Recap: ‘Survivor: Samoa’ – ‘Taking Candy From a Baby’

09.24.09 8 years ago


Pre-credit sequence. Welcome to Week Two of “Survivor: Samoa” or, as it’s pretty much already been renamed, “The Psycho Russell Variety Hour.” Rarely if ever has a single castmate so immediately and completely dominated the conversation. It’s only Day Four in Foa Foa and Psycho Russell is gloating, warning that Marisa played with fire and, thus, got burned. He’s pretty solid with his causal logic, at least. He’s relieved to no longer have to worry about her strong mind. Officer Betsy, sensing Psycho Russell’s wrath, approaches him and attempts to reconcile. They agree that they don’t trust each other, but they’ll still talk. “It is what it is,” they both agree. She tells the camera that she has no faith in Psycho Russell, having gotten to know him.

Hood-winked. Or wood-hinked? There’s less drama in Galu. In fact, do we even remember that they’re in the game? And why would we? All that’s happening in Galu is Yasmin complaining about the wet and the cold and her new rashes. She’s not an outdoors girl and she scoffs at the people who once told her that if she could survive in Detroit, she could survive on ‘Survivor,’ putting it simply, “The hood’s not the woods.”

Psycho Russell is Tree-mendous. Ben has caught a lizard over at Foa Foa. Ben has a bit of a target on himself as well. Jaison approaches Psycho Russell with his concerns and Psycho Russell decides that Jaison is trustworthy and he’d be a good person to take along with him. Psycho Russell has decided that since past seasons have had hidden Immunity Idols around camp, there’s bound to be one this year and he goes searching on what Jaison calls a “preemptive strike.” Everybody is munching on lizard as Russell digs feverishly under a tree. They ask him what he’s doing and, in what seems counter-intuitively devious, he actually tells him the truth. Knowing that Russell’s looking for the Ido, they just stand around barely paying attention as — God’s Bodkins! — he finds the darned thing. No clue or anything. He finds the Idol. I may hate Psycho Russell, but how can you not admire that? Nobody notices as he sticks the Idol down his pants and leaves. The Foa Foa tribe may deserve Psycho Russell’s domination. Although he admits he’d planned to keep it a secret, he tells Jaison he has it, but tells us that he’d never pass it along to his new buddy.

Old dogs, no tricks. We’re still at Foa Foa, because Galu is boring. Mike and Betsy have formed a bit of an Old Person’s Alliance. Behind the scenes, though, Psycho Russell is mobilizing to vote either Mike or Betsy out next. Tree Mail tells them that they’re going to have to rumble. Before the rumbling, though, they have to don Samoan war paint. This is right up the heavily tattooed Mike’s alley, as he says. “I’m a mean motor scooter and a bad go-getter. Vows to take somebody “downtown to Chinatown,” a phrase that you don’t often hear spoken in earnest.

Big bodies and big balls for a big reward. We’re playing for Immunity in a challenge that blends rugby and basketball.  Want to know what else they’re playing for? Fishing gear. Jeff Probst promises a twist. Galu has to sit somebody out. They choose Monica, as all of America goes, “Who the heck is Monica?” I’m even sure if she appeared in the premiere. As Jeff promised, this game is intense and physical, with tackling and flying elbows galore. Foa Foa scores first, with the men in the pit tussling. The women tussle next, as Jeff has to warn them not to choke and has to tell Shambo to be “easy with the face.” After Galu ties things up, Jeff warns them that they’ve been warned and that anything cheap will get people eliminated. It’s hard to know what Jeff things is cheap, as Yasmin pulls Ashley down by the neck from behind. Ben becomes the first player in “Survivor” history to be pulled from a challenge for a trip on Non-Psycho Russell. Galu takes the lead at 2-1. Jeff is getting more than a little arouses as the men bash each other around in the pit, gushing “Big bodies colliding.” Galu scores again, taking Immunity and Reward. Ben’s reaction to his challenge eviction is to flex a muscle and mutter “Outlaw, baby.” Moron, baby. Non-Psycho Russell has to select one person from his tribe to join the other tribe for Tribal Council. Yasmin is selection. We assume this is the clue to the Idol that Russell has already found. Before Foa Foa can leave, Mike has to seek medical attention.

Under pressure. The “Survivor” Medical Team is seeing to Mike back at Foa Foa camp. They aren’t happy with his blood pressure, which is much too low. MickDreamy, a doctor himself, knows this isn’t good, nor is it good when Mike tries to rise and collapses. Jeff asks if a couple canteens of water will fix him and the doctor says no. Mike is being pulled from the game, but he still has pride. Yasmin, who didn’t even know Mike, is in tears. MickDreamy knows the doctor made the right choice, but he’s already having his doubts about how Foa Foa is going to cope.

