Archive for October, 2009

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Elizabeth Kim

October 30, 2009

Sometimes the key to survival is being strong in challenges. Sometimes the key to survival is being useful around camp. This year the key to survival is not crossing “Evil” Russell Hantz. New York attorney Elizabeth Kim learned this lesson last night when she was the third person to leave the game after getting on “Evil” Russell’s bad side. We spoke with Elizabeth and got her thoughts on Russell’s sexist comments, the Foa Foa blondes, and lawyer jokes.

Gordon Holmes: Hey, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Kim:
Hi, Gordon. How are you?
Gordon: Terrible.
Elizabeth: Oh, sorry to hear that.
Gordon: I’ve have had the song “Poker Face” stuck in my head for two straight days.
Elizabeth: (Laughs) Ew…that is bad.
Gordon: How are you doing?
Elizabeth: Great!
Gordon: I heard a rumor about you.
Elizabeth: What’s that?
Gordon: Some big, burly guy on this reality show said that you’re so stupid, he can’t see how you can walk without falling down.
Elizabeth: I know, but coming from a chauvinistic pig, I’m not surprised.
Gordon: How does he think you got your three degrees?  Did you have to crawl up to the graduation podium to get them?
Elizabeth: I think so! He would think that. (Laughs)

Gordon: So, Russell seemed to make life difficult for your tribe with the water dumping and the sock burning. Did anyone have any idea he was up to those kinds of shenanigans?
Elizabeth: Absolutely not. Fortunately I wasn’t victimized by his pranks. But, you have to think that when someone as diabolical as that is in your tribe, who needs enemies? We don’t need Galu when we have a force to be reckoned with on our own tribe.

Gordon: I spoke with Ashley last week, and she made it sound like he was the nicest guy, sneaking them food and whatnot.  Did he treat you the same way?
Oh please. Russell is slimy and I never trusted him from the get go. I treated him with kid gloves. That’s why I escaped being part of his “Dumb A— Girl” alliance because he knew not to deal with me in that manner. So, there was some modicum of respect that crumbled when I called him out. It’s hard because you want to find someone you can trust, and Ashley was looking for someone she could hang her hat with, and she just chose the wrong person.
Gordon: It’s too bad he wasn’t starting a “Smart A— Girl” alliance because you could have been the charter member.
Elizabeth: Again, Russell is a male chauvinist pig. He has a very vulnerable ego and he never wanted to feel like any woman was showing him up.
Gordon: You mentioned what happened when you called him out over the hidden immunity idol. Any idea he’d blow up like that?
Elizabeth: No, and when he did, I knew he had it. He flipped out. As soon as he did, any doubt that I had that he had it went out the window.

Gordon: I feel like we saw a lot of how you were reacting to situations. What moves were you making on your own that we didn’t see?
I was trying to forge a yuppie alliance with Mick and Jaison. You saw my tribe members, they’re crazy. Ben is nuts, the blondes? Forget it. Russell? No way. My last hope was Mick and Jaison. But what I didn’t know was how Russell had brought them into his corner with the idol. That just made it so much more of an uphill battle.
Gordon: I see a flaw in your logic, because how can you trust an alliance made of lawyers?
Elizabeth: (Silence) I’m a lawyer myself, so maybe I’m biased.

Gordon: Moving on…Jaison seemed to have a rough time out there. Every time they cut to him he was complaining. He even gave up during last night’s challenge. Was he really like that all the time?
It was worse than you saw. Team spirit was at an all-time low at Foa Foa. And this is where I give Russell credit because he continued to plow through it. But Jaison, for as big as he is, as strong as he looks, he was the biggest complainer. It was so much. It’s not like it’s a walk in the park for me either. But constantly losing and all the rain just cracked Jaison.

Gordon: Is Mick being a leader at all, or is he downplaying it?
He was not a very effective leader. We chose him, but we overestimated how he would be. He didn’t lead at all. I don’t know if that’s part of his strategy, but we could have used some motivational speaking. He didn’t do that at all.

Gordon: OK, word association time. Let’s start with Natalie.
Gordon: Shambo?
Elizabeth: Friendly.
Gordon: Laura?
Elizabeth: Hmm…b—h.
Gordon: Whoa…Jaison?
Elizabeth: Whiner.
Gordon: Russell S.?
Elizabeth: Leader.
Gordon: Russell H.?
Elizabeth: Chauvinist.
Gordon: Ben?
Elizabeth: Racist.
Gordon: OK, so what did you take…
Elizabeth: Wait, you forgot Ashley!
Gordon: OK, Ashley?
Elizabeth: Brat.

Gordon: So what did you take from your time in Samoa?
Elizabeth: Sometimes 100% isn’t enough. You can play the best game you can possibly play, but sometimes the deck will still be stacked against you. The way the numbers play out, the environment, and it’s just hard. It’s hard when it’s going against you. And that was very hard for me. I always like to think that I have control over my destiny and can do things to change the way things are going. But this game, under those conditions, there’s very little I could do. Again, we were down to five people and I tried to sway Mick and Jaison, but I underestimated the power of the idol. I think Russell was motivated to play the game because he had the idol. And if any one of us had had the idol we would have been in his shoes.
Gordon: Five years ago, could you have ever imagined yourself seriously discussing “The Power of the Idol?”
Elizabeth: (Laughs) Absolutely not.
Gordon: Elizabeth, thank you for your time, and I want to apologize for my terrible lawyer joke earlier.
Elizabeth: (Laughs) It’s OK, I get that all of the time.

‘Survivor: Samoa’ Episode 7 Recap: The Rise of LauRussell?

October 29, 2009

Last Week: Russell Swan’s medical situation forced him out of the game, while Erik foolishly picked a fight with Foa Foa at tribal council.

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
Shannon – 45 – Sales

We meet up with Galu after tribal council and the guys are worried that Russell leaving has cost them their advantage in the men vs. women feud. Wait, what? I thought the 90210ers hated Shambo? They decide to get Shambo on their side then cut her lose when they’re down to the final five. An unidentified male Galu member even spouts the trite “Bros before hoes” catchphrase. “Bros before Shambos” is much more family friendly yet maintains the rhyme scheme. Just sayin’…

Fun Fact: Merriam-Webster’s Web site has an entry for the proper spelling of the plural of the word “ho.” Thank you, Internet!

The next morning at Foa Foa, the team is very excited that Galu has lost one of their strongest competitors. Russell (no need to call him evil anymore) lets us know that Liz was the next to go if it had come down to a vote.

Over at Galu the male plan involves electing Shambo the leader so she’ll trust them. Shambo seems less than overwhelmed. The tribe puts it up to a vote and Shambo wins. How does she have experience to lead a tribe? If I were a conservative this is where I’d make a Barack Obama joke.

As her first act in the leadership role, Shambo pledges to lead without being bossy. Dave lets us know that her regime is a façade and she is their puppet.  If I were a liberal this is where I’d make a George Bush joke.

