Somewhere, Eliza Orlins is standing up out of her seat and slow-clapping. You remember, Eliza, right? She competed in the dangerous and mystical-sounding Islands of Fire season — also known as Survivor: Vanuatu — and Survivor: Micronesia. She is probably more famous as a jury member than as an actual player for having some of the most outrageous, over-the-top facial reactions to anything even remotely interesting happening at Tribal Council.
Every episode her eyes would bug out like a cartoon character who had just mistakenly eaten the world’s hottest jalapeno pepper, while all four limbs would be gesticulating beyond belief. Basically, she looked like one of those dancing windsock man balloons that you see flailing about outside used car dealerships and discount liquor stores. Many have tried to inherit the title of MDJ (Most Demonstrative Juror) since Eliza left Survivor 16 seasons ago. All have failed to measure up. She was just that good, people.
But Eliza did not contain her showmanship to merely sitting in the jury box. One of the greatest examples of camera-milking in Survivor history was when Eliza had to award her million dollar vote to either Parvati or Amanda. Rather than do what any normal human being would do and simply walk up, write someone’s name down, then walk back, Eliza used the opportunity to film her own personal acting reel. She hemmed. She hawed. She fiddled with the pen indecisively. She started to write a name, then stopped to hem and haw some more. She put her head in her hands in a tortured pose. She delivered Liam Neeson’s tear-inducing speech from Schindler’s List… at least it felt that way when we got about eight minutes into it.
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The bottom line is that Eliza milked that moment so much she may as well have worked for Horizon Organic. It was spectacular. But in this latest episode of Survivor: Kaoh Rong, a new challenger to the over-the-top throne emerged — a young upstart keen on cementing her place in Survivor lore: Aubry Bracco.
Aubry took Eliza’s pained indecision act, barfed all over it, then scooped up the barf into a pint glass and chugged it back down as her own personal Survivor Smoothie. Because Aubry went truly next level here, ladies and gentlemen. Not content to stop at mere pained pondering at the voting urn, she actually wrote down one name (Julia) on the parchment, before putting a big line through it and then writing down another name (Peter) instead.
Somewhere in New York City, Eliza screamed out at the top her lungs “WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT?!?” And then, like any great champion passing the torch, she recognized the spotlight-stealing genius of Aubry’s accomplishment and gave it the slow-clap respect it so obviously deserved. (Besides, Aubry is not a juror, so Eliza’s true title actually remains intact.)
Aubry’s move was the culmination of a topsy-turvy Tribal Council in which multiple side conversations and vote-changing took place, and Aubry’s big X proved the decisive vote in sending Peter home. We’ll get to all of that in due time, but let’s start by recapping this sucker from the very top.
We begin after the events of the previous Tribal Council, and Peter is already thinking about his next step. “Believe it or not I might actually disband the brain trust,” he says. Great idea! What could possibly go wrong? “If I’m going to make a move, now’s the time.” Yes, when you are in the majority with the numbers and everyone is already uneasy with you and how condescending and sketchy you are, that is exactly the time. LET’S DO THIS!
The next day over at whatever the blue tribe is called… wait, let me look it up… Chan Loh — that’s it! Anyway, Nick says he is “thinking non-stop” which sounds a bit frightening. Although he may have a fan in Debbie, who tells us that “Nick looks like a Greek God. The angular features of his face just make for great photography. And I know that because I’ve modeled off and on for years and years.”
As she is saying this, Debbie’s profession is listed on-screen as “Part-Time Model.” Eagle-eyed viewers will notice producers have been changing that occupation designation to whatever past job or accomplishment Debbie happens to be bragging about at that particular time. It’s honestly the best identification tactic the show has used since it listed Phillip Sheppard as “Former Federal Agent?” complete with a question mark. Brilliant.
NEXT: A challenge that Probst is positive is worth playing for