Goodbye Law & Order

The news is out. L&O is canceled. My heart is broken.  Not just because my Connie/Cutter obsession will never be truly resolved, but because something that has always been faithful to viewers for 20 years is not going to get a chance to say one last “ripped from the headlines” episode.  This news came too late as the season finale has already done.  To think of what could have been the last great episode, (I foresee certain network executives being killed over canceling a long running series that will actually hurt a city’s economy), with probably Sam Waterson turning the lights off of his office alone, and walking to the door, holding either his fedora or motorcycle helmet.

Twenty years is probably never going be achieved again by another show. And with all the stories and cast that have come and gone on this show, why not give it a true send off that is properly promoted this time, and not buried in a SVU episode?

Finally, your opinion on it being formulaic, actually the show had been playing with that. It had opened up to character driven plots and changed the format in a few episodes. I feel it’s been the strongest quality wise in years, and its a shame the current cast and crew who made it such can’t get the respect of having a real goodbye for the show they put so much effort into.

In a way L&O had always come through for NBC, even when it suffered in writing and casting, because it was always used as the show to plug a hole in the line up. With the snafu that NBC had on the Leno nonsense, I’m shocked they getting rid of their #1 substitute when they really have nothing to replace it. Idiots.

Finally, maybe NBC doesn’t deserve all the blame. Dick Wolf probably spent too much time negotiating instead of realizing the writing on the wall for his show, focusing too much on “the record” versus giving the show a proper goodbye. It just breaks my heart we won’t get a chance to say really goodbye to my favorite cast who renewed my love for this show in the last few years.

Chuck Versus the Role Models iPad recap

Tonight I’m trying out a new experiment to try to blog live on TV shows. If this works, I will obviously be right on time getting blogs out. The bad news is I have to type it up on my iPad. OK, that’s not really a problem.

Swoosie Kutz and Fred Willard guest star in this weeks episode of Chuck. Apparently the characters are legendary in the history of the CIA, and because they have been married for most of that time, the general believes Chuck and Sarah can learn a great deal from them.

Of course, we realize from the start that this couple hardly qualifies as role models for anyone. The tension is thick from Chuck’s apartment all the way to the bad guy’s house. And though our favorite couple were supposed to just observe, after Mrs Turner falls down in a drunken stupor, and her leering husband hurts his back to try to help her, it’s up to Chuck and Sarah to retrieve the software.

I really liked the sequence comparing Chuck and Morgan’s different stealth moments, naturally Morgan fails but the taller man has had a little more spy training and experience and succeeds without needing to shoot the tiger.

But alas, all is not what it seems. The Turners stop Chuck and Sarah, and taking the collar. You know what I love about Chuck is he acts like the female part of the relationship. Wanting to clean when he’s nervous is so very cute. I really hope the couple remains together at least for these last few episodes.

But if the signature couple is happy, we have to have angst elsewhere. I smell a triangle coming with Ellie and Awesome. Justin appears to be his own version of awesome. On this show looks are so deceiving. I bet we find out he’s a double agent later.

Wow, Swoosie does not look good in HD. I have a question, how did Otto know where Chuck lived? Oh the good ol’ tracking device. Hee, and they have no weapons. Had to know that was a bad idea. There sure are a lot of doors in Chuck’s place.

I swear that tiger looks small. Fully grown, my ass. Awwww, Morgan gets a slow-mo sequence. I do think the Turners coming back is a little too easy but the writers had to come up with these episodes quickly. And after all the angst from agent Superspy, I’m all fine with the rather cheesy but feel good ending of this episode. Next week’s looks like a doozy.

The V List

Last night Lost was a repeat, so I was able to finally watch Glee live. I thought I would write about it, but instead my motivation is to list out how I feel about V, a show that has quite the ability to kick ass but is losing momentum quickly and making poor character decisions.  I do not want to see it go down the same road as Heroes did, especially since this is it’s first season.