Reward Challenge Time: Survival items are hidden under wicker pyramids. It’s basically a game of Memory. Each team will get to reveal two items at once. If they find two of the same item, they get a point. Or, the leader can choose to keep the item and forfeit the point. Four of the survival items are dummy items and do not have matches. The team with the most points wins a sailboat cruise. They’ll also get to send a tribe member to the opposing tribe’s camp.

Kelly, Dave, and Shambo will sit out. Brett will act as the leader for Galu since Shambo is sitting out.

Laura unveils two fire-starting kits. They forfeit the point and keep the kits.

Brett finds two mosquito nets. They decide to keep the point. Galu 1, Foa Foa 0.

John finds two cleavers, they keep the point. Galu 2, Foa Foa 0.

Through some super snazzy editing, I can tell who’s finding what. But, I do know Galu is winning.

Natalie finds two pots to bring the score to Galu 6, Foa Foa 4.

Monica finds two sets of eating utensils to win the challenge for Galu. They also managed to win a tarp along the way. Somewhere Russell S. is smiling.

Shambo chooses to send Laura to Foa Foa so she can keep her men strong for the next challenge. The 90210ers take this move personally.

WHOA! Kelly actually says something! She compares Shambo to a trailer trash woman who has married a rich person and doesn’t know how to act. ShamBASH!

Back at Galu, Russell and Laura bond over their religious backgrounds. He then pitches a cross-tribe alliance where Laura, Russell, and Natalie would end up in the final three. Russell even says he can spot a “Good Christian.” Forget what I said earlier, we’re gonna stick with that “Evil Russell” nickname.

Evil Russell also tells her to toss away the immunity idol clue. He claims Ben found the idol but never used it. Evil!

Meanwhile on the cruise, the Galutians are having a grand time. While they’re there they are treated to a delicious beef stew. Monica also tries to make up with Shambo.

At Foa Foa, Elizabeth is annoyed that Laura and Natalie are talking about their faith while she’s trying to start a fire. She points this out to Evil Russell who is less than sympathetic. At least, I think he’s unsympathetic. Maybe I misunderstood it when he said, “Liz is so stupid, I don’t see how she can walk without falling down.”

Immunity Challenge Time: Both tribes will paddle a boat out to get fish-shaped puzzle pieces. They’ll have to hook the puzzle pieces on fishing poles to retrieve them. Cute. They’ll then return to the beach to put the puzzle together. The first tribe to complete their puzzle wins immunity.

John, Monica, and Laura will sit out. In other news, Foa Foa has left their leadership necklace back at camp because they think it’s bad luck. Well, that’s what happens when you make a leadership necklace out of the tiki idol from the Brady Bunch’s trip to Hawaii.

Foa Foa jumps out to an early lead as Dave has a problem with his pole.

Grow up.

Galu manages to regain some ground as Jaison is too tired to push Foa Foa’s boat.

The puzzle portion does not go well for Foa Foa as they can’t quite figure it out. The trick was that the pieces didn’t go together like a traditional puzzle. There were supposed to be gaps between the pieces. Galu figured it out first and won yet another immunity. It probably also didn’t help that Jaison seemed to give up.

Politicking around Foa Foa revolves around Evil Russell debating between Elizabeth and Jaison. But, since they only showed him discussing this with Elizabeth, I’m going to assume that he’s not debating it that seriously. Bye, Elizabeth.

That night at tribal council, J-Pro calls the tribe out as one of the worst performing tribes in “Survivor” history. I’d assume they’re second worst behind Palau’s Ulong tribe that never won immunity.

Evil Russell thinks he can whip up on Galu after the merge. Jaison is worried that he’ll be voted out based on his performance in the challenge.

Voting Time:
Elizabeth votes for Jaison, Jaison votes for Liz, and the rest are super secret. Jeff tallies…one vote for Jaison, two votes for Liz, and the sixth person voted out of “Survivor: Samoa” and the eighth person overall to go home is…Elizabeth.

Verdict: It’s nice to see that the last episode before the merge ended in the same manner that most of the other episodes have ended; with Galu smacking Foa Foa around in a challenge. That being said, there is a lot of uncertainty going into the merge as Foa Foa seems to be more solid alliance-wise than Galu does. This could be Tocantins all over again if they’re not careful.

Who’s Going to Win? Laura’s got some options now, but this whole male/female thing at Galu has me worried that the 90210ers could be on the outs.

Special Note: I’m going to be somewhere sunny next week with a pineapple drink in my hand. So, there will be no “Survivor” recap. I’ll be back in two weeks with my regularly scheduled recap and promise to think of you the whole time I’m gone.

What Do You Think? Who’s in trouble going into the merge? Should Jaison have been booted for bailing on the challenge? Is it wrong for Russell to use religion to get on Laura’s good side?

‘Survivor: Samoa’ Power Rankings Challenge: Round 6

October 28, 2009

Welcome to “Pre-Show Smack Talk with Taj and Gordon”

Gordon: So, now that I have a commanding lead, I’m prepared to discuss the stakes of this competition.
Taj: That doesn’t seem fair!
Gordon: How about the winner gets to sing with S.W.V.?
Taj: I can think of a couple people who might have a problem with that.
Gordon: Fine…fine…how about the winner gets Eddie George’s 1995 Heisman Trophy award?
Taj: I can think of one person who would DEFINITELY have a problem with that.
Gordon: Alright, you drive a tough bargain. How about the winner of the “Survivor: Samoa” Power Rankings Challenge will receive the coveted Golden Probsty Award?
Taj: I love it!

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Tocantins’s” Tamara “Taj” George and your beloved “Survivor” recapped Gordon “Truth Seeker” Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of that Thursday’s episode will determine the number of points the two combatants will earn. For example, if John is voted out this week, Taj will receive 8 points and Gordon will receive 9 points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Samoa” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Russell Swan’s medical problem forced him out of the game earning both Taj and Gordon 13 points. The current score is now Taj: 80, Gordon: 86.

Taj’s Picks:

