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Survivor: Samoa - Week 1 - Getting to Know You

Season 19: Episode 01: The Puppet Master

We open with several scenic scenes of Samoa (say that six times fast). Like Brazil, the tribes are apparently selected (and color coordinated) in advance, and assemble on the beach on colored tarps, purple for Galu and Yellow for Foa Foa. (for the breakdowns, see HERE or HERE. . The tribes have ten members, five men and five women. Demographically, we have four attorneys or law students, three people in sales, several managers, two hairdressers, nine Angelinos (read aspiring actors), and assorted police officer, entrepreneurs, etc.

Jeff immediately asks the tribes, who haven't previously conversed, to pick a leader based on first impressions, describing them in a piece of parchment.

Galu picks Russell Swan, the nice Russell, the black Russell. Foa Foa picks Mick, the doctor. Mick is apparently OK with being picked, while Russell worries that there's a target on his back. Each leader is then asked to choose the best swimmer, the strongest person, the most agile and the smartest.

Mick picks Jaison, Russell (Hantz, the white, evil Russell), Marisa, and Liz. Liz is complimented but worries that 'smart' might be an Asian stereotype, and hopes she doesn't get identified with any negative Asian stereotypes.

Russell picks John, Erik, Yaz, and Shambo (drawing a bit of a groan from Shambo) who thinks her smarts are people smarts rather than puzzle smarts.

Reward Challenge

The swimmer will swim out to a buoy and retrieve a key, which the strong person will use to unlock two bundles of logs and carry them back to the starting line of a balance maze, where the agile person will traverse the maze guiding a second key along a rope, at the end of which the smart person will unlock a bag of puzzle pieces and assemble them into a statue. First tribe finished wins fire for a reward.

Mick's choosing is instantly rewarded when Jaison (chosen against stereotype, a black man as swimmer) turns out to be a former water polo national team member and takes a commanding lead, over John, the rocket scientist.

Russell sprints to the logs unlocking the bundles. One bundle is larger and heavier than the other and he takes the smaller one first. He returns the bundle to the start about the time Erik begins to unlock his. Erik looks like he considered trying to pull the two together but quickly reconsidered when he found out how heavy they were. RussellH starts back with his second, but drop it after only a few feet. He's only able to heave it a few feet at a time. Erik manages to carry his heavy one a little further but collapses grimacing. Russell finally carry/rolls his bundle back and Marisa heads down the balance beam, threading her key along the rope which looped over and around the structural members of the beam.

Erik grunts in with his last bundle, collapsing over it as he reaches the finish, and Yaz starts down the beam. RussellS voices pride in Erik's effort. Yaz is catching up, but Marisa manages to finished the beam first and Liz gets a head start on the puzzle. Liz has her statue finished to the waist as Shambo begins. Must be stripping and assembling those M-16s carries over to this task (Shambo is a former Marine), because she's catching up to Liz. Ultimately the head start was just enough as Liz finishes first and Foa Foa wins fire.

Day 1 - Foa Foa

The tribe introduces themselves and congratulate each other on the win. Ben, the self professed redneck bartender, immediately begins to plan the shelter, and Mick gives him the lead.

Russell shares that his strategy is to have a secret alliance with "each one of these dumb girls", and he proceeds to do just that, engaging each individually. He refers to them as "the dumb short-haired blonde" (Kelly), "the even dumber long-haired blonde" (Natalie), and "the dark-haired girl" (Marisa). He also approaches "the old lady" (Betsy) though he is wary of her as being a lot smarter than "my dumb-a**ed girl alliance". (She's a cop, too, I wonder if he can tell.)

Day 1 - Galu

Shambo is happy to see Russell begin exerting leadership skills. But there appear to be more chiefs than Indians on the matter of building a shelter, and she gets frustrated with the endless planning. Eventually all the younger players decide to go jump in the water at the beach and cool off, further frustrating old- Corps Shambo's work ethic.

