Boston Rob vs. Russell Hantz – two names that reignites memories of their unparalleled rivalry on Heroes vs. Villains for any Survivor fan. The two sworn enemies will initially have to survive their way through the pre-merge stage of the game on opposing tribes, dismissing internet rumours that each will be granted immunity until the merge. It will be up to the 16 new castaways to determine whether to keep or vote off two of the most notorious male players in Survivor history.
Whilst many fans will be delighted at the prospect of this clash of the titans, there is a risk of fans facing an overload of two ego-centric personalities, with Russell appearing for the third time in four seasons, and Boston Rob becoming the first person to compete four times, therefore cementing his status as a Survivor veteran. Indeed, many internet forums are rife with negative feedback on this casting decision, particularly Russell’s return. Host Jeff Probst weighs into the debate commenting: “I’m not concerned at all about any Russell fatigue — that people have had too much. If you’ve had too much of Russell, I dare say you’re not really a Survivor fan. He embodies Survivor. He’s polarizing. You hate him or you love him.”
Probst also believes (or should that be prays?) that the other castaways will not swiftly vote Russell or Rob from the game, arguing that they bring “too much experience” and that “when you’re playing a game, there’s a lot to be learned.” But how many contestants will actually be willing to train as an understudy to Russell, a man describe by past contestants as “pathological” and “psychotic”? And it’s hard to imagine Russell is going to be keen to tutor his inexperienced tribe mates.
Well we will just have to wait and see if Russell and Rob’s feud will translate onscreen as well as it did in Heroes vs. Villains – and please, oh please, let them both make the merge, because whether you love them or hate them, they both make good telly. Otherwise, maybe a ‘Redemption Island’ showdown will be sufficient if their search for self-redemption backfires?