Trying to keep a positive spin on everything, I will start off with characters that for right now, I am enjoying. I may not have enjoyed them always or may dislike them as soon as next week.  But I can see the development for the character/story can really be revved up, provided the show sees it my way, of course.

Ryan/Pregnancy: If you had asked me two weeks ago, heck maybe even last week, I would have told you I had no interest in this storyline.  While the show has certainly allowed us to really know Ryan, his girlfriend Val is another matter.  With a very short moment in meeting Tyler as his therapist (something he needs very much), she’s been segmented off on her own, any interaction with Ryan or maybe Georgie.  No family, little job performance and a pregnancy that has a big secret that she is not aware of. I was really only paying attention to see if carrying a giant lizard in your belly would allow her to finally step over the line and eat a raw mouse.

But this week she finally knows the truth.  And is rightfully pissed.  I think we were supposed to feel sorry for Ryan last night, risking his life to keep her (and Kermit) alive.  But as a woman myself,  keeping what was going on with her body a secret from her was really wrong on so many levels.  It’s her body, it’s her life, and she had every right to understand what carrying his child really meant.  That said, for the first time I am interested in seeing them try to overcome this and be a couple again, if only because of the challenges that it all supports.

However, what worries me is she is once again, sent away from not just Ryan but everyone. Will we even see her?  I know it’s dangerous but I’d have rather she be in hiding IN TOWN, and Val coming into contact with Erica, Father Jack and even Kyle.   I have no idea if it’s possible to fall back in love with a man after he kept the secret he’s not really a man from you, but it would make an interesting story.

Father Jack: I love Father Jack.  He’s sweet, super cute, great smile, and has empathy for everyone.  As a Christian myself, I get nervous when characters dedicated to religion are introduced into the cast, as Hollywood always seems to do a poor job in understanding their motivations.  So far, I really like Father Jack.  I don’t think I ship him with Erica, I like the friendship and at this time would prefer it to stay that way.

Joshua: I also adore Joshua and am dying to know his backstory.  How did he “turn” yet remain in Ana’s good graces?  It’s fascinating to me and what I loved from the week before is while he seemed to decide to spare Lisa’s life with her mother because she could help them in the future, I really think it came more down to the fact he has the human emotion and since he’s known her as a baby, he doesn’t want to rid the world of a “V” who might possess the ability to love.

Erica:  Yes, I still like her, though she seems to have worn on many out there in cyberspace’s nerves.   She’s a terrible mother but we’ve only seen her mothering skills after her husband spontaneously left her.  Also, I’m very interested in understanding why it seemed Tyler’s dad (do we know his name?) did not appear to be Tyler’s dad.  Does this have to do with the V’s arrival?  Erica is sincere in maintaining the results where wrong and if she is lying, you have to ask yourself, why would a FBI agent whose ability to put criminals behind bars on the same type of tests now think she can convince her family to ignore such things?

Horrible horrible horrible needs to go immediately or major rewrite

Tyler: OMG, how can I make it clear that this character is THE WORST PERSON ON THE SHOW.  I could blame the actor, I do in some ways, but honestly, the writers and director chose to have him act like a whiny, selfish, bratty, naive, self-centered emo.  What is even more frustrating, is why does Ana give a wit about this child?  What about him is so damn important that it takes pimping her daughter out to get him “to their side”?  On the flip side, how can Lisa lose her emotional “V” with this guy who has all the charm and personality of maybe Screech from Saved by the Bell.  Ok, he’s prettier than Screech but he’s just as annoying, but without the nerdy brains.  The only reason I don’t want him to die is because it may send Erica down a path I don’t need her to go down right now.

Growing their numbers: Last night’s episode in particular, I was really disappointed they didn’t try to use the human assassin more in convincing him the truth about the Vs. I realize they don’t have any direct proof, at least when Ryan isn’t there.  But surely they realize that they will eventually exhaust their remaining list of 5th Column (they drop like flies every time they find one) and will have to begin recruiting new people. By that time, it’s very possible the Vs will have infiltrated so many of the hearts and minds of the general public into believing they are ANGELS, can’t they see it’s going to be problematic to force people to see the truth?  Why not attempt to see how this guy reacts when he does sees the lizard skin or discover they have been living among everyone for YEARS?

