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Russell Dies

Later that day, the sun comes out and there are rainbows in the sky! Erik emerges from the private shelter he appears to have made for himself in the trunk of a tree and says he has been schooled by Samoa and will respect its weather patterns from here on out. Galu admire the rainbow and wonder if Foa Foa can see it on their side of the island. Russell is especially loud with his appreciation of the nice weather. He interviews that his tribe is stronger than ever now that they've come through this. And yes, going through a trying time together is a great team-building exercise. But you know what else helps a team function well? Drinking plenty of fluids. I'm just saying.

Cut to the reward challenge! The tribes enter and Probst explains the challenge. One person from each tribe will placed inside a large sphere to be rolled through a course by two blindfolded tribemates to a table maze with four corners for the two blindfolded sphere-pushers and two additional blindfolded tribemates to control under the orders of the tribemate still inside the sphere. I have a feeling the original plan was for there to be four people manning each corner instead of the sphere-pushers having to take two of the corners, but Foa Foa's suckitude has made this impossible. The first tribe to complete the maze wins the reward. Unfortunately, it's gross Survivor pizza, which Probst describes as "hot, pipin' pizza!" What the hell is a "pipin'" pizza, Probst? It's "piping hot," and even then you sound like a dork. Honestly, you work all of two hours a day on this show. Get your lines right. And there will be no immunity challenge today, as both tribes will go to Tribal Council tonight to vote someone out. And just to make it as painful as possible, the winning tribe will eat their pizza in front of the losing tribe at Tribal. Erik loves this idea, taking for granted that he'll be the one enjoying the pizza. Galu has to sit four members out. John recommends that Russell sit this one out, saying that he and Dave Ball can do the pushing. "Unless you want to do it," Dave Ball says, thereby sealing Russell's doom. Of course, as the important-in-his-own-mind tribe leader, Russell must step up to the physical part of this challenge. He sits Monica, Kelly, Shambo, and Dave Ball out. Shambo sat out the last challenge, but whatever. I do love how he sat the women out for the truly physically arduous task of a table maze, by the way.

So, Laura and Liz are in the spheres and Erik, Russell, Jaison, and Li'l Russell are pushing. Probst calls go, and Galu takes an early lead due to Laura's awesomeness. But then Foa Foa gets past Galu at the first corner, nearly squishing Erik in the process. Foa Foa quickly steers Liz off the course entirely, giving Galu the lead back, only for them to slam into a tree and lose it. Foa Foa increases its lead as they approach the maze, as Russell is having a hard time pushing. "Russell is exhausted!" Probst calls out. FORESHADOWING. Foa Foa reaches the maze, but Liz has direct it from inside the sphere and she's currently upside-down and backwards, so they must use precious seconds getting her to a good vantage point before they can start the maze. Galu arrives at the maze just as Foa Foa are getting started. Erik makes it to his corner of the maze easily, but Russell wanders off to Foa Foa's side. It would be humorous if we hadn't all been spoiled by the previews as to what was going to come next. He learns over a gate to catch his breath, clearly having some kind of problem. Laura just keeps yelling at him and everyone else is blindfolded so they have no idea what's going on. John is somehow able to find and grab Russell and lead him to his corner. At this point, though, it starts to become obvious that Russell's disorientation has nothing to do with the fact that he can't see. He's staggering around like a guy I saw in diabetic shock once at an IKEA. He took out the entire home office section before he finally collapsed. Russell somehow makes it to his corner of the maze, only to slowly slump over on top of it. His body goes limp and his jaw is now supporting his entire body. Probst starts to figure out that something might not be right here. Galu, meanwhile, yells at Russell from the sidelines to "get off the table!" as if he'd take a nap in the maze by choice. As Probst approaches, Russell slides off the table but his shirt catches on the handle so he's sitting like The Thinker. "Are you with me?" Probst asks, rushing to his side. He is not. Probst tells everyone to stop what they're doing and calls medical in. As they arrive, Russell snaps out of it and stands up like nothing's wrong. "I'm good," he says. Probst overrules him, saying Russell was "definitely out." Any doubt as to Russell's health condition is erased when he passes out again and the dramatic music plays. At this point, even the crew rush in to help and they show the cameramen, so you know it's serious business. Commercial!

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