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Survivor Samoa Week 6 - Down and Out in Samoa

”Pizza. Pizza. Pizza…”

Season 19: Week 6: This is the Man Test

FoaFoa Day 15

More rain. For five days now. The five remaining FoaFoans sit and shiver in their shelter. Mick says they all envy the departed Ashley a little.

RussellE and Jaison float in the ocean in the rain (maybe it’s marginally warmer) and laugh at their predicament. RussellE interviews that the hardships make you stronger – “This is the man test!”

Mick sits in the crotch of a tree for what shelter that provides (not much), and tries to stay as dry as possible (not very). Meanwhile RussellE, shirtless, cuts more fronds for the shelter.

Galu Day 15

RussellG stands on the rainy shore and casts a fishing line into the surf. The Galuans are as miserable as the FoaFoans, with the additional irritant (pointed out by John in an interview) that their leader turned down the tarp they could have been dry under.

Brett praises RussellG for working to keep the fire going in the rain while the rest of the tribe huddles together in their shelter for warmth, but also worries that RussellG may be pushing himself too hard, as seems to be illustrated when RussellG returns to the shelter and stumbles while trying to enter.

At last the rain breaks for a while, and Erik emerges on the shoreline to see a bit of blue sky and a beautiful rainbow. The rest of the tribe joins him and appreciates it as well. “Bet they don’t have a rainbow on FoaFoa’s side of the island,” some wag comments, and it’s almost like back being back on the Haves vs. the Have-Not’s season.

Reward Challenge

Jeff describes a challenging challenge. One person will be strapped inside a spherical framework while two blindfolded tribemates push/roll the sphere though a twisty course. When the sphere reaches the end, the two pushers join two more blindfolded teammates on a ‘guide the ball through obstacles’ tilt box, which they have to maneuver based on instructions from the person in the sphere.

Galu sits out Monica, Kelly, Shambo and Dave. RussellG and Erik will push Laura. Several tribemates urge RussellG to sit out the challenge, but he insists he’s good to go.

FoaFoa will have RussellE and Jaison pushing Liz.

The prize, Jeff announces, will be pizza, which the winners will get to eat while watching the loser vote out someone at tribal council, but then the winners will also have to vote out someone, a double send-home with no immunity to be won. Ouch.

The lead switches back and forth through the long course, as trees and other obstacles present problems for the blind pushers. It can’t be a lot of sun being the pushee, either, and being rolled head-over-heels (literally) around the course. In the end, FoaFoa clears the last obstacle and rolls into the final position. Even after they have to maneuver a little to get Liz right-side up, they still have a substantial lead over Galu as Mick and Natalie join RussellE and Natalie as blindfolded tilters.

Galu finishes the course behind, and RussellG is clearly exhausted, stumbling and staggering as he feels for the box and takes up a corner of it. As the tilting proceeds, he slowly sinks down and finally is hanging by his chin on a corner of the box, unresponsive to calls at first from Laura and then a very concerned Jeff Probst. Jeff tells all the contestants to halt in place and rushes over to RussellG who’s totally out of it. Jeff calls in medical who rush in, lay RussellG down, and begin taking vital signs, of which, thank God, there are some, even if weak.

RussellG is administered oxygen, and Jeff tells everyone they can remove their blindfolds. RussellG tries standing again but immediately collapses a second time, and is unresponsive WITH HIS EYES OPEN, and it’s scary, let me tell you. The medics report that RussellG’s blood pressure is even lower than Mike’s was when he was removed from the game.

[Author’s note: I believe this is the first time in Survivor history that the fourth wall has been broken to the extent that we see a cameraman in the shot – one presses in for a close up of RussellG as the shot comes from another camera further away.]

Jeff makes the unprecedented decision to terminate the game with no winner (and no pizza for anybody, wah!) but says both tribes will still go to tribal council, and if RussellG is deemed able to return to the game, he’ll join them there.

After the tribes have departed, and after RussellG has been breathing oxygen for a while, he tries to sit up, but passes out again. He begs to continue, saying he’s just dehydrated, but Jeff and the medics are both adamant that he cannot.

