‘Survivor: Samoa’ Episode 1 Recap: The Most Evil Villain Ever?

Richard Hatch? A kitten.

Jerri Manthey? The girl next door.

Jonny ‘Fairplay’ Dalton? A saint.

None of these so-called “Survivor Villains” can hold a candle to Russell Hantz.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are this season’s tribes…

Foa Foa (wearing yellow)

  • Ashley – 22 – Spa Sales
  • Ben – 28 – Bar Manager
  • Betsy – 48 – Police Officer
  • Elizabeth – 33 – Attorney
  • Jaison – 28 – Law Student
  • Marisa – 26 – Student
  • Mick – 33 – Doctor
  • Mike – 62 – Personal Chef
  • 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 (Wait…seriously?!)
  • Kelly – 25 – Hair Stylist
  • Laura – 39 – Office Manager
  • Monica – 25 – Law Student
  • Russell S. – 42 – Attorney
  • Shannon – 45 – Sales
  • Yasmin – 33 – Hair Stylist

Not sure how I feel about the pastel color scheme of the tribes. Easter was months ago.

Jeff Probst welcomes us to Samoa as the contestants are paddling their way to shore. They haven’t spoken yet, but they’re already forming opinions of each other. Russell H. doesn’t waste a second of screen time before letting us know his gimmick; he wants to make everyone’s life hell. Ladies and gentlemen…meet “Survivor” Casting’s dream come true…

J-Pro starts the game off by telling the teams they’ll have to pick a leader right off the bat. It’s kind of like the opposite of last season where they had to vote someone off the tribe immediately. Wait, it’s exactly the opposite.

Galu gets to go first. As they’re reading the votes we’re introduced to Shannon aka “Shambo.” Apparently her Rambo-esque bandana earned her the nickname “Shambo” while she was in the Marine Corps.

Also of note, Shambo’s sporting the most glorious fe-mullet I’ve ever seen in my life. Score two for “Survivor” Casting.

Galu chooses Russell S. as their leader. Two Russells? Really? Minus one for “Survivor” Casting. OK, going forward Russell H. will be “Evil Russell” while Russell S. will be “Good Russell.” I don’t know if Good Russell is actually good, but he gets that name by default.

Foa Foa is next, they pick the Jack Shephard-esque Mick as their leader. Maybe a better nickname for Evil Russell is Ben Linus?

Anywho, it’s not all bad for the leaders. I mean, yeah, they do have an instant target on their back, but Jeff does give them each a sweet leadership necklace.

Reward Challenge Time: First up, the leaders will have to pick the best swimmer. Good Russell chooses John for his team, Mick chooses Jaison. Jaison is shocked by this, because “Everyone assumes a tall, black guy can’t swim.” Yay breaking stereotypes!

Next up, they have to pick their strongest member. Mick taps Evil Russell while Good Russell chooses Erik. For the most agile member, Mick picks Marisa and Good Russell picks Yasmin.

And for the smartest member, Good Russell picks Shambo while Mick chooses Liz. Liz thinks Mick chose her because she’s Asian and Asians are “Supposed to be studious.” Boo enforcing stereotypes.

For the challenge, the swimmers will swim out and get a key. The strong people will take the key, unlock some logs, and carry them to the agile person. The agile person will climb the logs and a balance beam. While on the balance beam, they’ll retrieve a key. They’ll then pass the key to the smart person who will unlock puzzle pieces. The first smart person to complete their puzzle wins fire for their tribe.

The challenge starts and Jaison jumps out to a huge lead. Mike lets us know that he was shocked because African Americans aren’t known to be strong swimmers.

A Tip from Your Uncle Gordon: Think before you make your first comment on a nationally televised program.

Jaison is the first back, passing the key to Evil Russell and leaving John far behind. Evil Russell and Marisa maintain the lead, getting through their parts of the challenge quickly. Galu eventually catches up at the puzzle part, but it’s too late as Liz completes her puzzle winning the challenge for Foa Foa.

