Survivor: Samoa: Is Russell Hantz Really Evil Incarnate?
Survivor: Samoa is just an episode old, and already we have someone to watch out for--or, maybe, you could blame it on CBS promoting the hell out of Russell Hantz, better known as "small Russell" on my recaps, better known as "evil incarnate" to everyone else.

I mean, who in his right mind would finish off an entire tribe's water supply to make them cranky and easier to manipulate?

Sure, the preview clips made this multi-millionaire look like the worst person to ever grace the show's 19 seasons.  As much as the show is about going through a handful of other castaways also aiming for the million dollar prize, it's also about surviving the elements--because really, the million dollars won't make much sense if you're not feeling well.  But after last night's episode, I suddenly saw the point of what he's trying to do.

Everybody at Foa Foa woke up the following morning seemingly off a nasty hangover.  "Dude, where's the water?  Where's my socks?"  Russell, with that smug smile, looked like it hasn't affected him, and his tribemates have noticed his so-called tranquility.  A trick on his sleeve, yes, for him to be able to manipulate everyone without them knowing it, pretty much like that fake Katrina story, or the way he had the tribe votes Marisa off on the back of a misinterpreted threat.  Suddenly he's got credence.  Gravitas, well, that's not the right term.

So sure, it works.  He's doing what many others have done, only with a villainous streak that I thought I'd only see in cartoons.  So yes, perhaps he's evil incarnate.  But we all know someone who's doing the nasty stuff outright won't last long in the game.  I still think he's lucky if he makes it to the merge: that'd mean everybody around him really is as stupid as he thinks, and nobody's put two and two together and stood up against his shenanigans.  And somebody will, soon--Betsy, go on and work that intuition.

Russell also said he's trying to prove something.  It's easy, he says, to win this game.  I think he's trying to prove that most of those who join Survivor are pretty dumb in the first place.  Yeah, so he doesn't care whether he wins or not--"I should be the first one voted off," he mused--as long as he proves his point.  But one, you're delusional enough to go out and prove your point.  Two, you should know that being outright won't work most, if not all, of the time, which is the point of secret alliances and secret immunity idols.  This?  A massive ego stroking session.  You may prove a point, but you'll end up looking worse than Kanye West.

But maybe he doesn't care.  And us, we'll just see this go on and on and on until something else happens.

- Henrik Batallones, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of CBS)