When you've seen guys fall in the fire, suffer terrible collisions, break out in red spots and get carried away in helicopters it's hard to be shocked by an evacuation.
When Russell stared up at the sky without blinking and the heart rate monitor went crazy he looked like he was dead. He wasn't moving a muscle. I completely believe Jeff Probst when he says he's never been so scared in 19 seasons of Survivor.
As much as contestants always try to impress on viewers how tough this game really is I'm not sure they totally grasp their own mortality. Some things are just hard to fully appreciate until you're confronted with the reality of them. These contestants are pushing their bodies to the very limit. I'm relieved for Russell and his family that nothing worse happened.
That said, it was a terrible episode. Other than a guy almost dying nothing happened this week. Everyone sat around complaining for an hour and no one even got voted off. Things got so slow the editors even let Natalie talk. Call me Sue Sylvester but I want more.
If it were up to me the two tribes would have shared the hot pizza reward. But first they would have voted on one person to sit in the rain and watch. Can you imagine Natalie's reaction shots? That would have been great television.
What an apt reference to Captain Planet on Jaison's part. For those of you still too short to have gone on this ride, Captain Planet was a wholesome 1990s TBS cartoon about five kids from different continents who banded together to fight pollution. Four of the kids had the power to control one of the elements but the fifth got stuck with the namby pamby power of 'Heart.'
Like every kid I mocked the girl with Heart because, well, how were you going to Heart someone to death? I wanted to throw tornados or splash tsunamis. Jaison made a great point, though. In the real world which is the cooler super power - being able to throw rocks or having the heart to fix your problems? Heart girl FTW!
The advertising for this week's episode was embarrassing. Obviously the fact that there was a near fatality this week is going to be a major marketing point. So in order to get audiences excited the producers showed Russell's collapse and evacuation. There's just one problem with that. If everyone has already seen who gets removed from the game and why there's really no suspense left. Is there? It kind of freed viewers up to watch the Yankees game.
Really, if I were the Steinbrenner family and I thought I could get away with it I'd run that ad on every network I could. We already know from the preview that next week Russell forms an alliance with Laura from Galu, revealing that Galu wins the Reward Challenge and kidnaps him. I say this with love: Since when did the show that drew higher ratings than the Super Bowl start groveling on its knees for people to pay attention to them? In television - as with dating - groveling just never gets you what you're after.
Okay. I know a lot of fans hate Russell Hantz. But you've got to give the guy some credit. When he said he just hated to see Russell Swan go out like that he sounded totally sincere. I almost believed him and I know better. This is the guy dumping the canteens.
If you talk to the contestants they all thought Russell was a great guy until they saw the episodes. Russell is the kind of guy who could steal your wallet while he was giving you a hug, then help you look for the guy that did it. He's not the best player in this game because he's pulling tricks. He's the best player because he's everyone's best friend out there.