Laura Morett the eleventh castaway eliminated from 'Survivor: Samoa'
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/20/2009
Laura Morett thought she'd managed to convince all four of her remaining allies to save her by leaving their own Survivor: Samoa fates up to a rock draw, however she underestimated one of her ally's own self-preservation instinct.
The 39-year-old office manager from Salem, OR became the eleventh castaway eliminated from Survivor: Samoa during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality competition after getting blindsided by a tiebreaking re-vote at the season's ninth Tribal Council.
"I believe that I'm sitting here tonight for a couple of reasons," said Laura after her ouster.
"One because [Shannon "Shambo" Waters] has always had it out for me, and two, I think that I was a physical threat. Clearly it wasn't a good idea to go into the first two individual Immunity challenges and win them back-to-back. I'm disappointed, but I hope Galu sticks together and someone from the purple ends up willing the $1 million."
Survivor: Samoa's tenth episode began on Night 24 following the elimination of Kelly Sharbaugh -- who was blindsided when Russell Hantz, a 36-year-old oil company owner from Dayton, TX, played his Hidden Immunity Idol at Tribal Council and negated all the votes the former Galu tribe members had cast for him.
Needless to say, Laura wasn't too pleased since she viewed Kelly as an ally.
"It was quite the shock at Tribal Council tonight when Russell pulled out that second [Hidden] Immunity Idol," Laura said in a confessional. "We know that he's sneaky and that he just like lurks around camp and he's always snooping around. We should have known better. We really should have known better."
However, Shambo -- a 45-year-old sales representative from Renton, WA -- was thrilled with the move given her dislike of Laura.
"When he got up and played that Immunity Idol, the look on Laura's face -- she was just pissed. It was awesome. I was thinking, 'I've got to find that Immunity Idol, give it to Russ again," said Shambo in a confessional, as the Hidden Immunity Idol was re-hidden after Russell's use of it.
Russell began his search for it the next morning and was confident he'd find.
"They're like magnets to me -- I'm just drawn to them," he boasted, having already found two without any clues.
Although she had played along with her fellow former Galu members and voted to oust Russell before he played the idol, Shambo confirmed she had no allegiance to them in a confessional -- meaning both alliances were now tied at five members apiece.
"I've got to have [John Fincher], he's my No. 6," she said, referring to the 25-year-old rocket scientist from Los Angeles, CA.
She approached him in private and explained Laura was destined to go at the previous two Tribal Councils -- except she won Individual Immunity prior to each.
"I want to know if she doesn't win it, will you be the sixth vote to put her out?" asked Shambo directly.
"I don't have an answer to that question right now," replied John. "I don't."
"Will you betray my confidence [because] I asked you that question?" she asked.
"I won't say anything. I'll look you straight in the eyes and will not tell anyone you asked me that question," he told her.
However in a confessional, John said he believed he's the only former Galu member who was aware Shambo "flipped."
"Now the question is what am I going to do with it," he wondered. "Things are on the table with Shambo and she thinks she's in good with me -- and she is. But I've got to do what's right for me."
The 10 remaining castaways then arrived for a Reward Challenge and host Jeff Probst explained the rules. The castaways would divide into two teams of five and one person for each team would lie face down in a cradle suspended in the air. Attached to that cradle would be four ropes.
The other four people would pull on those ropes to maneuver the person in the cradle as they gather 15 small flags one at a time in order and place them in the appropriate holes. The first team with all 15 would win a picnic lunch at a waterfall.
"I'm thinking they're going to be giving out a clue to the next Hidden Immunity Idol [to the winning team]," predicted Russell. "Man if I can find this clue, that's it. It's over."
The yellow team consisted of Shambo, Jaison Robinson, a 28-year-old law student from Chicago, IL, Monica Padilla, a 25-year-old law student from San Diego, CA, and Mick Trimming, a 33-year-old doctor who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA -- with John in their cradle.
The purple team consisted of David Ball, a 38-year-old fitness instructor from Los Angeles, Brett Clouser, a 23-year-old T-shirt designer who currently resides in Los Angeles, Laura and Russell -- with Natalie White, a 26-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Van Buren, AR, in the cradle.
The challenge then commenced and purple took an early lead that they never relinquished, claiming reward.
"If I can find this clue for the next Hidden Immunity Idol than I can't see how it's not going to be possible for me to do what I want to do and take out Laura," said Russell.
