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Survivor Fodder

Survivor Samoa Week 9 - Surprise, Surprise!

"That’s not a head in there, is it?“


Russell feels naked without that hidden immunity idol. Look at the bright side, now he can’t get caught not sharing it with the eight people he’s promised it to. Can he dodge the bullet? Previews make it seem like everybody’s after him. Well, there’s always individual immunity.

Season 19: Week 9: Tastes Like Chicken

Airdate 11/12/2009

Aiga - Night 21

Brett returns from tribal council fantasizing about food, in particular a chocolate chip cookie with a inch of peanut butter on it. Russell interviews how worried he is because he’s played his hidden immunity idol needlessly, and now feels naked (disgusting thought) before his enemies. Laura interviews the night went perfectly because they got rid of Eric and flushed the idol from their next target, Russell.

Aiga - Day 22

Natalie encounters a rat on a walk, and – mighty hunter – clubs it to death (immediately apologizing to
the corpse) and brings it back to camp in a coconut shell – as trophy or larder? Jaison is impressed that the sweet, nice southern belle could do this. They cook the rat and share it among the FoaFoa four plus Brett.

Tree mail arrives and Russell and Mick pick it up, Russell taking care to look around the tree-mail location very carefully, just in case a hidden immunity idol should have snuck back into the game. The tree-mail announces a reward competition with a “digital display” requiring teamwork to complete, with a food reward.

Russell interviews that he thinks there’s another idol somewhere in camp, and if there is, he’s going to find it – without a clue, just like the last one. By the way, is there kudzu in Samoa? Because the slope behind Russell in this scene looks just like many a Southern forest overrun with kudzu (a misbegotten import from China in the 20’s intended stabilize road cuttings, which it did quickly, then proceeded to ‘stabilize’ the surrounding forest as well.) First though there’s a matter of a reward challenge to attend to.

Reward Challenge

Jeff announces that the survivors will be randomly divided into two teams of five. The teams will race out two at a time to retrieve poles festooned with white and black coconuts. (Do coconuts come that way or are they painted?) When assembled onto a frame in the correct order, the white coconuts will form a four digit number, which is the key to unlocking a flag which must be done on a combination lock by touch by a blindfolded team member.

The reward is a trip to a natural rock-sliding pool fresh-water fun spot, and a picnic including fried chicken and chocolate brownies (watch all the ladies groan with desire).

The ‘randomly’ selected teams are:

Yellow: Jaison, Mick, Russell, Brett, and Laura
Purple: Shambo, Kelly, Dave, John, and Monica

Incidentally, the odds of ‘randomly’ picking a tribe of five former Galus from a pool of seven Galus and four FoaFoa is about 4.5 percent (1 in 20). Not an astronomically unlikely event, but still pretty far down the scale. I’m just sayin’. And notice they got the Galu color - purple.

Natalie is the odd man out, but is given a chance to pick a favorite. If her favorite wins, she shares in the reward. Now a smart former FoaFoa player here would pick the all-Galu team, thus insuring that whatever happens, neither the winners nor the stay behinds is without a former FoaFoa to inhibit the plotting. No one has accused Natalie of excessive smarts, though, and she goes with her heart and her former tribe mates.

The first race is Mick-Brett vs. John-Kelly. The teams are fairly evenly matched. They have to untie, not just pick up the poles, and it takes Mick-Brett a little longer, allowing Purple to finish first.

Dave-Shambo head out for the second pole, pursued by Russell-Jaison. Shambo is a little slower than the others losing some of their lead. They lose even more in untying and Russell-Jaison return first. As in the first lap, the men of the mixed-sex Purple teams do all the hauling on the return trip, while the Yellows carry the pole between them. It’s not clear which technique is superior. John-Kelly overcome some of Yellow’s lead in the third lap. Shambo is even slower in her second trip, the fourth and final lap, furthering Yellow’s lead.

