The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 47)

“Bring The Popcorn”

Worlds Apart, Episode 10 (Air Date: April 22 2015)
by Ian Walker

Up until this point, Survivor: Worlds Apart had been a solidly average season. Despite all of the massive hype that Probst had heaped upon it, the season hadn’t had anything too ground-breaking or exciting, just a couple of interesting characters and fun moments. Then this episode hit, and took the season in a wildly different direction, turning the narrative on its head and delivering the most dramatic and action-packed episode of the season, but also some the ugliest stuff in the history of the show.

The hour opens with the tensest auction in all 31 seasons as Mike Holloway became “155,000%” screwed by reneging on the agreed upon plan of putting $20 down on loved one’s letters and instead holding onto all of his cash for going all in on a game advantage. Sure, he had a change of heart and put down the $20 for his letter, but the damage was done. Even worse for Mike, he took all of the risk without getting any of the reward, losing the advantage to former ally Dan Foley.

After all of that went down and clearly not feeling relaxed, Mike makes matters worse by then getting into a fight with Rodney Lavoie Jr., injecting some drama into a sentimental moment when everybody is trying to read their letters from home. Mike correctly accuses Rodney of organizing a hit on him, but by then Rodney has almost everybody on the Get Mike Out bandwagon, spurring Mike to begin his immunity run to the end of the game.

But the Mike and Rodney fight, however, is nowhere near as uncomfortable as the utter barrage of terrible things that Will Simms II screams at Shirin Oskooi later on. Will already had been feeling pretty raw about missing out on the letters after being banished from the auction. But then he got turnt up to an uncomfortable degree after others leveled some false accusations about not sharing all some food he had gotten in exchange for his banishment, and unfortunately Shirin happened to be the closest within yelling range.

Will’s verbal attacks, and how utterly defenseless Shirin seemed in the moment, caused an uproar amongst the Survivor community unlike anything before, forcing fans to think about what “Good TV” actually means, because this certainly wasn’t “good” but it sure was compelling.


The payoff to this moment came only a few minutes later, however, when Will asked for the chance to receive his letters from home by opting out of the immunity challenge, and Shirin defiantly denied him. This episode already had one jaw-dropping moment with Mike at the auction, but watching Shirin silently but powerfully raise her hand in objection to Will getting his letters sent shockwaves through viewers and instantly created a lasting Survivor image.

While this episode did unleash some real darkness into this season that some fans argue it could never recover from, it also injected the season with the energy jolt it needed. It defined the good guys (Mike and Shirin) from the bad guys (everybody else) and gave the audience somebody to root for the rest of the way.


Ian, from Chicago, Illinois, graduated with a Communications major and an English minor and is now navigating adult life the best he can. He has been a fan of Survivor since Pearl Islands aired when he was 11 years old, back when liking Rupert was actually cool.

  • Mikey

    I know you said you wouldn’t reward stupidity, and I’m not looking to reward the behavior in this episode, but it has got to be higher than number 47. The amount of action and drama that unfolds in this episode and permanent impact it had on the rest of the season strategically for rest of the season should see it higher alone.

    And I know there are a million mixed opinions on how the will/shirin situation was handled but goddamnit if the moment when Shirin raised her hand was not on of the most cathartic moments in survivor history all delivered in one episode.

  • Dutch

    I song think maybe besides Thailand that a season has had so many unlikable players (ones that went so far). With this episode it turned into a “who do you hate the least” instead of rooting for your favorite. I couldn’t stand Mike before this episode but he turned into a hero after this. Still though, this season had way too many nasty and downright mean people that we had to bear through.

    • José Zepeda

      Totally like Fiji. So many unlikeable and villain players that were not the villains you would normally like to see again (Like Boston, Kim, Russell,Abi,etc).

  • Josh

    This is actually my favourite episode of Survivor just for the sheer number of crazy and amazing plot lines. I realize it’s a love/hate season and a love/hate episode but I’m glad it’s at least represented here.

  • Tom

    Shirin raising her hand gave me life! I remember being in open mouthed shock, & in a good way! I’m still reeling that Mama C tied with Will… I can’t wait for her second chance. I agree though, there were a lot of players who were kind of ‘meh’ or not very likeable in this season. Good to see it on the list though!

  • Trintex

    I absolutely loved Worlds Apart, specifically this episode and the finale. I know most people hate it, but they only dislike it so strongly because of all the nastiness and because so many of the cast were villains and made it near the end. I certainly didn’t enjoy watching Will attack Shirin, of anything Dan blabbed about. But for me, this is exactly why I loved Worlds Apart and probably why Jeff loved it as well. If they had only had likable characters and no antagonist then it would have been a boring season. If the villains had won or even taken out all the likable cast early then it would have been difficult to watch. Instead I was on the edge of my seat every episode (perhaps excluding episode 3) holding my breath hoping my favorites wouldn’t be voted out, or in Mike’s case win immunity. With the possibility of a Dan, Will, and Rodney final three I felt like I really did care about what would happen and who would go home. Good ultimately won in Worlds Apart when Shirin raised her hand, or when Dan was blindsided, or when Shirin called Will a dead fish, and especially when Mike won. I hope Worlds Apart has an episode at least in the top 20, perhaps the finale. Though I had hoped this episode would be higher I think you all at Inside Survivor are doing a wonderful job with this series!

  • Mohammed Dakhil

    This Should be in the TOP 10!! Why is it ranked so low??

  • Matt

    This is one of my favorites. I don’t hate this season as much as the internet does. I just love the editing. The music in the auction then goes into the opening credit’s with Mike walking back. And the music when Shirin raises her hand. Such a good episode.

  • Zachary Chong

    Nooooooooooooo! I hate this episode!

  • Hugh310

    That Shirin-raises-hand moment was 100% orchestrated by Probst and thus left a bad taste in my mouth. Will was screwed over, both in the misleading edit (Shirin was no innocent lamb in that camp encounter) and in the IC preamble. I would guess production influenced Will to ask for the letter from home and sacrifice his chance at immunity in return.

    And Shirin is one of the ‘good guys’ ?? As we can see with her second season and her social media activity, Shirin’s edit was incredibly and unfairly skewed positive, just like Jane, Gabon Sugar, PI Rupert and Palau Steph and a few more that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

    • Donnie

      I agree that Shirin is No angel, But Will had NO right to say some of the things he said. so fuck him.

  • Donnie

    Just have to say…When Shirin raised her hand…EEEEEEEE 😀 Made the season. Without that moment, it was a oksh season for me. Everyone and their stepmom KNEW Mike was gonna win it all when he went on that run. NOONE expected Shirin would be able to get her revenge and in the same epi too. This should be higher on the list.