Survivor: Micronesia - Fans Vs Favorites
I'm Ruthless...
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 25, 2008

Clearly, he was livin' on a prayer.

Hello, good people, and welcome to a much happier BOP Survivor Recap. My name is Jim and I'm feeling much better about this season, if only for an episode. After lamenting the absolutely terrible game play for most of the season, last week's episode finally gave me some of what I was hoping to see from day one. Previously on Survivor: Jason was a goner, Cirie spent two days on Exile, Parvati tried to help Jason make friends, the tribe guaranteed a non-vote, Ozzy and Co. went back on their word, but Cirie changed the game by organizing the best blindside in Survivor history, sending Ozzy and his idol packing. Glare all you want, Ozzy, but you just got "PWNED!!" After goofing on Jason's immunity blunder as Jason being "outwitted", it was hilarious to see Ozzy's take on it when HE was the one outwitted. The downside to all of this is that Jason, despite being one of the dumbest players ever, is still in the game. The previews for this week promise a rift between James and Parvati after her flip-flop at Tribal and the formation of an all-girl alliance. Let's see how that all plays out...

We begin the day after Ozzy's ouster. Erik is telling everyone that they made the right decision not sharing the blind side with him. James and Amanda are away from the group and she's quite depressed. James tells her what a good move it was. Amanda is pissed about the Parvati switch and feels betrayed, as well she should.


Sorry, folks. Jim had some satellite issues during last night's episode, which means that you're stuck with Mr. and Mrs. Congeniality, David and Kim, for the rest of this episode. We hate to disappoint you, but just as when Dan Le Batard appears on Pardon the Interruption, you'll just have to accept the horror of it all and move on.

A couple of significant James interactions take place, as he basically tells Parvati that she is a devil woman and he wants nothing more to do with her. He acknowledges that Parvati had to make a move in the game, but he is disappointed that he was enough of a sucker to trust her. He describes her as an "apple eater", equating her to Eve and the serpent, which probably exposes a little bit of James we don't want to see, but he's nothing if not straightforward in all situations.

Also of note is that James has a very icky injury, as he has a cut on his finger that is oozing and disgusting. He claims he isn't having any trouble, which is likely true, but Cirie, who is a nurse when she's not scheming against others and being afraid of leaves, notes that our man might be in a precarious health situation. If the injury is infected, he risks some serious long-term effects to his health.

Now, our beloved Mr. Jeff Probst arrives on the scene, signaling Reward Challenge time. And we're pleased to see that it's the traditional Survivor Auction, where contestants each receive a certain amount of money to spend on a variety of food items. Sometimes, the food items are a bit icky, so it can be a huge risk to throw a lot of money at something that is hidden and covered up.

The auction begins and the first winner is Cirie, who finds her covered dish reveals a big, delicious hot dog dinner. It even looked good to us. We also see Erik win some nachos, while Natalie gets some powerfully disgusting looking fried bat. She turns her nose up at it, but James says he'll eat it – which is sooooooooooo heebie-jeebie inducing. Ugh.

Now that we're past the truly gross part of the competition, Amanda totally overspends for a simple peanut butter sandwich and Natalie is awarded with a note that she must read aloud. She must choose one of the other contestants to send to Exile Island, after which she will be rewarded with that person's remaining money. Before making her decision, she cannily asks Jeff if Ozzy's secret immunity idol has been hidden again. When Jeff replies that it has, she chooses Jason, which is a bit of a conundrum since we know that everyone on the team hates him and seems determined to get him off the island as soon as possible. Natalie also gets a big, big prize of a sheet of chocolate cake, and is told she can choose a few people to share with for 60 seconds. We can clearly see lines of alliance demarcation here, as she selects Parvati, Cirie and Alexis to join the feast. Erik offers them all $40 to let him lick their fingers, and Cirie takes him up on it. Frankly, that might be grosser than James eating the bats.

Back at camp, we start to get to know Natalie, one of the fans whom we've seen very little of in the many, many weeks this season has been on the air. But now, we're down to fewer folks, which means that it is her time to shine! Or, in the alternative, to reveal that she's a cutthroat bitch, happy to be that way, and that she's finally able to let her "real" personality show.

But let's back up a bit, because there is surely some background needed here. It all hinges on this question: WHY did Natalie send the universally reviled Jason to Exile Island, enabling him to find the hidden Immunity Idol? Jason, as he searches for the idol, happily speculates that Natalie must have a reason for this decision. She kept her word at Tribal Council, writing down Ozzy's name instead of Jason's and allowing Jason to survive for another day. She must want him to have the idol and to share knowledge with him and ally with him! Also, she's pretty! So naturally, when he discovers the idol, Jason is giddy with glee and looking forward to sharing the news with his new best friend.

At this point, Natalie's big plan is revealed. Her goal is that she will have Jason so starry-eyed and pleased to be part of an alliance, he'll be easy to blind side even if he does have the hidden immunity idol. Natalie hopes to convince him that he should let anyone else win the Immunity Challenge, because his situation is totally safe as far as she's concerned. Of course, her intent and hope is to keep him from playing his hidden immunity idol and boot him off just like they did with Ozzy last week. Natalie's alliance has a back-up plan that will send James home if Jason somehow manages to prevail, either by winning the regular immunity idol or by playing the secret one.

