How Did You React to Russell's Emotional Moment on Survivor: Redemption Island?

I’m having a hard time getting stoked about the “Redemption Island duels” that are becoming a central component of this current (and otherwise pretty darn thrilling) Survivor season. Wednesday night’s showdown, however, got my pulse racing — and not because I’m a huge fan of high-stakes dominoes. Nope, Survivor‘s latest faceoff pitted infamous franchise villain Russell Hantz (unceremoniously dumped by his Zapatera tribe last week) against Ometepe outcast Matt. Russell brought his patented brand of bravado to Redemption Island, declaring his plans to oust Matt from his perch, then heap abuse on any Zapatera members who turned up at Redemption’s zero-star accommodations. “Sleep in the mud, fool!” snarled Russell, practicing his “welcome” speech.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. After gaining an edge in the head-to-head battle when Matt’s stacked track of dominoes failed to reach all the way to the end of a series of ramps and knock a ball onto a tile, Russell made the same mistake, and ended up getting handily defeated. Before you could say “Franchasquea,” Survivor‘s resident tough guy bowed his head and began to weep — pulling his hat over his eyes to shield his tears from the cameras. “Russell, you have bared your soul out here in ways that very few have,” said host Jeff Probst, who took a good 30-second pause, then asked what was motivating the tears: “Is it sadness that you’re out of the game? Is it embarrassment at finally losing?” None of the above, said Russell, who then expressed his fury about Zapatera throwing its previous challenge and disrespecting the game in the process. “It’s hard to be a professional quarterback and have pee-wee leaguers on your team,” he huffed. “‘Cause I gotta run the ball, I gotta catch the ball, I gotta throw the ball, I gotta do everything.”

Russell’s standard-operating bravado prompted Ralph to reveal he was in possession of an immunity idol — in front of Ometepe observers Phillip and Kristina! And that allowed Russell one last chance at self-aggrandizement, and he professed his belief that if/when Ometepe picked off members of Zapatera, it would mean “more power” to himself. Whatever you’ve got to tell yourself to get through the elimination, buddy.

What I’m curious about, though, is how you felt seeing Russell’s breakdown, especially in light of the fact that the guy says he won’t come back for a fourth season. “This is my last time playing this game. That’s it. I have nothing else to prove to myself or my family,” he said, as he dropped his Survivor buff into the fire. Me? I didn’t feel much of anything. I mean, it’s a little bit of a bummer that such a nefarious presence won’t have a chance to go back and wreak vengeful havoc on his terrified tribe mates — “I’m so relieved he’s not gonna come back and get me!” said Julie — but I’m also not going to reach for the Kleenex watching a grown-ass man make his final exit from a long-running reality franchise. What about you? Share your feelings in the poll below, then head to the comments to explain your vote.

Oh, and underneath the poll, you’ll find a bonus screengrab of Ometepe’s Ashley and Natalie reacting to Phillip’s underwear “situation.” Let’s roll tape on Boston Rob: “Who comes on Survivor and wears pink tighty-whities with the stuff just hanging out? You know, just flapping out everywhere. It’s not only disturbing, it’s disgusting!”

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. melly says:

    Russell threw a temper trantrum like a 4-year-old, so I was definitely LMAO! I would have been disappointed if he had reacted differently. I’m sorry there will be no Russell/Boston Rob show down. If Russell had stuck to his early promise of playing the game differently, they would not have thrown the challenge, and he would not have lost to Matt. His inability to play a social game has been what has bitten him in the a** every time. The little troll will never learn. And I believe wholeheartdely if asked to play again Russell would be the first guy on the island.

  2. Mac says:

    I laughed. I shouted insults at him over the TV screen. I may have danced a little, too.

  3. Patty says:

    I have never been so thrilled to see someone go as I was to see Russell go. Hopefully for good!

  4. SJ says:

    Ditto to what Mac said, I laughed. Did a little happy dance. I’m just so glad he’s gone. He’s not someone I “loved to hate”, I just hated him. As Melly said, he will never learn. His tears were almost as funny as anything Crazy Phillip said last night.

  5. AlistairCrane says:

    I smirked. So glad Zapatera’s plan to throw the immunity challenge worked! I was worried Russell would stay on Redemption Island for weeks and weeks and finally re-enter the game.

    Now I’m rooting for Kristina to beat Churchy Matt.

  6. eliot says:

    Russell was crying because he just couldn’t face the fact he got outwitted, outplayed and outlasted. What a poor sport!

