The folks over at Survivor really mean business this season. I really haven’t been this entertained so early-on since the inaugural Survivor: Borneo in 2000, and the Survivor All-Stars offering in 2004. The producers of the show have done their homework casting this group and none of the characters have more depth than the evil Russell H…and I love him!
We find out early in Episode II that Russell has his sights set on the hidden Immunity Idol which is likely hidden somewhere around camp. He tells us that he thinks he can be the first player to ever find the idol without having the benefit of a single clue. In what seems like a matter of seconds, we see Russell’s pudgy little hand reach up inside a hollowed out tree right in the middle of what appears to be Foa Foa’s campsite. He has the Idol! Just like that. This guy is incredible.
He then forges an immediate alliance with Jaison, the young, strong and soft-spoken law student from Chicago. A more unlikely pair I have never seen (OK – Bob the 57-year-old physics teacher and ‘Sugar’ the pinup girl in Gabon was pretty weird, but there was some sort of Freudian father-figure thing at play there). Russell shows Jaison the Idol, then hides it near camp so nobody can find it in his bag or with his stuff – brilliant!
The two tribes face-off in a brutal game of smash-mouth football meets basketball. The players physically go at it like never before and I’m surprised no bones were broken or teeth lost. We did however witness a Survivor first when bartender Ben from the Foa Foa team is disqualified from the game for attempting to trip Russell S. This leaves his team shorthanded and primed for their inevitable defeat. Galu wins reward (fishing gear) and immunity. Now the twist. One member of the Galu tribe must be selected by their leader to go back to camp with Foa Foa and observe their Tribe and the upcoming Tribal Council – Russell S assigns Yasmin as team spy.
In the meantime, the Foa Foa group realizes that their Tribe elder, Mike the 62-year-old New York chef, isn’t looking so hot. Mike appears to be having trouble breathing and even staying on his feat…cue the medical team and Mike’s departure from the game. Sad, but who really thought he had a chance…not me!
Back at the Foa Foa camp Yasmin (the spy) and Ben (the unsportsmanlike player) go at each other about fair play and the fact that she claims he tackled her, a girl, during the challenge. He tells her it was part of the game and that she should learn better grammar. Yasmin also says that beating Foa Foa is like ‘taking candy from a baby’ and she tells them that they need better strategy going in to challenges. This does not sit well with the group and Russell H revels in the fact that while he schemes, all the heat is on Yasmin and Ben.
The rest of the episode is somewhat uneventful. Ben keeps his tribe up all night while he chops wood for no apparent reason. Betsy and Ashley jockey for position in the Tribe and for support going in to Tribal Council. At Tribal, Yasmin gets to watch the proceedings and hears Ben tell host Jeff that she is “ghetto trash and I have no respect for her and she needs to go back where she came from.” I’m really not sure if he meant the mainland or something else, but that’s harsh. At the end of the proceedings, Betsy, the 48-year-old police officer is voted out by Foa Foa. With the Tribes older players out of the game and down three players, Foa Foa needs a big win this week. If they pull out the victory, look for Sham-bo to be going home on the Galu tribe for no other reason than she already lost some of their prized fishing gear in the swamp waters of Samoa. If Foa Foa loses, look to Russell to determine who’s head is next on the chopping block.
The scribe has spoken…