally, I hope Russell goes to the end. And if he does, I he'll win it all.

November 21 2009 at 11:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jan Crump

This is the best season with the best villian since Rupert (of tie dyed t-shirt fame) stole the other teams shoes as a "pirate"!!!! When Russell went back and found the idol after Dave missed it because he wasn't paying attention, was fantastic. Loving it, and the facial expressions at Tribal Council are great and we are ROFLOAO!!!!!!

November 21 2009 at 5:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PDX Granny

Jackie, I so agree with you! Russell is a dirty, rotten scoundrel, but without a doubt one of, if not the best player ever on the show. Some of the things he's done are just wrong, on every level! Like burning socks and the lie about katrina. And it doesn't sound like he's done.

As much as I dislike him, I can't wait to see what he's going to do next.

November 20 2009 at 9:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great write-up, as usual, Jackie. The looks on some of the faces were priceless.

I'm not a Russell fan, and I'm sure I wouldn't like in my life, but I will admit he is always playing game and puts his ego in check when it is important to the game. I liked Laura even less than Russell so seeing her that way was sweet.

November 20 2009 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I still can't say I'm a Russell fan, but I certainly give him props for playing the game and playing it hard. I find it absolutely mind boggling that Galu has been brought to their knees after dominating the entire game.

November 20 2009 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Those of you geniuses saying it's a setup... why? Because he found the second idol? He already explained his logic on that, and it was perfectly reasonable. There are only 2 places hidden immunity idols are ever located... either on Exile Island, or at camp... and as there IS NO EXILE ISLAND this season, it's obviously at camp.... Okay, so it's at camp... how does that get it in Russell's hands?

Well, he's not as stupid as the rest of them, and apparently as many of you who think it's a setup just because he's got more than two braincells to rub together...

Once there was no exile, and once they were certain there were idols, of course they were at their camps... And of course they were near or even at or in a landmark... These aren't hidden and just expected to be found, like Russell did... only because it's never been done before. As such, you don't just go find the 347th tree in the woods and bury the idol next to it... it must be located near something that a clue can lead to... which means, the camp, the treemail, the bridge, etc... So, he determined the various landmarks he felt likely, and.... SHOCKER... looked.

You people saying it's a scam, please stop watching... you're too stupid to get the joy of this season.

November 20 2009 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Would the other team think that Russell had the idol because he stopped looking for it?

November 20 2009 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davidm3825's comment
Sir Yuck-Yuck

we don't see the full version of the events since its edited to fill the hour but I think he was probably still looking for it after finding it, to throw off suspicion that he had it AND I think if he is a part of the winning team of a reward challenge he will pretend to look for it all over again when the wining team gets clue # 2

November 20 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B Hall

I'm really surprised that noone has said "this looks like a set-up"! Russell finding idol # 2 was questionable, at best; way to easy a find. Numero 3!! Give me a break. He's no genius, he's exactly what he appears to be. Arrogant, cocky, and he's been given a leg up; think about it....without him and his garbage, this season would be absolutely awful. Jeff knows it; the producers know it.....that's why he's not gone home, already. Old Sham...sad, pitiful, and embarassing.

November 20 2009 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to B Hall's comment

Myself and a few coworkers have been saying the same thing for a few weeks now.. This guy is a plant by the show IMO..

November 20 2009 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All reality shows go through this when something improbable happens. Everyone cries "set-up!" cause they like to think they're smarter than most watching the show.

Either way, set-up or no set-up, this season of Survivor has been great entertainment.

November 20 2009 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wanted to hate Russell and did for the first two or three episodes - now - I totally love him!!! Best player in Survivor history is Russell. The look on Laura's face and everyone else for that matter was priceless when she was voted out. The Queen Bee has been dethroned - LOL!!!!

When Laura made the comments about Galu being tight and Jeff made the comment about some members being on the outs like Eric and Shamwow - then she corrects him because she was referring to the current Galu without Eric and Shamwow - I seriously wanted to slap her!

Go Foa Foa - honestly - I could careless who wins this season. I can't wait for the reunion show when all of Russell's lies unravel before a live audience and the rest of this season's survivors.

November 20 2009 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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