Yellow finishes with a slight lead and begins assembling their ‘digital display’. Your reviewer is a little confused here, because the show clearly showed only four laps being run, yet each team has five poles to assemble in their frame. Sloppy Survivor editing? So there’s five poles, each of which can be set on any one of the five positions, and which can be reversed left and right. For a total of (my head hurts) I think, 3,840 ways to set up, if my combinatorial math is correct. If each set takes a minute to set up we’re looking at 64 hours to run through all the combinations. Fortunately humans are better problem solvers than that and quickly start looking for patterns that make digits. Purple finishes first and tell Monica, their blindfolded member, to set 4673 in their combination. Yellow finishes theirs and call out 7346 to Laura. The numbers are formed in raised brads on a rotating wheels, each wheel independent of the others. When all are lined up correctly and a lever pulled, a flag in the team color will be released.

Monica’s first attempt is not successful – at least one of the numbers is wrong. But her second try succeeds and Purple wins. I feel like the former FoaFoa should apologize to Laura and Brett – can’t even win when diluted by Galuans. The victorious five set out for their reward.


The lucky five rejoice and frolic in the cool, clear water sliding down slick-rock waterfalls into refreshing pools, then lounging beside the waters and feasting on fried chicken, fruits, beverages, and the promised brownies. They also get a note telling them there now is another hidden immunity idol in their camp - but no more precise information on location. Dave says they should share that information with the other Galus but not with the FoaFoas. I have a feeling he wouldn't have shared it which Shambo, either, except she's right there with them. They discuss who they should target, Kelly proposing Russell. Shambo sticks up for him, provoking reactions from Kelly and Monica. They discuss further not sharing with FoaFoa since Russell found the idol the first time without a clue. Kelly interviews about how she doesn’t trust Shambo and feels that Shambo might be the one Galuan who'd jump to FoaFoa, but even if that happens they'd still be up six to five, so they don't even need Shambo, she says. Mark those words.

Aiga - Day 22

The aforesaid Russell is busying himself back at camp searching for the hidden immunity idol he's never been officially notified exists. He vows not to tell anyone this time, if he finds it. He searches the water well, various tree stands, the tree mail area, and the bridge - and by damn, he finds it under the bridge. That's two idols not only without a clue, but without even notice that they exist. I'm really beginning to admire this guy. By the way, the bridge is what I thought last week was a dock. We only saw one end of it last week, looking back toward the land. Russell says missing fried chicken and brownies for this was well worth it.

Aiga - Day 24

Russell and Shambo go fishing. Russell, despite his earlier vow, shares his secret with Shambo. It's a strategic decision, he realizes that still down seven to four, the former FoaFoans need help. He tells her he has something to share, and that he trusts her "more than anybody out here." "As I do you," she replies. Russell hauls out the idol and Shambo is flabbergasted, speechless. She gives him a kiss. They agree that the wicked witch of the west Laura should be their target. Or if she wins immunity, one of her minions - they settle on Kelly, Monica being more useless, they figure. Thinking ahead, Russell says he needs help to make sure he is Galu's target - he doesn’t want to waste another idol and watch another FoaFoan go home. Shambo says 'no prob', as Galu is already pointed that way.

Immunity Challenge

Jeff tells them there's only one immunity necklace today. The challenge is one of those two-stage ones. First stage, they stand in lanes and throw grappling hooks to retrieve two bags of puzzle pieces. First three people to retrieve both bags advance to the next stage. There they remove puzzle pieces and try to fit them in a board with thirty differently shaped holes - only one will fit, the other is a dummy. When the piece is inserted in its hole, it frees up another piece which then has to be inserted in its hole. First to fill all thirty holes wins immunity.

GO! Survivors toss hooks into the sand (about fifty feet, it looks like). I wonder if the rules say anything about hooking a bag in an adjacent lane? They never tell us all the rules. Shambo makes the first snag and reels a bag in. Then Mick. Then Kelly. Then Brett. Mick gets his second and qualifies for the final. Natalie snags a bag, then loses it on the pull. Monica snags her hook on a lane divider and is allowed to go forward and free it. Shambo gets her second bag and qualifies. Jaison gets a bag. Laura, Russell. Then Russell snags his second and begins reeling it in with a smile. But as he does so Laura snags her second and it becomes a race for the third spot. Only a foot away, Russell attempts to jerk his bag across the line and the hook disengages, allowing Laura to win. Russell is downcast, as probably is Shambo, but trying not to show it.