Back at camp, and Evil Russell is already putting his plan in action. His plan involves making alliances with the “dumb short-haired blonde,” “the even dumber long-haired blonde,” “the old lady,” and “the dark-haired girl.”

Betsy, aka “the old lady” lets us know that she absolutely does not trust Evil Russell.

Meanwhile at Galu, John the Rocket Scientist is insisting that wind resistance become a key component of their shelter building process. That may be three for “Survivor” casting. Someone keep score for me.

That night at Foa Foa, Evil Russell is telling a heart-wrenching story about how he lost his dog during Hurricane Katrina. This story is a complete fabrication. After the story, Evil Russell sneaks out and empties all of the canteens. He also throws one of Jaison’s socks in the fire. This guy is making Coach look like Papa Smurf.

Immunity Challenge Time: Before the challenge, Good Russell lets us know that his tribe is the greatest tribe in the history tribes. Foa Foa is having none of this, threatening to open some “cans of whoop ass.” Hopefully Evil Russell hasn’t emptied those camps in the dead of night yet.

To start off the challenge, six members of each tribe will have to run up and over a series of A-frames while carrying three bundles of ropes. Once they’re over the frames, they’ll have to use the ropes to pull a wagon of puzzle pieces to the end of the challenge. From there, the other four members will have to finish the puzzle. First team to finish their puzzle wins immunity.

So…obstacle course followed by a puzzle. I’m spotting a theme.

The challenge starts and Galu gets an early lead. They also invent the innovative “human ladder” technique of getting over the steeper A-frames. Smart. The race is very close, but the Galu team gets their pieces of the puzzle first. From there, Galu quickly puts it together, winning the first immunity of the season.

Galu celebrates by chanting “Galu is in the house.” Wow, I’ve never turned on an entire tribe before. Go Foa Foa.

Politicking at Foa Foa involves Mike trying to get rid of Ashley because she is slightly weaker than he is (and that’s debatable). Most people seem on board with this until Marisa tells Evil Russell that she’s not sure if she can trust him. Evil Russell decides that Marisa will be his first victim.

That night at Tribal Council, Mike let’s us know that it’s a “Dog-eat-dog game and we’re all wearing milkbone underwear.” (Ten “Survivor” points to whoever names what 80s sitcom that line is from.)

Note: “Survivor” points have no cash value.

When asked who she considers the weakest link, Betsy names Ashley. Ashley disagrees.

Marisa and Ben have a bit of a tiff as well when Marisa fails to answer the “Who’s the weakest link” question.

Voting Time: Betsy votes for Ashley, Evil Russell votes for Marisa, and the rest of the votes were burnt along with Jaison’s socks.

The Emmy-award-winning (and currently Emmy-nominated) Jeff Probst reads the votes…one for Marisa, two for Marisa, one for Ashley, two for Ashley, three for Marisa, three for Ashley, four for Marisa, five for Marisa, and the first person voted out of “Survivor: Samoa” is…Marisa.

Aww…she actually looks really upset. Lesson to learn? Don’t cross Evil Russell.

Verdict: They’ve been pitching Evil Russell as the biggest villain in “Survivor” history, and they didn’t disappoint. Oddly enough, I don’t hate his strategy. If the rest of his tribe is getting frustrated, he’ll have an advantage over them. However, if he’s caught, he’s gone. Also, if his tribe keeps getting kicked around in the challenges (and lack of food and socks won’t help that) he’ll be gone once they merge.

Who’s Going to Win? Oh wow…with Benedict Russell on Foa Foa, I think everyone on his team is in trouble once they merge. So, I’m going to pick a Galu name off the top of my head…let’s go with…Yasmin.

Something to Watch Out For: The “Survivor” Power Rankings Challenge continues this season as your intrepid “Survivor” recapper squares off against one of your “Survivor: Tocantins” favorites. Which Tocantins alumni has the guts to square off against the man Coach dubbed “The Truth Seeker?” Be sure to visit Fancast this Wednesday to find out…

What Do You Think? Is Evil Russell the worst villain in “Survivor” history? Should they have to pick a leader? Who’s your early pick to win?

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