Rank Last Week Contestant Comment
1 1 Russell H: Everyone thinks that Russell is evil and crazy. I like the guy! He’s a man after my own heart, at least the nice side of my heart. Lol! He’s playing the game like a pro. He’s sent more than half of his own tribe packing at will and now it looks like he’s creating a cross tribe alliance before the merge. I hope his works better than mine did. I don’t see him winning it all but I totally see him in the final four.
2 3 Dave: My heart aches for Russell S. and Galu. The passion and fight seemed to increase at tribal council. It seems like he will want someone like Shambo to be the new leader because she will be easy to manipulate. He will be calling the shots with Shambo as a cover. Great idea!
3 4 Brett: Quiet and cute. That’s all I have on this guy. He’s good in challenges but doesn’t really say much. There’s no reason to put him low on the list.
4 6 Laura: I have a love/hate relationship with Laura. She’s an older woman hanging in there. Naturally, I like her. I just want her to be creative. I want to see where the Russell/Laura alliance will go. I hope she doesn’t try to play the mother role with him.
5 14 Natalie: Natalie, Natalie, Natalie! Russell was definitely in your corner last week. He was ready to turn the whole tribe against Liz to save you. Do you ever wonder why? Your tribe is down to 5 people and you’re the weakest. Start thinking about the future girlie.
6 2 Erik: Does Erik understand choose your battles wisely? I was crushed when Russell S. had to leave the game. I was fired up and ready for battle right along with the Galu tribe. Did you hear me shouting it out? NO! He completely alienated Foa Foa by talking so much trash. Who cares what they were saying. They have 5 tribe members left. He’ll really need that HII once the merge happens.
7 9 Mick: Maybe Foa Foa should elect a new leader also. It’s as if Mick was medevac’d on the first day. His tribe loses everything. There are no pep talks for his tribe from him. Nothing! Bless his heart!
8 5 John: I’m ready for John to say something clever about science and physics for me. I want to laugh about something else other than him. He’s riding the wave of a strong tribe. I’m bored!
9 7 Kelly: See John but replace “science and physics” with something about her tattoos. Still bored!
10 10 Jaison: Jaison has been quiet for the past two weeks. Good for him. His tribe thinks he’s an asset for challenges that they consistently lose. Good for him. I’ll say more about him once the tribes merge. There’s really nothing he can do but wait at this point.
11 8 Monica: If Russell did not become sick would it have been over for Monica? Probably. I would’ve been torn after a week’s worth of rain knowing that Russell chose blankets for the girls. Hell, I was mad at all of the girls for choosing blankets & pillows over a tarp. What the hell is wrong with them?
12 12 Shannon: I really want her to pull a pimp move and outsmart her tribe but I know it will never happen. She’s too much of a sweet Marine. A really tough lady without an evil bone in her body.
13 11 Elizabeth: The only reason I have Liz at the bottom is because of her tribe’s losing trend. If Foa Foa loses again and if Russell has his way, she will be out of there for no other reason than she has three ivy-league degrees. She’s too tough and smart for her own good.

Gordon’s Picks:

Rank Last Week Contestant Comment
1 1
Russell H.: Last season it looked like Brendan was going to start a cross-tribe alliance with my lovely competition Taj, but it never really came to fruition. This season it looks like Russell and Laura might pull it off. I still don’t think Russell can win, but he’s five steps ahead of everyone else.
2 4 Brett: Yeah, Brett hasn’t said very much. But on the other hand he hasn’t gone off on a tirade against Foa Foa at tribal council. So, he has that going for him.
3 2 Dave: I’m not quite sure what to make of Dave and John acting like they want to align with Shambo. It can’t be real, can it? Either way, I like it because it shows they’re thinking outside of the box.
4 5 Laura: Russell S. called Laura a “Master Manipulator” when we spoke last Friday and from the looks of her pact with Russell H., he may have been dead on. If this doesn’t come back to bite her, she could be the dominant force in the post-merge tribe.
5 3 Erik: Erik is a strong, smart player. He has a hidden immunity idol and seems to be in good with the rest of Galu. However, that speech last week in front of Foa Foa was extremely short-sighted.
6 9 Kelly: I give Kelly grief because we don’t hear much from her, but being the middle person in an alliance can be a sweet gig. She’s not next on the chopping block, and she won’t be the first to go if there’s any kind of backstabbing.
7 7 Mick: What has Middle-of-the-Pack Mick done in this game? Sure he’s safe now, but he and Jaison have to be the favorites to be the first people voted out after the merge.
8 11 Jaison: I hope Jaison is feeling better now that the weather has improved. But like I said in Mick’s entry, I doubt he’s going to be around much longer.
9 8 John: So, John is smart enough to realize that they need to separate Laura and Monica, but not smart enough to see that Shambo would be a big problem when the tribe’s merge?
10 6 Natalie: Russell H. says she’s safe, but we’ve heard that song and dance from Russell before. I actually believe him in this case as I think he’s going to need her vote down the line.
11 10 Monica: She seems to be the low woman on the 90210ers totem pole. If John isn’t just playing Shambo (and I’m not convinced he isn’t) Monica could be the next to go.
12 14 Elizabeth: The choice between Elizabeth and Natalie boils down to Elizabeth being better at challenges and Natalie being in Evil Russell’s pocket. So, while Elizabeth may be more valuable now, Natalie will be more valuable later. My money’s on Elizabeth going first.
13 12 Shannon: I don’t understand how Shambo got this far in the game. The 90210ers clearly don’t like her and I’m pretty sure John and the other guys are setting her up somehow. If she can make the merge she could make a run, but I don’t see that happening.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Russell Swan

October 23, 2009

The importance of the actual day-to-day act of taking care of yourself is often lost in “Survivor.” While the social maneuvering, alliance building, and backstabbing may be the show stealer, the fact that these people are surviving with so little (no pun intended) for so long must be appreciated. Russell Swan learned to appreciate that the hard way when he collapsed during a reward challenge and was taken out of the game. We had a chance to ask Russell what he remembers from that day (not much), why he took the leadership role seriously, and which of the Galu members is the dreamiest…

Gordon Holmes: So, I missed last night’s show. Anything interesting happen?
Russell Swan:
(Laughing) I almost died…and I freaked my wife out. And that’s about it, Gordon.
Gordon: Jeff Probst said that you probably didn’t realize how bad it really was. Now that you’ve had a chance to watch it, what are your feelings on the incident?
Russell: You know, Gordon, that was just a huge shock. My brain has a completely different script in it in terms of what happened. I had no idea. This is what I remembered happening. I go through the maze, I take a knee to rest, Laura tells me to lift my side up, I lift my side up. I hit myself in the head and maybe knocked myself out. I’m laying there for about five minutes, and then they yanked me.  And I was pissed off, because “Why are you yanking me?!” Then I see on TV; I’m stumbling around, they’re pulling me, I’m laying on the thing. It was disturbing. I’m laying back, and my eyes looked like a dead person. My wife lost it. We both agreed that we shouldn’t let my daughter watch it.
Gordon: It was rough cause you were stumbling around, but you were wearing a blindfold so you’re supposed to be stumbling around! Nobody knew what was going on.
Russell: That happened to a person that I don’t know. That was not me, that was someone who looked like me. I have absolutely no memory of any of that. I don’t remember hearing anyone’s voice except for Laura’s. The only other voice I remember is Jeff saying, “Stop,” And I’m thinking, “Why are we stopping? Don’t tell me we lost the challenge.”  I guess if there are gaps your brain will fill them in.
Gordon: How long after they took you out of the game were you able to be up and about again?
Russell: This is going to sound strange, but in my mind it was only five minutes. But in reality it was more like a couple of hours. Apparently I was being a jerk to the medical staff because I didn’t understand why they were taking me out of the game. Having seen the show…now I get it.
Gordon: Jeff had mentioned that he watched you go through several stages: anger, denial, sadness. He also said that you were worried you’d be viewed as a quitter. Do you appreciate now that that isn’t the case?
Russell: I appreciate that now, but at the time, I thought it was because I was lying on my back for five minutes. What a wimp. I was thinking, “I’ve sent in eight applications to this show, and this is how it’s going to end cause I’m on my back for five minutes?!” I was in warrior mode, I wanted to go.

