fans are being spoiled. Simple as that. Us Survivor
fans don't like to admit it, but tribal councils are usually anti-climactic. The Survivor
editors like to try and trick the viewer in the minutes leading up to council, but if you've seen enough seasons you can pretty much figure out whose torch will be extinguished. Survivor: Micronesia
is the exception. For the last three weeks, we have been treated to wonderful tribal councils with surprises and drama and idiocy. Idiocy, that might be the key, but I don't care. Even if the through line in these excellent tribal councils has been the moronic play of the Survivor men, I'll take it. You also have to take into account the genius of the ladies, who have played their men like a fiddle. Good times.
The final five return from tribal after Amanda blindsided Alexis with the hidden immunity idol. There is little backlash for Amanda – Cirie knows that her trust was tested and she responded well. Erik is a little upset that Amanda called him out at tribal, but being as weak-willed as he is, Erik forgives her soon.
In the lead-up to the reward challenge, Erik has a lot to think about. The hidden immunity idol is back in play on Exile Island. Erik and Natalie talk about how if either of them win, they should send the other to Exile in order to try and find the idol. Erik seemingly agrees. Later, Amanda talks to Erik, manipulates him and convinces him that Parvati should be sent to Exile because she won;t even look for the Idol. Then, Amanda makes the sweet deal that if either wins reward, they'll take the other on the reward.
And that's exactly what happens. The reward challenge is a simple quiz – Jeff says an event from Survivor past, and the players have to answer the season in which it happened. First person to get four correct answers wins. Erik and his depth of Survivor knowledge wins easily. He sends Parvati to Exile, and takes Amanda on the reward (helicopter ride, spa treatment, food). Natalie, needless to say, is pissed.
Parvati, at Exile, just hangs out in the sun. When Amanda and Erik return to tribal, Natalie won't even speak to Erik. Up until the immunity challenge, Erik goes around trying to play everyone. Unfortunately, the girls talk amongst themselves – the consensus is that Erik is the target. One of them just has to win immunity.
The immunity challenge involves three puzzles. Each player gets a set of coordinates, and have to place two ropes across a large sand pit in designated spots, and then dig where their ropes cross to find the puzzle pieces for each of their three puzzles. First person to finish all three puzzles wins immunity. Erik dominates again, and takes home the immunity. When everyone gets back to camp, it seems that Natalie is the de facto target. However, the four ladies are close and Erik is their real target.
This is where things get crazy.
Cirie concocts a plan. What if Natalie can convince Erik to give her his immunity. Natalie thinks it's dumb, but the women create a story that goes like this: Natalie and Cirie want Amanda gone. But, Cirie doesn't trust Erik, so the only way she'll vote off Amanda is if Erik gives Natalie the immunity necklace. This will prove Erik's trust.
As crazy as this plot sounds, all the ladies are in on it. Natalie starts it off subtly, and Erik is wary. He talks to Cirie, who really lays it on. She says that no one can trust Erik. He's betrayed everyone so much that she will not go into any alliance with him unless he proves himself.
If this was all the ladies did, then it probably wouldn't have worked. But, they all change up their behaviors to make Erik do their bidding. For example: at tribal council, the women agree that Amanda and Parvati should be absolutely brutal towards Erik. And they are. They bad mouth him into submission, say that no matter what he does, there is no redemption in his future. Cirie plays Good Cop to Amanda's Bad Cop. She says that Erik can redeem himself, and that actions speak louder than words. This sets it all off, and before the vote, Erik decides to give his immunity necklace to Natalie.
Let me repeat: Erik gives up his immunity necklace.
He is promptly voted off by all the ladies. It was the dumbest move in Survivor history. But, it was also perhaps the greatest execution of a cockamamie plan by the women, especially ringleader Cirie. A classic moment that will forever be remembered in Survivor lore.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)