I kept thinking... if a contestant died on Survivor, we'd have heard about it in the news... right? No one died on last night's episode, but Russell (also known as OtherRussell and LeaderRussell) got pretty close. Jeff Probst was pretty adorable with his nurturing bedside manner and fatherly pep-talk.
A lot of people (on the internet, in forums) have said that Russell was really stupid to not sit out for the challenge, but I disagree. On Survivor, I don't think a tribe ever really votes someone out for being weak, losing food, or losing the team challenge. Those are just convenient excuses for voting out a person they were planning on voting out anyway. Russell really should have sat the challenge out, but I think he correctly ascertained that he was on the outs with his tribe. They were already murmuring about Russell not choosing the tarp, and about him working a little too hard. The team was looking for a reason to vote him out. I think, had he sat out of the challenge, the team would have pounced. They had been told that they had to vote someone out that night no matter who won the challenge; so sitting out, playing the strong people and winning the challenge would not have saved Russell. (The winning team would just get to eat pizza while they voted someone out.) In the end, Russell had to leave the game anyway and no one was voted out. Jeff obviously thought that Russell really had a good shot at winning the game, but I disagree. He might not have been voted out this time, but I think he'd have gone before the merge.
If you read the fan reaction online, it's kind of funny that most people are outraged over the fact that Jeff Probst didn't just let everyone have pizza. I thought the exact same thing. The editing was great this episode. At the end, both teams were at tribal council, and you could hear the rain start to pour. Again. After several straight days of it. They kept cutting to individual reactions of people looking up at the sky in hopeless sadness. These people not only willingly signed up for this, but they consider it an honor. A great life achievement. But you couldn't help feel so bad for them! Please Jeff! Let them just have some pizza!