Soldier: That was pretty disappointing.  Couldn’t they find a more physical type to play THE V SOLDIER?


Ana-Though I don’t hate her, but I find I have to roll my eyes at how omniscient she is.  While she is incapable of emotion which I’m sure will be her ultimate downfall, she has no apparent disadvantages.  She spots opportunities for the Vs to be saviors, she always knows the course of action. She is so logical in everything.  The only episode of her I liked was the one where she was suffering from the pregnancy because FINALLY she had a real weakness.  We need more of those.

Chad-I can’t make up my mind about Chad.  I do not want him to be a simple puppet for Ana at all so I’m hoping he’s going to wind up turning on her.  But last night’s episode really just made him look wishy washy as he went back to Father Jack and Ana.  Is he playing Ana? Or is he on her side?  Just PICK ONE!

L&O news + spoiler

So I’ve not posted in awhile.  But here I am now! And it’s news!  Alana de la Garza is pregnant and they are writing the pregnancy into the storyline.

*“Will they write the pregnancy into Law & Order or try to hide it?

They’re going to write it in, which is really exciting especially since Law & Order isn’t really a character-driven show.

My character doesn’t have a boyfriend, she’s not married, no love interest … in the season finale there’s a scene in a bar and I was joking around with everyone as we were filming, saying, “Oh, I think tonight’s the night Connie gets knocked up!” “

How do I feel about that?  I have no idea.  I want to be excited (though honestly I’m never happy with pregnancy stories, especially when the couple has yet to be officially together).  There are numerous ways for this could be good for my ship, Connie/Mike.

But this is a ship I like, so thus my curse is always there yet so there are numerous ways the ship can disintegrate or simply cease to be anything.  Does anyone have any thoughts? Any positive remarks as I can certainly come up with enough negative ones I would rather not keep reading hem.

*Thank you to These are their Stories for the information.

iPad it is then!

So I got an iPad today and am currently trying out the wordpress iPad app. Much easier to use than the iPhone version.

Still trying everything out. Tried to attach a picture, not sure if it worked.

The State of my TV

So I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated.  I apologize as I’m falling down on my NY’s resolutions stating I would post one blog per weekend.  (To be fair, recently I met one big resolution of cleaning out my garage.)  But it’s not all my fault, I am not that impressed with TV.  Let me discuss my current TV shows now:

The Office: Caught up to the episodes last night. I love The Office but it’s something I can watch later.  I’m really enjoying Andy and Erin right now and I got worried when they showed their foster brother.  And can I say I’m rooting for Dwight and Isabelle?

Law & Order: Ok, I’m enjoying this one the most, and not just because of my shipping compulsion for the two DAs.  I think it’s quality has vastly improved these last few years: the current cast, the writing, and finally becoming bolder with personal relationships.  Sadly, now that they moved the show, again, on Monday nights along it’s back to struggling in the ratings.  I’m hoping this has more to do with NBC still recovering from the colossal mistake of the Jay Leno show, but only time will tell.  I will state if you haven’t watched the episode, Innocence, you are missing the best episode of the year (and one that strays from the typical format of the show).

Chuck: Also on Monday nights, my interest has been reduced to zero.  The season started off so promising.  Then they introduced Superman as the next Doppelganger in the Chuck/Sarah relationship.  It’s startling that we’ve got to through this AGAIN, the Chuck/Sarah/Brett triangle made much more sense and had a  lot more layers.  Adding in Hannah doesn’t help, though I did like her, but again, it feels like a repeat of the Lou character and this show can do so much better.  I’ve watched few episodes and have no desire to tune in again.