The purple team enjoyed their plane ride to the waterfall and enjoyed their picnic even more. Back at camp, Jaison and Mick talked to Monica.
"I know we're tight, I know where the votes are right now," Jaison said to Monica. "If we essentially feel like it we've got more on our side. We're willing to offer you a very good deal."
"I don't know," she replied. 'I just don't know. It's risky."
"We just need to make a decision, throw the challenge, and go to Tribal Council," said Jaison.
"But we need one more vote," said Monica, which brought replies of "no we don't" from both Mick and Jaison.
"You're No. 6," said Jaison.
"It's still going to be five and five," she said.
"We have six -- you are No. 6. We know because let's just say this person knew about the last Tribal Council," said Jaison, an unspecified reference to Shambo.
Monica later claimed she knew Shambo "could be the fifth vote," but stopped short of committing to the plan.
"I want John out," she told them.
"We can do that. We can absolutely do that," said Mick.
Back on reward, the castaways received a clue to the next Hidden Immunity Idol -- which included a text clue and video clip of the idol's location that made it clear the idol was hidden under a large moss-covered rock.
"I'll find it, for sure," said Russell in a confessional. "As soon as I go back to camp I'm going to start looking for it because I need the Immunity Idol for myself."
With everyone back at the camp, Russell began his search almost immediately after sharing the clue with Mick and Jaison.
"We totally underestimated Russell's ability of finding the idol," said Laura. "We need to just keep that Hidden Immunity Idol out of Russell's hand."
Dave followed Russell -- who was looking around a stone wall -- while Laura tailed Jaison. Russell eventually started running and Dave gave chase -- however Russell doubled back to the wall and found the idol.
"There it is. Oh my god. This is way to easy," he said before pocketing the idol with no one around.
At camp Monica told Laura about her distrust of "two people" from the former Galu.
"The Foa Foa claim that there's at least two people on board. They will not name names," Monica told Laura. "I don't trust Shambo or John... We have to be careful. They might come after you or come after me first."
Laura knew she needed to be "on top" of her game and win Individual Immunity.
The castaways then arrived for the next immunity challenge and Jeff explained the rules.
For the first part of the challenge, each castaway would have three tiles arranged close together that they'd have to break with only one rock. For every tile they broke they'd receive a spear for the next round of the challenge -- which would have them shooting their spears at a target. The closest castaway to the target would win Individual Immunity.
Jaison broke one of his tiles, Dave broke one of Monica's tiles -- giving her a spear -- and Mick connected with one of his tiles. Brett broke two of his own. Mick was then the closest to the target and won Immunity.
"I believe it is the destiny of Laura to go home," said Shambo.
Once they castaways were back at camp, Russell was "happy" for the opportunity to oust Laura.
"I knew at least we had a tie, and now he had a fighting chance because it's five to five," he said -- correctly instilling confidence in Shambo, who openly told Brett she was voting for Laura.
"You're not going to fluctuate or change at all?" asked Brett.
"There's no way on god's green earth," she answered. "She's too strong and she's too manipulative."
Dave and Laura then approached John with a plan to once again target Russell.
"Incorrect," replied John. "The answer is Natalie."
"Okay," said Laura, eager to save her own skin.
"And the reason is she's the least likely to have the idol because she didn't look for it," said John.
In a confessional, John bashed the "analytical skills" of the Galu tribe -- expressing his displeasure for deciding to vote off Erik Cardona "over a 30 second decision," even though he had gone along with it and it had been sparked, ironically, by Erik's attempt to get the Foa Foa members to go along with a John-devised plan to vote off Monica, Laura's closest ally.
In addition, he also slammed the Galu tribe members' decision to "piss off" Shambo and the matter in which they had "telegraphed" their previous attempt to vote Russell out of the game.
"It's continually impressive and bording on annoying how pathetic the analytical skills of the Galu tribe are," John vented.
Meanwhile, Monica told Dave and Brett that "some people were saying John" in an effort to try and save Laura.
"It's an option, it's a good option," said Monica.
"Don't get excited, John is flighty," said Dave. "He gets nervous."
"This is a big move you guys," said Monica, as she was told by Brett and Dave to "be strong."
"The plan is for me to tell Foa Foa that I am voting for John. In reality, I will be voting Natalie with my tribe," said Monica in a confessional. "So hopefully it will be four Foa Foa members voting John, five Galu members voting Natalie, and then the one -- Shambo -- voting Laura."
