Jeff Probst on episode 4 of 'Survivor: Redemption Island'

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, Survivor host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of Redemption Island.

Which did you find more intriguing: Russell breaking down and crying after being eliminated, or the way he then snapped himself out of it and went into full bore defiant Russell mode?

The breakdown caught me by surprise and showed me how invested Russell is in the game of Survivor.  I think that will go down as a very big moment in Survivor history.  But I was so delighted to see Russell go out the same way he came in — swinging for the fence.  He ate Ralph’s lunch and could quite possibly have given Rob’s tribe a huge advantage come merge time.

Russell also said, “This is my last time playing this game. That’s it. I have nothing else to prove to myself or to my family.” Do you believe him for even one second, ’cause I sure as hell don’t?

I think in the moment Russell was sincere and convinced he was finished.  You have to remember that he has played the game three times in under two years.  It’s a huge toll both emotionally and physically.  I think given time to recover he could be convinced to come back and I think he has a great opportunity to turn over a new leaf and play a different way.  That could happen, right?

Obviously, a huge part of the episode was the back and forth between Ralph, Russell, and Phillip at the Redemption Island challenge. When you first conceived the idea of letting tribe members come to watch these duels, did you consider not allowing them to interact with the participants, kind of like a jury at Tribal Council?

From the moment we decided to let them come to the duels, we knew we wanted interaction. Part of the reason for allowing tribe members to attend was to create more layers of separation from those who were left back at camp.  That’s why I always remind them, “Whatever you share is up to you…”

Okay, tease us up for next week, Probst!

Next week… one of the best examples of “outwit” I’ve seen in quite a while.  You will want to tip your hat to the person behind the feat but you’ll have to do it while wiping away the tears of laughter at how they do it.

For more from Jeff on last night’s episode, check out To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well the cast sharing their most embarrassing moments ever, simply watch the video player below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.

Comments (216 total) Add your comment
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  • Green

    I was absolutely floored when Russell bawled like a baby. I dont believe that he was just upset at his tribe throwing a challenge. Russell is and always has been a sore loser. And Phillip needs to learn to keep quiet, he stirs up to much trouble. I thought the FBI would have taught him that.

    • Steph

      I agree.

      But look up Phillip, he was so not an FBI agent, he was a background investigator for the Defense Investigative Service for only 3…he obviously has delusions of grandeur.

      • Lala

        No wonder it takes 5000 years to get a clearance to go through.

      • Diggin’

        I could be wrong, but I don’t think Phillip mentioned the FBI. If he was an investigator for the DIS, then he was a federal agent. Considering how effed up the FBI is, I wouldn’t consider them ‘delusions of grandeur,’ by any stretch of the imagination.

    • sandy


      • Aitu4

        I agree 100%. whether you like or dislike his gameplay, I cant disrespect someone who gave it their all and reacted like that.

    • Jardin17

      Those were rage tears for sure. What sour grapes. So glad he’s gone and hope he stays off my TV for good.

      • Joseph Marion

        are you always this clueless, or just about survivor?

      • Hal9000

        I agree. I used to at least admire his tenacity (Russell) but now he is just pathetic. Hubris has and always will be his downfall. Meoooow, Russell!

  • Steph

    …only 3 *years*
    and *a* FBI agent not *an* hehe

    • Kalick

      It is ‘an’ FBI agent. You had it right the first time.

    • Bianca

      *an* is correct, because you pronounce it “eff bee eye”, so phonetically the Term FBI starts with a vocal, thus the *an*.

      • Steph

        darn I knew it! Thank you.

      • Butterscotch

        I love seeing posters so gramatically aware. Makes reading so much easier. I am serious…sick of then for than, than for then, here for hear, hear for here…

      • Juneau

        Well, let’s tackle your vs you’re. Most people get that one wrong. I thought Russell had an honest reaction. I believe that he was frustrated that he was out of the game because of his team throwing the challenge. The thing I don’t believe is that his team would’ve won that challenge even if they’d tried. Rob definitely would’ve beat David on the puzzle. I more of a B. Rob fan, but very sad to see Russell go so early. Payback is hell. Rob was voted out too early on HvV.

    • Diggin’

      I agree, Butterscotch. Let’s add your for you’re and there for their or they’re to that list.

  • J.Arbitter

    Phillip sheppard for the win. I truly love that man!!!

  • joy carolino bush

    Jeff, who is going to do the outwitting next week? Is it our dear federal agent phillip? Let the boring ones exit the game. Please keep phillip and boston rob in the game until they are the last two standing!!! Without russell, we need drama and comic. Phillip is the best thing to happen since coach.

  • Asha

    I didn’t watch ANTM this week because I wanted to see Russell eliminated. It was satisfying and I believe his tears were because he was finally proved to be the loser that he is.

    • cattyfan

      It was very gratifying to see that nasty little man get the boot. I hate it when he whines about other people “noot being there to play the game.” No, Russell…they just aren’t there to play YOUR game.

      • Snsetblaze

        My sentiments exactly. They want to play the game – they just don’t want to play it with Russell. If he found someone to be a threat, or had a thought on their own, or disagreed with him, he eliminated them. The rest of his tribe did the same thing.

  • Roberta

    I was very upset that Russell didn’t win his duel…he is what really stirs up the sheet around camp. Keeps them on their toes. I hope your ratings don’t go down. We think that he is the BEST player you have ever had on the show. Seriously. Johnny (the one that said his granny passed away) only skimmed the surface of what this game is soley about. OUTWIT, OUTLAST and OUTPLAY. Been watching since it started. Big Survivor Fan! I hope he comes back for an all-stars!