Go fish. Shambo takes the fishing gear and goes off on her own to bring home the bacon. Or the fish. Whichever is easier to catch underwater. Despite claiming that spear-fishing is her thing, she gives up in no time and she floats around, enjoying her first bath in a week. Returning to camp, she offers them good news and bad news. The bad news is that she didn’t catch anything and that she lost the mouthpiece to the mask. “The good news is, you’ll never believe this, there are fish in the ocean,” Laura cracks. 

Here is my PowerPoint presentation on why Foa Foa sucks. Yasmin starts her bonding with Foa Foa by introducing herself. For some reason, she believes she’s there to help them strategize. Really? Were you there to lead a town hall meeting? She tells them that it’s been no fun beating them, that it’s been like taking candy from a baby. Really? She calls Ben out and begins lecturing them and telling them that they can do better if they listen to her. Really? “She come to the wrong camp, because she ain’t gettin’ nothin’ but disrespect from me,” Psycho Russell vows. Indeed, we guessed, Yasmin’s clue is to the Idol that isn’t there anymore. The clue tells her a tree, which does her no good. Pulling Ben aside, Yasmin and asks him about his cheap shots and his disrespect in the competition. He calls her “Grammar School.” She calls him “Ignorant.” Wow. They’re both tools. “Yasmin’s got a big mouth. She smells bad. She’s got bad grammar,” Ben announces, adding that Yasmin is close to being a hooker. The debate back and forth whether they know the definition of the word ignorant. Ashley is beginning to wonder if Ben is a liability. Ben calls Yasmin “ghetto trash” and makes some comment about ketchup sandwiches. Would we describe Ben’s comments as “despicably bigoted” or just “stupidly racially inflected”?  Suddenly, Psycho Russell loves Yasmin, because she’s making Ben look bad.

Outlaw or Out-of-his-freaking-mind? We’re still in dysfunctional Foa Foa, where Ben has decided to get some late-night construction work and fire-making done. Everybody is trying to sleep and Ben’s hard work is less-than-appreciated. The next morning, Ben is still awake. He has dark circles under his eyes and he looks like he’s gone native. Betsy sees this as an opportunity to get somebody else voted out. Jaison and MickDreamy decide that Ben’s “outlaw” attitude is just a facade. Does he have a sweet, sensitive side that we haven’t seen yet? A gooey nougat center of social justice and fine dining table manners? Betsy lobbies, even though MickDreamy tells us that her head is still on the block. He’s sure on his vote, but Betsy tells the women to use their intuition. She’s pushing hard and Ashley is beginning to waver, sharing her issues with Liz. But Liz can’t buy Ashley’s argument, nor can Psycho Russell, who hates to hear that Ashley is having doubts. Now that Ashley’s threatening him, she moves up his list. “Whatever I want happens,” Psycho Russell tells us.

Tribal Council. Yasmin goes off to the side to judge them, as Jeff asks Foa Foa if they’re One Big Happy Family now. Liz agrees that they are, as everybody looks at the ground and tries to avoid the Emmy-wining host’s gaze. Asked about Yasmin’s visit, Ben tells Jeff that Yasmin is “ghetto trash” and needs to go back where she came from. Psycho Russell agrees or, at the least, he emphasizes Ben’s insanity for everybody else. They bump fists. Both Jaison and MickDreamy are more reasonable, saying that Ben does what Ben does and he does it in Ben’s way. Betsy says they have a guy like Ben in every town, guys who slide by the rules. Asked about being booted, Ben says he doesn’t regret anything and that Jeff never said they were playing by his “sissy rules.” He acknowledges that he did, indeed, intentionally trip Non-Psycho Russell, explaining “big tree go down hard.” Ben says he has as good as chance of winning as anybody. This produces smirks aplenty, even from Jeff.

The vote. As you might imagine, Betsy writes Ben’s name and sings the “COPS” theme, telling Ben not to use her name if he gets stopped in New Hampshire. “I thought you were a good cop, but you’re a bad cop,” Ben says, as he writes down Betsy’s name. The first two votes are split, but the rest of the votes we see go against Betsy. New Hampshire’s Finest is the third player out of the game. Jeff’s proud that, if nothing else, they’re voting together.

Who are you hating more at this point, Psycho Russell or Bigoted Ben? Is Foa Foa doomed?

Around The Web