Survivor: Samoa: The Other Russell Ain't What He Seems To Be
Am I the only one who was a bit alarmed with what Russell said on Survivor: Samoa last night?  No, not the one from Foa Foa.  I was referring to the one from Galu.

When they lost the immunity challenge, forcing them to Tribal Council for the first time, there was this tribe-wide discussion about who should be eliminated.  Most were going for Yasmin, thinking she hasn't helped much with keeping the tribe's wheels rolling, rather choosing to spend her time, in Kelly's words, to "act like a princess."  And then there was Russell, steady in his belief that Monica should go, because she didn't deliver in the challenge.

Sure, he does have a point.  It was that one thing that cost Galu immunity, a crucial thing for a tribe that's won the past three immunities, needed if they are to play a strong hand once the merge happens.  While Yasmin's consistently stepped up--something she's more than willing to back up--Monica's been so-so for the past few days.

But I saw Russell advocating for Monica's elimination as more about revenge than clear thinking.  She may have done wrong before, but last night's flub was just one thing.  He was looking for someone to blame everything on--hey, he's the leader, he sees everything and knows everything, right?

Seems he didn't feel secure with his position in the tribe, really.  Seems he felt he'd be the one to go.  Was it because of what he did last week, when he chose pillows over hunting gear?  He hasn't really made the best decisions, but he's lucky that Galu's got its gears working, never mind that it's forgetting what they're in the game for.  He didn't need to assert his authority.  That thing he told Erik--"they better listen to me or there'll be some serious ass-kicking"--that alarmed me.

I think it's obvious that he isn't as powerful as his being tribal chief suggests.  A couple of observations from the bits I saw from Galu before last night: one, Shambo's in a strong position because of her working hard for the tribe, as well as her people skills.  Two, Erik's in a strong position, having played a game that's not too subtle and not too blatant--and I haven't factored in the immunity necklace he found.  The rest of the tribe still seem flimsy to me.  Russell is staying steady, but now that Galu had to kick someone out, I think he feels he has to angle to hold his fort and stay where he is.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but his decision to send Yasmin to Foa Foa two weeks ago is probably a move to earn her favors--the same reason why he's defended her from elimination.  He could've done it to someone else, I think.  Now she's out, I think he'll be more desperate to hold more leverage in the tribe, and I won't be surprised if he resorts to more drastic measures.  I think he's willing to do that.  I think he's painting a bigger target on his back if he pushes with it.

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