LAST EDITED ON 03-09-10 AT 02:26 PM (EST)
"Russell's entire tribe, on the other hand, basically agreed to NOT look for it. By looking for it anyway, Russell pretty much gives his entire tribe the middle finger."
Not his entire tribe. Different factions have different interests. And even if Parvati and Danielle are lying about being in an alliance with Russell, they don't view the situation the same way Sandra and Rob do. In the first place, they had HIIs in their seasons. Secondly, not looking for the idol is naturally more attractive to those in a leadership position (or those that think they're in the leadership position). Not to say that the majority alliance can't use the idol as well as smaller factions and lone gunmen. They can, but they don't have as desperate a need.
I don't know for certain who's in the majority alliance. I figure Rob, Sandra, Tyson, and Coach are together, and maybe Jerri and Courtney, I don't know. Parvati is on the outside, from what we've seen, and I haven't seen any evidence Danielle wouldn't follow along. They, at least, wouldn't take Russell's actions as a middle finger. Rob and Sandra think they're the conscience of the tribe, or are strategically pretending to be. But they aren't. As always, they're acting in their own interest.
"The other villians aren't being idiots by not looking for it. They are merely keeping faith with what the tribe agreed to."
I guess the tribe agreed. At least, no one audibly spoke out against it. But, obviously, Russell didn't agree. I've seen secret footage where Jerri disagreed. Isn't it just as likely that those who disagreed either didn't speak up or outright lied, in the interest of not rocking the boat? I think you give far too much credence to the view that Rob/Sandra's commands represented any sort of genuine consensus. Not to mention the fact that those sort of agreements can fly out the window when someone comes up to you already possessing the idol.
"However, in the editing, I don't see that happening. My feeling all season is that Russell will not make it far. Beyond Episode 1, I think the editing is starting to support that feeling."
I don't know what you're talking about, really. Russell's storyline has two themes thus far: 1) he's a budding mastermind who wants to take down Boston Rob (See Russell make deals! Oh, look, he's cleverly hiding the machete with no repercussions! Astros rule, Red Sox drool!), and 2) he's a "dummy" in Rob/Sandra's crosshairs (Russ-varti is no Romber; what an idiot, looking for the idol, he's writing his own name down!). Either storyline is open for interpretation. The mastermind stuff could be preparing the audience to accept him as an actual mastermind, or it could be "pride goes before the fall" territory. His being a "hobbit on crack," painting a target on his back, could foreshadow his downfall or make his triumph more satisfying for him having been an underdog. At best, it's entirely unclear.
"He appeared ticked off even before Natalie got the votes to win. Would he have appeared like that and reacted the way he did if he made it far in H v V? I don't think so."
I don't know about him being ticked off before the votes were read. Perhaps the result was spoiled for him (not conclusively, but convicingly). I did notice how upset he was after he lost. That doesn't have to mean anything more than that he realized he probably also didn't win Survivor 20 because he played the exact same way. Also, maybe Russell's the sort of guy who would be upset at losing 19 even though he knew for a fact he won 20.