Survivor Round Table: "Keep Hope Alive"
This season's twist means we still do not know if Zapatera's decision to lie to Russell, throw the challenge and send him to Redemption Island will come back to haunt them or not. What we do know is that lying is quickly taking over this season of Survivor. But, is it a good thing? Our Round Table writers discuss.
As always, we encourage answers from our readers.
Would you throw a challenge to get rid of Russell?
Kyle Kalember: I'm against throwing anything. The tribes need to go into the merge with numbers and its a mistake to start throwing challenges after only two wins. We've seen these things turn at the drop of a stupid decision and I think this one is going to come back and bite them in the butt. For entertainment value though few things would be more entertaining then seeing Russell run the gauntlet and come back into the game at some point.
Dan Forcella: Yes I would. The first two times Russell was on Survivor, his fellow contestants didn't really know what he was all about. This time they had watched him on tv and knew they needed to get rid of him early.
Jane Murray: Yes, he has been a huge pain. I disagree with Jeff (I know, I'm stunned myself) that going into a merge with a loose nine is better than a tight six. A non-cohesive nine just means there are three votes that can be manipulated by either tribe. Going into the merge with people you trust is much more important.
Luke Dwyer: If the challenge is solely for immunity, yes. Last night, however, the reward was huge and put too much on the line to throw the challenge. The tarp alone was worth it. Remember, we were told that it rains a lot in Nicaragua.
Should Ralph have told his alliance about having the hidden immunity idol?
Kyle: I'm all for keeping these things a secret because in recent seasons people have been all too eager to tell the world that they have the idol. Its much more valuable in secret or with the knowledge of only a few select people. His silence could have been a mistake if one of the split voters flipped. The safer play would have been to reveal his secret to one person and make sure all six votes go Russell's way.
Dan: No. I'm from the camp that you should keep your advantage close to your vest. If he begins to get a target on his back within his alliance, then he should let somebody know he has it. For now, he's in good shape. There's no need to bring extra attention on himself.
Jane: I think Ralph should have told them he had the idol. Splitting the vote could have been very dangerous, and he almost could have gone home with the idol in his pocket. His goal was to get rid of Russell, so why not do everything in his power to ensure that happened. It will be interesting when Ralph reveals the idol.
Luke: Considering the different ways Russell could have weaseled out of getting eliminated by splitting the vote, the upside of revealing the idol outweighs the downside. Imagine if Russell had stayed and Ralph later admitted to having the idol the entire time.
What was your first impression of Redemption Island?
Kyle: Pretty cool, but mostly because of the solid come from behind victory. The urgency and life-or-deathness (I don't care if that isn't a word) of these challenges is what is going to make Redemption Island memorable. I hope the producers do a good job of increasing the difficulty of the challenges as the castaways get closer to being reinserted.
Dan: I like it. The arena is kinda sweet and I love a good one v. one challenge. If they just show us the duals, I will be happy. Watching one person chill on redemption island won't be very exciting. I wasn't a big fan of Castaway.
Jane: Dual is a bit misleading, it's just more individual challenges. I would have actually liked a sword fight, or perhaps a pistol dull with paint guns. I was disappointed.
Luke: A waste of time. I didn't care who won and it wasn't exciting. All I kept thinking was that it was taking away from time we could be watching the people who hadn't been voted out yet.
Was there any benefit to Steve and David lying to Russell about Redemption Island?
Kyle: None except for the humor of it all. They were planning on voting out Russell and probably thought it would be funny to trick him. In reality a pissed off Russell is a dangerous Russell. They better hope that he loses his first challenge or as Stephanie said "the storm is coming."
Dan: Is Russell going to be even angrier at them when he comes back from Redemption Island? I'm pretty sure he's going to be out to get them no matter what.
Jane: Nope. That was just a strange thing to do, since Russell would see Matt immediately.
Luke: This completely flabbergasted me. Russell responds to lying incredibly well. He knows how to manipulate it and others to his favor. What he can't deal with his straight forward honesty. Being completely straight, but strong, with Russell is how to handle someone who's manipulative.
Is having someone with Survivor experience on your side like Russell valuable?
Kyle: Yes and no. Stephanie was trying to make the point that Russell has mostly stayed true to those he originally formed an alliance with (Danielle's fake boobs couldn't save her...) and it was usually the other tribe that suffered his wrath (Survivor: Samoa being his most genius). That could have been Russell's tribe. Now I think the momentum has swung and you can't let Rob grab the reins or he'll take this one.
Dan: It sure can be, but it didn't seem to help Stephanie. Experience in the challenges is one thing. When it comes to game play, you can never really trust anyone, so why trust an experienced player's strategic advice?
Jane: It depends what that experience is. As a team player, yes, so Rob is an asset to his tribe. He's good at challenges, team dynamics and camp life. Russell, who just causes chaos, probably not.
Luke: Not at all. One thing Russell hasn't realized is that every game of Survivor is different and there are multiple ways to win. Not just the scorched earth policy that Russell adheres to. Someone like Russell is only going to use you to get to the top. You'd rather be Russell than get used by him.