Well, that's a shock! And kind of redeems the season for me in the sense that I at least have a little more faith in the editors, if not necessarily the casting people. They had to shove Li'l Russell in our faces and make him evil to make the conclusion surprising and satisfying. Also, I think it's pretty clear now that Li'l Russell was the only personality they had on the show, so they had no choice but to show him all the time anyway. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who say that Li'l Russell was robbed by a bitter jury and deserved to win, and that argument is not without merit. But I think that Natalie played a great game, too, and that while Li'l Russell was playing for second place, she played it for first. She recognized that he was a guy who liked having his ego stroked and fed, especially by a seemingly submissive woman. So she obliged him and let him take her as far as possible. When she needed to step up and save herself in the game (like after the merge, when she was instrumental in getting Erik voted out), she did so. Then she sat back and let Li'l Russell think she was totally harmless and actually wanted him to win over her. While she played the great social game that won the jury over, she fed his ego and helped make him into the monster he was in those last few days, when he went from talking about contestants behind their backs to feeling comfortable openly bragging about how he was going to win and insulting the others so they could see who he really was and what he really thought of them. In the end, Li'l Russell was determined to prove that he could outplay everyone in this game, while Natalie knew that she only needed to outplay one person. And she succeeded. Now, stay tuned for the Reunion show, where Li'l Russell gets all the attention once again!
Episode Report CardSara M: B- | 688 USERS: C+
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