Over the coming months, Inside Survivor is undertaking its biggest list ranking yet, as we count down the 100 best episodes of Survivor ever. As always with these kinds of lists, it’s entirely subjective, and we’re sure many fans will have different opinions. This is simply Inside Survivor’s ranking. Join us each weekday for a new entry.
Episode: “I’m Ruthless… And Have A Smile On My Face” (Episode 11)
Original Air Date: April 24, 2008
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The post-merge portion of Survivor: Micronesia is one of the most exciting runs of episodes in the show’s history. Never before had there been a series of major blindside after major blindside, thanks to both some really smart and really stupid gameplay. Micronesia can be seen as a turning point in Survivor, as the hyper-kinetic craze of #blindsides became the norm in seasons to come.
Of course, everyone remembers the epic climax of the episode that ends this stretch of incredible blindsides, involving a certain ice cream scooper and an Immunity necklace (I’m sure we’ll hear more about that at a later date). But there is another newbie of this Fans vs. Favorites season that suffers, arguably, an even more embarrassing exit and one that’s just as delicious. Yes, we’re once again talking about Jason Siska.
Jason’s Micronesia experience has been pretty turbulent at this point, full of extreme highs and lows. He’s been able to play against some of his favorite past players and not only defeated his Survivor idol Ozzy Lusth in an Immunity challenge but even voted him out at the previous Tribal Council. Yet, despite getting out the only other “God-like” competitor in the game, Jason is still not in a good position. The reason? Simple. Jason is not a bright player.
As detailed earlier in this countdown, two rounds ago, Jason fell for the biggest prank in Survivor history, believing the most crappy-looking fake idol ever. Luckily, Jason had Immunity for that vote and thus was able to hand his “idol” over to Eliza Orlins. In the next round, despite knowing his life was on the line, he was hoodwinked into stepping down from the Immunity challenge after six hours of competing. Only by the grace of Cirie Fields and Parvati Shallow was Jason spared that night.
In this episode, it seems like things might turn around for Jason. After being banished from the Survivor Auction (the one where Erik Reichenbach pays to lick chocolate from Cirie’s fingers) and sent to Exile, Jason’s initial disappointment turns to jubilation when he discovers the real idol. Now armed with actual power, Jason is eager to return to camp and try to find an in with the rest of the tribe. He especially feels good about Natalie Bolton, a player he’s been with the entire game and developed a strong relationship with.
Unfortunately, as is accustomed at this point, Jason is wrong in his read of the situation. By now, most of the players left in the game are members of the Black Widow Brigade, one of Survivor‘s most feared and nefarious alliances ever. The group had already devoured their first victim, Ozzy, in the previous episode. Now they have their sights set on Jason, especially Natalie, who is developing a serious case of bloodlust.
Natalie’s edit in this episode is actually kind of jarring. While most fans would agree that she’s a fun character, Natalie had been silent in the edit for almost the entire season. Suddenly, she unleashes a barrage of insults 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.
“I feel that for the first time in the game, I am now part of a successful alliance,” Jason says while on Exile. “Right now, I am the most comfortable I have ever felt in this game. Yeah, Natalie is awesome.” Back at camp, Natalie says: “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, he’s pumped to be back in the mix, ready to use his 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 is precisely what happens. Jason does not play his idol and is dealt a harsh dose of blindside-flavored reality in return. Jason takes his elimination in good spirits, despite the embarrassment, and at least he can rest assured that he played his part in cementing Micronesia‘s post-merge as one of the best ever.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 41. You can check out the previous entries here.