Boston Rob, Russell and Redemption Island
by the Liberal Bastard
Hello again! We’re back (Actually I’m back, you’re where you usually are, reading BartCop
(What, you don’t have a life?)) Each season, The Powers That Be (TPTB) always try to put
something New And Exciting into the Survivor world. Sometimes they work – Hidden Immunity Icons,
Exile Island – and sometimes they don’t – What was the twist last season? Hmmmm?
This season, they’ve added a new twist, combining Exile Island together with a twist from
an earlier season where two people came back (Burton and Lill in Pearl Islands) and, IMHO,
totally screwed up the game.
This season, it’s a bit different. The players know ahead of time that Redemption Island exists,
so they know that somebody will be lurking somewhere in the dark, waiting for revenge,
sharpening the knife that will be used to…well, we won’t go there, YET.
From what I understand, this is how it works: After the first tribal, the person voted out will not
leave permanently. He or she will be sent to Redemption island instead. There, the person will live
for three days, all alone (except for the cameramen), with no more than what the tribes have.
No booze, no showers, no luxuries. When the second person is voted off, that person is also
sent to the island. There, the two losers(!) will participate in a challenge, to be shown on the
third episode. The challenge loser goes bye-bye, for good. The winner stays on Redemption
Island to fight again. How long does this go on? Who knows?
To make things even more interesting, apparently the tribe that votes somebody off gets to
watch the challenge. This is a very interesting turn; do you vote off a major threat
(Mike, Rob, Russell?) only to see him win challenges and come back for revenge?
Do you get rid of a PITA (David?) and hope they won’t come back?
I’ve heard there is supposed to be another couple of twists as well,
but I haven’t seen a definite release of information, so that will remain hidden.
There are several strategies that could come into play as well. It all depends on how this is played.
(Deliberately vote out a strong player, hoping that he can win back into the game later,
after defeating all of his opponents from the other tribe?) Curious minds want to know!
Now, to the two returning players! First off, the man that people love to hate..,
introducing for your entertainment, the one, the only…
Russell Hantz, 38, Dayton, Texas
Previous Seasons: "Survivor: Samoa" and "Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains"
What do you say about Russell? In two seasons, he’s managed to finish in second place, twice.
He’s the man who is both loved and hated throughout the Survivor universe. He’s sporting a brand
new tattoo! Will he be the same guy we’ve grown to love/hate? Will he burn somebody’s socks?
Who will he threaten first? Will he find all of the immunity idols before the clues are found?
Why did Russell not win before? He arguably played the best game in both seasons, as far as
strategy goes – nobody has ever dominated the game the way he has. He was the ultimate
evil player: cut-throat, threatening, relentless, and smart. Why did he lose? The answer, and it
is evident to anyone who has studied the game, is that he misunderstood how the jury worked,
and alienated the very people who could have given the prize to him - twice. The juries obviously
disliked him intensely, and remembered all of the things he said and did. To make matters worse,
he was unapologetic about his actions; he seemed proud to have screwed the jury over, and there
was a great deal of resentment over that. He never understood why he lost. He never understood
why both juries gave him a collective middle finger. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the
juries both gave him heaping plates of it.
The question is, did he learn anything from his two losses? Will he change his strategy and
attempt to work with his tribe, and create a strong winning group? I’m not sure that he will
have the chance. Apparently he is going to the Zapatara tribe (according to the TV Guide preview,
so no spoilers there) and he is not welcomed there with open arms.
Since a number of the Zapatera tribe has already expressed ‘dislike’ for Russell, he’s in a bad spot
to start off with. From the comments made by Mark Barnett in an interview last Thursday,
apparently the two returnees do not have any special immunity to begin with. If this is true,
Russell is in a bad situation, and he’s toast if he’s not able to quickly overcome his reputation
as an asshole. I’m looking forward to seeing if he can overcome this built-in prejudice – can he
make people kinda-sorta trust him? After all, he has almost 80 days experience in this situation.
That experience cannot be ignored by knowledgeable players, although the holder of that experience
is totally untrustworthy. Remember that people didn’t know him in either of the previous seasons.
