Natalie White wins Survivor: Samoa

Natalie White wins Survivor: Samoa

“The Game Ain’t Over” With a plan of action in place, the last remnants of Foa Foa do everything in their power to get rid of Brett in order to have a shot at the final vote – and fail, causing the need to vote off one of their own. When Brett finally falls, Russell basks in assured victory – but finds himself before a jury that prefers the charmer to the snake.

What Russell did wrong

It was Russell’s game. He dominated so thoroughly that is seems crazy that he didn’t win. And yet there he was, in the runner-up seat, pathetically begging for the title and offering to pay $10,000 for it. So what did he do wrong? The obvious answer is the one revealed on the reunion show – he should’ve stuck with Shambo, the only person more hated than Russell himself.

But that was over and done with. Was there anything he could’ve done in the days covered over the course of this episode that would’ve won him the game? It’s doubtful. He didn’t mishandle himself during the final Tribal Council, and he seemed to actually do a pretty good job of humbling himself, especially considering all of the talk he dished out back at camp.

It really seemed that Russell was at the mercy of a petty, immature, vindictive jury who was so bitter that they were beat down mercilessly in such a brash and brazen way that there was no way they could be objective and vote for him out of respect. It didn’t hurt that Natalie was extremely likable and Mick had been a dud since day 1. Don’t believe for one second that anyone on that jury respected Natalie’s gameplay or that her game plan was anywhere close to being as strategic as Russell’s. They’re all sour, and their sourness is epitomized by Laura, who still can’t seem to wipe that pucker off her face.

No better, no worse

One reason Mick didn’t get any votes was, like Erik said (in what was easily and surprisingly the most lurid and well-thought-out speech of the entire meeting) that he hadn’t done anything all game. His tribe was a remarkable failure on almost every level and he couldn’t and didn’t do anything about it. It was only once Russell took the reigns that Foa Foa was able to make something of themselves.

It’s also impossible to respect someone like Mick who so disingenuously puts down Russell for playing a cutthroat game when his votes matched Russell’s during the entire game. Mick was a total sheep who was too scared to make a play against Russell which might have won him the game…even in the final episode, Natalie had to calm him down because Mick looked like a paranoid junkie on the lookout for the cops.

Natalie – the next best thing

As we said, the season belonged to Russell and it was a shame to not have him win, but if he couldn’t win, Natalie was the next best thing. Her game was nearly identical, and even if the only real noteworthy move she made was the play against Erik, it was still a move and more than anyone else but Russell did in the game. She was completely likable, sweet, and did a good job of making friends on both tribes. Lots of people say they learn things about themselves during the game but it’s not often we get to see that first hand — Natalie killing the rat was of of those times.

Survivor: Samoa – overall

Samoa was a hard season to stomach until about halfway through. Watching Galu beating up on Foa Foa every week was no fun and it wasn’t until Russell, Natalie, Mick, and Jaison stepped it up after the merge and Russell started finding Hidden Immunity Idols with no clues that things really got interesting. Survivor: Samoa gave us a few of the best individual episodes of Survivor that have ever aired during that stretch, and gave us one of the best villains ever to play the game…Johnny Fairplay looks like Mother Teresa compared to Russell.

It’s because of this that it feels like we got one of the worst winners ever in the history of the game. Natalie was likable and did contribute, but this was the Russell Show from day one and to see him come in second is kind of a kick in the teeth after we’ve been told and shown what a great player he was all season.

Final grade: B+

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4 Responses

  1. Swindel says:

    So, the show gets a B+ because the evil guy didn’t win?

    You can’t be the villain, and win Survivor, after the first season… If there are 2 villains to pick from, they’ll pick the best of two evils… If there are 2 heroes to pick from, they’ll pick the one that screwed them over the least…

    Natalie won, because people liked her, and didn’t like Russell… Seeing Russell almost cry because he didn’t win, made me happy…

    Did you see the way Russell dressed? Like it’s 1936, and he’s a gangster… He didn’t care about anyone but himself, throughout the entire game…

    Russell didn’t win because while he can charm and deceive, he has no real people skills… He didn’t make any real friends on the jury…

    Friends vote for friends, not the guy that deceives, then demands respect… Arrogance will get you no where in any jury… Except perhaps, a jury of assholes…

  2. James says:

    Swindel you sound as bitter as the jury.

    I think the B+ is too high. The point was made that the entire first half of the season was a complete bore.

    The point is that the editing made it all about Russell – they made you hate him then made you root for him. He made the entire show. And then he doesn’t even win. He got the winner’s edit and the winner ending up being the coattail rider – she did more in the game than that, but that’s how she was presented. So yeah, it’s a crappy winner.

    And your logic about who screwed over how the least is as flawed as Mick’s. Natalie’s votes were the same as Russell’s the entire game. She screwed them over just as bad as he did.

    And what does Russell’s choice in clothing have to do with how much he cares about other people?

  3. Batty says:

    No friends on the jury? Is this what has happened to Survivor? Making friends? What would have happened if Brett made it into the final 3 and won in a landslide? That is what the viewers were led to believe right? That the jurors would award Brett the title of sole Survivor. WHY? What did he do besides be nice? And certainly the viewers were left in the dark as to who or what Brett actually did in the game. This was indeed Russell’s season but shame on the producers for not allowing more personalities airtime. And shame on those that think Survivor players that lie are bad human beings.

  4. Bruno says:

    If people were NOT trying to send messages through their clothing, they’d all be wearing gray jumpsuits. Russell is a fun, intelligent, and wiley character, but stop and think for a minute. The guy is sociopathic. He revels in getting over on people, is scornful of others who display compassion or emotion, is emotionally stunted, and I would not be surprised that if you dug around he’d have some sort of minor criminal history. He fancies himself a dangerous, gangsta type personality. yes, the jury was bitter, the man deserved to win based on cunning and skill. But sometimes people think that’s not the way to win, and at some point bad behavior in life has to be held accountable. He would have won had he expressed shame for his actions (fake or real) at the final tribal council. Instead, he couldn’t resist letting them know he’d bested them. And most people on this show are big egos. Never show a big ego how you bested them. Big egos often conceal very insecure people. Russell is a fascinating guy, but if you have ever spent time around a sociopath, you will want to steer clear of them, because eventually it ends badly.

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