September 17, 2009 08:01 PM by Ryan Haidet
It’s back — the best show on television returned for its 19th season tonight on CBS.Â And the start of Survivor: Samoa certainly delivered on several levels.Â Not only did the evil of Russell H. get underway rather quickly, so did the game itself.Â Upon landing at the shore, the 20 new castaways were immediately tasked with choosing a tribe leader.
Already divided into their tribes, Galu (purple) and Foa Foa (yellow), the contestants had to vote for the person on their team who they felt would make the best leader.
Galu chose Russell S., while Foa Foa picked Mick.
Leader’s Make First Picks
And without hesitation yet again, host Jeff Probst told the elected leaders they now had to use their power to pick players and place them in a variety of categories for an upcoming challenge.
Here’s how it broke down:
- Best swimmer — Mick chose Jaison.Â Russell S. chose John.
- Strongest person — Mick chose Russell H.Â Russell S. chose Erik.
- Most agile — Mick chose Marisa.Â Russell S. chose Yasmin.
- Smartest person — Mick chose Liz.Â Russell S. chose Shambo.Â But after that selection, Shambo seemed a bit worried.Â “I am smart in the ways of life, but as far as book smart, dear God please help me here.”
In the first Reward Challenge of the season, the chosen players used their selected skills in a series of obstacles.Â After a swimming race, heavy lifting battle and balance beam face off, it all came down to the puzzle.Â Liz quickly assembled the figure and brought victory to the Foa Foa tribe.
For their efforts, they won fire in the form of flint.
While the rest of the Foa Foa tribe worked on constructing their shelter at camp, Russell H. felt like it was a time to strategize.Â So he quickly made a deal with four of the women on Day 1.Â It’s what he calls his “Dumbass Girl Alliance.”Â He told them each of them exactly the same thing and he truly believed they would all be stupid enough to follow along with him.
Betsy, who claims to have a good read on people, says she doesn’t trust Russell H. one bit even though she was one of the four who made a deal with him.
On Night 1, Russell H. was telling the tribe a horrific story about how he survived Hurricane Katrina.Â During that tale he told them all that he knew as a fireman how to escape, but he lost his dog in the process.Â It was a terrible tragedy and the entire tribe was sad for him.Â The trouble is — he was lying about every single thing.Â None of it was true.Â Zip.Â Nada.
Wow.Â This guy is a player.
If his slimy lie wasn’t nasty enough, as they all slept, Russell H. emptied all of the water out of the canteens in a strategy to make his tribe miserable.Â But that’s not all, he burned their socks in the fire.Â “I think if I can control how they feel, I can control how they think.”
Even though he’s claiming to be a firefighter, Russell H. said in a confessional that he is actually a multi-millionaire who owns an oil company in Houston.Â But he’s already so sketchy, it’s tough for me to determine whether or not he’s telling the truth.Â Sheesh, it’s like I’m playing the game!
When the tribe woke up, they realized the canteens were empty.Â And Jaison was searching for his socks so he could put them on his blistering feet.
At the first Immunity Challenge, six members of each tribe had to rush over a series of A frames with three ropes.Â Then they had to use the rope to drag a heavy crate along a short course.Â Once that was complete, the remaining tribe members had to use the crate to assemble a puzzle.
It came down to a race of the puzzles, but it was Galu who took victory.Â They were so excited and gathered together in a huge chant, “Galu is in the house!”
Does Strength Matter?
Back at camp, Mike was worried that they needed to keep the strength on the tribe, so he decided to target Ashley.Â He felt she was the weakest person out of the group.Â Both Mick and Betsy agreed.
But trouble was brewing elsewhere.Â Russell H. was chatting with Marisa when she openly admitted she was wary of the way he was wheelin’ and dealin’ with everybody at Foa Foa.Â And that was a mistake.Â Russell H. said he felt like she was trying to threaten him.Â That’s what sparked his motivation to target her first.
The Tribe Has Spoken
At the first Tribal Council, the 10 Foa Foa members arrived ready to cast their ballots.Â Mike immediately tossed out that this is a dog-eat-dog game and they need to start getting serious.Â Then Betsy pointed out that she felt Ashley is the weakest player.Â But Ashley wasn’t going down without a fight — she defended herself by explaining all of her physical abilities.Â Then Marisa chimed in and said that there are different levels of weakness and completely dodged Probst’s question.
After everybody cast their ballot, it was Marisa who was sent packing.Â Much to her dismay, she watched as Probst snuffed her torch and the wisp of smoke was left wafting behind.
Ooooo.Â Just one episode in and this season is looking solid!
Can’t wait for next week!
Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.