CSI: I don’t know if it was my imagination or I’m a masochist, but for some stupid reason I get excited for Greg/Sara again.  The idea of Sara/Grissom makes me want to vomit for the rest of my life but maybe I could learn to let it go if she dumped his waddling ass for Greg (only for Greg to dump her ass).  I know that won’t happen.  There was this weird moment some time ago between them, thus I’ve been watching expectantly for a long time but nothing new.  Must have been my imagination.

Survivor: So Russell put one over on Rob.  Or one could say, Russell asked Tyson to switch his vote and the nimrod agreed which threw off Rob’s plan.  The only good news is it mainly hurt Tyson who I always hated anyway.  (Maybe even more than Russell except we’ve seen very little of Tyson).

Lost: They had me all the way up to Charlotte/Sawyer.  NO NO NO NO NO.  Must every ship I love have to be reduced to nothing?  ONe of the main reasons I supported the bomb exploding is that it SHOULD allow for both Daniel and Charlotte to be alive now, and they could have gotten together. Seeing Charlotte and Sawyer together was all kinds of wrong.  The good news is the follow up episode featured Richard pretty much the entire time and I can always get back to that.

V: It should start this week, right?

Glee: Can’t wait to April.

In Plain Sight & Criminal Intent: Should both premier on March 31st.  Looking quite forward to it.

Smokey Lockeson

Now that we are in the last season of Lost, I have am reflecting on moments involving the smoke monster (forgive me if these make no sense, it’s very early):

Perhaps NuLocke has always done favors for Ben, as Ben “called” him after Wydmore’s men killed Alex.

Smokey attempted to pull Locke down the hole back in the first season.

Smokey staring down Eko and appearing to back off, only to return and kill him later.  Did Eko disappoint him?

Dharma (or the others) actually did a heck of a better job keeping Smokey out with their “fence” versus the stupid ash/powder the templers would pour on the ground.

Grabbing and changing the French party into crazies like Rousseau?

I’m also curious to know what other forms NuLocke was able to take.  Claire sat with Christian very similarly to the way she welcomed NuLocke, though she hadn’t been hit too hard with the crazy stick.  Is Christian another being?  Or are there two representations of him?  Does the name Christian Shepard mean what it sounds like?  Does this mean the shack that Ben and Locke never had anything to do with Jacob in the first place and was all part of NuLocke, tricking Ben all along?

Evolution of Law & Order

Law & Order is showcasing it’s 20th season this year.  That’s quite an accomplishment.  It doesn’t make it the longest running series (still behind Gunsmoke and The Simpsons) but it’s still worthy of being celebrated.  Besides the original series, it has spawned approximately 3 spin offs (SVU, Criminal Intent, Trial by Jury) and 2 other series within the universe (Homicide, Conviction).  Whether you are a Dick Wolf fan or not, he certainly has created a phenomenon in TV history.  Something that NBC right now, due to it’s issues with Leno leaving primetime, must rely on even more.

Last week L&O returned with an episode double header, “Steely Eyed Death” and “Boy on Fire.”  Both episodes were well done.  Between the 2 episodes, there was character development (Lupo), relationship bonding (Lupo and Bernard) and a guest star (Debra Winger) who, for once, wasn’t actually the killer or mastermind of the crime.  After watching the show for 20 years, I feel an episode is a success if I can at least be surprised by the plot 50% of the time.  The first episode actually was the stronger of the two, simply because it’s later focus shifted to Detective Lupo, his past dealing with horrific crimes and sharing the details to his partner Bernard.

Lately I’ve been catching the early episodes of TNT.  It’s still fun to watch.  There was a time I knew these pretty much by heart, I’d seen them so much.  The series was grittier then, having a documentary edge to it.  New York seemed like a colder, more dangerous place.  And the entire cast was made up of men who reacted to the cases in different ways.  Each episode was it’s own mini movie, and rarely did anything to carry over to the next episode.  You could pick the show up after having been gone for a long time and know exactly who was who, and what role they played on the show, even if a new actor had joined.

