“Survivor: Samoa” recap: Taking Candy From a Baby

The “previously on … Survivor” recap that starts the show is mostly about the evilness of Bad Russell. You can practically hear Jeff Probst salivate over what a great villain Bad Russell is.


Bad Russell (who I’ll now refer to as B’Russell, almost like he’s a Belgian city or a sprout) tells the camera that he had fun at the last Tribal Council, and is excited that Marisa and her “strong mind” have been voted out. He then tells Betsy, in a manner more matter-of-fact than threatening, that she made a huge mistake by not trusting him and by voting for Ashley instead of Marisa.

Over on Galu, Yasmin isn’t loving the outdoors, saying, “Who could really love the outdoors, if you could be indoors?” She’s cold, nauseated and feels like there’s a stick up her butt. She’d been told that if she can survive living in Detroit, she can survive anything, but, she says, “the hood’s not the woods.”

Back at Foa, B’Russell starts looking for a hidden immunity idol around camp, even though the players haven’t been given a clue as to its location, and haven’t even been told that there is one at camp. At first he seems a little loony for doing this — he’s looking for it while the others are around, questioning what on earth he’s doing — but once he retrieves it from inside a tree, I wonder why more people don’t try turning the camp inside out to look for an unannounced hidden immunity idol.

B’Russell shoves the idol in his pants, sneaks away from camp, and shows the idol to Jaison, the one person B’Russell has decided to trust in this game. B’Russell doesn’t really intend to share the idol with Jaison, but he’s hoping that sharing his secret makes Jaison trust him.

Ashley tells B’Russell she thinks Mike or Betsy would be next to be voted out (since they’re the two oldest players), depending on how they perform in the next challenge. Mike performs well in the pre-challenge testimonial, saying a lot of funky stuff to the camera like “I’m a mean motor scooter and a bad go-getter” and “I’m going to take ’em downtown to Chinatown, man.”

The challenge, which is for both immunity and the reward of fishing gear (“If you cannot catch fish with this, go home,” Probst says. We’ll see if that ends up being prophetic), is a basketball-ish game, with three people in a pit fighting to get the balls to their team’s shooters on a platform. The action in the pits is fierce, causing Probst to say things like “Watch the choking!” and “Shambo! Easy on the face!” He eventually issues a warning that the next time he sees any cheap shots, he’ll boot the offender from the challenge. Ben then intentionally trips Russell and gets kicked out of the challenge, and Galu beats the shorthanded Foa.

Mike has trouble breathing after the challenge, and medical personnel take a look. The tribe (and Probst) watches as Mike’s blood pressure is taken again and again. His blood pressure is having trouble coming up to normal levels, and he has to be pulled from the game. Even though they’ve already lost a member, the tribe still has to go to Tribal Council.

Over on Galu, Shambo loses points with her tribemates when she goes fishing with the tribe’s new gear, brings back no fish, and loses the snorkel’s mouthpiece. On the plus side, she reports, she verified that the ocean does indeed contain fish.

As part of their punishment for losing the challenge, the Foa tribe has to live with Yasmin for a little while (Russell chose her as the player to go back to the Foa camp and observe their Tribal Council). As part of introducing herself, she completely insults them. She says, “Strategy may be something you guys are lacking,” and she wants to help them strategize so that the game will be a fair fight, instead of like taking candy from a baby. Despite her request of “Now don’t get offended,” the tribe doesn’t take kindly to being called a bunch of babies, and B’Russell promises the camera that she’ll pay for that statement … somehow.

Yasmin gets a clue to the immunity idol that B’Russell already found in a tree, and then she argues with Ben about his “cheap shots” against her in the challenge. Her argument: “You tackled me like a dude. Why would a dude as tall as you tackle me?” His argument: “You were going after one of my teammates. And your grammar is terrible.” Ben doesn’t have a very high opinion of Yasmin, and tells the camera she’s “pretty close to being a hooker.”

B’Russell wishes Yasmin were staying longer, because the confrontation makes people not like Ben. Ben continues down the unlikable path by chopping wood in the middle of the night and keeping awake his tribemates, who say to each other such sleep-deprived statements as “We need to figure out a respectful, like, thing about when everyone is sleeping.”

So now the question is: Should the tribe vote out Betsy, who’s the oldest, or Ben, who got kicked out of a challenge and can be a pain to live with? Betsy tries to convince Natalie and Ashley to go with their women’s intuition, or at least choose the motherly cop over the “pain in the ass” outlaw. Liz tries to convince Ashley that a 28-year-old guy will help in challenges more than a 47-year-old. B’Russell wants Betsy to go home — she’s physically weaker, and she’s a threat to him because she doesn’t trust him — and then would like to see Ashley voted out next. So his plan appears to be to pick off the members of his quickly formed alliance one by one.

At Tribal Council, Liz shows off her amazing denial skills and says that Foa is a mostly happy family, and except for a “minor incident” with Ben, Yasmin’s visit was “fairly congenial.” Ben then lets everyone know that he thinks Yasmin is “ghetto trash” with “grammar so poor, it’s like talking to an idiot.” And when asked about his performance in the challenge, Ben says he doesn’t regret what he did, and he didn’t realize that they were supposed to play by Probst’s “sissy rules.”

Betsy does a little “Bad boy, bad boy, whatcha gonna do” song when she votes for Ben, and when Ben casts his vote against Betsy, he calls her a bad cop and shoots his finger gun at the camera. The outlaw wins the shootout, and Betsy is voted out.

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