February 16, 2011 12:00 PM by Ryan Haidet
It all started at the live finale of Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains. “Boston Rob” Mariano said he would gladly play again so he could kick Russell Hantz’s ass all over the island. Russell looked at host Jeff Probst and told him to make it happen. It has. As many fans have known for quite some time, the sly strategists are both back to compete on Survivor: Redemption Island as full-fledged players against 16 newbies. Despite their differences the last time they played together, it seems the battle may not actually happen. Instead, it’s possible they are looking to team up and work together as allies.
Both “Boston Rob” and Russell apparently didn’t know either was going to be returning to the game. Or that’s what we’re expected to believe. Anyway, as Entertainment Weekly reporter Dalton Ross was interviewing “Boston Rob” on location in Nicaragua, Russell comes walking down the hill and surprises his enemy. Rob stands up, the two shake hands and then sit down together to talk about their plans for the day before the season begins.
“As much as Russell was an adversary to me on the last season we played, I realize that he knows what he’s doing,” Rob explains during the Entertainment Weekly interview. “Strategically, he knows how to play this game. It was unfortunate that we were on the same team, and we came at each other. But working together, who knows?”
Although each openly admits they don’t really trust each other, they say it is a solid strategy to join forces after the merge.
“He’s a strategic player,” Russell adds to the EW discussion. “Me and him up against everybody else,” Russell says.
“I’m going to trust him more than I trust someone I don’t know,” Rob chimes in.
My hopes? They become allies, but are voted out back to back. That way they are forced to square off for survival on Redemption Island. Isn’t that what fans would love?
This marks Rob’s fourth try at taking the title of sole Survivor while Russell makes his third attempt. Rob is the only castaway to ever compete four times.
Should be interesting. Executive producer Mark Burnett says he thinks Rob and Russell have an advantage going into the game simply because of the amount of shared experience competing on the show.
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Images courtesy of CBS.