Toward that end, Natalie arranges to meet Jason alone. Bow-chicka-wow-wow. She confirms to him that he is absolutely correct in his assumption that she sent him to Exile Island for a reason. He's her best bud and stuff and they're like totally in this together. When she smiles, you're convinced that she is preparing her soul-swallowing technique, which apparently isn't too far from the truth since she describes her alliance as the "black widows". She's actually quite chilling as she revels in her bitchery. Frankly, we're glad we haven't seen more of her this season, though we're not looking forward to future reveals from Natalie. She's legitimately one of the most horrid, dislikeable candidates the show has ever produced. It's true that other people have reveled in their evil ways in the past, from Richard Hatch to Rob Mariano to Jonny Fairplay. Somehow, though, they seemed more like cartoon characters. Natalie is legitimately iniquitous and probably steals her best friend's boyfriends on a regular basis. We suspect she's something like the pre-insomnia version of Samantha Who.

At this point, we're thinking to ourselves that Jason just can't be that stupid. Surely he will learn from Ozzy's mistakes. Survivor producers have been great with tricks of editing in the past, so it's our sincere belief that James must win this immunity challenge or he's headed home. We learn that immunity challenge/tribal council day is Erik's birthday, and that he thinks it would suck to lose on this most joyous of occasions. He figures it's down to either him or James, even though the girls are assuring him they would never do something so underhanded and dirty on his special day.

When our best buddy Probsty comes on scene to describe the immunity challenge, the survivors are ready for some sort of something they've done before, according to the tree mail they have received. And in fact, the challenge is a recap of many of the past contests. First, they must break a ceramic tile by throwing stones at it. The first four contestants to finish will move on. The three boys move to the next round with ease, and Amanda, the odd woman out in the girl's alliance, is the fourth. Next up, the survivors must dig in the sand to find a key that unlocks some puzzle pieces. The puzzle pieces create a wheel that they will turn to lower some planks. First two to lower their planks move on, and those final two are James and Erik. (We wonder if this is an indication that Jason is buying into Natalie's baloney, though honestly, James dominated and Erik wasn't far behind him.)

The final is hotly contested, as it is apparent that both James and Erik fully believe they are on the chopping block. They both employ a couple of different techniques to cross the plank bridge, but James misfires and falls in the water. Erik keeps going slowly but steadily, while James is forced to race quickly to catch up. Erik is first done with his planks and about to cross a disc bridge to the finish, and James catches up as he runs across, too. Erik narrowly wins, and poor James is gloomy as all get out.

Back at camp, it's time to play It's Anyone But...hell, we don't really know. Again, we're feeling certain that Jason can't be a big enough idiot to follow in Ozzy's footsteps. Surely he recognizes that Cutthroat Bitch (you know, she's really worse than the one on House) has it in for him and all the remaining men on the tribe. James, meanwhile, is preparing for his own departure and accepting what he believes is the inevitable. There is some discussion as to whom they will vote for this evening – Jason is told to vote for James, while the black widows plot to oust Jason. When Amanda approaches James to try for some last minute strategy, he flat out tells her he's voting for apple-eater Parvati. Amanda just isn't sure if she's ready to call an end to that friendship yet.

Tribal council has the benefit of bringing on a very sour Ozzy, who glares and flips the group off. He's obviously beyond pissed at the turn of events that has led him to this place, and appears not even to be certain that he can trust Amanda or James at this point. Probst tosses out the typical questions, but the only thing we really care about is that James all but tells Ozzy that Parvati orchestrated his departure, which makes the apple-eater's head whip around in shock. We can't hear Ozzy, but we can read his lips. He says, "That bitch," and glowers at her even more than everyone else. James is really quite ingenious here. He's convinced that he is going home, and he might as well take his shots on the way out, right? But if by some miracle he stays, he has signaled to Ozzy exactly how the alliance was broken, which might have a heavy impact on future votes, particularly the final one.

Before Probst tallies the votes, he asks, as always, if anyone wishes to play the hidden immunity idol. And, as always, no one does. All of the survivors look at Jason with anticipation, but he sits tight – and James can't believe it. He has carried the stigma of being foolhardy enough to hold onto his hidden idol on the night he was getting eliminated. Now it appears that two other people may have made the same critical error in judgment. As Probst reveals the votes, we get to the point that we see there are three for Jason, three for James and one for Parvati. Final vote may decide who leaves. And tonight's bootee is...Jason. We kept trying to convince ourselves that the poor little fella was somehow smart enough to catch on to what was happening around him, but alas, he so desperately wanted to be accepted by the cool kids that he was completely snowed when they showed him a tiny touch of positive reinforcement. It happened last week with his willingness to give the immunity challenge to Parvati as he really convinced himself that he wasn't the most reviled man on the tribe.

Next week, it looks like we'll deal more with James's finger injury, and possibly someone else gets hurt as well. As Probst points out, two people in a row have been blown away by their ouster, so this is not a good time to get complacent in the game.

And now is the time on Sprockets where we tell you that if Jim was a contestant this season, we wouldn't be seeing these types of stupid moves over and over again. With that in mind, help him get on this show. His inbox at vannestjc (at) gmail (dot) com is still empty, with no word from CBS. This means we haven't filled up the Feedback Forum box enough. So, please help Jim out by copying a link to this column in the Feedback Forum telling CBS you're tired of stupid, lazy people on Survivor and you want to have a hand in choosing who wins the next season. You can send your pleas here: Feedback.