Survivor Micronesia: Fans Vs. Favorites
Stir the Pot!, Part 1
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
May 14, 2008

Smile with your teeth if you're not going to vote for Amanda.

Hello, good people, and welcome to the Finale of Survivor: Micronesia - Fans Vs. Favorites. It's been a long season filled with some of the sloppiest game play and some of the dumbest moves/non-moves in the history of the game. With all that being said, this has also been one of the most entertaining seasons of Survivor yet. While I can't say it's the best season ever, I can say with some confidence that it's top three. All it will take is a great finale, capped by a solid final Tribal Council and a deserving winner to bump it all the way up to number two behind only the very first season. Previously on Survivor, in a season lousy with stupid moves, Erik surpassed them all. In a stunning turn of events, he actually took the immunity necklace off his neck and gave it to Natalie at Tribal Council. Completely shocked that their plan actually worked, all of the ladies voted for Erik sending him over as the sixth juror. What we're left with is Natalie as the lone Fan and the three-headed monster of Amanda/Parvati/Cirie. This certainly seems like a daunting task for Natalie. It would seem that only an immunity win will keep her alive to the final three. Let's get to the finale.

The episode begins with an elongated "Previously on..." segment. We all know what happened, so I'll skip to the meat of the episode. The show begins with the ladies dancing and celebrating being in the final four. None of them can believe Erik actually fell for the immunity thing. As they dance and sing and laugh at all the blindsides they've caused, we go to the credits.

We come back to the game to see the three Faves talking about how easily they got rid of the guys. Can I just real quickly say that I think it needs to be mentioned that they suckered all the guys into their trap, but all of them were young, single guys. I'm thinking of players like Joel and Penner and if I ever get on there. We'd have never fallen for any of that nonsense. Older married guys, we don't care if you cry. We don't care if you yell at us. Come on, not one of these ladies can hold a candle to the verbal ass-whipping I can get at home. What are they gonna do to us if we don't do what they want? That's right. Absolutely nothing. They may have gotten rid of the guys, but that's not a testament to how dumb guys are, it's a testament to how dumb THOSE guys are. Not a whole lot in terms of game or strategy is discussed for a while. Parvati gets some coconuts and tell us how glad she is the guys are gone. Natalie is concerned about being the only Fan left. But she feels that she has a bond with Parvati. She thinks they complement each other well. Sounds like she might have a little bit of a crush. Tree mail shows up and suggests there will be no reward challenge this time and that it will be immunity instead. Cirie tells us that winning this challenge is huge for them as the outcome will determine who sits on the jury as the final three. The plan is simply to not let Natalie win.

Probst sighting!!! Today's challenge is a long one. Each player will have to clink to the top of a pole out in the ocean. They'll drop a bucket into the water and will pull it up to their hands. They'll pour the water into a bamboo chute. As the chute fills up with water, it will raise a set of keys. Once they are able to reach the keys, they will jump off the pole and head to shore. Once there, they'll use the key to unlock a chest. In the chest will be 16 ladder puzzle pieces. They will only fit in the ladder one way. First person to get all 16 rungs in place, climb the ladder and raise their flag will win immunity and a guaranteed spot in the final three. Survivors ready?

The challenge pretty much stays even for a while, but Natalie starts to pull away from the pack on the filling up the bamboo chute portion. She's the first to reach her keys. Parvati is right behind her. As Natalie gets to shore, Parvati is right behind. They are both opening their chests as Amanda gets her keys. Cirie is right behind Amanda and now everyone is in this challenge. Natalie is building her ladder as Amanda and Cirie unlock their boxes. Within seconds, all four ladies are working on their ladders. Amanda, with a distinct height advantage here, seems to be making good progress. Amanda starts to pull away from the pack and as she gets to the top, she realizes that the last rung she has does not fit into the last space. So she gets down and starts wiggling the other rungs. She finally finds the loose rung and switches the two. As she makes her way to the top of the platform, Natalie can only watch as Amanda raises her flag and guarantees herself a final three appearance.

And now it's time to play, "It's Anyone But Natalie!" As the girls sit around the fire, Amanda is very excited to make the final three twice in a row. She feels like she played a different game that she feels much better about it. Natalie tells us that she knows her back's against it. She says she won't give in, but she realizes that she has an uphill battle ahead of her. As Natalie and Cirie are by themselves, Cirie takes this time to ask Nat if she's promised anyone her jury vote. WOW! Talk about cart in front of the horse. Naturally, Natalie plans to take it to Parvati and see if she can work something. Meanwhile, Amanda tells us that she thinks Cirie is going to be a tough competitor at the final tribal. She has reasons to dump Nat and reasons to dump Cirie. She can't decide what to do. As she and Parvati talk, they both say they hate to dump Natalie and that Cirie was lucky to hook up with them. Next up is Natalie telling Parvati about Cirie asking about jury votes. Parvati is having a tough time deciding because Cirie could be the toughest player left and getting rid of her would be getting rid of a big threat. Cirie is paranoid and tells us how they could very easily be planning on booting her this time. They've done it to so many people; they could be doing it to her as well.