  7. Stephen says:

    I found Russell’s tears hilarious, and revealing. Because I don’t think Russell gets that the reason he never won, and was eliminated this time, is because, within the realm of the game, he is a bad human being. He may not be a bad person outside the game (although anyone who works in oil and energy doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt), but within the game he embodies all that is wrong with the human race.
    Russell’s elimination this time represents a rejection of the kind of despicable human qualities that Russell embodied. No one should feel bad for the man, because his approach to the game was to take advantage of the goodness and decency of others. His tears were not for his his anger at the team that was willing to sacrifice a victory to get rid of him, they were for his ego’s inability to accept his failure, as evidenced by his demands for recognition at the Heroes & Villains finale. But they should have been tears shed for the death of his last shred of human decency that died the moment he set foot on the island.
    The only reason he wasn’t pounced on during Heroes & Villains was because no one had seen his first season when H&V started taping. As a result, at that time, Russell was an unknown quantity. This time, people knew what they were getting, and they knew that his presence brought nothing to the game besides acrimony and paranoia.
    In the end, Russell’s tears were not a real expression of emotion, because Survivor Russell is not a person capable of human emotion. Instead, they were a simulacrum of human emotion, put on display by a creature who felt that such an exhibition would prove advantageous for himself.

  8. JohnDoe says:

    I rofl’d.

  9. jeanii says:

    Russell, face it you were outplayed by your own team.
    They knew what you were like so what did you expect.
    (except for your 2 bimbo’s, like you like to refer to women)

  10. Magically Suspicious says:

    I liked Russell the first time he was on. He was the most annoying creature on the planet, but you couldn’t deny his game. I had to root for him. But since then, he’s become his own fan club. I was glad to see him go and I hope he means it when he says its his last time. Make room for a new villian that holds some element of surprise for the viewer.

    Also….Boston Rob FTW!

  11. holly says:

    I laughed out loud. I have never been happier to see that asshat go.

  12. Richard says:

    I jumped up and cheered. No, really, I did, and I was alone. I don’t care who wins, just didn’t/don’t want Russell or Philip to win.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      I cheered loudly too. And laughed at his tears. I did not feel guitly one bit because of his behavior a minute later.

  13. Tego Livi says:

    I wish someone could have burned his hat again for a topper.

  14. JayK says:

    I was a huge Russell fan his first season (which he should have won), but got a bit tired of his ego the second time. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch him a third season, but I found myself rooting for him during the challenge. I was bummed when he lost – Russell is good TV!

  15. Ecb says:

    Russell was the best player and did respect the game. If those morons hadn’t thrown a challenge just to get rid of him I hope they all lose. The farmer dude is TOTALLY annoying! Just that they laughed at his expense shows they are just as stupid as he said they are. You may not like him, but he was always fun to watch. I would watch him anytime over the fools that threw the challenge. If they weren’t so afraid that he would kick their tushies, they would have played right not like a bunch of losers! GO RUSSELL!! You are THE BEST PLAYER that has ever played the game. YOu made me a fan of Survivor! Thanks!

    • Vic says:

      How can anyone say that Russell respects Survivor after all the tantrums and whining and generally being a sore loser for two years now?

      Oh, and “THE BEST PLAYER that has ever played the game” has won a grand total of ZERO seasons in three attempts. I’d love to know what criteria you base your opinion on.

      • KevyB says:

        Sing it! In any other season it would probably stupid to throw a challenge that early. But what if they had waited and tossed out the crybaby right before a merge? Then all he would’ve had to do is win one Redemption challenge and he’d be back in the game and immediately on the other side. His tribe is so pathetically dominant right now, what has it hurt to throw a challenge and lose him? That tribe hasn’t lost a single person who was on their side.

  16. Eolra says:

    I didn’t watch (not watching this season in protest to some offensive comments Probst made at the start of the season, and I’m a stubborn SOB), but I think my co-worker, an ex-preschool teacher summed it up nicely: Russell was not sad he lost, he was just frustrated that things did not go his way and people would not cooperate. Just like a child who is frustrated, they cannot express themselves and can’t get what they want, and this manifests in a tantrum, culminating in “I DON’T WANNA PLAY THIS ANYMORE!!!!”, “THIS GAME IS STUPID!” and “I HATE YOU MOMMY! WHAAAAAHHHHH!”. Very simplistic emotions.

  17. sandy says:

    YUP He is gone..for good I truly hope.. He is not a good player he is not a team player he learned zero from his two times before and we are supposed to feel sorry for him because her cried?

  18. Sabrina says:

    I had kind of hoped to watch him win and then have to eliminate his little chickie girls over the next couple of weeks. But I am happy that Matt won. Russell brought a lot to the game but I had enough of him, though it looks like his legacy will live on next week and continue to stir things up. Watching him cry was bitter sweet, I had hated him so much at times yet there was a small (very small) part of me that felt bad for him. Then I remembered that he “allegedly” leaked the entire boot list for the previous seasons he was on, and coincidentally there is no boot list this season when he was booted very early. I did not feel that bad.