Gordon: As part of that leadership role, you punished Shambo for losing the chicken. How much of that was punishment and how much of that was strategy to get in close with the rest of the tribe?
Yeah, she’s on the outs. But, she had made a number of mistakes, not only the chicken, but losing the snorkel…which was huge. I had to show the tribe that there are consequences for actions. But some of that is strategy too. There are other people I could put up on the chopping block. But I’ve got a target on my back. Any time I can throw the light on someone else I’m going to do it.

Gordon: Now something that did throw the light on you was when you chose the bath and body gift basket over the tarp. How much grief did you get over that decision?
(Laughs) I’m going to tell you, the grief over that has been way too much and long lasting. It was a stupid decision, but it was strategic. In life, and we’re not playing “Survivor,” I’m choosing the tarp. It’s a no-brainer. But there were some very specific things that I saw that led me to that decision.
Gordon: How could you have possibly known it was going to rain for forty days and forty nights?
Russell: I never imagined that, it was supposed to be Samoa’s dry season. But it rained for a week straight. I’d hate to see that place when it’s the wet season.

Gordon: Yasmin seemed to be someone that you were willing to go to bat for, but you eventually voted against her. Was this a situation where you didn’t feel that strongly toward her, or did you think it would be a disaster to go against the others?
Yasmin was the strongest woman in the game, period. Every time she had to step up, she did. At that point my strategy is, “Let’s win every challenge so we don’t have to go to tribal council.” But, “Survivor” is a social game, and I need to be able to go back and see what the group thinks. I thought it was the wrong vote, but we’re playing a game.

Gordon: OK, word association time. Let’s start with Brett…
A sweet guy.
Gordon: Dave?
Russell: Smart as hell.
Gordon: Erik?
Russell: Warrior, my right-hand man.
Gordon: John?
Russell: Underwear model!
Gordon: Underwear model/rocket scientist/nuclear physicist…
Russell: Yeah, whatever. I don’t know about that guy. He’s cute. I’d probably try to hit on him.
Gordon: Oh, he’s adorable. But you’re getting me off track.
Russell: (Laughs)
Gordon: Kelly?
Russell: Oh, she’s a sweetheart.
Gordon: Laura?
Russell: Wow…master manipulator.
Gordon: Monica?
Russell: Sweetheart, I love Monica to death.
Gordon: Shambo?
Russell: Shambo is one of a kind. I will always keep in contact with Shambo.

Gordon: During tribal council last night, Erik made a very passionate speech. He said they were going to do what you would have wanted them to do, bringing it to Foa Foa, every challenge, every time. What was your reaction to seeing that you’re still a leader, even when you’re not there?
Russell: I loved that. At the end of the day, it is a game and the leader thing is somewhat contrived, but we are people and we’re really doing that. I took that role seriously at some point because I had to. And to see that they took that seriously, it was very cathartic and it really did mean something.

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

October 22, 2009

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?

‘Survivor: Samoa’ Power Rankings Challenge: Round 5

October 21, 2009

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Tocantins’s” Tamara “Taj” George and your beloved “Survivor” recapped Gordon “Truth Seeker” Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of that Thursday’s episode will determine the number of points the two combatants will earn. For example, if John is voted out this week, Taj will receive 5 points and Gordon will receive 8 points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Samoa” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Ashley was sent packing earning Taj 13 points and Gordon 15 points. The current score is now Taj: 67, Gordon: 73.

Taj’s Picks:

Rank Last Week Contestant Comment
1 2 Russell H.: I would love to be able to see everyone’s face after watching each episode and listening to Russell’s verbal assaults towards them.  I would feel like such an idiot for trusting him.  He’s grabbing the strings over his tribe once again.  I love the way he threatened Liz.  For a second, I was a little nervous.  I wanted to apologize for Liz and ask for his forgiveness.  No one is really challenging him.  I really can’t see anyone from Foa Foa challenging him anytime soon.
2 1 Erik: I like his spunk.  He has a HII and he’s playing a great low-key game.  He may have rubbed a few folks the wrong way on his tribe here and there but nothing to complain about.  I want him to go far.
3 3 Dave: Now, if no one else sees the similarities between Dave and Coach, you’re crazy!  This guy refuses to start a fire unless the leader asks him personally.  I was having flashbacks.  He’s a quiet Coach.  Coach would’ve demanded to be the leader and then refused to do any work.  Still, very similar.  Lol!  He’s still an asset until the merge.
4 5 Brett: As long as Brett follows what everyone else is doing and saying, he should be safe until the merge when he’ll actually have to think for himself.
5 4 John: I like how John stepped to the back to let everyone else make all of the moves.  He’s doing what he’s told and pulling his weight.  Good boy!
6 11 Laura: I like her as well.  She’s very intense at times.  I think if she can make it to the merge, she will step up big time to surprise a few people.
7 12 Kelly: I don’t believe one word on her tattoos.  She should have a tattoo across her chest that says “Follower”.  She hasn’t done anything but follow the 90210 pack.
8 15 Monica: Monica redeemed herself last week with the food challenge.  Your girls are still covering for you when you fall short.  Enjoy the game.  At least until your tribe starts to lose and it comes down to them or you.
9 7 Mick: At some point, I want Mick to get into the game.  He’s such a nice guy.  I would love to hang out with him.  He’s definitely strong in challenges but what difference does it make if your tribe consistently loses.  If he doesn’t grow some balls he’ll be voted out shortly after the merge.
10 8 Jaison: I can’t believe Jaison didn’t quit last week.  After that storm and losing the challenge, my vote was for Jaison to quit because he just couldn’t take it anymore.  He’s voiced his opinion enough to make him a good mark for the jury or the last person to make the vacation trip.
11 9 Elizabeth: Finally a glimpse of her sassiness.  She’s on to Evil Russell, which is a positive for viewers but might not work well for her.  So far, everyone that has challenged Evil Russell has been sent home.  So why do I have her so high on the list?  Watch your back, Liz.
12 14 Shannon: Somehow, after losing the equipment and food supply she’s still around.  Mostly because her tribe can’t lose an immunity challenge and she’s pretty strong in challenges.  It looks like Russell may have to leave the game for medical reasons but the tribe may still vote for Shambo at tribal.
13 6 Russell S: From the look of this week’s preview, Russell S may become another statistic.  He’s not really leading his tribe, Shambo would gladly write his name down and his tribe doesn’t respect his leadership.  It’s really just a matter of time and judging from the preview, it might be this week.
14 12 Natalie: She’s not very strong in the challenges, she helped vote out her closest ally in Ashley and her tribe consistently loses.  If Foa Foa loses this week, I think she will be voted out before Shambo.  Evil Russell would prefer to have Shambo at camp distracting everyone else with her antics than Natalie who could potentially expose him.

