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'Survivor': A storm and jellyfish smoothies make for one very bad week

October 16, 2009 | 12:54 am

Ashley Man, not a fun week to be stuck on the island of Samoa.

First up: the infamous eat-gross-things-and-try-not-to-puke challenge. My favorite! There's something fantastic and horrible about watching the players try to down disgusting concoctions. Apparently host Jeff Probst agrees, as he seemed to be loving the challenge -- mixing together the most rancid items possible, trying to get people to gag and using words like "chunky." Yuck.

Shambo started things off like a champ, chugging her Samoa smoothie of clam, sea snail and fresh seaweed down in only a couple of gulps.

But I thought it was the two Russells who had it the worst. Jellyfish and milk? Brutal.

Despite the nasty drinks, this year's players seemed ready to pour nearly anything down their throats. I suppose it's a given that if you're playing "Survivor," you're going to have to ingest something grotesque at some point.

In Jeff's words: "You wanted to be on 'Survivor.' Welcome to the game."

Everyone was able to hack it except for Foa Foa's Ashley, who had to run off and vomit sea slug guts. 

As reward, Galu scored a bevy of assorted meat to barbecue. But one tribe member would miss out on the feast, as Russell S.was forced to send a member back to camp with Foa Foa. The loser? My beloved Shambo. How unfair was that? She set the tone for the entire challenge by gulping her shake in a couple of seconds flat and she doesn't even reap the benefits for it. Russell S. said his logic was that she "had to pay" for letting a chicken fly the coop last week, but it really seemed like he just wanted to get rid of Sham for a night.

To make things worse for Foa Foa, the tribe continued its losing streak at the immunity challenge. With only five members left, things really aren't looking good for these guys when we get to merge time. I just hope eye candy Mick is able to stick it out for as long as possible.

The morale worsened when the weather on Samoa became unforgiving and an angry-looking storm hit the island. All of the tribe members' feet and hands shriveled up as they froze, huddled together in their wet shacks. Jaison -- who said his body has before been pushed to the limit while playing water polo -- continued to whine. 

"As a tribe, it doesn't look good anymore," he said, holding up his hands -- which, I'll admit, did not look healthy. "We're all cold. We're all tired. This is absolute misery."

Dude. Shut up or get out. Everyone else seems to be handling it just fine.

The weather put a real wrench in the voting process this week. It was interesting to see everyone trapped in a confined space, too fed up with the weather to scramble and try to figure out a voting strategy.

And as I predicted, it doesn't seem that Russell H. is stacking up to be the great mastermind he proclaimed himself to be. 

From the beginning, his M.O. has been to axe any fellow tribe member who threatens him. Liz approached Russell H. and accused him of lying about having the hidden immunity idol, and then to ratchet things up a notch, she insinuated that Ashley wouldn't be able to pull her weight at the gory food challenge. This infuriated Russell H. How dare Liz try to put thoughts into her tribe mates' minds!

"As soon as I see somebody playing that mind game on other people, they're gone," he said later to camera. "I gotta be the only mind game player here."

His words led me to believe that Russell H. would overcome the weather and figure out some mysterious way to get his fellow tribe members to vote with him for Liz. A wink? Some hand signals? A whisper? Something!

But nada. And when it came time to vote someone out at tribal council, Russell H. voted for Ashley -- who had just spoken up on his behalf -- instead of Liz. He left things up to chance: bad move. Liz has already repeatedly said she doesn't trust Russell H., and she may just have enough sway amongst her remaining, fragile tribe to get them to turn on him.

But maybe Russell H. has more control over his tribe mates than I'm realizing. Do you think Foa Foa stands a chance, or are its days numbered? How fed up are you getting with Jaison and his bad attitude? And who do you think gets hurt next week!?!? Oh, the drama.

-- Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)

Photo: Ashley Trainer wasn't able to swallow her sea slug guts smoothie and was voted out as a result. Credit: CBS


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