Recap: ‘Survivor: Samoa’ – ‘Houdini Magic’

10.29.09 8 years ago


Pre-credit sequence. It took me a few minutes to remember that the big twist of last week’s “Survivor: Samoa” was that nobody went home. Well, nobody except for Non-Psycho Russell, which means that Psycho Russell can now just be “Russell.” We start the episode at Non-Psycho Russell’s old tribe, Galu, still trying to figure out what comes next. The guys are mostly concerned about how to keep Shambo with them to prevent her from joining forces with the ladies. They only need Shambo til the merge, though, and from that point, it’s “Bros before Hos.” 
[Full recap of Thursday’s (Oct. 29) “Survivor Samoa” after the break…]
MickDreamy gets MickMopey. Over at Foa Foa? That fire in their bellies from last episode seems to be gone. Or at least MickDreamy is fire-less. Russell is fiery, though. And even Jaison seems to have new gumption. So what’s wrong with MickDreamy? And why do I find it so much less fun to call “MickDreamy” now that his tribe is calling him that? 
Hail Shamo, the Puppet Queen. Galu’s men have a plan. Not only are they going to reassure her, but they’re also going to nominate her as their new chief. Erik thinks this will put her deep in his pocket. Like lint, he explains. The tribe arranges a very strange voting system assigning numbers to everybody and then holding up fingers. Monica is still confused by the voting system, as Shambo is elected. “I would like my first act to be one of motivation and kindness,” Shambo says in her inaugural speech. Shambo’s puffery is hilarious. Dave remains confident in their plan, despite Shambo’s dimness. The secret appears to be keeping Shambo in the dark about everything.
A good opportunity to check in on the World Series game. The Reward Challenge is a game of memory. Want to know what they’re playing for? The winning tribe gets to take a sailing cruise with a nice lunch. Galu secures the first match, finding two fire-starting kits, but they choose to keep the kit rather than getting the point. The kit comes with a tarp, replacing the one Now-Departed-Russell sacrificed to keep his women happy. Galu chooses a point over mosquito netting and takes the lead. This is not a good challenge for TV and the editors start making everything speedy, using time lapse, as Galu moves out to a 6-3 lead. Forget this. I’m watching the World Series til this ends. Galu wins. Yay. So much for Foa Foa’s momentum. Shambo’s first real executive decision is to send Laura over to Foa Foa, saying she wants to keep her guys strong. Kelly is annoyed. And she can’t pronounce “Jaguar.” In fact, who the heck are you, Kelly and why are you entitled to make fun of anybody? Meanwhile, MickDreamy is concerned that his tribe is cursed.
Truth & Lies & Alliances. Laura arrives at Foa Foa, where everybody is happy to meet her. Laura’s appreciative at their kindness, even if she’s resentful of Shambo’s decision. In no time flat, Russell takes Laura off for a walk. We learn that Russell’s father was a preacher and that he has twins. Or that’s what Russell says. Who knows. He may just have done a very quick read on Laura. He tells Laura that in a perfect world, it would be him, Laura and Natalie in the Final Three. He tells her he can spot a Good Christian anywhere and she’s instantly calling him her brother from another mother. Laura views it as food for thought, but doesn’t commit. Russell cements his trustworthiness by telling Laura that the Immunity Idol is gone, that Ben found it and didn’t play it. Ah, that’s the Russell we know and love.
Ah, “Pirate Master,” how I like to occasionally remember you existed. Erik doesn’t understand what he’s done in life to deserve the floating vessel and their floating lunch. Is it the ship from Mark Burnett’s “Pirate Master”? I’d hate to think that craft went to waste.  Now if only they could repurpose Christian Okoye as well. In no time, the Galuvians are proper sailors, skipping around the boat and learning to navigate and raise the flags. Soon, they’re making pirate jokes, with Dave getting exciting about the potential for wenching. Lunch is a beef stew and piles of bread and scones. I still feel sad about all of the pizza they wasted last episode. Over full stomachs, Monica pretends to make nice with Shambo, showing gratitude at the leader not sending her over to Foa Foa. 
Sister Christian. Speaking of Foa Foa, Laura is doing more sharing. She and her husband have Harleys and they like to ride with their pastor. But Liz isn’t happy with all of the discussion of religion that’s happening between Laura and Natalie. She’s trying to work and the two women are discussing faith and a book-of-the-month club. “Liz is so stupid I don’t even see how she can walk without falling down,” Russell cracks. He’s already chosen sides in this fight and Natalie is his “little toy.”
Male Pattern Blindness. Who’s ready for another Immunity Challenge? Can Galu continue their dominance or will Foa Foa find a way to bounce back? And will anything be more entertaining than watching Pedro Martinez? It’s a pretty basic challenge. Paddle out. Collect puzzle pieces with a fishing line. Make a puzzle. Oooh. Foa Foa has decided that the reason they were so awful was related to the leadership necklace. It’s been left behind. Will it make a difference? Dave struggles as a fisherman and Foa Foa gets out to a big lead. For some reason, Foa Foa decides to have people pull their boat back to show, while Galu paddles. The two teams are basically even as they start their puzzling. There’s a pattern to the puzzle, but nobody is immediately finding it. Jaison is especially lost. Galu finds the pattern! And it’s just that easy. Silly Foa Foa. Back to Tribal Council for you. “Mick, looks like it wasn’t the necklace,” Jeff Probst deadpans. Russell is frustrated that Jaison quit during the challenge and he’s wondering if it’s time for a big shake-up.
Good gracious. This again?!? When have we seen this before? Foa Foa returns to camp dejectedly. Are they ever jected? Can you be “jected”? Russell is still wondering where Jaison’s gumption is, going so far as to also question Jaison’s abilities as a future lawyer. Liz and Jaison are a gloomy ball of negativity complaining around the fire and wondering why they keep losing their leads. Jaison admits that he didn’t perform well in the puzzle and that he may be endangered. Russell puts two options in front of Liz, Natalie or Jaison. Liz had thought the vote would be between her and Natalie, so she’s happy with any possibility that doesn’t involve her. He doesn’t trust Liz after the merger. But he doesn’t trust Jaison to win in challenges. We don’t see enough behind-the-scenes discussion to know how this vote is going.
Tribal Council. “There’s no use going over the dismal facts,” Jeff mocks them, calling it one of the worst overall performances by any tribe in the history of the game. But you know who isn’t troubled? Natalie? She’s just a bundle of sunshine. Russell candidly tells Jeff that they’re just waiting for the merge, because he’s confident he can outwit Galu. Liz and MickDreamy announce that they all trust each other. Jeff notices Jaison’s body language. Again, Jaison comes out and blames himself for not seeing the pattern in the puzzle. Jaison, very gallant, says that if his tribe votes him out, he hopes that’s what they need to get over the hump in future challenges.
The Vote. Liz writes Jaison’s name down. Jaison writes Liz’s name down. The first two votes are, as you might imagine, split. But that’s just for drama. For all of Russell’s contemplations, the vote goes against Liz. “You haven’t been that successful at challenges, but you’re getting really good at blindsides,” Jeff tells Foa Foa. This wasn’t really a blindside, was it? Or not a real blindside. Based on the scenes from next week, it looks like Russell probably made the right choice. But does anybody remember the last time Russell steered the action in any way? 
An open question for “Survivor” fans… Who are you rooting for? I’m having a hard time finding anybody I’m prepared to get behind. Am I the only one struggling for attachments?

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