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'Survivor': Has Russell secured his spot in the final two?

98164_D19128b Well, there we go. I think Russell has taken the whole game.

I cannot believe that Mick and Jaison opted not to vote Russell out of the game this week. It may have been their only shot! Mick's too moral for his own good -- he even admitted to the camera that though he envisions becoming a millionaire every night, he also thinks about his "emotional and moral" responsibilities. I think it's safe to say his dreams of becoming a millionaire are going to remain only fantasies. 

I can't see how Russell could be taken out of the game at this point. Even if everyone decided to team up against him, he still has the hidden immunity idol to play. And next week's preview shows him aligning with Jaison, arguably the strongest remaining player in the game.

But man, Russell did totally lose it when he found out that one of his tribe members had leaked the news that he's actually rich in real life. How fun was it to watch him scramble, angrily running around and accusing Natalie and Jaison of spreading the news to Monica? That was definitely one of the few moments of weakness I've seen yet this season in Russell's game. He got too emotional, in the process making it obvious that he really had been lying about being poor.

I didn't really like the different format of the show this week with two contestants being eliminated and no reward challenges. Things went by too quickly and we only got a simplified view of what went into the voting process. In the end, I guess it wasn't that bad because the two contestants I liked least -- Dave and Monica -- finally were sent packing in the most expedient manner possible. Good riddance. 

All of a sudden, at the end of the game, Monica decides to cop an attitude and stir things up and suddenly emerges with a massively annoying ego. Dave, meanwhile, never struck me as a crafty player because he was too quick to jump into things and would vote off fellow Galu members on a whim. Plus, Russell made an excellent point: Why didn't Dave come to him earlier and try to team up? It probably would have guaranteed Dave a free ride to the final two. But that likely would have been as far as he could have progressed in the game because I cannot -- as Russell so aptly said -- imagine anyone choosing Dave over Russell.

I know that everyone thinks Brett is now becoming this big-time threat, but I still don't buy it. By the looks of things, next week, he aligns with Mick and Shambo while Jaison and Russell team up. Unless he continues to win all of the immunity challenges -- which I guess is a legitimate possibility -- it doesn't seem like there's any way he'd be able to survive long enough through any of the tribal councils. And Shambo and Mick probably don't have a vested interest in keeping him around, either. Even though they'd both cull favor with a jury, Brett probably would get even more votes himself because he's a former Galu member whom everyone loved.

98164_D25545 On the subject of the jury -- come to think of it, is there anyone who might have a real shot against Russell in a final two pairing? Both Mick and Jaison are strong players who are friendly, but I think jury members would feel they truly just coasted by as a result of Russell's inventive schemes. Natalie hasn't really wronged anyone, but I'm sure everyone will claim she also rode Russell's coattails throughout the game. Brett, too, is kind to everyone but hasn't made any big moves. And I love Shambo, but many of her former Galu tribe members don't feel the same way -- especially, I'd imagine, after she played a major role in sending them home. 

Then again, members of the jury often vote with their hearts, not their heads. If enough players are mad that Russell voted them off or lied to them, they might not vote for him. Not to mention the issue that already caused a stir this week: the possible small fortune he has back at home. Though I'm sure if he were grilled about his financial situation in a final two situation, he'd just grin and continue to lie through his teeth.

So, do you think Russell has sealed the deal at this point? Who else has a real shot at winning this season's "Survivor?" Let's debate in the comments.

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

Photos: Russell Hantz, seen above, may well win this season's "Survivor." But contestants worry that Brett Clouser, pictured at right, is Samoa's quiet threat. Credit: CBS

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Comments () | Archives (13)

Russel may be a class act to some, but the game he has played makes me question why I watch Survior. Russel started off dumping water and it went down hill from there, he must be a real jewel to work for in the real world, a sleazy player is most likely a sleazy person in the real world

Well your actually one of the few that dont need to watch this show. its exactly what its called, SURVIVOR, Russell is playing a great game and out to win, he was able to turn his weakness into a vote to get rid of Monica. This game is not to be likened to any other and only the strong will make it. Its for 1 million bucks. Yes there should be some humility but overall it can get crazy

What Russell did on the first night of the game was unconscionable and I thought he should have been called out by the producers and kicked off. Now however, he has proven time and time again that he is the Picasso of the game and that this is his art. He is the BEST player ever. The game will never be the same again. We will see now that future survivors will blantantly sabotage other players openly and secretly, ala Russell. Sabotage and lies will be the name of the game, not so much alliances. Future alliances will be completely phony as players will take a page from Russell's "I Was Born to Play Survivor and Win" book. BEST. SEASON. EVER.

Russell has played like a dirty dog...but he absolutely deserves to win this game. At the beginning I thought "how can they be so stupid to believe this guy?" and "how can they let this guy be on the show?" but as weeks went by, I found myself rooting for Russell. His initiative to find hidden immunity idols and distract other players from where they are...has been incredible.