Obviously relationships weren’t happening between the characters.  We did have partnerships, specifically with the opening duo of Logan and Greevey (who then became Logan and Cerreta and finally settling on Logan and Briscoe for a while).  Logan and Greevey actually were very much like oil and water.  Logan was liberal, Greevey was conservative.  They argued over every case.  They butted heads and sometimes even went into screaming matches. However, they still respected each other, and when Greevey was shot in his own driveway, Logan went into a downward spiral.  After that, while Cerreta and Briscoe argued with the younger man, it was never to such extremes.  Not until Detective Curtis took Logan’s part and that head butting resumed.  Of course, that usually was because Curtis was “by the book” man, and never appreciated when Briscoe taking shortcuts around the law, even in mild ways.

Over 20 years we’ve had a lot of cops on this show.  Most of the time they stayed while others were gone rather quickly.  Now we have Detectives Lupo and Bernard.  Much was said about Anthony Anderson coming in after Jessie L. Martin, his most famous role was as the scared hacker in the first Transformers movie.  But I think he’s done excellent in the part, and while I did love Ed Green very much, I am really enjoying the partnership between Bernard and Lupo.  It’s reminding me way back of the first season.  They are extremes and always butt heads on the controversial cases.  They can say some rotten things to each other.  But when the chips are down, they are there for each other.

On the other side of the show is the DA’s office.  Michael Moriarty played Ben Stone for several years and I loved his character.  His first assistant was Robinette who was with him for 3 seasons.  In the fourth season the show realized there were females working out in the world so they replaced two characters with women.  Captain Cragen was replaced by Lt. Van Buren.  She of course will always be someone I adore (she actually shows up as the mother of a murdered baby in the first season).  But Robinette was replaced by Claire Kincaid.  She was green and actually messed up in her first case.  Stone could have fired her, she was expecting it, but he remembered that he too had made his own share of screw ups and knew she could be a real asset.

What I loved about Kincaid (Jill Hennessy) is she had a dry wit.   With the serious material we got day in and out on everything, it was nice to have moments of humor even if it was just for a line or two.  Sometimes it was at a suspect’s expense and other times we had her making fun of Jack McCoy and Adam Schiff.  I remember one moment where a case befell them about a fugitive from the 60s being found and tried for murdering a cop (even back then they were getting their episodes from headlines).  Kincaid could not understand why McCoy and Schiff were reluctant to follow through with the prosecution, that if this woman had done the act in the 50s, they wouldn’t blink twice.  McCoy’s argument was simply “It was the 60s” as if that explained it all.  Fairly soon, one of the men asked what their next step should be, and Claire answered that perhaps they should hold hands and sing a chorus of “We Shall Overcome.”  McCoy’s reaction was priceless.

Such a story does bring up the new DA to replace Stone after Moriarity left.  Sam Waterson didn’t just step into the role, he jumped with both feet.  At the time, I didn’t appreciate the characteristics of Jack McCoy or how his relationship with Claire did add new substance to the DA side of things.  Realizing as I watched that McCoy and Kincaid were obviously involved outside the office, I was annoyed because I couldn’t get past McCoy being known for getting involved with his assistants.  (I think Claire would make four).  I wanted more for her character then just to get involved in an office romance.  Of course, we saw very little of the relationship so it wasn’t that big of a concern.  They killed Claire off in a car crash and from there we got beautiful model after model after model after model.

Now Alana de la Garza as Connie.  It’s amazing how far the actress has come from four years ago.  Starting first as McCoy’s assistant, the actress seemed timid and was upstaged easily.  Now that time has past, and Connie’s working along side Michael Cutter who took over for McCoy when he got promoted to DA has been loads of fun.  They butt heads as much if not more then Bernard/Lupo and even Greevey/Logan.  But they also have a good partnership when working together and can make Jack proud most of the time.  I do want to ship them and my latest FF is about them, but I’m not enjoying L&O specifically for them.  I think everyone has gelled together in a way that makes it the strongest the show’s been in years.  Now the writers are feeling freer to implement personal stories lightly such as Van Buren’s cancer and the possible Connie/Mike relationship.  I look forward to watching this show every week now, when before I would watch if I remembered.  Hopefully the extra four episodes ordered for this season will continue to impress.