Gordon’s Picks:

Rank Last Week Contestant Comment
1 1
Russell H.: Boy, just wait until Foa Foa figures out all of the rotten things Russell’s been doing…right? But what if they never find out? Every contestant I’ve interviewed has made it sound like they had no idea the kind of game Russell was playing. Ashley even went so far as to call him (gag) “Sweet.”
2 2 Dave: The 90210ers are ruling the roost over at Galu. They’re going to go into the merge with a serious numbers advantage, and I stand by my belief that Dave is the one pulling the strings over there.
3 3 Erik: Erik is still a bit of a wildcard for me. He’s smart enough to have the hidden immunity idol, but he seems to have little fits every now and then. I think he’s super safe for the time being, so I’ll keep him toward the top of this list.
4 4 Brett: Still don’t have much of a handle on Mr. T-Shirt Designer. But he doesn’t seem to be rubbing anyone the wrong way, so I’ll assume he’s safe.
5 5 Laura: If Dave is the Brad Pitt of the super couple that is the 90210 alliance, then I’m thinking Laura is the Angelina Jolie. She’s probably being very motherly toward the youngsters like Monica, Kelly, and Brett.
6 10 Natalie: OMG, Natalie lost her BFF. OK, that’s enough of that. So, what’s next for Natalie now that Ashley’s torch has been extinguished? I think she’s safe as long as Elizabeth is around, but if there isn’t a merge soon she could be in big trouble.
7 9 Mick: Ah…good old Done-After-the-Merge Mick. (And yes, I intend to have a new nickname for him every week until he’s voted out.) What has he done on the show besides smartly ignore the leadership role that was thrust upon him? Not much.
8 7 John: For the first time this week, I tried to write my power rankings without having the tribe lists in front of me. I remembered everyone except for John. C’mon, John! Calculate the polarity of coconut or something! Give me something to work with!
9 6 Kelly: Yes, I’m aware there’s someone on this show named Kelly. That puts her one above John on my player notoriety radar. But no, I don’t have a good reason for ranking her 9th.
10 11 Monica: Despite messing up that challenge a few weeks ago, Monica wasn’t in any real danger of being voted off. The 90210ers saved her. If her alliance can stay together through the merge, she’s the type that can coast to the final four.
11 12 Jaison: Jaison seems to be having a tough time of it out in Samoa. I’ve never had to endure 48 straight hours of rain, but I can’t imagine it’s a lot of fun. I don’t think Jaison will quit, but I do think he’ll have the biggest smile on his face when he’s finally voted out.
12 14 Shannon: Sorry Shambo, no BBQ for you. The move by Russell S. to send her to Foa Foa told me two things. Russell S. is trying to win over some of the 90210ers and that Shambo doesn’t have any more friends at Galu. She’s definitely gone once Galu loses immunity.
13 8 Russell S.: If this week’s previews are to be believed, Russell S. is going down hard during a challenge. Hopefully he’ll get to stay in the game, but Probst has been saying this is the worst accident he’s ever seen. Worse than Michael Skupin falling into the fire in Australia? That’s saying a lot.
14 13 Elizabeth: I don’t get the feeling that Elizabeth is very well liked over at Foa Foa. Add to that her little spat with Evil Russell and she’s a prime target to go home the next time Foa Foa loses immunity.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Ashley Trainer

October 16, 2009

“Survivor” is a lot like life. It doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes you aren’t voted out because you’re annoying or because you’re a threat. Sometimes you’re voted out because you can’t chug a smoothie made of poorly blended sea life chunks. We had a chance to sit down with Ashley Trainer the day after she was voted out of “Survivor” to get her take on how viable a “Survivor Smoothie” could be in the chain restaurant business, the disgusting things too much rain will do to your feet, and perhaps grossest of all…the fact that Evil Russell Hantz is actually a charming guy.

Gordon Holmes: So say you’re a “Survivor” fan and you’re in New York and you’re looking for a place to have lunch. You stroll into a little place in Times Square called the “Survivor” Café.
Ashley Trainer:
(Laughs) OK.
Gordon: It’s a theme restaurant with all kinds of crazy crap on the walls like buffs and torches. And there are hamburgers and chicken fingers and whatnot on the menu. But if you’re really adventurous you can order a slug guts smoothie.
Ashley: (Laughs) Wait, are you asking would I do it?
Gordon: I’m asking: A, is it an awesome idea? And B, would you partake?
Ashley: I think it’s an awesome idea. And I would never ever do it again.
Gordon: Never ever?
Ashley: No, but I think it’s an awesome idea, because all of these people think they could do it. They should at least try it, then say, “I give you props for giving it your all.”
Gordon: If you could do me a favor and describe the taste, just so our chefs will have something to go off of…
Ashley: OK, honestly I tried to take it all down, but you couldn’t because there were pieces of something in the chunks. They kind of look like beans and in each of those there were things. Chunks of who knows what. It tasted like…um…you know that smell when you go to the ocean and it smells like rotten fish and seaweed mixed together? Multiply that by about a hundred and you’ll know what that tasted like.
Gordon: So, when we get this restaurant off the ground, I’ll make sure you get a consultant fee.
Ashley: Thank you!

Gordon: They spend a lot of time on Russell. They basically make us think he’s the devil. But last night, this lovely young woman named Ashley said he is the one person she trusts the most next to her buddy Natalie. What’s going on there?
Ashley: Honestly, Russell was really good to my face. He’d sneak me extra food, he would make me think that we were going to be the final two. I don’t know what it is about him, but he’s charming in a really weird way. He always made sure I was comfortable. He snuck me and Natalie extra food. He was so good to my face otherwise I wouldn’t have said that about him. I really thought he was my ally.
Gordon: So you didn’t know he had the immunity idol?
Ashley: I kind of had a feeling, but Liz was sitting there going, “I know Russell has it, I know Russell has it!” But from what I’d seen you get on Russell’s bad side, you get voted off.
Gordon: What did you think when you watched at home and saw things like Russell dumping out the water or burning the socks?
Ashley: I was in absolute shock. I’d seen “Survivor” and in the 19 seasons, I’d never seen someone do the strategy he did. You normally want to make your tribe strong, but he enjoyed making us miserable. I honestly am in shock still.

Gordon: Did you have any idea you were going home last night?
I kind of had a feeling. Once Jaison said something and Mick said something I thought, “Alright, I’m going home tonight.” And once I voted, I came back and none of the tribe members looked at me.  I knew it.
Gordon: Hopefully they took you someplace dry and warm after that.
Ashley: Oh yes (Laughs) and I got food.

