'Survivor': Finally, things start gettin' good
I'm not sure if this week's episode of "Survivor" could have been any more fulfilling. Everything I've been waiting for finally came to fruition, and I couldn't stop grinning throughout the entire hour.
First up, the winners of the reward challenge actually score a decent prize. No more beef stew and scones on a pirate ship. This was the kind of "Survivor" reward I was looking for: a scenic airplane ride, a remote island with a beautiful waterfall, and a spread of caloric goodness including grilled hot dogs and apple pie.
I did find that whole cheesy PrePalm phone promotion odd. Jeff hands the winners a nifty PDA to ... take pictures with? I thought that once they arrived at the island they'd be able to give their loved ones a call or at least watch some recorded message from friends and family. Instead, they received only a video hint about the location of the hidden immunity idol. As if Russell needed the clue.
He didn't, of course, and he further solidified this week that his good fortune is due more to his game-playing skills than Lady Luck.
I loved reading all of your comments last week, and I'm glad to know I'm not alone in rooting for Russell. I'll admit, I was feeling a little guilty about liking him after that whole horrible Hurricane Katrina ruse during the first episode, but it's difficult to deny how great he is at "Survivor."
With the remainder of Galu tribe on his tail, Russell managed to scramble and track down the third hidden immunity idol. Insanity. "They're like magnets to me. They're just drawn to me," Russell said.
Also, how is it possible that Dave wasn't able to beat Russell in a foot race through the jungle? Isn't the guy supposed to be, like, a fitness instructor or something? Too good.
Then, at the challenge, Mick won immunity at long last. He is so dreamy. It's unfair. Despite his good looks, it still made me feel good to watch the perennial underdog walk away with the win. And I loved Shambo blatantly laughing in Laura's face when she lost out on her shot at immunity. Pure, open hatred. The best.
I still think Mick, by the way, has a good shot at taking home the prize. He's a strong physical competitor, he's charming and handsome, and he hasn't made any known enemies.
And finally, Laura was sent home. I literally shouted in elation as she got her just desserts. Though did you see that vote Jeff read where someone had spelled Laura as "Luara"? Really, guys? Really?
I'll admit, I was pretty nervous as the tribe members cast their second tie-breaker ballots -- I wasn't sure John would flip. Actually, the entire afternoon leading up to the vote had me on edge. Jaison and Mick did a horrible job of letting Monica know that they had the numbers on their side.
"She encouraged us to vote the way we did last week," Mick told Monica, so obviously referring to Shambo. As if Laura would be on Foa Foa's side.
But luckily, John did vote for Laura, and in doing so he proved he's a force to be reckoned with. I completely agreed with him when he said he was continually struck by the poor analytical skills of his Galu tribe mates. They're so quick to jump at a plan before thinking about it.
How about Dave impulsively deciding to vote for Natalie?
"I'll burn her right now. I do not care, bro," he said with wild eyes. That spontaneity can be the death of a "Survivor" player. While Dave is busy agreeing with the often-harebrained plots of his tribe mates, Russell has been busy plotting his own schemes.
Was this week's episode as fulfilling for you as it was for me? Do you think it was a smart move for John to vote with Foa Foa? And is Russell now a lock for the finals? Let's discuss in the comments.
--Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)
Photos: Russell Hantz, top, and John Fincher.