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Parvati Shallow is a Survivor champ and three-time competitor on the show. The OG Miss Survivor and Survivor Hall of Famer now covers health and wellness for CBS News in New York City. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.
Things have taken a dark turn for our Worlds Apart castaways. We’re deep into the game now, and you can see the effects of starvation, dehydration and lack of sleep taking their toll. This is when paranoia can get the best of people — even those like Mike who have been in a strong position of power since the beginning.
Mike is one of the more dominant players in the game, and now that Joe is gone, Mike is seen as the biggest threat. Rodney has been working over Will, Carolyn and Tyler since the merge, and it looks like he’s got them squarely in his pocket now.
Things are not looking good for the good old boy from Texas, and when Mike overhears Rodney plotting to eliminate him, we see something snap inside Mike’s mind.
Whatever it is that Mike realizes in that moment doesn’t make itself visible until we get to the Trader Jeff’s auction. Clearly, Mike wants to win this game. He’s a fan of the show and loves playing the game. When Jeff offers the opportunity to scoop up loved one letters, everyone agrees to buy them, including Mike.
But, when it comes time to pay for the letter, Mike fakes them all out and returns to the bench. Whoa, this guy is a gamer. I never thought Mike would have it in him to so blatantly deceive, but Survivor will make you do crazy things…
Until your conscience gets the best of you and your desperate need to be loved ruins your diabolical plans. Mike quickly reneges on his fake out and pays the $20 for his letter. This move — though the honest way to go — is not good for Mike’s game. He’s got the target on his back and now he’s shown everyone how far he’s willing to go to win. He lost a lot of trust with that little lie. In my opinion, he would have been better off sticking to his guns, buying the advantage and doing damage control back at camp afterward.
It’s tough to go against the popular opinion, and it’s even harder to make these quick moral judgment calls in the moment when the pressure is on high and your reserves are at an all time low. In times like this, go with your first instinct, and don’t let anyone guilt or persuade you to change.
Things are now triple bad for Mike — he doesn’t win the rock draw for the advantage at the auction, he’s lost the trust of his blue-collar allies, Dan and Sierra, and Rodney is looking to dethrone him.
How does Mike respond to being up against a wall?
He publicly jumps down Rodney’s throat, calling him out as a traitor to old blue. Though accurate, Mike’s outburst is untimely. The poor guy just can’t catch a break. Everyone just wants to read their family letters and cry, and Mike is ruining the moment by throwing a tantrum.
Tension is high and things at Merica continue to escalate throughout the day.
Will generously decides to share his secret box of food that he unknowingly purchased at the auction. I don’t understand why these people are being so generous. At this point in the game, keep your food to yourself! This may sound harsh and selfish, but seriously, do not share your secret stash with anyone. Especially don’t share it with Dan. That man having any power, let alone the massive advantage of an extra vote is devastating to my peace of mind. Please stop feeding him your trail mix, Will.
Will’s gift, while kind, raises suspicions among some of his fellow tribe mates. Mike (who is now officially a member of the outcast crew) questions Will’s integrity while sunbathing with Shirin and Jenn. Shirin simply does not know how to keep her mouth shut, bless her heart, and says something to the group.
This comment prompts a massive eruption from Mt. Will. He blows his top on Shirin, calling her a loser and telling her that she has no family. Ouch. This is bad. Will is being really mean.
But, I can see his side, also. He’s starving, just like everyone else, and he was disrespected and called a liar after he did a really nice thing. The hard thing about this game is dealing with your own demons when someone triggers you. Will won’t win this game. His outburst toward Shirin was so vindictive that his tribe mates will not be able to justify voting for him. How could they? It would show the world that they endorse a bully.
Meanwhile, Shirin is hurt. So hurt that she denies Will’s request to sit out of the challenge in exchange for letters from home. Point Will. This is bad, Shirin. You’ve let him get to you, and now you’re making decisions based on emotional wounds rather than strategic game play.
It would only benefit Shirin to allow Will to receive his letters. Not only would there be one less person to beat in the Immunity Challenge, but at Tribal Council, Shirin could talk about how she took the high road. Who knows, Will may have even apologized to her and felt guilty enough to join forces with her down the road.
Now, these two will be forever enemies, and neither will win Survivor.
One person that is on track to win this game, however, is Carolyn. She may not be the most likable, but she’s in a strong position within the tribe, isn’t seen as a threat and still has an immunity idol in her bag.
Who do you think is in the best spot to win the game from here? I’d love to know your thoughts. Tweet me @parvatishallow.
Until next week.
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