“Survivor: Samoa” recap: It’s Called a Russell Seed

First off, I’ll repeat the message CBS had at the end of this episode: If you’d like to donate to the Red Cross for their relief efforts following this week’s devastating Samoan earthquake and tsunami, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or visit redcross.org.

survivor_ben_1009Now on to the recap … members of the Foa tribe are trying to figure out who they’d vote out next, and Jaison and Mick think Ben should be the next to go. They don’t like what he said when arguing with Yasmin — in particular, calling her “ghetto trash” — and Jaison calls Ben “a mental plague on our tribe.”

Bad Russell asks Natalie who she’d want to vote out next, and she responds with a declarative “Gosh.” B’Russell doesn’t like how she doesn’t answer him — he thinks he’s the only one playing the game, and the rest are like zombies. I’d like to believe that Natalie was being strategically noncommittal, but B’Russell may have a point.

Foa’s flint is getting worn down, and Ben gives Mick lessons on how to start a fire. Ben believes he’s indispensable — “Without my help, these people will die” — and is trying to point that out to others, which includes telling Liz that the women on the tribe shouldn’t try to start fires because they’re not strong enough.

B’Russell thinks he needs to keep Ben around for now, so he tells him that prior to the last Tribal Council, Ashley had talked about wanting to get rid of him. B’Russell calls this planting a “Russell seed” in Ben’s head, and the CBS people liked the phrase so much they made it the title of the episode. B’Russell’s tactic works, as Ben gets riled up and tells Ashley that he heard she was out to get him. Ben wouldn’t say who told him; he just says, “It wasn’t Russell.” Perhaps he meant dreadlocked Russell from the Galu tribe (or Russell Johnson, the Professor on Gilligan’s Island), and so technically he wasn’t lying.

Over on Galu (the tribe where I don’t know half the members yet), Laura, a blond woman, some guy and some other guy are doing yoga. Shambo stares at them, and we hear her thoughts with a voice-over: “Are you frickin’ kidding me?” She continues, “I’m kind of alienated from my tribe ’cause I’m not in the ‘90210 clique.’ I’m not doing the warm and fuzzy; I’m doing the Rambo Shambo provider role out here. Do we have water? No. Do we have food? No. Do we have firewood? No. Screw yoga, man.”

The challenge is for both immunity and reward, and involves swimming out to get four crates (complete with wrestling a defender on the way), and then stacking the crates so there are no repeating colors on any side. Galu wins. Again. So I’m still not going to learn who they are.

As Galu’s leader, Russell has to decide between a prize of comfort (pillows, etc.) or function (a tarp, etc.), and goes with the comfort item, saying, “I’m a function guy, but they are a comfort group.” The guys in the tribe aren’t happy with his decision, but he explains back at camp that he went with the comfort items because he was taught to take care of “his women.”

Ben tells the camera, “Ashley stabbed me in the back the other day, so Ashley is going to get [insert finger scissors motion here] the snip.” First thing to pop into my mind: a vasectomy. Perhaps a premise for a different reality show someday.

Shambo is the Galu member Russell sends over to Foa, and unlike Yasmin’s visit, Shambo’s is a lovefest. She tells Mick they call him Mick Dreamy, hugs people, compliments everyone (calling Ben a bright-eyed beefcake), shows the women how to make things (when she’s not secretly digging around for the hidden immunity idol that B’Russell already found in the tree), and lets them know she’s not tight with her tribe. Mick says to the camera that Shambo has such a positive energy, and they’d like to adopt her.

Jaison tells Ashley that if Ben sticks around, he may quit (he doesn’t really plan to, but is willing to put it out there to let people know how much he doesn’t want to live with Ben anymore). B’Russell would prefer to vote Ashley out, and he and Mick shake on a deal in which Mick agrees to not vote against B’Russell, and B’Russell agrees to vote out Ben after Ashley. B’Russell then shows Mick the hidden immunity idol to solidify his bond with Mick. B’Russell tells the camera, “I was born for this — this is what God made me for.” He was talking specifically about having an alliance with Mick and getting rid of Ashley, but I think he was talking generally about spreading his Russell seed.

B’Russell and Mick try to use a “Girl Power’s gonna get us” fear to convince Jaison to vote out Ashley instead of Ben. But Jaison is determined to vote Ben out, and B’Russell knows there’s a danger that folks won’t trust him if he aligns himself too closely with a guy everyone thinks is poison.

The poison comes out some more at Tribal Council, when Jaison and Ben go at it. Jaison says that Ben’s a bully, and Ben responds by trying to bully Natalie into saying that’s not true. Jaison and Ben trade impersonations of each other, with Jaison saying in a mock-Ben voice, “Oh my God! I’m an outlaw! I’m a renegade! But they splashed me in the face! I can’t tackle anyone now!”

The discussion takes a more serious tone with talk about Ben’s “ghetto trash” comments to Yasmin, which he doesn’t see as being racial. “If she’s from the ghetto and she’s trashy, that’s ghetto trash — that’s not racial whatsoever,” he says. Jaison tries for another angle and asks Ben if his words were a proper way to speak to a lady, and Ben says that Yasmin’s not a lady. Jaison tries again to explain why the “ghetto trash” comments have a racial context, and concludes that Ben maybe truly doesn’t get it. In any case, Jaison says, he doesn’t want to live with the guy anymore, and their relationship can’t be salvaged.

Apparently the rest of the tribe doesn’t want to live with the guy anymore either, and Ben is kicked out with a 6-1 vote. “Thank God,” Ashley says. Possibly the same God who created Bad Russell for the purpose of playing Survivor.

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