The second stage begins. The bags must be untied to get the puzzle pieces out. One bag's piece will fit, the other is the dummy. As far as I can tell, each contestant unties both bags and extracts both pieces before beginning. Seems to me you have a fifty-fifty chance of getting the right piece first try and should immediately try to play it giving yourself a fifty percent chance of saving the time to untie one bag. None of them thinks of this. Shambo gets her pieces out first, then Mick, then Laura last, by which time Shambo already has two pieces in her board. But Laura gains steadily. Shambo seems baffled by some pieces. I notice she's left her dummy piece in the tray where the new pieces fall - I wonder if at some point she lost track and picked up the dummy that doesn't fit anywhere. Both Mick and Laura appear to have tossed their dummy aside. Incidentally, Laura is playing purple pieces (Galu color) and Mick blue (Aiga color) while Shambo is stuck with Yellow (FoaFoa color) could fate be against even the COLORS? At one point Shambo has two pieces in her hands, so she must have picked up the dummy, otherwise there's no way to have two loose pieces the way the game works. So, as if inevitably fated by the colors, Laura wins immunity. Let the plotting begin.

Laura interviews that it's time to get rid of Russell - she thinks even Natalie will join Galu in voting off Russell. Now we see the absurdity of the "Sprint Player of the Week" in that Russell isn't even nominated as having made the boldest move that will change the game - the nominees are Laura, Natalie, and Shambo. Feh!

Aiga - Day 24

Shambo interviews her disappointment over Laura winning immunity as Laura, in the background, still wearing her necklace, hangs a big bunch of green bananas in the sun. Back to plan B, Kelly.

Russell tells Jaison about his new hidden immunity idol, and says to let Galu vote for him while everybody else votes Kelly, and all will be well. Jaison says it's a gamble but he'll go along. Jaison tells Mick and Natalie the plan. The essence, of course is security - not letting Galu have any clue voting for Russell is dangerous.

Dave, John, Monica, and Laura confer. Dave has his plans - first Russell, then Natalie, then Mick, then Jaison. Supposedly useless Monica offers a telling insight - What if Russell has another idol? Maybe they should lay some votes off on another FoaFoan? Unfortunately, the time to think of that was last week, when they could have laid four votes on two people and at least forced a tie on FoaFoa if they all voted the same. Now they have to assume that FoaFoa will vote together and thus they need at least five votes to overcome FoaFoa's four, leaving only three, not enough to overcome the FoaFoans should their primary target be protected. Dave says they can't worry about stuff like that. John worries nevertheless - Russell found the first idol without a clue. "It's not rocket science," says the self described rocket scientist. Dave says he'd be surprised if Russell even suspected there was another idol in camp. Which makes me wonder - did any of them know about Eric's idol? For all they know there still might be an original idol in their camp. Dave is just saying they could go Natalie first if they wanted to - just as Russell walks nearby headed to the beach.

The crowd hushes at the sight of Russell but he heard the name "Natalie" as he walked past and now he worries they might be planning to vote her off first. He discusses this with Jaison and Jaison tells him he still has a few hours to try and sway the vote toward himself.

Russell interviews about his indecision. "I don't want to be the dumbass that gets voted out with the idol in his pocket." "And I don't want to be the dumbass that uses the idol - again - and nobody votes my name." Better the second than the first, I'd say.

Plotter Dave also says "As soon as we burn all the FoaFoas - kill a chicken." You remember the chickens, right? The two Rambo didn't let loose? By the way, I wonder who has chicken duty now. No bleeding hearts here - the others heartily agree to slaughtering a chicken as soon as they won't have to share with any nasty FoaFoans.

Tribal Council

Jeff introduces the first member of the jury, Eric. Eric's kept his beard so far. The Galuans give him wary looks, as well they should. From the way Eric reacts at this tribal council I'd say any Galu is going to have trouble swinging a vote from him unless all the finalists are Galu.

Jeff asks Dave if voting out Eric last week means the old tribe loyalties are gone. Not at all Dave, says, the tribe was weakened from within by his presence and is stronger now for booting him. On the jury bench, Eric writhes and punches the air. Dave, you do understand that in fifteen more days you may want this guy's vote, right? Dave better make the finals, or there may be some interesting times at the Ponderosa.

