Survivor react: Oh, Mike

By Joanna Mendoza

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“Incredible,” said Jeff Probst as Mike deftly pulled that last ring with his anchor. It seemed like a long shot but Mike did it–and won the (hardcore product placement) reward for his team.

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I understand why people hate on Mike and the Blue Collars. They’ve commanded the game since the tribe swap–despite the very obvious cracks within their group. And it doesn’t help that the most annoying people from this season so far have been BC: Lindsey, Dan, and Rodney.

Have they been simply lucky? I don’t think so. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Despite their differences, the Blue Collars have worked very well together as a team.

Last week was especially infuriating for BC haters: Their beloved underdog pretty boy, Joe, was voted off.

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I read comments from some recap readers saying that Mike was self-entitled and was a bully for telling Joe idol before votes. I believe the word is strategy. Look it up, bitter losers.

It’s just like with the Tyler Perry idol in the Cagayan season. Jeff Probst said back then that public opinion about the idol was a matter of who found it. Some people didn’t agree with him, but I think he was right. If it had been Spencer (the underdog who badly needed it) who’d found it, people would’ve been grateful for it. But because it was Tony, he of the Spy Shacks and inexplicable lies about his job that everyone in the tribe knew about anyway, who’d found it, people judged the Tyler Perry idol ridiculous and unfair. Mike’s “idol before votes” condition was the same: If it had been Joe who’d given that condition, BC haters would’ve deemed the move smart. But because it was Mike who did it to poor Joe, it was self-entitlement and the act of a bully.

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It was a very smart strategy and it paid off: Joe, he of the 3-1 individual challenges win-loss record, was sent packing.

I loved every minute of the episode.

Until I remembered Rodney and his threat to go Mike Tyson or Tom Brady up in Mike’s alliance’s ass or something like that.

There are 9 people left. Mike, Dan, Sierra, and Shirin in one alliance; Rodney, Will, Carolyn, and Tyler in the other. Jenn, the only No Collar left, is the swing vote.

It’s interesting to see which way Jenn will go. She’s a selfish brat, but is she a vengeful selfish brat? If she is, she’ll probably side with her new friend Rodney so that she can hurt the games of Mike and Shirin. Plus, she really hates Dan.

I’ve pretty much accepted that my pick, Mike, won’t win. If he survives next week, he’ll probably be gone the week after that, unless he wins all the remaining immunity challenges.

Rodney seems stupid, yes, but he’s shown great instinct so far. Besides his spot-on impersonation of Mike, Rodney’s patience has been very impressive. He was really pissed at the whole Joaquin blindside and then the whole Kelly mess, but he knew he needed Joe and his lemmings out before he could make a move that would assure him a spot in the finals, so he waited. He collaborated with–no, followed the orders of, really–the person he hated the most. And now that Joe Amazing is gone, Rodney is ready to strike. And with a pissed Jenn still laughing her ass off at his impersonations, he may very well get his wish. Still, at best he’ll be third if it’s a final three, second if it’s final two. If it’s his alliance that makes it to the end, the title is either Carolyn’s or Tyler’s.

But how I wish it’s not their alliance that’ll make it to the end. Mike’s work-hard-play-hard strategy is the thing to root for. He knows the game, he’s very smart, and he’s very strong. He’s a great leader and a great individual player. He deserves this. He’s been trying to earn the million since episode 1 (most probably way before but my judgement is limited by the episodes I’ve seen).

Still, at best he’ll probably be fourth, like Malcolm and Spencer. Shirin is smart. I mean, she did say she’ll be backseat driving from the passenger seat. Who can do that?! She must be so flexible!

If Shirin can convince Dan and Sierra to vote Mike off at 4, then she deserves the million. If she does, I hope she’d share some of it with her White Collar tribe. It’s the least she can do for going panty-less and incessantly talking about monkey sex during those first few days.

Disclaimer: Unlike most Survivor fans, I’ve only ever seen 6 complete seasons (3, 6, 25, 27, 28, 29). But no matter how many times I get my speculation and predictions wrong, there is no shame. Part of the reason I’ve grown to love Survivor is no matter how much I speculate about what’s going to happen, I always get, er, blindsided by my favorite show.

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