Losting in a New World

So I totally absolutely completely and sincerely apologize for NOT blogging about Lost yet.  There is no excuse.  I have none.  I sat down now to actually compose a blog about Survivor which I can come up with half a dozen subjects to discuss for the 2 episodes we’ve seen.  Then I realized how long it’s been since I spoke about Lost and I felt bad.

There are so many things I could say, but I want to see where this is going...

Please understand, this does not mean that I am not enjoying Lost, quite the contrary.  It’s amazing how the writers can actually take the story into directions I had never imagined in ways that keep my attention.  The problem is…it’s easier to talk about Survivor because it’s an all star season, and the show is chock full of moments to discuss, pick on, laugh at, rejoice in, and worry about.  It’s all straight forward.  I know what to think of Survivor. I don’t know what to think of Lost.

I know we have two universes being the result of the nuclear bomb.  I know that the explosion triggered what would become the death of the island (something I’m not sure happened immediately since we know Ben is alive and well off the island).  The island’s presence gone was something we had suspected and that Flight 815 would land safely in LA.  What I didn’t expect was how much the island interfered with people’s lives before they came to the island.  I had never thought of that.  I knew Richard had visited young Locke and Jacob had made sure to say hello to everyone to specific people as well.  The island of course was the heart of the Dharma Initiative which transported many souls there, employing hundreds of people on whatever the heck they were working on (which still isn’t clear).  It became the magnate to draw Desmond there and Penny’s father, Charles, is probably not the same man he eventually became.

I just don’t know what to say yet.  I refuse to speculate.  I’m always wrong.  Far from wrong.  Wrong wrong wrong wrong.  I am tired of being wrong.  We are dealing in time travel, universe paradox, balance between good and evil as well as minor supernatural elements such as Miles’ ghost talking and Hurley may have it too.  How can I possibly know where this is all going? How can I even venture a guess?  No, I learned my lesson from Harry Potter where I attempted to imagine how Rowling would write the final book and I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The good news in that is I was completely satisfied with her ending.  It’s rare when that happens, most of the time I’m always disappointed.  So far the writers have been keeping me entertained and still guessing.

I’m going to just take the attitude to sit back and relax.  So far we’ve learned that the bomb going off didn’t reset the story but simply created a possible tangent to the story.  We’ve learned the meaning of the numbers which have assignments to certain characters.  We’ve learned a bit more of the NotLocke character as well as meeting a whole new group of others.  Some things I’ve been happy about (the numbers), pleasantly entertained by (the NotLocke) or irritated to their presence (the others in the temple).  But even the latter certainly is entertaining to watch if it’s only in my desire to hope they are wrong (about Sayid).

The season is still young, we’ve got more new episodes ahead of us than behind us so I’m hoping Lost winds up not living up to it’s name, but it’s reputation.


I apologize, I’ve yet to do a recap of Lost this week.  I’m rather intimidated by it. Three solid hours (well two) is a lot to cut through and so much to absorb.  I’m still thinking on it.

What I want to blog on is another show long waited to premiere and that’s Survivor.  Another all star season that has split the returning cast members into two categories, villains and heroes.

I thought I was done with the last season.  But I was rather dismayed at how many people I’ve come across insisting that Natalie stole Russell’s rightful claim of being the winner. What?  Am I the only one who saw through the CBS propaganda of lunacy?  Were people really fooled into thinking he was this brilliant strategist? Maybe I was missing something and I just over thinking the situation.  While I don’t mean to suppose that Natalie was a superb manipulator herself, I do think she deserved to win as much, if not more, than Russell. So I’ve decided to go ahead and go over the Russell history from Samoa and recap.  I hope to not miss anything, and now that we have the ability of hindsight, really analyze his moves in game play.

The beginning

This group shot is only needed to prove we had other players besides the same six they kept featuring over and over.