Russell has Outwitted, Out Played, and Out Lasted EVERYONE!!!

I disagree.
I think Mick and Jaison have the game in hand now. And Shambo has no endgame.
Next week, Russ HAS to play the idol. It's the final week that it has any value.
So either Brett or Shambo are going home.
Then the following vote, the other goes....and the gang of 4 are the final 4 left standing.
Then, if anyone but Russ wins immunity at 4, they vote off Russ because nobody could beat him in the final 2.
If he wins it somehow, they vote Nat off.
At 3, Russ AGAIN needs to win again because nobody wants to face him in the finals. The odds of him winning the final 2 immunities are almost impossible.

Shambo has no plan. She needed to make the attack this week but let it slip by and now the numbers are against her.

Mick and J should have put Russell's name down regardless this week. Either he goes home or it flushes the idol early and annoying Monica goes home anyway. All it would have done is upset Russ but send him into a scramble frenzy.

I think the endgame is Mick/J with J winning because he's the #2 mastermind of most of the plot.

First its mick and Natalie not shambo
second russel will not win this game NO way cause 6 of the jury members are bitter galu's who'll never vote for him.
so forget that!
and Brett is a great/smart player if you bother watching the deleted scenes on cbs you'll see that he's been playing this whole time in a perfect strategic way it was just that his allies were all idiots
he said no to voting monica in week one of the merge then said no to vote erik (but was forced to so he wouldnt look like the outside) he then mentioned the hidden immunity idol when kelly was voted off. He's also trusted by every galu whenever they do a confessional or interview post show when asked who'd you trust the most Laura, Eric, Kelly, Monica, Dave all said Brett and Shambo when she was flipping the only guy she went to so she could warn was brett
he's in a great position if he doesn't win I hope he comes back for an all stars season

I view the show completely differently than M. Renee. Russell's ego prevents him from keeping his mouth shut. He was stupid and told people he had the idol and had to play it because he thought others saw him as a threat since he had the idol. He got a thrid one and was stupid again and told John he had it. He put himself in a bind and instead of being smart and getting Shambo who would have been very loyal to him, he took her for granted. She is really really dumb if she trust him now. If he was smart, he would have told her that he thought John had the idol since John bought a clue for it that week. Instead he acted without thinking. Then we learn that after boasting about all the lies, especially the one about Katrina that he couldn't keep his mouth shut about being a high earner. His ego is too much.

Jaison is not riding his coattails. He was instrumental in getting Erik voted out. He won two of the last 3 immunity challenges. Mick and Jaison are going along and voting the obvious person out. I don't see that as riding the coattails. It is being smart. They just aren't all cocky about it. Why roughen the waters when they get to move along with smooth seas?


I heard the last show's format changed because there was a problem with the challenge set up. Something broke or didn't work or something like that.

>

This is a great point! I can imagine players not only sabotaging others, but FRAMING people for the sabotage. I've heard that Russell doesn't make it, but if that's true, you can bet he'll be back in some special version of the show. He definitely has changed the game. I hate him, but I love what he's done to give this fun show a future.

It's funny how it managed to reinvent itself just when it needs to, wouldn't you say?

ray survivor does not mimic real life. russell is playing a GAME. is he manipulative in person? probably. but i doubt he would pour out canteens on a regular camping trip.

Russell has the idol and everyone expects him to play it himself. Russell could hand it to someone else at the last minute and blindside anyone left in the game who doesn't win the immunity necklace. He is clearly running this game and this week will be no different. Russell is one of the best to play the game and those that do not reconize this do not undestand what this show is all about.

This is the best season that I have watched. I told people who quit watching the show years ago and they ended up watching the season online and agree it has been the best. At first, I too hated russell but Survivor is about out witting, out lasting, and out playing others, which he has done hands down. Do I think he deserves the million? No, I would love to see Jaison win it. He was my favorite from the beginning.

Thanks Survivor for a great season.

First off I would like to say that I love watching this type of car crash TV - I don't have to think too hard when relaxing at the end of the day. But, the show reminds me of American Idol etc - there are a bunch of psychologists I am sure in the back ground who firstly picked the contestants that would be more abrasive or who would react in certain situations a predictable way - situations that the producers decide on. Some people get more TV time than others and I often wonder what remains on the editors floor! In the UK we had a series called "big brother" when individuals were put in a house to see how they reacted. It was a group of people from the public - well that was what we were told until it came out that one lady was a paid actress who was sent in with instructions on how to behave!! - outrageous! Who says that couldn't have happened here?

Sorry for being cynical but we are being played for ratings - conflict gets people talking - here is a case in point - it all keeps it in the media and the ratings high.

So personally I will still watch as it is entertaining but I still feel its a fix.


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