‘Survivor: Samoa’ Episode 6 Recap: Swan Song?

Last Week: Evil Russell and Elizabeth feuded over the hidden immunity idol, Less Evil (formerly Good) Russell punished Shambo for losing a chicken, and Ashley’s failure to down a slug-guts smoothie led to her being voted out of the game.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

Foa Foa (wearing yellow)

Elizabeth – 33 – Attorney
Jaison – 28 – Law Student
Mick – 33 – Doctor
Natalie – 26 – Pharmaceutical Sales
Russell H. – 36 – Oil Company Owner

Galu (wearing purple)

Brett – 23 – T-shirt Designer
Dave – 38 – Fitness Instructor
Erik – 28 – Bartender
John – 25 – Rocket Scientist
Kelly – 25 – Hair Stylist
Laura – 39 – Office Manager
Monica – 25 – Law Student
Russell S. – 42 – Attorney
Shannon – 45 – Sales

We start off at Foa Foa and the rain is still pouring down. This fact is punctuated by uber gross close-ups of pruned hands and feet. Thank you, High Definition!

Jaison compares this to watching “Captain Planet and the Planeteers” as a kid, where each of the five Planeteers had a superpowered ring. There was Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Heart. Apparently Jaison and his friends used to make fun of the Planeteer with the “Heart” ring because he was the only one without a real element-based power. Jaison regrets this as he wishes he had that heart ring right now.

I’d compare it to “The Smurfs” where Jokey Smurf would give Brainy Smurf a gift, and the gift would always explode in Brainy’s face. And time after time, Jokey would keep giving Brainy gifts, and he’d open every last one of them. Except the gift here is more rain.

I’m just going to apologize for that analogy right now. And yes, I’m aware there’s a delete button on my computer.

Back at Galu, two things are happening; Less Evil Russell is fishing and the “Survivor” editing staff is making their bid for an Emmy. Long, beautiful shots of the sea life, silhouettes of Russell, and ominous music highlight this extremely well-done package. The hot rumor is that Russell is the one who’s getting hurt tonight, and that little package probably confirms it.

This certainly puts a damper on this recap. It’s like watching that episode of “Family Ties” where Alex P. Keaton’s friend is in the car accident. Giving out “Survivor” Points tends to cheer me up. Five “Survivor” Points to whoever knows who played Alex P. Keaton’s uncle.

OK, back to our very special episode of “Survivor.”

The rest of Galu is huddled in the shelter while Less Evil Russell is tending to the fire. The tribe members all discuss how Russell is pushing himself a bit too hard.

In a second bit of foreshadowing, Russell stumbles and falls as he’s entering the tribe’s shelter. Nobody’s ever accused “Survivor” of being subtle.

At Foa Foa, Mick is huddling up against a tree for warmth. That’s a new one. Evil Russell thinks the way his tribe mates are acting is ridiculous as the rain makes him stronger. He thinks his tribe is weak and that if you’re not throwing up after every challenge, you’re not doing your job. If I see another close-up of mangled, prune toes, I’m going to be the one throwing up.

“Survivor” Fun Fact: If you’re wondering who to root for in the World Series, Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels is married to “Survivor: Amazon” flasher Heidi Strobel and Philly righty Kyle Kendrick is engaged to Stephenie LaGrossa from “Survivor: Palau” and “Survivor: Guatemala.” That being said, as a Cardinals fan, I’m going to pretend there is no World Series this year.

Back at Galu, Erik has spent the last 26 hours camping out in a hole. He lets us know that he made a deal with the Almighty to make the rain go away. Less than 12 hours later, the rain stops.

Less than 12 hours.

I don’t want to get into a theological debate with Erik here, but if you sing the “Rain, Rain Go Away” song the rain will eventually go away. Next time you tell that story, stretch the truth and say the rain ended immediately.

Reward Challenge Time: One player from each tribe will be placed inside an “American Gladiator”-style hamster ball. Those players will guide two of their blindfolded teammates as they push the ball through a course. From there, the blindfolded players will each take a corner of a large version of those marble/labyrinth games. The player in the ball will have to call out directions to help them get the ball through the maze. The first tribe to complete the puzzle wins delicious pizza.

However, they’ll be enjoying that pizza at tribal council. Both tribes will go; both will have to vote someone out. The winning tribe will get to listen in on the losing tribe’s tribal council.

John offers Less Evil Russell the chance to sit out because he’s been feeling weak. Russell decides to stay in and decides that Shambo, Monica, Kelly, and Dave should sit out.

For Foa Foa, Liz is in the ball with Evil Russell and Jaison pushing, while Galu has Laura in the ball with LE Russell and Erik pushing.

The teams trade the lead a few times, with Foa Foa reaching the puzzle first. LE Russell is breathing very heavily right now. The other members of Galu reach their places on the puzzle board, but LE Russell is too disoriented to join them.

