Not only do the conditions in Samoa look like the most miserable conditions I’ve ever seen on Survivor, Russell running around with his “Russell seeds” have to make life in the game even more difficult. Throw in a challenge and the fact that someone would be voted off from each tribe no matter what, well that’s enough to kill anyone’s spirits.
And surprisingly, everyone still had a fire to continue. No one wanted to quit. After five days of non-stop rain and dreadful conditions, everyone still had the motivation to fight through the next challenge and beat the opposing tribe. Frankly, that surprised me. In all 19 seasons of Survivor, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group face this tough of conditions in a five-day period. Africa (season 3) might give Samoa a run for its money, but either way it looks miserable out there. Erik sat in a tree trunk for 26 hours with rain pounding down on him continuously. If that’s not character building then I don’t know what is.
Thursday’s episode was a great break to the “strategy” of the game and really brought the season back to the roots of Survivor – surviving the elements. It almost seems like a pre-allstars season where the editors focused on the weather and harsh conditions of the game, not just the strategy. It was a nice change.
In what has to be the scariest moment in Survivor history since Michael Skupin fell in the fire back in Australia (season 2), Russell S. collapsed during the tough reward challenge. It’s hard to describe in words and give the situation justice, but Probst was forced to cancel the challenge as medical took over. Despite his loud protests that he wanted to stay and not be a “quitter”, medical decided that after his heart rate dropped 30 beats in one second and he had passed out three times, that it was time for him to leave the game.
Don’t worry Russell, quitting is the last thing anyone could accuse you of. Not only were you the leader of your tribe and Galu’s powerhouse during the challenges, you kept your tribe as one of the most successful in Survivor history. To be taken out of the game like that seems unfair, but it’s all luck. It could have happened to anyone and it would have to be disappointing to have your shot at a million bucks end because your body quit on you.
Luckily for the rest of the survivors, Probst brought them to tribal council where he announced that no one would have to be voted out of the game because of Russell’s evacuation. I’m sure that Galu would have rather had Russell back and healthy and voted someone off anyways, but after the challenge was canceled, the rain wouldn’t stop and Russell’s evacuation, everyone needed SOMETHING to pick up their spirits. The fact that they wouldn’t have to vote anyone out seemed to be a relief to everyone. They needed it.
If they had voted, it probably would have been Monica and Liz that went home so now maybe something will happen to make it a little less predictable. Hopefully so. But we’re so close to the merge and then the real action will begin!