It’s really funny to think back to the beginning of the season, that first episode where we “met” twenty people.  What’s funny about it is, I never learned half their names. It really did revolve around Russell, the other Russell, Natalie, Jaison, Shambo, Erik and a few girls from Galu who together resulted in a “Mean Girls” clique.  Even before the show aired, CBS was calling that this season of Survivor had the greatest villain we would ever see!  Wow, really?  Greater than Rich?  Greater than Jon who lied about having a dead grandma?  Really?

Well, the first few episodes started.  Let’s run down Russell’s game play from the start.  First, he lies about being a Katrina victim.  Now granted, that’s certainly a manipulation of one’s heartstrings and to try to conjure up sympathy.  But it’s not exactly original nor do I consider it a good strategic move.  Johnny Fairplay already did that several seasons ago, and way more successfully, orchestrating with his best friend way before he even started. It angered many people, and rightfully so.  Russell elected to use the great tragedy of New Orleans’s hurricane, which is still fresh in many REAL survivors minds, as his “dead grandmother”.  First, he did it straight off the bat, the very first night it looked like.  It’s as if he didn’t know how to keep something to himself (a weakness we will discuss later).  Second, again, using the Katrina situation would be seen the same as someone pretending to be a 9/11 survivor.  The public doesn’t take well to such claims and it minimizes that real people have experienced and attempted to overcome on their own.  Seeing a con man on TV attempting to use that so he can win a reality TV show sets a bad taste in my mouth.

But wait, there’s more.  Also from this first episode, Russell goes about sabotaging his tribe.  Yes, during a time when winning competitions is the best way to stay on this show, he is over there emptying water buckets and burning socks.  (Yes, I said burning socks). Now, CBS seems to think this goes under villain category.  I think the term villain is so misused here.  One can be a jerk without getting the respect of being called a villain.  Russell’s actions caused a bit of turmoil in the short run, but in the long run, it hurt his tribe and started them off badly.  One could argue they never recovered from this and that’s why they went into the merge so outnumbered.  After that, Russell’s game play seemed to just target the women on his tribe who were seeing through him.

Immunity Idol

The question of the immunity idol gets it’s own category.  I will give props when it’s due, and Russell definitely deserved it.  The idea of searching for the idol right away without a clue is so simplistically brilliant, it makes you wonder why no one thought of it before.  Russell was taped running around camp, searching diligently for anything that looked like a hiding place.  One hilarious moment has him waist deep in the bottom of a tree, his legs wagging while a fellow tribemate ignores him by sleeping in a hammock.  It’s quite comical, but makes you wonder the mindset of the people he’s up against, who don’t show the slightest concern at what he could be doing.  I also don’t begrudge Russell using that idol the first time.  Laura seemed to take some great victory in that move, but I didn’t think so.  Russell had the idol, he couldn’t be sure he was safe from the vote so he used it.  That’s what it’s for, and better to use it then be stuck walking out with it, like Erik.

But what does bug me is Russell finding it not one more time, but two more times.  That is not a testament to Russell’s genius game play.  It is simply evidence that Probst’s survivor team as well as Russell’s enemies were lazy and refused to bother to truly hide it.  The second time he found it “one afternoon” while his competing tribe was away on a reward.  It was under a man made bridge.  When I saw that, I was convinced Russell was not a real player.  The show putting it there was ridiculous as it’s an easy place to look.  I also wouldn’t have been surprised if the show was helping him at that point, since the tides had turned and Fao Fao was the underdog tribe (and who’s fault was it that Fao Fao seemed to never gain the upper hand from the first challenge?)  The third time he found it was outrageous.  He freaking had a PICTURE of it.  No, he actually a video of it in a 360 degree angle.  The moss on the rock made it clear that there could be only one place to find it.  The hardest part was he had to ditch THE ONE GUY from Galu who was trying to follow him to find it.

