CBS has played up Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano’s return to Survivor, and in a preview, Probst calls it “the biggest Survivor showdown yet” and calls them “two of the game’s baddest villains … in the ultimate rumble in the jungle.”
But the reality was considerably less exciting than the two cast members tromping around in front of a green screen: Their first meeting is about the most boring bit of footage to come out of Survivor since purple Kelly actually said something.
Entertainment Weekly has video of Rob and Russell’s first meeting, when Rob, at least, learns he’ll be facing off against his Survivor Heroes vs. Villains foe. Dalton Ross was interviewing Rob when Russell walks up behind him (this was set up, of course, so Russell must have known Rob was there). There are zero fireworks, but thankfully the annoying music EW’s editors included stops.
Rob says, simply, “What’s up brother?” as he hugs Russell, and asks, “How you doin’?” Russell says, “I’m good, how you doin’?” Dalton does his best to get him to react, and Rob finally says, “Round two, it’s on, I think. Maybe this time…” Russell says, “We’re going to see what happens. It’s going to be good. Really, really good.”
Obviously. And you’re not a real fan if this video wasn’t the most interesting thing you’ve watched in years.
This lackluster reunion may speak to the power of editing, or of contestants’ ability to be normal outside of the game, or of their advance knowledge of the reunion, or just of the colossally misguided decision to bring them both back.