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Survivor recap: The Rob and Russell Feud Heats Up

Boston Rob tries to regroup after last week’s blindside, but sneaky Russell has another trick up his sleeve

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Rob Mariano
Monty Brinton/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

It’s been a strong season of Survivor. No doubt. We’ve watched the alleged ”Heroes” bicker and crumble. We’ve been treated to a gripping testosterone feud (Boston Rob vs. Russell). And we sat with mouths agape as Tyson made what was arguably the dumbest move in Survivor history. But a great as it’s been, I can’t escape the feeling that Heroes vs Villains has been missing something. Something that could have truly set it apart as a season for the ages. Something that you and I have been clamoring for since the day the cast was first announced. Something that, in a perfect world, would be in every episode of every season from now until the end of time (or Jeff Probst quits — whichever comes first). And that something is… Courtney on a trampoline net! See Courtney run. See Courtney fall. See Courtney stand 10 feet up on the rope web without moving, like a kid on a high dive ladder afraid to go either up or down. See Courtney finally jump down and attempt to land on her feet, leading to yet another awkward fall as well as assorted smack-talk laced commentary by Probst.

Now, I have no idea why Courtney was even competing in this challenge — why not use her in the less-important reward challenge so she could sit this one out? — but questioning that decision is like questioning how a case of Milwaukee’s Best somehow magically appears in your refrigerator. You don’t question it — you just grab some Funyuns and enjoy your good fortune. I had expected a lot of hilarity from Courtney this season, but instead she’s been getting the Brett edit. (At least, I think his name was Brett. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure of his name during his season.) Part of that is because Courtney has sat out pretty much every challenge, where she is usually at her most side-splitting, but it’s also because so much of the focus around camp has been on the Rob vs. Russell feud.

And I understand that, because what a delicious feud it was, right up through last night’s Tribal Council. Back and forth the two went, culminating with Rob questioning Russell’s idea of loyalty. ”Loyalty?” Russell responded, while bringing up his giving up the hidden immunity idol to Parvati. ”I put my butt on the line for my people. I was willing to go home. If that isn’t loyalty, I don’t know what is. I don’t think you have the guts to do what I did last Tribal.” That last line had to hurt, because how do you respond to that? Love Russell or loathe Russell, there is no denying that what he did last episode was the height of badassery. And don’t take that to mean I’ve been on Russell’s side, or Boston Rob’s side either, for that matter. I’m just on the side of riveting television, and as much as these guys don’t like each other, that is exactly what they have provided these past few weeks — a true heavyweight battle worthy of Ali vs. Frazier, Tyson vs. Holyfield, Manute Bol vs. William ”The Refrigerator” Perry (oh, don’t sit there and pretend that you didn’t watch Celebrity Boxing).

NEXT:Coach tries to hug it out