Survivor Samoa, Episode 6

The Rain Isn’t the Only Thing That’s Falling

We had probably the longest Survivor montage ever:The rain, it falls, and here’s how everybody feels about it… for FORTYMINUTES! How, o ye lords of production, do you expect me to blog about that?There was so little content in the first half of the show, one can hardly expect your average blogger to have anything much to talk about… fortunately for you, readers (faithful and faithless alike) I’m not your average blogger.

The most common sense among the contestants is that the rain sucks, and you can’t get anything done while it’s happening. “Common” is not what I’m going to talk about, however. Each tribe seemed to have one member that broke that mold by pushing themselves, and the rain be damned. Both of them were named Russell. But where Foa Foa’s Russell simply embraced the conditions and got done what absolutely needed to get done, the other (risking speaking ill of the “dead”, here, but bear with me) saw it as an opportunity to overdo it. We didn’t see much of what he was up to, but the impression was certainly there that he worked incessantly throughout the rainstorm, obliterating what calories he’d managed to retain from the Feast O Meat of a few days back.

But Russell H’s big contribution wasn’t in what he got done – we saw no indication that his (brief) talk about working on a more rain-tight shelter ever got off the ground. No, what he did wasn’t work-related at all. It was acceptance of the conditions, and using them to keep him strong. While Russell S. complained of dehydration (wow…. just wow) we see Russell H. refilling his canteen from focused rainfall. While “S” worked relentlessly to keep a fire going using firewood STORED. IN. THE. GORRAM. RAIN, “H” didn’t waste energy in futile pursuits. Call “H” a villain if you must, call him a hick, a liar, ill-educated, woman-hating, bad-mouthing, disrespectful varmint… but he’s got more common frickin’ sense than all of Foa Foa and half of Galu combined.

Oh, and I particularly liked Erik’s (?)sleeping hole. Looked like it might have approached merely damp. And I took particular joy in hearing Kelly mutter about how much better things would be with a tarp… waitaminit… wasn’t she one of the ladies jumping for joy when “S” chose (now waterlogged) pillows and blankets over the all-too-utilitarian tarp a couple episodes back? That warmed my petty, vindictive little heart to hear that.

Now, I feel the need to peel off my cold, unfeeling mask for just a few moments, drawing aside the veil of emotionlessness with which I normally post, and show that somewhere, deep down, hiding behind my sandstone cardio-thing, nestled in next to the razor sharp blade of my chilling wit lies a tiny spark of actual humanity. Normally, I don’t feel much for people voted out of the game, and typically only a cold anger for those who quit. But “S”… no, for this, he gets his full name… Russell Swan left the game due to a sudden collapse of his health, a potentially deadly drop in his blood pressure. While it could be argued that he brought this on himself – and that argument could likely hold a few gallons of rain water – none can deny that he left the game unwillingly. Unable even to stand, he kept insisting that he could continue. He wept when they carried him away, knowing that his dream was over. This is a man that had applied several time, who shared his love of the show with his family, and ultimately got the Great Opportunity he sought… and lost it, not because an alliance mate betrayed him, but because his own body did. Respect, bro.

But there was a decision or two that we didn’t get to see, and for which I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall. Both were time with the producers. The first was their decision to end the challenge; could they have decided to continue it, swapping out Swan for one of the bench-sitters? Or, if that is somehow verboten, continuing down one player for Galu. Surely, everybody would have preferred the CHANCE at pizza and a sit-in on the other tribe’s Tribal Council, wouldn’t they? The second is the brainstorming session that caused them to decide to not have a TCat all, but instead to replace it with a bullturd session. I’m intrigued by these decisions and how they came to make them. Is there a protocol already in place? To what factors did they give more weight: viewability?game play?precedent? fairness? I’m guessing, regarding the latter decision, it was simply a matter of balancing the numbers. With both Mike and Russell Swan leaving due to life-threatening illness, dropping the TC during which they’d been scheduled to vote out two contestants gets them back on whatever schedule they were originally on.

I do find it interesting that they’ve yet to have a tribal mixup. They seem due – or perhaps just a bit past due – for one. Could this be the season in which they’ve done away with that procedural staple of ten seasons? …. Well, if it’s next episode, it would only be good for a couple more before the merge – we’re at 13 now.

Now, I haven’t read what anybody else has written for this episode yet. I’d be very interested to see what people thought of it. I suspect that there will be slightly more than the usual complaints of “boooorrring”, but overall an outpouring of love (and a few critial detractors) for Russell Swan. Possibly a handful commenting on Russell H’s attitude in the positive (as I have done), but almost none of the usual Hate The H. posts.

Alright, this is overlong already. I’m done. Peace out.



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