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.
Season: Worlds Apart
Episode: “The Line Will Be Drawn Tonight” (Episode 7)
Broadcast Date: April 1, 2015
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The merge episode of Survivor: Worlds Apart is the last moment of light in a season that becomes increasingly dark and depressing. For just a little while longer, there are still laughs to be had, characters to enjoy, and an entertaining Tribal Council to top it all off. Each episode that follows only gets continually worse and uglier until the point where you want to drive a sledgehammer through your TV. But watched on its own and out of context, “The Line Will Be Drawn Tonight” could fool you into thinking Worlds Apart is a good season of Survivor.
While modern-day merge episodes tend to be hardcore strategy, Worlds Apart still takes time for character moments, starting with the naming of the merged tribe. Let’s be honest, “Merica” is one of the worst tribe names ever, and it’s no surprise that it came from the brain trust of Mike Holloway, Hali Ford, and Joe Anglim. “It makes us sound like a bunch of redneck idiots,” comments a flabbergasted Shirin Oskooi in confessional. Yet, it’s also unintentionally funny and perfectly sums up the ludicrousness of this cast. It’s just one of those things that are so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh.
There are laughs elsewhere in this episode too. Survivor superfan Shirin gets all excited over the chance to reenact the John Carroll/Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien moment when Dan Foley is stung by a jellyfish. Unfortunately, Dan pees on himself, despite lifeguard Jenn Brown telling him it won’t help anything. That said, the last time someone took Jenn’s sea-related medical advice this season, they ended up sticking their wart-covered feet in the tribe’s drinking pot. And speaking of getting stung, Jenn is later zapped on the crotch by a bee during an intense endurance Immunity challenge. “Are you serious, life?!” Jenn calls out in pained laughter.
These comical detours help break up the gameplay of the episode, which on the surface sees a standoff between the former Blue Collars and the old No Collars, with the White Collars as swing votes. Some players start to maneuver behind the scenes, though, like Rodney Lavoie Jr., who attempts to form a cross-collar sub-alliance with Carolyn Rivera, Will Sims II, and Kelly Remington (who he doesn’t realize is ultra-loyal to Mike). Rodney’s plan is to stick with Mike and the Blue Collars for now before eventually flipping the game at the Final 7. Right now, though, Rodney is happy to play along with what Mike wants and pick off the No Collars, starting with Jenn (after Joe wins Immunity and spares himself).
It all seems cut-and-dry until Shirin voices just how powerful and potentially dangerous the Blue Collars are, especially with someone like Kelly being so loyal to Mike. So, while her fellow ex-White Collars, Tyler Fredrickson and Carolyn, hitch their wagon to the Blue Collars, Shirin decides to jump aboard the No Collars Express (sans Will). With Shirin’s knowledge of where the majority vote is going, plus Jenn having a hidden immunity idol, it puts the No Collars in a powerful position. “I don’t think I’m a swing,” Shirin says at Tribal, making it clear she is loyal to her new allies and committed to the vote.
And so, while the rest of the tribe votes for Jenn (sans Will, who votes Hali), the foursome of Shirin, Jenn, Hali, and Joe vote for Kelly, with Jenn playing her idol and negating an impressive seven votes against her. “Savage,” says Joe as Jenn deals a stiff blow to the opposition. Sadly, this hope doesn’t last and is quickly dashed in the next episode. But for this brief moment, Worlds Apart is a world that seems nice to live in.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 88. You can check out the previous entries here.