I think I cracked the one reason why we're all rooting for Russell this season.
No, it's not because of the great (and not-so-great) things he's done back in Survivor: Samoa
. Sure, he's one of the show's greatest villains, having done the most devious things we've ever seen in the ten years the show was on. Sure, you can say he was robbed by a spiteful jury last season. He's done a lot of things that made us go wow.
But we like him because of his eyes. His very expressive eyes.
I mean, anyone can do what Russell has done. But what do we get from it? He may have been a huge pain in the ass, but the way he reacts whenever his plans for Samoa domination swing perfect is just endearing. His eyes just grow large. I've learned to like that about him. It made him more human, more likeable--from the evil incarnate to someone who knows he's got to do bad to do good. It's complicated ethics, but we like it.
That's precisely why we all said Russell was robbed of the win in Samoa. It's not just because of the efforts he's done on the island, nor because the jury hated his guts a lot. It's because he went to the camera, looking like a dejected dog, tears ready to come out even before Jeff could read the final results.
In Heroes vs Villains
, we get a chance to see Russell do the same things again. Last night he hid the machete. He's wrecking havoc, although it took him a while to establish himself. But his eyes aren't the same anymore. I haven't seen them grow wide with anticipation, with excitement, with glee. Instead, they look a bit between the dejected eyes of Samoa's last show and sheer fatigue. That, I understand, until you realize that his eyes say something else.
I only realized it when Coach and Rob mentioned that Russ' strategy is merely "puppy love". Shallow puppy love. Parvati Shallow puppy love.
Okay, so he had to make an alliance with her early on. I understand that. He did conflicting alliances in Samoa too, and they worked for him. But it seems Russell lost sight of the game play and just wanted to be with her. It's a little, silly, stupid crush that's actually killing his chances of making it deep into the game--the reason why he now has to scramble for domination: Coach and Rob have taken charge. They have so much power, in fact, that they feel they have to save Russell from the clutches of the Samoan cupid.
Unfortunately for us, Russell lost the game already. He got star struck on the very first day and tried to get Parvati's attention. I'm sure he also knows that's her tactic, right? Why was Randy voted off last night? Because Parvati had hips to shake the right way. Exactly. Unfortunately, Russell's too smitten to recognize that her tactic's already worked on him, and as he scrambles to regain control he never had, he's going lower and lower down the totem pole.
His expressive eyes speak a lot. Why would he look so dejected before Jeff read the votes last season? Because he knows he didn't make it far--he lost the jury in Samoa, and I'll guess he got booted out early in Heroes vs Villains
. Maybe next week?
(Image courtesy of CBS)