Editor's note: Two weeks into the merge, and two good Survivor episodes back-to-back. And as we mentioned on twitter, this episode succeeded despite the inclusion of both completely superfluous Stealth R Us rehearsed/scripted banter and repeated references to Redemption Island. Phillip actually put on another good performance at tribal council, as well, in decoying Malcolm into playing an idol when he didn't need to. This doesn't completely make up for the wretchedness of the first five episodes, but it helps. So this week, we bring you an alternate universe in which Contestant B is presented as the strategic linchpin of the season.
It seems like hours pass as the host tabulates the ballot results. We stare blankly ahead, trying to avoid eye contact during the lengthy, enforced silence. Some tap along to tunes only they can hear with their feet. Others fidget and squirm on their stumps. Not me. Just as during my immunity win, I remain motionless, holding tight to my confidence in the outcome. When Probst finally returns, and calls for idol play, Malcolm grabs at our bait, and flushes Reynold's idol, pointlessly. All is falling into place. Opposing alliances falling by the wayside, idols falling out of circulation, and alpha males falling all over themselves to make big moves as we quietly cut the head off the snake: Michael.
As Probst begins to announce the votes, a brief glimmer of sympathy passes through me, as my future foe Andrea's name is read thrice. But soon enough, after Malcolm's defective Reynold vote comes to light, the Michael deluge commences. And shortly thereafter, his game is ended, all according to plan. Snuffed, doused. Plowed like fallen Snow.
As the footfalls of Michael's departure echo along the bamboo walkway, I allow myself a brief smile. Ensconced in immunity, encircled by malleable co-conspirators, and with my nemesis freshly dispatched, I begin to feel an adrenergic rush of power. Yet I must restrain myself, bottle this feeling away, only allow myself to indulge in its effervescent luxuriance when this season is fully complete, my victory is assured, and I may safely revisit these battles from the comfortable distance of the television screen. Watching my coronation in this episode as the strategic centerpiece will be a sweet apéritif as I await my million-dollar check. I can almost taste it.
And yet in my head, I hear a phantom whisper, which reverberates, feeding back on itself, slowly amplifying until it forms a deafening cacophony: "Don't hold your breath."
It's probably nothing.
[TDT's note: This was supposed to be much, much longer, and cover the entire episode. But as it turns out, it's really, really hard to create a whole fake narrative out of approximately 3 seconds of screen time. Better luck next week. Or maybe we'll just throw in a midseason awards presentation.]
Recaps and commentary
Exit interviews - Michael Snow