"The Puppet Master"
Episode Information
Version: United States
Season: Samoa
Episode Number: 1/16 (275)
Original Release: September 17, 2009
Viewership (in millions): 11.66[1]
Ratings/Share (18-49): 3.6/11 Summary: Link
Episode Chronology
Previous: "I Trust You but I Trust Me More"
(previous season)
Next: "Taking Candy from a Baby"

The Puppet Master is the premiere episode of Survivor: Samoa.


Day 1

Season nineteen of Survivor began, with first impressions already forming about Shambo Waters and Russell Hantz. The two tribes meet Jeff Probst, who announces that Survivor: Samoa is officially on. Wearing purple is Galu, and wearing yellow is Foa Foa. Jeff instructs the tribes to elect a Tribe Leader by first impressions. Galu chooses Russell Swan in a 5-3-2 decision, while Foa Foa chooses Mick Trimming in a 4-3-1-1-1 vote. 

Galu and Foa Foa go directly to the Reward Challenge where the leaders choose who does what. Mick chooses Jaison Robinson for the swimming, Russell H. for the strongest part, Marisa Calihan for the agile leg, and Liz Kim for the smartest part. Russell S. chooses John Fincher for the swimming, Erik Cardona for the strength, Yasmin Giles for the agility, and Shambo for the smarts. In the end Foa Foa wins the first challenge and goes to their camp with flint. 

At Foa Foa, Russell H. immediately went to work on creating alliances with every girl on the tribe, and made conflicting alliances with Ashley Trainer, Natalie White, Marisa, Liz, and Betsy Bolan, though the latter was very suspicious of his true intentions. Russell H. says in a confessional that he'd call the voting bloc the "Dumb Girls Alliance."

At Galu, everyone plays in the water and has a good time - except Shambo. She feels Russell S. isn't doing a good job as leader and should work more. She also knows there is a big age difference between her and the tribe, and has no one to relate to. 

That night at Foa Foa, Russell H. tells he tribe that he lived in New Orleans, had a dog, and how he survived Hurricane Katrina. Sadly, his dog did not. In a confessional, however, he says that none of it was true and he did it to make camp life miserable for Foa Foa. When everyone is sleeping, he dumps out all of the water canteens and burns Jaison's socks in the fire. 

Day 2

At the challenge, Galu works together while Foa Foa struggles. However, when both teams get to the puzzle, Foa Foa takes the lead. However, Galu pulls ahead and wins immunity.

Back at Foa Foa, Mike Borassi thinks the weakest should go, which would be Ashley. However, Russell H. targets Marisa when she says she doesn't trust Russell H. because he's been talking to everyone.  

Day 3

At Tribal Council, it is down to Marisa and Ashley. Russell H. convinces his allies Ashley, Liz, and Natalie to vote out Marisa, but Betsy sides with Marisa in voting against Ashley. Ben Browning, Jaison, and Mike side with Russell H. as Marisa is the first voted out in a 7-3 vote.


Challenge: Chief's Choice
A designated swimmer would swim out into the ocean to retrieve a key and swim back. The swimmer would hand the key to the designated strong person to unlock a chain around two bundles of heavy logs. The logs would have to be carried to the next station where a designated agile person would use the log bundles to climb on top of a balance beam. The agile person would need to pull a second key along a rope twisted around the balance beam while remaining on top of the balance beam. At the final stage, a designated smart person would use the second key to unlock a bag of puzzle pieces and use them to assemble a statue. The first tribe to assemble their statue would win.

Reward: Flint
Winner: Foa Foa

Challenge: Yank Your Hank
Six members from each tribe would race across a series of three wooden A-frames carrying three coils of rope. At the end of the course, the six would use the rope to pull a heavy wooden crate across a ramp and up to the finish platform. The four remaining tribe members would disassemble the crate to use as puzzle pieces. The first tribe to solve the puzzle ("Without victory there is no survival.") would win.


Tribal Council

Tribal Council 1:
Foa Foa
S19 marisa t
Marisa (7 votes)
S19 ashley tS19 ben tS19 jaison t
S19 liz tS19 mike tS19 natalie tS19 russellh t
Ashley, Ben, Jaison, Liz, Mike, Natalie, Russell H.
S19 ashley t
Ashley (3 votes)
S19 betsy tS19 marisa tS19 mick t
Betsy, Marisa, Mick
S19 marisa bw
Marisa Calihan

Voting Confessionals

Jaison did not say anything when he voted.

(votes for Ashley) Okay, Ashley. You may not be the weakest link at the challenges, but you're the weakest link at camp.

Betsy Bolan

(votes for Marisa) I'm so sorry. I tried to do my best to at least keep you until the next Immunity Challenge, but there are too many people who really want you off the island.

Liz Kim

(votes for Marisa) Marisa, you started the whole plot against me, so this is payback for you.

Mike Borassi

(votes for Marisa) When I hear that you are trying to vote me out, I have to vote you out. I'm really sorry.

Ashley Trainer

(votes for Ashley) I'm voting for you because you're aligned with Ben.

Marisa Calihan

(votes for Marisa) This should come as no surprise. You barked up the wrong tree. Now, you're gonna feel my coconuts when they come down and nail you.

Ben Browning

(votes for Marisa) I'm the one that got the ball rolling to get you outta here. If you play with fire, you'll get burned.

Russell Hantz

(votes for Ashley) Mike, I told you I wouldn't write your name down, so I won't. This might bite me... later. This is strategic.

Mick Trimming

(votes for Marisa) I'm voting for Marisa, and I really, really hate this. Um, and it was for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, um, it was the majority, and, also, I did tell Mike today I would not vote for him, which again put you, um, in the majority, but I think you're an awesome competitor, and, uh, I think this will probably, uh, hurt our team, so I'm sorry.

Natalie White

Final Words

Tonight is really difficult for me to swallow. I trusted Russell initially, but it was a mistake to say something to him because he made troubles and so he made it around me, and I'm really sad to be going home. I don't hold any animosity toward anyone and I'm grateful to have had this experience, however short it might have been.

Marisa Calihan

Still in the Running

S19 marisa bw
Foa Foa
S19 ashley t
Foa Foa
S19 ben t
Foa Foa
S19 betsy t
S19 brett t
S19 dave t
S19 erik t
Foa Foa
S19 jaison t
S19 john t
S19 kelly t
S19 laura t
Foa Foa
S19 liz t
Foa Foa
S19 mick t
Foa Foa
S19 mike t
S19 monica t
Foa Foa
S19 natalie t
 Russell H.
Foa Foa
S19 russellh t
S19 russells t
S19 shambo t
S19 yasmin t


  • The episode title refers to what Russell Hantz referred to himself as.