This is very tough to watch. Poor LE Russell is obviously in horrible shape, but with the blindfold covering his face nobody can tell that anything is wrong. They think he’s just having a tough time figuring out where he is.

Then it goes from tough to watch to downright scary. As Galu is working on the puzzle, LE Russell passes out on the board. But, he does it in such a way that he’s technically still standing, so nobody can tell that he’s in serious trouble. Members of his tribe are yelling at him to get off of the table. Finally, he collapses completely. Probst smartly steps in and calls for the medical team. The only thing holding LE Russell up is the fact that his shirt is snagged on the puzzle. LE Russell claims to be OK, but when they ask him to sit, he falls in a heap.

LE Russell eventually comes to, but he’s in bad shape. His blood pressure is very low. He keeps claiming to be OK, but the look on his face tells a different story.

Jeff makes the call to end the challenge. Neither tribe will win reward and both tribes will go to tribal and vote somebody out. He tells them if LE Russell is going to stay in the game, they’ll see him at tribal.

That’s not cool. Could you imagine going back to camp not knowing if your friend was OK?

Back at Galu, they’re in a state a shock over what happened to LE Russell, but that doesn’t stop them from considering that night’s voting strategy.

Meanwhile, the medical team is still tending to LE Russell. He tries to sit up and his eyes glaze over in a horrifying way. Nobody was home. He eventually comes back, but he’s in terrible shape. The medic decides not to let LE Russell back into the game. He takes it very badly. Jeff tries to talk some sense into him and congratulate him on playing a strong game, but LE Russell is too crushed to listen.

But, there’s still a game to be played. At Foa Foa, everyone is a bit frustrated because they were in the lead before the challenge was canceled. Jaison wonders how, “We get all the bad luck?”

Yes, missing out on pizza is way worse than almost having your leader die. Stay classy, Jaison.

Elizabeth and Natalie both realize that one of them will be the next to go home. Liz thinks she might be safe because she’s physically stronger. Evil Russell lets Natalie know he’s trying to keep her around.

Politicking at Galu revolves around Monica vs. Shambo. Monica smartly makes the point that Shambo has been to Foa Foa twice and could easily jump sides after the merge. Shambo makes the point that she starts the fire and collects wood. That’s a beautiful example of strategy vs. utility. Poor Shambo, the deeper you get into the game the less important utility becomes.

Super smart brain rocket scientist surgeon John seems to be on Team Shambo. He feels that Monica and Laura have a strong relationship that needs to be broken up. However, his super intellect doesn’t think Shambo will be a threat after the merge. After Tocantins you’d think that any tribe that has the numbers advantage going into a merge would be extra careful.

That night at tribal council, Jeff lets the tribes know that LE Russell is OK, but he’s been taking out of the game.  Both tribes are sullen; Evil Russell says he wanted to beat LE Russell, but not like that.

Both tribes also discuss how terrible the weather has been, and as if on cue, the rain kicks in. Has the “Survivor” production crew figured out how to seed clouds?

In an odd twist, the camaraderie between the two tribes breaks down as they get into a weird argument over who which tribe is handling the weather better. It’s like they’re trying to one up each other to get a psychological advantage.

Afterwards, Probst lets both tribes off the hook, telling them that there will be no tribal council vote that night.

Probst needles Galu a little, getting Mick to admit that Foa Foa thinks they would have won the earlier challenge.

Erik then cuts a pro wrestling-type promo that would make John Cena smile, saying, “Let’s line it up and do a challenge right now, cause that’s what Russ would do. He’d say, ‘Are you kidding me? There’s five of them over there, and there’s eight of us over here.’ Every bead of sweat that he put into everything he ever did, we’re bringing that to you. We’re bringing that every day, every challenge!”

Apparently Erik went to the Yasmin Giles school of how to make friends with the other tribe.

And with that, Jeff sends them back to camp. Next week Galu will have to choose a new tribe leader.

Verdict: OK, there’s been a lot of hyperbole with this episode with Jeff saying it was the scariest moment he’s ever witnessed in “Survivor.” And, my first instinct was, “Scarier than Michael Skupin falling into the fire in Australia?” But, Jeff was absolutely right. LE Russell’s eyes were open, but he wasn’t there. I hate to see people leave the game without being voted out, but they definitely made the right call. Glad he’s going to be OK.

Who’s Going to Win? Laura’s still my girl, but Shambo jumping to Foa Foa could be a game changer.

What Do You Think? Should LE Russell have come out of the game? How far would LE Russell have gone if he had stayed healthy? Was LE Russell’s accident the scariest moment in “Survivor” history? Should Galu be afraid of Shambo jumping to Foa Foa?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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