So we get to Tribal and Jeff's first question is to Natalie. He tells them they all should be nominated for an Academy award for their performances last Tribal. He then asks what the feeling is going into this vote after four straight blindsides. Natalie doesn't expect there to be one. He asks Amanda how confident she is with tonight's vote. She says that there's been so many blindsides that she can never be sure what's going to happen. He moves on to Parvati and asks how anyone could ever feel confident at Tribal. She says it's been the craziest game ever and that no one can be sure what's gonna happen. He asks Amanda if they've made any plans for what to do at the final three. Have they just been assuming that all they need to do is get to the final three? She says no one is expecting a final two and they're just looking to get to the three. Jeff asks Cirie the same thing and Cirie says that she'd be thrown off a bit because it would put her back at the bottom of the alliance. Amanda interrupts to ask her what she means. She explains that when it was the couple alliance and her, she was obviously the odd man out. And she says that it's obvious that among the three of them, she's obviously the odd man out again. Jeff points out Natalie's grin. She says she's hoping that something like this could be her opportunity. And now it's time to vote.

And now it's time to read the votes. First vote is for Cirie. Second vote is for Natalie. Third vote - Natalie. And the final vote is also for Natalie and she becomes the seventh member of the jury. And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. This alliance was formed way back at the beginning of the game and actually stayed together to the end. Good show, ladies.

Seeing as this is a two-hour episode and we're only 36 minutes in, I'm going to take the column a little further before cutting off for the night. So we come back from break and the girls are talking about a weird Tribal. Amanda is real quick to ask Cirie about the bottom of the alliance thing. Amanda is really pissed off about it. Bottom line, Cirie has always been the odd man out. She points out the couples thing and asks them how they would have felt if they were her. She says that she knows that they won't vote for each other and that no one has said they won't vote for her. After a few minutes of this, Amanda finally breaks down. She apologizes for yelling at her and breaks down in tears saying she's just hit her breaking point. She tells us that she started yelling at Cirie for nothing and that she's just finally wearing down after back to back seasons. Amanda says she couldn't handle it if there was a final two. Cirie tells us that she really wants to celebrate the final three, but now the concern is there's a final two and she doesn't want to get too excited if there's still game to play.

Day 38 dawns and the girls are feeling much better. They decide to celebrate by letting their last chicken go free. Gloria isn't in too big of a hurry to leave. Now the thought turns to the celebratory food for the finalists. As they head off to Tree Mail for their deserved feast, what they find instead is a note telling them to do the whole "Fallen Comrades" thing, which will then end in their final immunity challenge. Um, that's right. Final. Immunity. Challenge. Boys and girls, we have a final two this season, not a final three. Everyone is thoroughly upset over this. Amanda breaks down again. Honestly, I fear for her mental health. She's losing it out there. They need to get her home ASAP. I guess there are only two words to say about that: GAME ON!!

As they head out to gather the torches of the fallen Survivors, it's now time for me to fast forward to the end. Sure, this is a nice thing and they try to say nice things about everyone, including Fairplay, but bottom line is, it's boring television, so let's get to the challenge, whaddaya say?

We come back from the torch burning and a commercial break to the ladies landing on the beach of their final immunity challenge. Today's challenge is another simple one. Each girl has a cylinder in front of her. The middle section of each cylinder has a slot in it where a metal ball will rest. The cylinder is cut into several parts. The challenge is to use to holders to hold the cylinder in the air. If they make it five minutes without dropping the ball, they will add sections to the cylinder to make it a longer and more difficult object to handle. Last one standing wins immunity. So, let's get it on.

The first section is pretty simple and everyone makes it through the five minutes without much of a problem. The second section also goes by with no one dropping their ball. The next section is where the problems are likely to begin. The only thing of note thus far is that after two rounds of holding the handles from the top, Amanda starts this section off holding from underneath, as though she's going to do a pull up. Shortly after this section begins, Parvati loses it and her ball falls to the table. This challenge is now down to Cirie and Amanda. As they more to the cylinder, Amanda continues her underhanded grip. Actually, this is quite smart, in my opinion. You use different muscles in the different grips. SO if you switch it up, your muscles are less likely to get tightened up or cramped. I like that plan. And as they both make it through that round, we're at the final round, which will go until someone drops their ball. For the final round, Amanda goes back to the overhand grip. A couple minutes into the final round, Cirie loses her concentration and then loses the ball. Amanda wins immunity and a spot at the final tribal council. She also wins the right to choose who she takes with her to the final tribal council. Her decision really doesn't seem too hard. You have to think she'll take her bestest buddy. The only real question here seems to be whether or not she learned anything from her disastrous final tribal council in China. She was absolutely brutal at the final tribal last time. Will she improve on that, or will she give away $2 million dollars in the span of six months? Who will he be sitting next to? Will Ozzy propose to her at the reunion? Will Jonny Fairplay's ego blow up, killing everyone in the auditorium? For the answer to these and many other questions, you'll have to come back for Part Two of the Survivor: Micronesia finale recap. 'Til then, take care!