They do know him now.
Also, there is the “Take me to the finish, and I’ll guarantee you a win” strategy, if Russell is
smart enough to use it. Of course, Jimmy Johnson tried it and look where it got HIM.
I think if Russell does not show a change, then he will be scrambling for survival.
How do you handicap somebody like Russell? There was a Norse god named ‘Loki’ who was
well known as the unpredictable god of chaos. The other gods ran for the hills when Loki appeared,
since one never knew what was about to happen. Russell is the Survivor version of Loki – you never
know what is going to happen when he pops in.
Will he win? No way. Will he appear before his third jury? I don’t think so,
but... If I (ahem!) were a contestant, he’d be gone ASAP.
Will he weave his ‘Russell’ magic? Maybe.
Will somebody fall for it? You Bet.
Will he screw somebody? You’re kidding, right?
I think Russell may survive for a while, but he will rub too many people wrong for too long.
Too many people know his MO now, and I don’t think he’ll change it. I don’t think we’ll see
a Russell vs Rob confrontation, but ‘It would be [have been] Glorious!’ if it happened.
(Extra points for recognizing the obscure Star Trek reference.)
Predicted Finish: 4th or 5th boot, if he pulls the same BS as before, or a final four finish if he
manages to con the people in his tribe. That is unlikely; I’d bet Rob will work to kick him out
ASAP if they both make the merge. In that case, he’ll go to Redemption almost immediately
and maybe exist for a while.
And now, appearing in the other corner, we have the player returning for the fourth time,
never winning, but finishing second once (and marrying the winner (Amber)), welcome
the second returning player…
Rob Mariano (Boston Rob), 33, Pensacola, Fl.
Previous Seasons: "Survivor: Marquesas," "Survivor: All-Stars" and "Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains"
Boston Rob has changed over the years. In Marquesas, he was a mean, heartless player,
and lied enthusiastically He was also booted out before the merge for lying to too many people.
In All-Stars, he, again, played a very strategic, hard game and screwed several players (I’m looking
at you, Lexx!) when it worked for him. He ended up in the finals, and lost to Amber.
He proposed to her, she accepted, and they appeared later on other reality shows.
They also produced a couple of really cute kids as well.
Note from Bart - Amber is hot.
Rob came back (again!) in Heroes Vs Villains and ran full tilt into Russell, who ended up
getting Rob kicked off soon thereafter. Here we have the seed planted for this season – the two
obviously hated each other with a passion, and this was expressed in the reunion show,
when Rob challenged Russell. (If you listened closely, you could hear Barnett’s brain start to spin.)
Rob is apparently going on the Ometepe tribe to begin the game. Looking at the people he
will be playing the early game with, I have some worries about his longevity. A number of them
seem to be type A personalities; I have a suspicion that they may conspire to get rid of Rob quickly.
If he can deflect these suspicions and work within his tribe then he might survive to the merge.
If he plays like he did in HvV, then he stands a chance. I guess having a couple of kids and a
beautiful wife can mellow you after a while. I actually grew to like him somewhat, I hate to say.
What strategy can he use to stay in the game?
I think he’ll have to gain the trust immediately of his tribe;
Rob will be in a ticklish position from the start if he doesn’t.
He can’t irritate his group – they may already resent him for playing the game for the fourth time.
Any excuse may get him kicked off. An strong alliance is mandatory here. Finding an HII would help.
Somehow I think he’ll make the merge; I think a head-to-head with Russell is unavoidable,
and it would be good TV. Trouble is, TPTB cannot control what the tribes do. If they vote Rob out,
then he goes to Redemption. Wouldn’t it be great to have Russell voted out next – a one on one at
Redemption would be wonderful! And the looks on people’s faces if Russell came back would be priceless.
Predicted Finish: 5th or 6th boot if he’s not lucky, post-merge if he is.
Somehow I have a feeling that he will reside on Redemption Island for a while,
and come back from it, after defeating Russell.
Well, the season starts next Wednesday, so we’ll see what happens then.
I’ll be back later with a rundown of the strategy of the first show.