Back at Galu, Day 15

The tribe is concerned about RussellG, but the maneuvering is still on. The rains return and Galu is once again huddled together in the shelter.

Laura and Kelly talk about covering each other’s back, and how it’s Shambo’s time to go. When all four women talk together, Shambo lobbies for her survival, mentioning she made fire for the first five days. Monica just can’t get around the fact that Shambo’s written her name down twice now. Interestingly, none of the women suggests voting a man off.

The guys in the other hand, agree that Monica is the weakest link, and also that Shambo is not a power in the game, therefore the best one to carry with them. John argues that Laura and Monica have a power axis that needs to be broken up by voting one or the other off. Erik agrees that Shambo should stay, but be kept isolated from the strategy.

To their credit, nobody at Galu is heard proposing that RussellG be voted off.

Back at FoaFoa, Day 15

Liz thinks it’s her time to go, but Natalie thinks it just might be hers, and both plan to pack their belongings for tribal. RussellE tells Natalie that “It’s Liz.” Jaison interviews that “Every time we get close to something good, it’s taken away.”

Tribal Council

Jeff tells them it’s a historic tribal council – the first time thirteen survivors have sat together. He also tells them that RussellG has been pulled from the game, that medically no other decision was possible.

Shambo feels bad RussellG had to go out like that because he was an amazing guy with amazing heart and spirit. RussellE says that RussellG was the strongest one on his team and this was not the way they wanted to beat him.

Asked about the hardships and rain, Shambo says she’s not a quitter, no matter how hard it gets. Dave says this is definitely the hardest thing he’s ever done, and he’s had a few hard times in his life. Erik says he spent 15 hours in the trunk of a tree trying to keep dry and it’s definitely the hardest thing he’s ever done.

The rain begins pouring even harder. Jaison has an “oh great!” look. Erik says it’s a constant torture, a fear that it’s never going to stop.

Dave says Galu’s ahead, they’ve had better sustenance, and their spirits are pretty high. RussellE says the attitude at FoaFoa is finefine, and today’s challenge was a turnaround point and Galu may be shocked in the next few challenges. Mick agrees that today’s change was a moral victory for FoaFoa. Erik says FoaFoa won once before, and Galu recovered from that, so he’s not worried.

Jeff announces that due to the unprecedented nature of today’s events, there will be no vote-outs tonight. Liz beams. Monica’s jaw drops open. Erik says it’s not good news because they lost a guy today, whether voting or not. RussellE says it’s the best news he’s heard all day since the FoaFoa fivefive are the strongest they’ve ever been in the whole game, and he feels confident a turnaround is in process. Erik bridles at this and says let’s have challenge right now – that’s what RussellG would say , and every bead of sweat he put into every challenge, that’s what Galu’s bringing to you, FoaFoa, every day, every challenge.

Galu is assigned to choose a new leader when they get back to camp, and the tribes are dismissed.

Cut to RussellG with an IV in his arm, tears on his cheeks as a stretcher team lifts and carries him away. Now that fourth wall is really broken as we see a large crew of ten men picking up RussellG’s litter and IV and carrying him away. He says he played every minute to win this game, and to have his body fail him is utterly demoralizing. Painful though it is, he says, to do it and fail is better than to never have tried.

Next Week

At Galu, Shambo becomes “one of the guys”, and a Russell Seed gets planted in Galu (i.e. Laura), whom we see talking with RussellE and being promised he will take her to the final two. [How many people has RussellE promised to take to final two now?]

Closing Remarks

RussellG says he’s ashamed he’s not in the game anymore, he’s angry because he’s a fighter, and he’s realistic, realizing he has an even bigger job to do – that of being a husband and father.


[Author’s note: I’m now retiring the “E” from RussellE, both because he’s now the only Russell in the game, and because I’ve grown a little disaffected with it. The “E” stood for Evil and I’ve sort of grown attached to Russell – his strategies are not really evil, they’re intelligent – he may well be one of the shrewdest survivors ever and one of the best strategists, and he’s definitely the first to ever find a hidden immunity idol without a clue. ]


Can’t tell Kelly from Natalie from Ashley? Check out SURVIVOR SAMOA BIOS.

Posted by Cecil on October 23, 2009 12:46 PM
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