Gordon: Now, I’d heard it rained for something like 48 hours.
That’s 100% accurate. It may have rained longer than that. It was the worst thing ever. You’re freezing…my body shook the entire time. And you can’t get dry. My clothes were soaking wet and as you saw we were cuddled up into a ball. It takes you to your breaking point. But I could have kept going.
Gordon: It’s seems like Jaison is having a tough time out there.
Ashley: (Laughs) Yes, Jaison was absolutely miserable. He definitely spoke his words, but he’s a man and he has the physical strength that I don’t. It was better for the tribe to keep him around.
Gordon: Now, with his U.S. national water polo experience, you’d think he’d be used to prune hands and feet.
Ashley: (Laughs) I know, but they get to the point that you touch things and they break open. And your feet? It’s horrible. You’d touch the bamboo we used for a floor and they’d break open.
Gordon: Thanks Ashley, I’ve lost my appetite for the “Survivor” Café now.
Ashley: People don’t understand how horrible it is. There’s no end, and there’s no weather forecast telling you when the rain will end.
Gordon: So last week Yasmin tells me there’s no craft services and this week you tell me there’s no weather report?
Ashley: (Laughs) I know, isn’t it crazy?!

Gordon: Now when I spoke to Betsy and Mike, they seemed to enjoy Ben. Do you think he was misrepresented?
Honestly, I don’t think he was misrepresented. He was horrible to me. They kind of showed a little bit of the fight we got into. I just ended up getting up and walking away.

Gordon: OK, word association time. Let’s start with Elizabeth.
Ashley: Snobby.
Gordon: Jaison?
Ashley: Awesome.
Gordon: Mick?
Ashley: Sweet.
Gordon: Natalie?
Ashley: My best friend.
Gordon: Russell H.?
Ashley: Two sided.
Gordon: Shambo?
Ashley: A breath of fresh air.
Gordon: Yasmin?
Ashley: She’s funny.

Gordon: What did you learn from your time out there?
Ashley: I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought I was. All my friends are texting me like “Oh my God, I’m so proud of you. I never thought you could do anything like that.” And I didn’t think I could either. I’m so proud of myself. I’m finally happy, and I’ve found happiness in myself.
Gordon: Who would’ve thought you’d find that in Samoa.
Ashley: I know!
Gordon: How about the dogs we saw in your family video; how do they think you did?
Ashley: My dogs are very proud of me. They are my life. They’re so important to me.
Gordon: Were they down on you for not swallowing the sea slug guts?
Ashley: Probably, they probably think they could have done it.
Gordon: And a good dog won’t call you out on that.
Ashley: That true, and they gave me lots of kisses after the show last night.
Gordon: They might talk about it behind your back.
Ashley: Yeah…like Russell.

‘Survivor: Samoa’ Episode 5 Recap: Cookin’ With Probsty

October 15, 2009

Last Week: Galu lost their first immunity challenge, Shambo lost a chicken, and Yasmin lost her torch fire, which as you know, represents life.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here are the tribes as they currently stand…

Foa Foa (wearing yellow)

Ashley – 22 – Spa Sales
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 back at Galu and Shambo is upset that she was the only one who didn’t vote with the tribe. Monica may also have a problem with Shambo voting for her. But who drew first blood, Monica?

The following morning Erik provides a “Survivor” first by giving an angry, venomous interview about the ocean. Stupid ocean…

Tree mail arrives at Foa Foa and it seems to be pointing toward an “Eat Something Gross” challenge.

Quick Aside: Yes yes yes…YES! It’s been way too long since we’ve had an “Eat Something Gross” challenge. Color me giddy.

Elizabeth tells Evil Russell that she’s worried that Ashley won’t be very good at this challenge. Evil Russell doesn’t like this, because he’s the only one who should be planting seeds of distrust around the camp. Wow, you never quite know what will set Evil Russell off.

Reward Challenge Time: J-Pro will spin a roulette wheel. The ball will land on an ingredient. Probst will add that ingredient to a smoothie. The winning tribe will get some food for a barbecue and get to send a member of their tribe to hang out with the losing tribe. The winning tribe member who is sent to the other camp will have to miss out on the barbecue.

Galu will sit out Kelly, Laura, and John.

First up; Shambo vs. Jaison. Their smoothie will have a giant clam and Jeff’s choice of ingredients. Jeff chooses the octopus because it has the most flies on it. Lovely. He adds a sea snail and some lemon juice too. He then adds some fresh seaweed for garnish. Shambo downs hers relatively quickly, Jaison eventually gets his down.

Am I the only one who would totally visit a “Survivor” Café if it existed?

The battle of the Russells is next. Their smoothie has jellyfish and milk. Good Russell gets his down first, Evil Russell has trouble at first but eventually chugs the rest.

Brett and Mick get some sea cucumber, giant clams, and milk. Mick finishes his quickly. Brett has little trouble finishing his, even licking the glass when he’s done. Well played, Brett.

Monica and Elizabeth are treated to a sea urchin smoothie. Monica finishes hers like a champ, Elizabeth does a good job with hers too.

Dave and Ashley get a smoothie made of sea slug guts. Dave drinks his quickly. Then, in a classy move, starts making vomiting sounds. This doesn’t sit well with Ashley and she can’t finish her drink. In all fairness to her, it was the most disgusting looking of all the smoothies. Galu wins reward.

Wait, no Natalie or Erik?

When Jeff asks who should go to Foa Foa and miss the barbecue, Good Russell chooses Shambo. Shambo calls him out on it, saying she already went to Foa Foa. Good Russell says they need the insider info. Shambo reluctantly goes. When she’s out of earshot Good Russell says, “She’s has to pay for that chicken.”

Ouch, maybe his nickname should be changed to “Less Evil Russell.”

Back at Foa Foa, Shambo doesn’t get a steak, but she does get a group hug.

Meanwhile at Galu, Less Evil Russell lets the tribe know that sending Shambo to Foa Foa was his way of punishing her for losing the chicken. Afterwards, Dave gives Less Evil Russell grief for messing up the fire. He and LE Russell have a bit of a heated confrontation where LE Russell thinks Dave is all words and no action. When given the opportunity to provide some action, Dave manages to get the fire going.

At Foa Foa, Shambo reveals her clue to the hidden immunity idol to the tribe. Shambo digs around the tree but doesn’t find anything. Elizabeth deduces that Evil Russell must have the immunity idol as he had dug around that tree earlier. Evil Russell handles this accusation smoothly by promptly freaking out at her.

That night the angry ocean has its revenge as rain pours down on both camps. Kelly lets us know that maybe it was a mistake not to take the tarp. Yes, maybe.

Quick Aside: Is Dave really Kevin Spacey?

Immunity Challenge Time: One man and one woman from each tribe will hold onto ropes that are holding up a net. Members of the other tribe will try to shoot coconuts (basketball-style) into their nets. The more coconuts in the net, the heavier the net, the harder it is to hold up. The tribe that keeps their nets up the longest wins.

Galu sits out Dave, Shambo, and Brett.

Evil Russell and Elizabeth are holding nets for Foa Foa, Less Evil Russell and Laura are holding nets for Galu.

Galu piles a ton of coconuts into Evil Russell’s net early and he’s the first to let go. After that, Elizabeth manages to hold on for a long time before finally succumbing to the weight of the coconuts. Galu wins immunity easily.