    And honestly, I find Rob so entertaining I wish they would have him back every season, he doesn’t even have to be on a tribe, just make it so that individuals have to compete against Rob to stay on the island. That would rock! It has been such a better season this year, we are really enjoying it again. This season he really seemed to learn from his past mistakes. I think we will see Matt rejoin the tribes at the merge, he will beat anyone sent to “redemption”. But by then Rob will still have the immunity Idol and too strong an alliance to break. The problem with Redemption is they have to make it something that does not depend on strength, so it is not very challenging. The challenges also appear to be twists on old Survivor standbys like the build a stick and get the key and the domino stacking.

  19. Joe says:

    Anyone ever accusing the producers of game manipulation can put that to rest. Russell going home this early is not the script the production team would have wanted. You know they were hoping it would eventually be him vs. Boston Rob on Redemption for a huge showdown. They didn’t get it.
    I felt bad for Russell but he honestly shouldn’t have played again. Everyone knew he was too much of a threat to not vote him off. That said, I enjoyed Russell immensely on the show. He was robbed of a win that first time he played. He should have been handed the million that time.
    This time he didn’t stand a chance unless he had fans on the tribe like Boston Rob did. What I didn’t understand about anyone on Zapatera was how they didn’t realize taking Russell to the final was the best strategy in game history since no one ever gives him the million. I would have aligned with him from day 1 and hoped I got to the finals with him. It’s the same reason why you shouldn’t vote Phillip off. Who in their right mind would give him the million? I wouldn’t be shocked if Rob already has the plan of taking Phillip with him as far as possible. He certainly can’t take Grant with him to the finals. Grant is too likable.
    The most interesting thing to me is seeing Boston Rob’s strategy of eliminating the stronger players from his tribe so the rest are beholden to him working. If I were Grant, I’d be watching my back. Rob likes making the tribe dependent on him but he does it in a much nicer way than Russell. I still don’t think he gets the million this year.

  20. schlaarp says:

    I was sad to see russell go he changed the game in so many ways and made it better. He is the best survivor to play the game and he deserved to win one. I do not see why people do not like him he played better than anyone else in both seasons. Sure he manipulates and lies and cheats but thats what he had to do to get to the end its better than sitting there as he takes you to the end like sandra and natalie.

    • NATHAN says:

      i disagree with you. U can lie, cheat, manipulate…. are okay with me and in fact i really think it makes the game better if u do. i think Russell is stupid because he did all that and he can’t hide it. you need to cheat, lie… do whatever u need to do but not letting people knowing about it. that is what the best player should do. kill your opponent and your opponent dont even know his death cause!!!

  21. nathan says:

    I laughed my a@s off when i saw that.

    Russell always thought he is smarter than he actually is! i laughed when he lost and cried.

    he said “i respect the game” but he didnt. he threw off secrets about his team because he is a sore loser. when you are out of the game then you are out. he thought he got some skill but he didt got anything. he is just a tool. he thought he has control of the girls but actually the girls are controlling his a$s. they are using him as their shield!

    I respect other players who got vote off and still kept the secret with them. that is how they respect the game. they want to game to take it course!


  22. Charlie says:

    No!!!!!!!!!!, Russel is gone!…..i wanted him to win!!!

  23. Sean says:

    I fist-pumped, because it was comeuppance for the ultimate Survivor villain. And I say that as a fan of Russell.

    I hope you’ll check out my full recap:

  24. shaunna says:

    why do I always have a hard time finding Slezak on Survivor? I almost gave up today looking for this!!!!

    this is the best survivor show year ever- so exciting!!!

  25. shaunna says:

    why do I always have a hard time trying to find Slezak on Survivor?

    I almost gave up today trying to find this.

  26. shaunna says:

    This site is hard to find for Slezak on survivor – I almost gave up today trying to find this.

  27. shaunna says:

    this is most exciting year ever

  28. RIck says:

    I was seriously bummed out when I saw Russell get cheated by his team – and I have to admit I was a bit of a fan. (he made the game more interesting!)

    But for the tribe to ‘throw’ a challenge just to get rid of him smacks of some serious inferiority by the participants of the ruse.

    At leastr let the man go down fighting, rather than just throw him under the bus.

    Love him of hate him, he made the game more watchable – and I’ll miss his certitude and misaligned beliefs at grandeur!

    RIP Russell – but you will HAVE to play again. (although no doubt it’d happen again…..)

    What were they so afraid of? He had little to no chance of winning as he always steps on too many toes to get the vote – but he always played hard and strategic.

    I just hope they can somehow make it so he can return so his tribe will see the wrath of Russell!

  29. BRAD says:

    I was disappointed when Russell was voted out but I did keep hope alive that Russell would survive redemption island and become the sole survivor and I was even more disappointed when that didn’t happen. But it’s not just that he was voted out it was the way he was voted out his team threw a challenge to get rid of him what a bunch of bitches. Also I was hoping both Russell and Rob would still be there at the merge that would of been awesome. Russell plays Survivor the way it should be played and I keep hope alive that Russell does play Survivor again. But with Russell gone Boston Rob should win.