Night 1 - Foa Foa

As the team beds down for the night, Russell, whom from now on I will call RussellE (for Evil, as opposed to RussellG - for Good) spins a tale of having been a fireman living in New Orleans when Katrina struck, and having to chop his way out of the roof of his house as the levees broke, losing his faithful German Shepherd to the flood waters - all of it totally made up. Natalie sniffs in sympathy.

RussellE sneaks off and has a healthy drink from the canteens, then empties them all, apparently wishing to provoke friction in the tribe to advance his schemes. He also burns some people's socks in the fire. He says he wants to weed out the weak right away. Gosh I'd hate to work for this guy's company. Well they always said old age and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm every time - we'll see.

It's still dark when Betsy reports to the tribe that the water is all gone. Meanwhile Jaison stumbles around looking for his socks. Ben and Marisa bicker over cooking and canteen filling issues to RussellE's secret glee.

Immunity Challenge

It's a race in three stages. First six members must race over three increasingly difficult inclined A-frame ramps carrying three ropes. When they get to the end, they tie the ropes together to haul a heavy crate over another course, then the remaining four disassemble the crates and solve a puzzle from the pieces.

Galu all sprint over the first obstacle with apparent ease. Foa Foa have a little more difficulty. RussellE shows his team spirit by remaining at the top and helping the weaker members over. On the last and hardest obstacle, Galu finally remember they're carrying ropes and use those to aid the less agile climbers, while Foa Foa use their bodies as a human ladder for the weaker to clamber up.

Galu has their crate halfway over the crate course before Foa Foa get started, but RussellE, pulling like a madman, helps them catch up. Once the puzzle solving begins, Foa Foa seems to be half done when Galu hasn't even made a word yet, but perhaps they followed a false trail because Galu overtakes and passes them and wins immunity. And fire as well.

Back at Foa Foa

The plotting begins. RussellE plots with three of 'his girls'. Mick and Mike confer, Mike opining that the weakest should go and right now that's Ashley. RussellE and Marisa talk and Marisa confides she's worried because she's seen him talking to so many other people. RussellE immediately feels that Marisa is unreliable and decides to campaign to get her voted out. He's shown talking to every person in the tribe with the same message - even with Marisa within sight. It's a message Ben is happy to get since he already can't stand Marisa. Betsy (validating RussellE's judgment!) is the only one skeptical about his machinations.

Tribal Council

Ashley puts her foot in her mouth with a careless comment at council. Jeff calls her on it but she doesn't back down. Mike amuses everyone with down-home homilies. Asked straight out who the weakest link is, Betsy points to Ashley, drawing a stare from RussellE. Asked the same question, Marisa blathers about 'different levels of weakness' drawing a sharp retort from Ben - "assert yourself and answer that question - it's not that hard." RussellE digs the knife a little deeper.

Voting time.
Betsy votes for Ashley. Liz votes. Jaison votes. Ashley votes. RussellE votes for Marisa. Ben votes. Mike votes. Mick votes. Marisa votes. Natalie votes.

The votes are tallied and come back: Marisa, Marisa, Ashley, Ashley, Marisa, Ashley, Marisa, Marisa, Marisa and it's over. Marisa winces and shrugs and hands Jeff her torch.

Next Week

We see a contest that appears to be like rugby with melons - very physical. Yaz is upset that 'a dude tackled her'. Jeff appears to eject someone from the challenge. RussellE appears in war paint. And another woman appears to have drawn his ire. Can he last if he keeps knocking off members of his own alliance?

Closing Remarks

Marisa expressed her disappointment at leaving so soon, more in sadness than in anger. She realizes trusting RussellE was her big mistake.

Voting against:
Marisa: RussellE, Liz, Mike, Ashley, Ben, Jaison, Natalie
Ashley: Betsy, Marisa, Mick

Posted by Cecil on September 21, 2009 5:45 PM
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