Hidden immunity idol and great acting leads to yet another blindside on Survivor Micronesia

Acting is generally not a virtue on a reality show, but on Survivor Micronesia last night, one contestant’s acting abilities paid off, making Tribal Council dramatic for both her fellow competitors and us. Add that to the reappearance of the hidden immunity idol and another medical problem, and the fans versus favorites season continues to pick up speed after starting rather slowly.

Last night, after James was taken out of the game because of his injured finger, becoming the third person to leave this season without being voted out and the second to leave involuntarily, there was only one man left: Erik. The other women quickly agreed to vote him out, but naturally, he won individual immunity, so the women had to turn on each other. They decided on Amanda, who they thought would be impossible to beat in the end.

Amanda was sent to Exile Island, which had a new hidden immunity idol, but returned empty-handed, literally emptying her bag to show everyone that she did not have it. What she didn’t tell them was that it was buried back at camp, and with Parvati’s help, she set about finding time to dig for it. The crafty editors cut away, though, so we had no idea whether or not she found the idol.

At Tribal Council, it didn’t seem like she had, as Amanda looked downtrodden, leaning her head against Parvati’s shoulder and acting resigned to the fact that she’d be voted out. Before Jeff Probst started to read the votes, he asked if anyone had the idol, and Amanda said, “about that, Jeff.” She produced the idol as looks of abject terror spread across the faces of everyone else, and the jury members practically wet their pants with excitement–probably because two of them had been in her position but had been too stupid and cocky to play it themselves.

Amanda played the idol, twirling it around as she walked up to hand it to Probst, and all the votes against her didn’t count. Alexis was voted out because she received the two remaining votes, Amanda and Parvati’s. Ironically, it was Alexis’ decision to send Amanda to Exile Island, because Alexis won the reward challenge. There’s a decision she’ll probably regret for the rest of her life, although she was perfectly agreeable in her exit interview.

Only two episodes are left, next Thursday’s and the May 11 finale. Can there possibly be more blindsides and hidden immunity idols?

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.