Then Kelly digs her own hole by likening Eric to a snake. Natalie, southern belle diplomat, says Galu is trying to make them feel welcome at camp, which exasperates Peachie. Natalie says she sleeps in Galu's shelter and nobody is being mean or ugly to anyone. Jaison says the Galuans are very tight lipped (which Laura promptly demonstrates) so it's hard to know what the implications of the Eric vote were - whether there are any additional cracks to be exploited. Shambo says original Galu is pretty comfortable, while old FoaFoa is just holding on. Mick says they're hoping someone on the other side can see past the tribe lines and see four solid votes as an opportunity. Russell says he used to spend a lot of time looking for cracks, but now they're hoping "somebody comes to us and wants to do something, but they seem pretty tight". Monica says the seven are tight, and she doesn't see the FoaFoans having any success.

Dave says they make a communal decision on "Who's next" based on who's the biggest threat, including criteria such as physical ability and mental toughness. And they go by consensus so that everybody feels heard and valued. Shambo wisely bites her lip at this.

Time to vote. Laura keeps her necklace. Brett votes, then Kelly, John, Monica, Dave, Shambo, Laura, Natalie, Russell, Mick, and Jaison. No votes are revealed. Jaison whispers "Come on, baby," with his vote.

Dave looks nervous, Laura wears her usual smirk. Jeff goes to tally the votes and returns. Jeff invites anyone with a hidden immunity idol to play it and Russell stands and smiles at the former Galuans, all of whose jaws drop open in unison. In the jury box Eric makes two handed pistol-shooting motions and appears excited and delighted at the mayhem to come. "I ain't finished playing just yet." Russell says. He hands his idol to Jeff, and says "Keep hope alive" to the FoaFoans as he returns to his seat. I have to say in nineteen seasons of Survivor, this is absolutely my favorite moment.

Jeff reiterates the rules - no vote against Russell will count, the next higher vote getter is out.

First vote: Russell. "Does not count," Jeff says, and Eric make a 'Yes' arm pulling/fist closed gesture.
"Russell - does not count." "Russell - does not count." "Russell - does not count." "Russell - does not count." More fist pumping from Eric. With each repetition, Galus look more somber, grins widen on FoaFoans. "Russell - does not count." "Russell - does not count." "Russell - does not count." This last one has 10-9-8 written on it. A date? A countdown? In any event, this is seven votes, so Shambo has maintained her cover. Now come the ones that count, as all the Galus bite their nails. "Kelly." Heads turn in sympathy, but at the same time rejoicing internally "Not me!". Dave takes Kelly's hand. "Kelly." A moan from her. "Kelly." And that's it - three is enough tonight. Dave mouths "Wow!" for about the tenth time since Russell played the idol as Kelly smiles ruefully and hands over her torch for snuffing. Laura whispers to Shambo and Monica, sitting beside her "He just stirred up Hell, that's what he did." Laura's lips are tight enough to play a drum solo on.

Jeff congratulates the tribe on another exciting tribal council and FoaFoa's survival which he wonders if signals a change in the game or just postponing the inevitable. He also, in case there's someone so dumb they still haven't figured it out, makes it explicit this time - the hidden immunity idol is going back in play.

Russell smiles a smile of satisfaction as the tribe heads back to camp.

Kelly's mom and dad look nice in her "survivor family moment" but it's too bad they've chosen to show these always on the person just voted off - it makes the enthusiasm of the families kind of a downer and I wish they'd think of another way to show them.

Next Time

It plays like an Elmore Leonard novel - "Get Russell". And now everybody's looking for the idol without a clue. And Dave and Laura are tailing Russell wherever he goes. Russell sprints to lose them. Or at least make them work for it.

Closing Remarks

Kelly says she was totally surprised and would be totally shocked if anyone on Galu voted against her. Speaking of total surprise, Galu is still thinking they've got a six to four majority. Wonder what happens next week when the vote comes out five-five? Better sharpen up your fire-building skills, folks. Or maybe Russell finds another hidden immunity idol, and FoaFoa successfully guesses who the target is this week (Galu's got to be getting a little Russell-shy, unless one of them gets the idol.) So should be another interesting tribal council, folks.

Voting against:

Russell: Brett, Kelly, John, Monica, Dave, Shambo, Laura (none of which counted)
Kelly: Natalie, Russell, Mick, Jaison

And Shambo's was the vote with "10-9-8" on it.


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

Posted by Cecil on November 12, 2009 6:22 PM
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