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: The Australian Outback
Episode: “Honeymoon or Not?” (Episode 10)
Broadcast Date: March 29, 2001
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It’s hard to overstate Jerri Manthey‘s notoriety during The Australian Outback. If Survivor‘s second season—still its highest-rated to date—was America’s favorite show, then hating Jerri was America’s favorite sport. Jerri’s conflict with Kel Gleason about his alleged stash of beef jerky, her culinary disagreements with chef Keith Famie, and her general awkwardness were enough to draw the ire of viewers early on. But it was her rocky relationship with the season’s hero and eventual runner-up Colby Donaldson that helped make her Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of the American public.
The Colby/Jerri dynamic stretches across nine years and three seasons—The Australian Outback, All-Stars, and Heroes vs. Villains—and remains one of the show’s most complex and narratively rewarding relationships to date. What begins as a flirtatious friendship in the early days of Ogakor turns into something much more complicated as Colby grows increasingly annoyed with Jerri, who never gives up in her quest to get closer to Survivor‘s original Golden Boy.
Chapter one of the Colby/Jerri story culminates shortly after the merge with Jerri’s blindside in “Honeymoon or Not?” when her fellow Ogakor alliance members Colby, Keith, and Tina Wesson, decide to cut her over the more likable Kucha member Elisabeth Filarski. Jerri’s boot episode marks a fitting end to the pair’s Australian Outback storyline and delivers one of the most memorable rewards ever with Jerri and Colby’s “first date” on the Great Barrier Reef.
By Day 25, food is running low at Barramundi’s camp, and our Final 8 are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Tree Mail brings news of a reward challenge that requires the castaways to divide themselves into pairs. Of course, Jerri immediately calls dibs on pairing up with Colby, while the rest of the tribe would rather draw names out of a hat. Colby is particularly keen on the idea, presumably to avoid being paired with Jerri. As fate would have it, Jerri pulls Colby’s name out of the hat, much to her delight and his dismay.
The two handily win the obstacle course reward challenge, besting Keith and Amber Brkich in the final heat. The pair then travel via helicopter to the Great Barrier Reef for snorkeling, a picnic, and a much-needed break from the game. The Great Barrier Reef reward is memorable not only because it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience but also because it brings out the best of the Colby/Jerri dynamic. The Survivor gods truly smiled down on us when Jerri pulled Colby’s name out of that hat because those two were far and away the funniest possible combination of people to go on this reward.
Jerri is absolutely delighted to have a “romantic” getaway with Colby, even going as far as calling the reward the “perfect honeymoon without the sex.” On the other hand, Colby just wants to eat some damn food and relax on the beach. The Colby/Jerri dynamic is so entertaining, especially on The Australian Outback, because it’s not openly antagonistic. The two have a pleasant enough time together, but for very different reasons. The dissonance in their respective confessionals about the reward (and each other) is hilarious and perfectly captures the spirit of their relationship.
After Colby breaks Australian law by bringing back pieces of coral in an attempt to charm his Barramundi tribemates, original Kucha member Nick Brown emerges as the next target of the Ogakor alliance. After the back-to-back eliminations of Kucha members Jeff Varner and Alicia Calaway after the merge, it seems likely that the trend will continue here with Nick.
When Nick wins Immunity, however, his fellow Kucha allies Elisabeth and Rodger Bingham know they’re on the chopping block. For Amber and Jerri, this is a cut-and-dry Elisabeth vote, but Tina, Keith, and Colby weigh their options. Keith pushes for Jerri to go instead, arguing that he’d rather keep the more likable Elisabeth around camp over Jerri. Colby pushes back, arguing that it’s too dangerous to break up their alliance and let Elisabeth and Rodger get further into the game, despite his own conflicting feelings towards Jerri.
As Tribal Council begins, the vote is very much up in the air. As disliked as Jerri is by her fellow alliance members, it’s hard to imagine that they’d vote her out over Elisabeth, both an original Kucha and a clear social threat. But then the votes are read: six votes Jerri, two votes Elisabeth. The Ogakor alliance cannibalizes itself to oust Jerri, blindsiding her and Amber in the process.
Jerri’s blindside is perfectly set up from a narrative perspective: there’s an underlying tension between her and the rest of Ogakor all season, so it’s more than fitting for her game to end at the hands of her own allies here. At the same time, “Honeymoon or Not?” still manages to create enough suspense leading up to Tribal that the outcome is still genuinely surprising, especially in an era of the show where tribal lines matter more than ever and true blindsides are few and far between.
This elimination in eighth place marks the end of Jerri’s stint as The Australian Outback‘s resident “villain,” but it’s only the beginning of her Survivor legacy. It couldn’t be more fitting that one of her final days in the game is spent alongside Colby, whose own Survivor journey would become irrevocably entwined with hers with every season they played together.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 92. You can check out the previous entries here.