Survivor is incredible. There are so many reasons to love this show, and this latest episode basically had them all. Seriously, if you were going to make up a Survivor shopping list with all the things you wanted to pick up, it would look a little something like this:
- Amazing underwater fishing scene of a dude catching a freakin’ octopus. (Check!)
- Guy on the absolute bottom of the alliance finding a hidden immunity idol to possibly save himself in the game. (Check!)
- A medical intervention, but one in which nobody is actually pulled from the game. (Check!)
- Orange Survivor baseball hat. (Check!)
- A challenge actually in the water. (Check!)
- An exciting come-from-behind victory in the immunity challenge. (Check!)
- Contestants being unable to snap small branches or open coconuts. (Check and Check!)
- Couple caught sucking face on night-vision camera. (Check!)
- The host worrying someone may have disappeared on the way to the voting urn. (Check!)
- Jeff Probst throwing down some cardboard and initiating the ultimate island break-off with some hardcore pop-and-lock action. (Okay, can’t have ‘em all.)
Even without that last cherry on top, this episode basically touched all the bases. But none of that was even the best part. The best part was watching one woman pretty much single-handedly flip four votes all on her own…and completely change the game for the Millennials tribe in the process. If I weren’t too lazy to stand, I would be getting up right now and performing the most dramatic slow clap of all time — outside of perhaps Rudy, Cool Runnings, and Mystery, Alaska, that is — for Michelle. What she did was super-duper impressive in flipping what looked like a sure vote-out for Figgy to one for Mari, with even a vote to spare.
Once a resigned and defeatist Jay came and told Michelle that Figgy was going to be voted out by the tribe, she could have done one of two things. She could have quickly gotten on board with the majority to save face and not be seen as opposition — hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em — or she could have taken a bolder, more long-term look at the game and fought to save a core alliance member who would give her side the numbers moving forward. She chose the latter, explaining to Jay why the numbers were important (why do I get the feeling math makes Jay’s head hurt?) and then laid out a plan to make it happen.
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They got Michaela on board — stretching the truth to tell her she was the next to go after Figgy so she would vote to keep a person she clearly despises — and then got Will to go against his better instincts as well. That gave them the majority, but Michelle wasn’t done. She wanted to lock up an insurance vote in case Michaela — who was in the process of once again publicly dissing and dismissing Figgy — reversed course, so she started whispering sweet nothings to Hannah. And she did it right there at Tribal Council.
“I’m voting for Mari,” she whispered to Hannah, and when Hannah asked what the hell she was talking about, Michelle responded with this: “I had a reason. I’ll tell you later. I promise.” WHAT?! I’ll tell you later? As in, after the vote? Well, isn’t THAT convenient! When Hannah mildly pressed her, Michelle once again came back with “Please trust me. I’ll tell you afterwards, not now.” Not now? WHY NOT NOW?! Afterwards is after the vote! This is absurd! No way a superfan like Hannah falls for this nonsense!
Only, she did. The woman who wanted so desperately to break up Kappa Kappa Survivor just got absolutely played. Think about it: Hannah changed her vote based on absolutely no evidence of anything whatsoever. And her lone attempt to sniff out the truth was to ask…Michelle’s biggest ally! That’s right, she asked another member of Kappa Kappa Survivor to verify Michelle’s bogus claim. What did you think he was going to say?!
I honestly can’t believe she fell for the “I’ll tell you later” bit. Now, the vote did not matter — Mari would have gone home anyway — but it was not a good strategic look for my episode 1 pick to win it all. Is it too late to change my selection? (Hey, at least I didn’t pick Mari, whom I was seriously considering.) But again, give it up for Michelle. She showed some serious game by pulling this off, and in the process completely crushed my dreams for a new freakier and geekier Millennials tribe. Last week I was all about Mari, Hannah, and Zeke. Now one of them is gone, the second one just got outplayed, and the third just got screwed over. But my respect for a great game move outweighs all of that, and Michelle earned my respect in this episode.
NEXT: Ken catches dinner and an alliance partner