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New villain takes spotlight on ‘Survivor’

Can Russell Hantz rival Richard Hatch for deviousness, or is he just an evil idiot who has no real plan?
/ Source: contributor

The tribe has spoken: Marisa, a 26-year-old student, was the first to be voted out, due to her lack of perceived strength and her conflict with evil tribe idiot Russell H. She saw through Russell H.'s nonsense, saying, "you've been talking to everybody. It makes me a little wary." However, the tribe isn't unified, as Mick and Betsy both voted for Ashley, the youngest contestant this season.

Lead the way: Borrowing from Samoan culture, Jeff Probst had each tribe elect a leader. Galu voted for Russell Swan, while Foa Foa picked doctor Mick, although they almost chose Jaison. The leadership could be seen as an honor or a curse: "I'm scared," Russell S. declared, worried that he might become a target.

Pants on, pants off: During the opening challenge, rocket scientist John was chosen by Russell to swim for Galu, and he left his jeans on, and fell way behind. Then he laid down on the mat, making sure everyone saw how weak and exhausted he was. Luckily for him, Galu won immunity. Apparently rocket scientists don't know much about aerodynamics.

Who you callin' dumb?: As part of his strategy, which includes making life "as miserable as possible for everybody," Russell H. forged alliances with "the dumb, short-haired blonde" and "the even dumber long-haired blonde" and the other women, which he called his "dumb-ass girl alliance."

Copper on the case: New Hampshire cop Betsy looks like she'll be Russell H.'s foil, telling us, "I just have a feeling I don't trust Russell." But she also aligned with him, keeping her enemy close.

What's your name? Former Marine Shannon introduced herself as Shambo. "Rambo had the same bandana I have," she said.

Bite your underwear — and your tongue: The oldest contestant, Mike, stole a funny one-liner from Norm on "Cheers," saying at Tribal Council, "This is a dog-eat-dog game, and we're all wearing Milk-Bone underwear." That was funny, but after his tribe leader chose Jaison to swim, Mike said, "Afro-Americans aren't known to be swimmers." Maybe you'd like some Milk-Bones to go with your stereotypes?

Hope we had film in the camera for that shot: Jeff Probst delivered his signature opening line, "39 days, 20 people, one Survivor," standing on a rocky beach right before a massive wave slammed into the rocks and water flowed all around him. It looks pretty amazing — and dangerous.

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