by Ian Walker
The post-merge portion of Survivor: Micronesia is one of the most exciting runs of episodes in the history of the show. Never before had there been a series of major blindside after major blindside, thanks to both some really smart and really stupid gameplay. This post-merge was a major turning point in the show’s history, as the hyper-kinetic craze of Big Moves can be seen as a byproduct produced by this string of episodes.
Of course, everyone remembers the epic climax of an episode that ended this stretch, involving a certain ice cream scooper, but there was another newbie of this Fans vs. Favorites season that suffered arguably an even more embarrassing exit, and one that’s just as delicious.
Two rounds ago, he fell for the biggest prank in Survivor history, believing the most crappy looking fake hidden immunity idol ever, lazily made by Ozzy in the hopes that some doofus would find it. Luckily, he had immunity for that vote, and thus was able to hand his “idol” over to his only trusted ally, Eliza Orlins, who was none too pleased about being given a “F***ing Stick.” During the next round, knowing that his life was on the line, Jason fought hard in the endurance immunity challenge, lasting all the way until the top two. Then, after six hours of competing, he was hoodwinked into stepping down after being “promised” safety. Only by the grace of Cirie Fields and Parvati Shallow was Jason saved, seizing the opportunity to take out Ozzy when they had the chance.
So that’s two boneheaded mistakes in the game so far, and it’s not going to get any better for him. This episode starts off on a positive note, as the Survivor auction makes another appearance. Jason’s hopes of chowing down on some grub are squashed, however, when he’s quickly banished to Exile Island. Upon arriving on Exile, all Jason’s disappointment turns to jubilation when he discovers the real hidden immunity idol. Armed with an actual idol this time, Jason is eager to return to camp to try to find an in with the rest of the tribe. He especially feels good about Natalie Bolton, somebody he’s been with the entire game and has developed a strong relationship with.
Unfortunately, as he is about many things, Jason is wrong. By now, most of the players left in the game are members of the Black Widow Brigade, one of the most nefarious alliances in Survivor history. They had already devoured their first victim, Ozzy, in the previous episode, and now they have their sights set on Jason, especially Natalie. Her edit this episode is actually kind of jarring, as she had been silent throughout almost the entire season, but decides to unleash a barrage of fire towards Jason, definitively proving that she is not on his side. The discrepancy between how Jason and Natalie view the situation is where a large part of the enjoyment of the episode comes from.
Here’s how a typical Jason confessional would go, away from everybody else on Exile: “I feel that for the first time in the game, I am now part of a successful alliance. Right now, I am the most comfortable I have ever felt in this game. Yeah, Natalie is awesome.”
Meanwhile, back at camp, Natalie would say: “Jason is out on Exile. We all want him gone. The little b**** now has two days of sunshine, along with the immunity idol. Guaranteed, hands down, b**** will find it. And that b**** being Jason.”
When Jason returns from Exile Island, he’s pumped up to be back in the mix, ready to use his immunity idol for the betterment of his alliance. But unbeknownst to him, he walks right into the Black Widow Brigade’s death trap. Natalie feeds him lie after lie, lulling Jason into safety to prevent him from playing his idol, and Jason eats every bit of it up. Natalie relishes the role she plays in this ruse, excitedly declaring “Yeah, I don’t think Jason’s going to be here tomorrow,” in a confessional.
In the end, that’s exactly what happens. Jason does not play his hidden immunity idol and is dealt a harsh dose of blindside in return. While seemingly good-natured about his exit, Jason certainly leaves the game as one of the biggest numskulls to ever play the game and helps cement Micronesia’s post-merge as one of the best ever.