Monica pitched the plan to Russell, and he was hesitant.
"I'm not ready to write Laura's name," Monica told him. "This is a huge move for me Russell, if I'm switching I'm going to vote out somebody I want to vote out."
Russell listened as Monica continued to badger him about her lack of trust for John, while Mick was unsure of his trust for her.
"I'm not sure how much Foa Foa can trust Monica," he said in a confessional. "She seems legit, or Laura has put a little snake on the ground to get information, and that's just as likely."
thinking the matter over, Russell told Jaison and Mick that they should try and put an end to Monica's plan by just telling John the other former Galu members were after him.
"He doesn't trust us," said Jaison.
"It's going to be a tie," replied Russell.
Meanwhile, Brett talked with John and told him Shambo was planning to vote for Laura and revealed Monica's plan to avoid a five-to-five tie by convincing the former Foa Foa members to vote for him.
"Monica's plan seems to be the only feasible one," said Brett. "It's trying to get them to vote for you --Shambo votes for Laura, four vote for you, the five of us vote for Natalie."
"It would be nice to have that run by me before it gets employed," said John.
"I haven't said anything yet," assured Brett.
"The answer is not to get four votes against me," said John, who was then approached by Dave as well.
"You guys are betting my life that Shambo votes for Laura," said John, who added in a confessional that he was not "risking his life to save Laura's."
"Laura picked a fight with somebody that I think is about to knock her out, and I'm not going to step on the way of the punch."
In addition, John also revealed that Survivor: Samoa's rules didn't call for Tribal Council voting ties to be broken via the firestarting challenge the show's recent editions have used. Instead ties would be broken via a new twist on the old "purple rock" tiebreaker that memorably resulted in the elimination of Paschal English at Survivor: Marquesas' Final 4 Tribal Council.
"If there is a tie tonight the rules of Survivor state there is a revote [and] if there is a tie again the remaining eight members [who didn't receive votes] choose rocks," John said. "One of these rocks will be a different color and that perosn will go home."
Afterward, Russell pulled John aside and said he felt he was being "swindled" by somebody from the former Galu.
"We're putting Laura's name down and we're going to the top," he added. "If it goes to the tie -- that's when it has to happen, the switch."
"What's the next vote?" asked John. "If I'm going to give you a Galu before you give me a Foa Foa, the next vote needs to be Foa Foa."
"That's a deal," said Russell, however John was leery of Russell's "B.S."
"The best position that I can put myself in would be to vote with Galu, have a five-to-five tie, vote with Galu again and have a another five-to-five tie and just pray to god that one of the Foa Foa members goes," he said. "I don't know what I'm going to do."
Tribal Council then commenced, as jury members Erik and Kelly entered. John said he was "absolutely" surprised two former Galu members had been booted after the merge despite entering it with an 8 to 4 numbers advantage.
"We're trying to figure out at what point somebody says, 'Oh hey this is an individual game,' and take advantage of our votes and start playing their own game," said Mick.
Jeff asked Shambo if the remaining Galu members were "all one" and she responded "negative" -- beginning with when they "decided to vote Erik off."
"Galu was broken to me," she said.
Laura disagreed and said she still felt Galu was "tight," which led Jeff to counter that "a group can't be tight if one of the members isn't."
"If Shambo's on the fence, we've got a really interesting night in store," said Jeff -- who then recapped how tie breaker procedures would play out if there was a tie.
"I'm absolutely not okay with taking the chance, but I'm not the only one controlling the game," said Laura -- apparently unaware of the irony that, per the new tiebreaker rule, she would actually be the only Galu ally not taking any chance if her allies remained loyal and forced a tie.
"Man this is good sh-t," Erik gleefully whispered to Kelly in the jury area.
The vote then commenced and ended in a tie between Natalie and Laura. The other eight castaways then re-voted and John followed through with the plan he had discussed with Russell -- resulting in Laura being eliminated by a 6-5 vote and Laura, Dave and Monica's jaws dropping in disbelief.
"Wow," Dave whispered as Laura silently gathered her torch and left the game.
"[This is] so good!" Erik mumbled as Shambo let out a laugh about her triumph over Laura. "And there goes the lead."
Survivor: Samoa's next episode will air Thursday, November 26 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.