Julie asks about Mike and Erika's showmance/"ho-mance" thing, and Will immediately looks very wary. He says that Mike is "not the kind of person to anger," and he's not sure what the situation is with Erika at all in light of what's just happened. Julie asks whether Mike would have gotten this far without Will, and Will says neither of them would have gotten as far on their own. Mike's goodbye message is predictably about their great friendship. Erika gloats, big-time, and she says that he and Mike are found out, and that the girls got together and talked, and they got busted. Janelle says that he "talked her into things" over the summer, and all her mistakes were because of him and Mike. Will repeats that he respects everyone, and he totally has no hard feelings toward any of them. The irony? Will, who probably played a better game than anyone evicted up to this point, is the very first person who was not booted because of surplus awesomeness, according to his own analysis. Will, you are a complex and crazy bird, but I do have a certain affection for you. May we never meet in person, so that I never have to give that up.
Back from commercials, it's time to begin the famous "endurance" portion of the final HoH competition. Julie sends the final three into the backyard. There is a giant volcano waiting, and each of them has to clamber up onto it and stand against the side with their back to it. The object of the competition is to stay on the volcano and hang on to their overhead key. If you let go of your key or your feet touch the mat beneath them, they'll be eliminated. Julie asks if everyone understands. Erika asks whether both hands have to be on. "For now, yes," Julie says. Janelle, hanging on with both hands, says she's ready to go. The competition begins now.
About ten seconds in, Mike says, "Hey, Julie?" "Yes, Mike." "Remember Richard Hatch?" "Yes, I do." "They both have to take me to the finals." And he smugly smirks, takes his hands off, and jumps down from the volcano. Looking over in surprise, Janelle says, "What?" and momentarily takes one hand off her key, and then puts it right back immediately, hoping no one saw. Mike smiles as he says to them, "You guys, you can't take each other. You have to take me. You won't make that big a mistake." This is so ridiculous. First of all, Hatch knew better than to try to show people up by (1) doing this in the first ten seconds; or (2) declaring that they "had" to take him. He hung in for two and a half hours, and when he got down, he said he couldn't hope to beat them. I'm not saying it will necessarily backfire, but Hatch knew enough not to try to grind people's noses in it unnecessarily. Furthermore, he's not nearly as safe as he thinks. It's probably true that Erika would have to take Mike, but it's not at all true that Janelle would. Janelle versus Erika, she gets practically every vote. Janelle versus Mike, she doesn't get Will's, to begin with. She probably doesn't get James's, she may not get George's...the idea that Janelle would have to take him to the end is absurd, and she's the one who seems to have the knack for challenges. This was not a good move.