Survivor: Redemption Island Round-up - keeping hope alive

Charlie Sheen isn't the only one to get the boot from CBS this past week, as Francesca was sent packing as the first player to go down in defeat on Redemption Island.  But her exit from the show was small potatoes in comparison to the huge, huge, ginormous, unprecedented fall of Russell Hantz.  Russell, for the first time in three seasons, was not only voted out at Tribal, but was voted out as the first member of his tribe.


Interestingly enough, Russell was never in control this season, was lied to, misled, and just simply wasn't able to re-create his incredible Idol-finding luck from his previous seasons.  I'm a huge fan of Russell and thought he deserved to win Samoa (although Parvati gets my vote for Heroes vs. Villains), but it hurts to watch how big his ego has inflated this season.  He no longer wills himself to win, he just expects it for no other reason than he's Russell Hantz.  The true Survivor greats (think Boston Rob) know the game good enough to know that the same strategy and approach isn't going to work twice, or three times.  But also don't sell Russell short:  His tribe actually had to throw a challenge in order to get him out of the game... a risky and almost always bad idea that paid off for them, at least in the short term.

So as you can imagine, the web was a-buzz with Russell's exit from the game... but never forget that hope remains alive in the form of Redemption Island for Russell.  Can he run the table and return to action?  First, get caught up on the hottest stuff from the past week:

  • Survivor Examiner Episode Three recap!  A truly historic episode in Survivor history, with the 1st ever Redemption Island Duel and the exit of Russell Hantz.  You'll want to hear the blow by blow in my full episode recap.
  • TheTVKing:  Over at TheTVKing, I examine further just what went wrong for Russell this season.  Did he really have a chance at all this season?  Could he have done anything to have remained in the game?
  • Exit Interview with Francesca:  The 1st person out for good, Francesca may be the coolest 1st person out ever.  When asked if things would have been different for her had Russell, and not Rob, been placed on her tribe, she begins by answering:  "It definitely couldn't have gone worse!"
  •  Jeff's must-read weekly blog.  Here's an excerpt from his blog entry from Episode Three:  "Survivor fans all over the world will no doubt remember this day for decades, and if science hurries up, perhaps centuries to come. Those that missed the episode will no doubt tell their kids years from now, 'I was there. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting on the couch and yelling at the TV.' And Russell Hanz will no doubt be telling this story to his grand kids, 'I was so good they had to purposefully lose a challenge to get rid of me!'"
  • Dalton Ross:  Dalton Ross is more inside than WikiLeaks.  Read his weekly recap, and also his weekly Q & A with Jeff Probst on the previous episode.  This week, he asks Probst about the philosophy behind throwing challenges, how he felt about the 1st Redemption Island Duel, and what he thought about Russell's exit.
  • PopWatch:  Kate Ward from asks: "Will Russell ever win?"  Here's an excerpt from her analysis:  "...he’s now become the contestant that we love to watch lose. (Or rather, that we love to watch try to win.) It’s like rooting for the Boston Red Sox pre-2004 — once the cursed team finally picked up the win, what was there left to watch and hope for?
  • Rob Cesternino Podcasts:  Former Survivor All-Star Rob Cesternino has one of the most entertaining Survivor podcasts out there.  From this link, you can also access Rob's official Survivor Blog.  This week on the podcast, Rob interviews Francesca and also talks with Johnny Fairplay about Episode 3.
  • FilmSurvivor Podcast - Podcast with guest Gordon Holmes -:  I'm posting this again in case you missed it, my podcast interview with Survivor Hall of Fame founder Gordon Holmes, of
  •  If you haven't checked out (stands for "Reality Television") you need to!  It's a video-cast of sorts featuring tons of former Survivor players and other reality TV shows, with Evel Dick (from Big Brother) as host.  I'm waiting for their link to Survivor Episode 3 to go live, but check it out and make sure to bookmark it!
  • So next week, as Probst says, "It's put up or shut up time for Russell."  CBS though, officially describes the episode as follows:  Episode Title:  "Don't You Work For Me?" - Secrets are revealed on Redemption Island and the second duel reduces one castaway to tears when he is eliminated from the game for good, on SURVIVOR: REDEMPTION ISLAND, Wednesday, March 9 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    Russell?  Crying?  I can hardly stand the wait.

    Be sure to follow me on Twitter, @tomsantilli, and check out my blog collecting all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews,

    By FilmSurvivor - Tom Santilli

    About the author

    Tom Santilli is a national columnist and movie critic, who also covers Survivor for  His ongoing work can be found at his blog,  He is a member of the Detroit Film Critic Society, and huge Survivor fan.

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    On: Friday, March 4, 2011
    Eric - TV Geek Army "Revered Leader" said:

    I think you're in the minority in supporting Russell, Tom, but I'm with you -- I think he brings a unique element to the game, and is just so damned cocky and bold in his gameplay that he brings a unique style to the mix. Certainly nearly everyone else is pretty vanilla in comparison. 

    On: Friday, March 4, 2011
    FilmSurvivor - Tom Santilli said:

    haha, believe it or not there is a big faction of Russell supporters out there...but he is definitely somebody who people love to hate!  This season's cast has been over-shadowed so far by Rob and Russell, but we are starting to see glimpses of some memorable characters as well (think Phillip, Steve, Stephanie, Ralph, or Kristina)!  Should be interesting to see how long Russell can last over at Redemption Island!!!

    On: Saturday, March 5, 2011
    David Siegel said:
    How much is Boston Rob being paid for appearing on Survivor?

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