We meet up with the gang back at Foa Foa, and Jaison is not a happy camper. The rain continues to pour down and his hands and feet are all prune-y. You’d think with his U.S. national water polo credentials he’d have built up an immunity to prune fingers.

During a tribe meeting Evil Russell asks if anyone wants to go home. Nobody volunteers. Because they’re all huddled together in the shelter, they can’t sneak out to discuss strategy.

At tribal council, Ashley says the two people she trusts the most are Natalie and Russell. Whoa…Russell? Really? I never really get a sense for how people view him because of the editing, but he may be playing a more shrewd game then we’re being led to believe.

When asked how the tribe will change after the evening vote, Mick says the team will be stronger in challenges. Jaison says it may be weaker because someone will be upset their buddy is leaving.

Voting Time: Ashley votes for Liz, Jaison for Ashley, and we don’t get to see the rest. One vote for Ashley, one vote for Liz, two votes for Ashley, and the fifth person voted out of “Survivor: Samoa” and the sixth person overall to go home is…Ashley.

Verdict: Nothing too shocking in this episode. A woman expressed doubt in Evil Russell’s trustworthiness, Galu hates Shambo, Jaison complained. Lather, rinse, repeat. It was interesting to see how vindictive Less Evil Russell can be. Sending a tribe member to bed without supper is unprecedented.

Who’s Going to Win? I’m aware that I’ve picked about a half dozen people to win this. Who am I leaning toward this week? (Flips coin) Let’s say Laura.

What Do You Think? Was it right for Less Evil Russell to punish Shambo? Is Elizabeth next to go in Foa Foa? Have you missed the “Eat Something Gross” challenges?

The ‘Survivor: Samoa’ Power Rankings: Round 4

October 14, 2009

The Rules: Each week, “Survivor: Tocantins’s” Tamara “Taj” George and your beloved “Survivor” recapped Gordon “Truth Seeker” Holmes will create separate power rankings. The ranking of the person who is voted out of that Thursday’s episode will determine the number of points the two combatants will earn. For example, if John is voted out this week, Taj will receive 4 points and Gordon will receive 7 points. At the end of the season, the person with the most points will be named the “Survivor: Samoa” Power Rankings Challenge Champion.

Last Week: Yasmin was sent home earning Taj 11 points and Gordon 13 points. The current score is now Taj: 54, Gordon: 58.

Taj’s Picks:

Rank Last Week Contestant Comment
1 3 Erik: Now that the tables have turned I have so much to say and I’m excited! Not only do I love Erik’s name but I love his quiet will to play the game. I love the fact that he is thinking about HIIs and new strategies. He has shown his physical strength from day one and now he’s thinking. Always a plus! I really believe that he can outwit, outplay, and outlast Evil Russell now. Go Erik!
2 2 Russell H.: Nothing has changed for me with Russell. I think he’s in control of his tribe 85% of the time. When he isn’t he simply makes a small adjustment until he can regain his control. I still think it’s only a matter of time before the rest of his tribe figures out his strategy. Until then, I’m going to ride with Evil Russell.
3 6 Dave: I like him because he reminds me so much of Coach (Tocantins). I thought for sure that Galu was in trouble until he played his last ball. He’s competitive and quiet. Notice I love the quiet angle? He’s an asset to any tribe so I expect he’ll be around deep into the merge.
4 7 John: I didn’t really care for his rationale during the last tribal council. I see Galu losing a few more challenges because the men are not thinking about the long term. Monica is weak in challenges and Shambo (bless her heart) is not a good team player that loses part of the food supply and equipment. Why would you vote out someone so early who is actually contributing in challenges? Now I get to reflect back on the “wind direction” comments. It just made no sense to me at all. But he’s safe for now.
5 5 Brett: See John.
6 4 Russell S.: The tribe basically said that they didn’t give a damn about what he thinks. He decided to vote for strength and the rest of the tribe decided to vote for friends (I wish my alliance thought that way about me). His control is waning over the tribe. He should really sleep with one eye open. Since he does help out significantly in the challenges he’ll probably make the merge but I don’t think he will be able to win.
7 13 Mick: Finally a win! This will help him out significantly. The win should buy Mick enough time to allow him to create more bonds with the rest of the guys on his tribe. He might even be able to talk some sense into one of the women to be able to make a run once they merge.
8 1 Jaison: He’s happy when he’s winning but a major complainer when he’s losing. Evil Russell has his eye on him also. I think after the tribes merge It’s “Bye bye, Jaison.” I’m sad because he was my favorite until I heard his constant complaining.
9 14 Elizabeth: Still I haven’t seen any reason to believe that she really has three degrees (yes, I’m still stuck on that!). She’s physical in the challenges that her tribe has lost but I haven’t seen her strategic side yet. I just wish I could crack her open to find anything strategic about her.
10 15 Natalie: Her tribe has finally won a challenge. She’s safe until they begin to lose again. Integrity will only take you so far. Step it up woman! Get your pretty head into the game.
11 8 Laura: I understand wanting to save your friend but the game is still so early. The tribe lost that challenge after having so much momentum because of Monica. Now you have not only showed your loyalty to the rest of your tribe but also showed that you’re not thinking rationally. The women on this tribe are really there to get a tan and nothing else. They will never make the merge if Galu goes on a losing string.
12 9 Kelly: See Laura.
13 16 Ashley: In the event that Foa Foa loses again, she better hope that there are a few people on her tribe that want to fight for her to stay like Monica had. Otherwise, she will be going home soon.
14 12 Shannon: She was able to buy herself another week. Between the lost chicken, the lost fishing equipment, and her unwillingness to participate in yoga coupled with your mood swings, your tribe is ready to get rid of you. Start to blend in a little more or else.
15 10 Monica: Monica won the fight this week, but if Galu continues to lose challenges, especially if she is the reason again, not even her Charlie’s Angels will be able to save her. Smooches!