The Merge

Ahh, yes, the merge.  It looked like Fao Fao’s days were numbered and no matter how “evil” Russell truly was, nothing could take down the high numbers of Galu.  Well, this is where I think Russell didn’t seem to do much of anything.  He worried and fretted and tried to make alliances. He targeted Shambo, who had already been to his tribe several times and felt like an outcast by Galu.  Of course, Shambo didn’t need much to betray her tribe.  They ostracized her over and over, something Fao Fao was fully aware of, and it’s hardly masterful game play to select the most likely person to flip to your tribe.

The problem was even with Shambo they were still way down.  They needed a target from Galu and they found one in Erik.  He had made his own enemies on his tribe and decided he was going to be the new leader of the merged tribe.  Seeing their chance, Fao Fao approached Galu about taking advantage of their high numbers and voting off Erik, that thorn in their side.   They would still have plenty of time to destroy Fao Fao later, why not use this lull and remove their biggest headache when they had a chance?  This manipulation worked, and Laura from Galu seemed to buy it hook, line, and sinker along with the rest of her tribe mates.  I think this was probably the best move of the game, because after this, we had Fao Fao start to chip away at Galu’s numbers and work their way up. Of course, the person who stepped up and talked to Galu was not Russell. He was nowhere near anyone to do anything like this. Jaison and Natalie discussed it, and it was the latter who orchestrated it by using her girl power talks with Laura and the Mean Girls gang. For this alone, I am fine with Natalie winning at the end because it proved when the chips were down she was willing to step up and take the heat, but she did it in such a way that nobody really remembered to blame her later.

Now from there, I will admit Russell’s idol collecting came in especially handy for the tribe.  They were able to fool Galu into thinking they didn’t have it the first time which picked off another of their team, then used Shambo’s betrayal to pick off another.   But as stated earlier, Russell was practically given the 2nd and 3rd idols and the true amazing feat was he was able to keep his mouth shut about them (Well, the first two anyway.  Well, to most people on his tribe.  More like to most people on his tribe and Shambo.  Oh, and that other guy he told).  Russell was never one to keep his mouth shut period.  He liked to talk, and he liked to share secrets.  He liked to tell people about his idol and how awesome he was in finding it.  He also liked to create alliances. He alliances with everyone on his own tribe after the merge.  This goes to the myth he “screwed” so many players. Nope, he actually only screwed Jaison and I don’t blame him for choosing to cut him off since Jaison would have made mincemeat of him at the final tribal council.   His only alliance to Galu was Shambo at first but he didn’t seem to make it clear to her he would keep her over his own original tribe, thus no hard feelings when she was voted off. I did laugh myself silly when the last Galu member remained, Brett, and in speaking to him, Russell was prompting him to do an alliance. Yes, an alliance, with the one guy who was everybody’s best friend.  In the end he changed his mind, but it made no sense to even suggest it, and it clouded any chance of a Brett vote Russell could have expected.
Finally, I can’t begin to even touch on how often Russell told everyone he was already a millionaire.  (Something that’s tough to believe given his bad oral hygiene).  First it was just to us.  Then, it was to his alliance mates.  Which was three people.  Then he told Shambo.  Then he found out someone told Galu and went berserk even though it was clearly a trick from a Galu member.  I just think if anyone has paid attention to Survivor, the last thing you want to do is let them know you already have money. That puts you with the biggest target on your back but I think Russell is someone who can’t NOT talk about himself or share perceived accomplishments.  He’s got the biggest head of the game, even before he thought he won it, when he didn’t and cried nearly like a girl on live TV over it.

Now Russell did win that last immunity challenge (though the Internet is quite vocal about a moment got on camera where Russell does have his hand below the illegal line and should have been disqualified.  Supports my theory CBS wanted him to win but whatever).  He did get into the F3.  But I strike that up to being cast opposite some of the worst players I’ve ever seen in this game, (not just Shambo).  I’m very interested in seeing how Russell will fair against people who have played this game before hard.  He actually does have an advantage over them, the timing of the filming prevented everyone in seeing how Russell played.   I’m very curious to see when up against people with actual brains and ambition, how far will Russell really go?