    • SLB

      The ratings will probably go up. We don’t have to see that stupid little troll anymore. Hopefully we’ll never see him again.

      • EC

        love him or hate him, Russell is polarizing. No way ratings go up without him.

      • sandy

        YEAH SURE …

      • Eileen

        I haven’t watched yet this season. Just couldn’t stand to watch that annoying troll for the 3rd time in 2 years. But I did read the recaps and finally I can go back to watching it live.

      • Puppydog

        Eileen, the watching audience has increased by at least one. I will now return to watching survivor. I refused to give the “Hobbit on crack” another minute of my time. Now that he’s gone I’m back as a fan.

    • sandy


      • bamagal0846

        Russell can come back- Just hope constipated Boston never gets on any show again.

      • LLL

        constipated Boston! I love it! I am so sick of him.

  • Bob

    Wow. What a way to go out. Crying like a baby. How embarrassing for him and his family.

  • J

    Russell is the biggest loser – I don’t know how Probst can continually put him on a pedistal – he has lost 3 times!

    • Snsetblaze

      Agreed. He did not learn anything. He change the way he played one bit. Sans the sock burning and destroying things, he and Boston Rob played pretty much the same game their first time out. Both were nasty to the cameras too. Both did things to destroy their tribe. Rob, however, changed the way he played entirely the second time and the third time and even a bit the fourth time. Russell played the exact same game.

    • Harry

      For those who say russell is bad because he lost three times, do you believe Jerri, Rupert, Colby, Stephinae, Cirie, and Amanda are bad players? You don’t have to win to be a truly great player. RUSSEL IS AMAZING! HE WAS ROBBED BOTH TIMES. I WANT TO SEE HIM WIN THE GAME!

  • Todd

    Russell is the best ever no one even close. I watched two of the seasons only for him. His moves he pull are great. The one he pulled when he showed his idol at tribal was the best ever move. Had me floored.

    • LLL

      Russell is the best and the most entertaining to watch, no doubt. but I think in terms of strategy Parvati is very close. This season also showed that luck is a big part of surviving. The people on Russell’s tribe were not as stupid as those from Rob’s. It is too bad we will have to watch that obnoxious and boring guy instead of Russell.

      • SLB

        What boring guy? Ralph? The guys hysterical. Way more entertaining than Russell.

    • Asha

      That move he pulled where he was kicked out was seriously THE BEST OF ALL TIME!

      • Bijou

        Now, that’s funny!

  • Bibi

    I felt for Russell. He is human after all and has played this game and had an identity to keep up which must have been wearing on him. Somebody please get Ralph some Nair. And Probst, get some smart women next time. The sheep are boring.

    • Snsetblaze

      I actually think Julie and Sarita come off as pretty smart. Its the young, pretty ones that seem like sheep. Russel claims that Sarita is in charge (which we have not seen and may just have been because she was at the challenge and cheering against him.)

  • Nate Sinlao

    Russell is da man; screw all da haters!

  • Maggie May

    It seems the difference between Boston Rob & Russell is that Russell is very divisive at camp while Boston Rob tries to entertain and come up with activities to keep the tribe in harmony (while he is still focused on the Game). Boston Rob is truly the best player to not win (yet – I hope)

  • denise

    Rob found an idol… Go Rob and that person is right — Phillip is another coach…

    • foreverfoodie

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVE BOSTON ROB!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I WANT HIM TO WIN IT ALL!!!!!!!

      • LLL

        what’s there to love? I personally have no interest in watching him “learn to play the game”(his own words from the last episode). This is his forth time I belive. what is he? slow?

      • talkin’

        that was for foreverfoodie, NOT LLL – more power to Rob

      • Juneau

        As clearly evidenced by Russell, it’s harder to get to the end each time you play. I’d say Rob is doing a stellar job of it.

      • Team B-Rob

        Love, love, love Rob! I liked Russell at times and felt his love of the game, but too much of him in a short amount of time. I think CBS should just give him a million bucks and move on. Probably from Rob, too, but I love him so it doesn’t bother me to have him reappear from time to time. He should take over as host when Probst leaves.

  • Andy

    Russell almost caught some sympathy from me when he started breaking down, but then he opened his mouth. I realized that his tears were not of deep sadness and disappointment. Instead, like my 2 yr old son, Russell’s outburst was an outlet of his anger in being told “NO.” He didn’t get his way, so he’s “not playing ever again!”

    His strategy was weak this time – he connects with two girls and expect to win the vote? At least before, he made alliances with everyone and had a shot. Bye Russell – go Grant!

    • Melly

      @Andy – well stated. Russell’s tears were definitely trantrum tears. His strategy going in he said was going to be different, but it wasn’t. He couldn’t help himself – it’s who he is. This time he backed himself into a corner with an alliance of only three in the first three days. I don’t know what he was thinking. I’m torn between sad and glad to see him gone, and I don’t believe for one minute he won’t play this game again.

    • Joseph Marion

      It frightens me, that someone lacking as much intelligence as yourself, has successfully bred.

  • kyrjar

    It is always good to have a good villain and Russell makes good tv (much like the way somebody named Sheen is capturing attention).

    But he is not that great a player, not for the win. He was very good at getting those immunity idols. I think there are too many of them and they introduce more luck into the game.

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