This Isn't Survival…It's Thrival

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Miss Alli: B- | Grade It Now!
She Saw It Coming

The sun is high. Michelle is holding a pair of glasses over a little pile of dry grass. "Dear Sun," she says cheerily. "Michelle would like you to come out and play today. Please participate in my game. Sincerely, Michelle." So in her letter to the sun, which she signs with her name, Michelle is referring to herself in the third person. Think through your shtick, people! The sun will get your letter and be like, "Wait, this letter is from Michelle, but it also refers to Michelle. I am confused!" And there will be no sun. We now cut back and forth between the big, round, hot sun and the glasses and the dry brush. "I started to pray," Michelle interviews with a cheerleader grin, "because I know my mama doesn't want me to die out here." I found that kind of amusing for some reason. Sun! Glasses! Sun! Glasses! And then all of a sudden, there is a little tiny flame. There are those who found this a little convenient and wondered whether the producers stepped in to keep these people from dying of dehydration, but (1) I think they could have fixed up something a little less contrived to get fire to Ravu had they wanted to; and (2) the way they show the fire starting, it starts as just a singe at the very edge of a piece of cloth, which I think is about what might happen if you really did start a fire by focusing the sun, so I'm going with real right now, though I wouldn't fall over with shock if there were some kind of juicing going on. What's really dumb is that, rather than do anything with it herself, Michelle picks up the tiny flame, runs back to the beach, and hands it over to Anthony to do something with it. That seems...insane. At least build it up a little, you know? You don't have to give it to the men instantly as if you're afraid to handle it. The boys start fussing over the fire, blowing on it lightly to try to build it up, and putting what I think is papery bark over it. Suddenly, it grows significantly, blowing up into a genuine small fire. There is much hugging and sincere happiness, and I think they're probably about as relieved as any tribe has ever been at something they managed to accomplish themselves. Rocky says that this should be the "shot in the ass" they've been needing, and he hopes it will perk them up. "I'd be scared to be the other team right now," he says. "We're just so fired up, it's ridiculous." I'll go along with "ridiculous," anyway.

Challenge course. Probst welcomes Moto, then Ravu. He points out to Moto that Ravu got rid of Erica. Jeff asks Ravu how things are -- he recalls that, the last time he spoke to them, they weren't doing well. Probst always comes off incredibly gloaty at these moments, like, "Dead yet? Heh-heh." He asks Rocky to comment, and Rocky says that while things are still bad, they're improving -- Michelle started a fire, so now they have water. I'm not sure how much water they can have boiled and drunk by the time this challenge happens, but presumably they've at least had some. Jeff is duly impressed, and says that not very many tribes have managed to make fire without flint or torches, which is certainly true. He tells them -- and this part I do think was partly the result of the producers being as generous as possible to the tribe so that the contestants wouldn't die -- that now that they started fire on their own, they can have a flint, which he tosses to them. Michelle kisses the flint.

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