Gordon’s Picks:

Rank Last Week Contestant Comment
1 1
Russell H.: Last week was rough. With Galu losing immunity, I missed out on my weekly huge heaping helping of all things Russell. I’ll just assume he was over at Foa Foa kicking puppies and smacking orphans.
2 3 Dave: Is Dave really running things for his tribe? Too early to tell. But, if I had to guess (and while I don’t have to, I’m going to) I’d say he’s probably the one pulling the strings at Galu.
3 2 Erik: Sure, Erik has the other hidden immunity idol, but how trusted is he around Galu? If Yasmin is to be believed, several people are on to his shiftiness.
4 4 Brett: While I did enjoy getting to know Galu last week, I still don’t have much of a grasp on Brett. Is it right to assume he’s being led around by his elders, or is he breaking out on his own?
5 6 Laura: Laura is quickly emerging as my favorite to win the whole thing. All she has to do is hang on until the merge and she can coast for a while. Keep an eye on Laura. I know I’ve said “Keep an eye on” about a dozen players, but this time I really mean it.
6 8 Kelly: We still haven’t learned much about Kelly, so I’m going to use this opportunity to discuss the Dave/Kelly/Laura/Monica alliance that is going on. Anyone else think the 90210-ers are going to steamroll Foa Foa after the merge?
7 10 John: Still not much from John, but there are way more likely candidates to be booted from Galu before him, so we’ll put him in the middle of the pack this week.
8 5 Russell S.: Apparently a huge storm hits Samoa in this next episode. Sure would have been nice for Galu to have a tarp. Russell S. takes this leader thing seriously. And the decision to go with comfort over utility could come back to bite him.
9 11 Mick: Ah…middle-of-the-road Mick. Athletic enough to be an asset during challenges, not bright enough to see that Evil Russell is leading him around. He’ll be fine till the merge then booted shortly afterward.
10 14 Natalie: If you think I’m going to rank Natalie much higher because of her newly discovered alliance with Evil Russell, you’re wrong. Being in an alliance with him hasn’t been much help to anyone thus far…just ask Betsy.
11 9 Monica: Do I think Monica is in trouble because she had trouble on the rope bridge? Nope. I’m betting she’s a part of some kind of Dave/Laura/Kelly alliance.
12 12 Jaison: Kicking Jaison out of the game when your tribe needs challenges to survive would be team suicide. But, I wouldn’t put it past Jaison to lay his torch down and quit. He does not seem happy out there, and the upcoming storm could push him over the edge.
13 7 Elizabeth: If this week’s preview is to be trusted (and it’s often misleading) then Elizabeth is headed into a confrontation with Evil Russell. We know how well that worked out for Marisa.
14 15 Shannon: The only person besides Yasmin to vote against the tribe was our buddy Shambo. Not a good sign. That, and losing a chicken and breaking the fishing gear are sure to make her the next to go home from Galu.
15 16 Ashley: Not much new from Ashley this week, but I stand by my belief that she’s the next to go the next time Foa Foa drops an immunity challenge.

‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview – Yasmin Giles

October 9, 2009

There are two important things to be learned from Yasmin Giles’s time in Samoa. First, when making a first impression to a group of dirty, starving peers, try not to compare them to babies. And second, doing something in camp poorly is probably better than not doing anything at all. We had a chance to talk to Yasmin the day after her dismissal and asked her about her racial-charged blow up with Ben, how well she actually got along with Foa Foa, and which Galu member serenaded her with creepy riddles.

Gordon Holmes: Going into tribal council last night, were you at all surprised that you were going home?
Yasmin Giles:
You know what, Gordon, I was a little bit surprised. But it was the happiest day of my life. I smiled as Jeff put out my torch.
Gordon: You mentioned that you were not made for the jungle, which was punctuated by you wearing your sweet heels to tribal. Was it tough out there for you?
Yasmin: (Laughs) It was horrible! I’ve never been camping. I’ve worked in the entertainment business for two years and I was looking for a porta-potty. It was shocking. I definitely learned some things about myself.
Gordon: So you thought you’d get out there and it’d be more like a television set?
Yasmin: Yeah, I was hoping I could take a break and go over to craft services! (Laughs) “Survivor” is the real deal. You have to respect the game after playing it.

Gordon: We haven’t had a chance to get to know Galu at all. What’s going on over there?
I’ll give you the first look at Galu. Galu is a very confused tribe. They were all…over…the…place. When John didn’t step up in that one challenge we were going to vote out John. Then we were going to vote out Shambo when she lost the fishing gear. We were going to vote Dave off. Then Monica did bad in that challenge and we’re going to vote her off. Then Yasmin is strong in challenges, but she doesn’t do enough around camp. Come on! Gordon, that’s crazy. Me and Shambo were not with the other girls. We were not in the 90210 clique.
Gordon: You guys had a little Melrose clique on the side.
Yasmin: Yeah, it’s like I’m a grown woman. I’m not a follower. I don’t break the rules, I make new rules. I’m not at the point in my life where I need validation. And that’s why they clung to each other.

Gordon: You play by your own rules, and those rules include laying the law down to Foa Foa.
Yasmin: That was obnoxious, huh?
Gordon: (Laughs)
Yasmin: I’m a woman who can admit when she’s defeated.  “Survivor” defeated me. And that speech, I watched it back and it’s like a girl walking by a mirror and she’s like, “I’m fat!” I had no idea.
Gordon: What was their reaction immediately after the speech?
Yasmin: That’s a good question, and people are under the impression that I made no friends. Me and the girls went and bathed, and I spent at least 30-40 minutes with each member including Russell H. When Jaison took up for me, you could tell that was personal. Me and him had formed a friendship. When you saw Natalie and Ashley’s hair braided at tribal council, who do you think did it? So I was over there putting in work.

Gordon: Now the argument with Ben on the beach, how did that escalate so quickly?
What you guys missed was the fact that I had a knot on my head the size of a golf ball. So, that innocent “Oh, I just barely touched you,” was not so innocent. The whole time we were in that challenge, Russell Swan said, “No matter what happens, men go after men, women go after women.” And he (Ben) was playing dirty, he was thrown out of the game for being dirty. And afterwards I said to him, “Can I talk to you in private, please.” I said “Please.” But, I’m ghetto trash cause I have no manners. I said, “Please.”

Gordon: Jaison pretty much came to your defense last week at tribal council. When you were watching it on TV, what was going through your mind?
Probably things I wanted to say. Remember, Ben didn’t say those things to my face, so that was a shock to me. I was watching it thinking, “Wow, thanks Jaison!”

Gordon: Does anyone in Galu know that Erik found the immunity idol?
You know what, I left so fast that I have no idea.

Gordon: So, help us to know more about Galu. I’ll say a member’s name and you give me the first thing that pops into your head. Let’s start with Russell S.
A wonderful, outspoken man.
Gordon: Kelly?
Yasmin: Young, immature, and flirtatious…basically fake.
Gordon: John?
Yasmin: Very lazy…I used to be a model, but now I’m a rocket scientist.
Gordon: How does that happen?
Yasmin: That’s another thing, Gordon! Thanks for asking. John did a lot of sleeping too. John laid on the beach…I mean come on! My tribe was all over the place.
Gordon: Monica?
Yasmin: A user.
Gordon: Dave?
Yasmin: A weirdo.
Gordon: Really?
Yasmin: Dave had little jokes and quirks. The first night everyone was like, “Where’s Yaz?” And Dave said “Yaz, shake your back, come on in here and shake your rack!” He had little riddles like that.
Gordon: Erik?
Yasmin: Sneaky.
Gordon: Brett?
Yasmin: Unreliable.
Gordon: Laura?
Yasmin: A fake prophet.
Gordon: Shambo?
Yasmin: My ally.
Gordon: And one bonus one…what about Ben?
Yasmin: Oh, God…damaged goods.

Gordon: What did you learn from your time in Samoa?
Yasmin: I don’t know, to work around camp? (Laughs)

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