Survivor: Kaôh Rōng
|Survivor: Kaôh Rōng|
|Presented by||Jeff Probst|
|No. of days||39|
|No. of castaways||18|
|Location||Koh Rong, Cambodia|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Original release||February 17 –|
May 18, 2016
|Filming dates||March 30, 2015– May 7, 2015|
Survivor: Kaôh Rōng — Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty is the 32nd season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. As with Survivor: Cagayan, the season featured players initially divided into three tribes of six based on dominant attribute: "Brains" (intelligence), "Brawn" (athleticism), and "Beauty" (attractiveness and charisma). The competition was filmed in Koh Rong, Cambodia during the spring of 2015 and aired from February 17, 2016, until May 18, 2016, when Michele Fitzgerald was named the Sole Survivor over Aubry Bracco and Tai Trang in a vote of 5–2–0.
Though this was the 32nd season to air, it was the 31st to shoot, having been filmed before Survivor: Cambodia, which aired first; the two seasons were filmed back-to-back in the same location. Like all seasons from Survivor: Fiji onward, this season featured hidden immunity idols that could be played after the votes were cast but before they were read; this season also introduced the feature whereby two of these idols could be combined into one single "super idol" that could be played after the votes were read, similar to the idols found in Panama, Cook Islands, and Cagayan. This season also introduced the power to remove a member of the jury, which was given to the finalist who won the final reward challenge. It is known as "the most punishing season of Survivor", due to the multiple medical evacuations.
Kaôh Rōng opened to positive response from critics and commentators upon initial release, with several praising the season's unpredictability and strong finalists. Ratings remained strong for most of the season and in April, it became the highest rated unscripted program among adults in all demographics.
The cast is composed of 18 new players, initially split into three tribes containing six members each: Chan Loh ("Brains"), To Tang ("Brawn") and Gondol ("Beauty"). On Day 17, the 11 remaining players merged into the Dara tribe, named after the Khmer word for "star". The cast includes former NBA player Scot Pollard and Big Brother 16 contestant Caleb Reynolds.
|Contestant||Original tribe||Switched tribe||Merged tribe||Finish|
27, Chicago, Illinois
|To Tang||1st voted out|
38, Salt Lake City, Utah
|To Tang||2nd voted out|
|Elisabeth "Liz" Markham
27, New York City, New York
|Chan Loh||3rd voted out|
27, Hopkinsville, Kentucky
24, Dallas, Texas
|To Tang||4th voted out|
26, Brooklyn, New York
|Gondol||Gondol||5th voted out|
34, Minneapolis, Minnesota
|Chan Loh||Gondol||6th voted out|
38, Sausalito, California
|Chan Loh||Chan Loh||Dara||Medically evacuated|
Removed from jury[a]
30, Redondo Beach, California
|Gondol||Chan Loh||7th voted out|
2nd jury member
49, Reading, Pennsylvania
|Chan Loh||Chan Loh||8th voted out|
3rd jury member
40, Carmel, Indiana
|To Tang||Gondol||9th voted out|
4th jury member
19, Boston, Massachusetts
|Gondol||Gondol[b]||10th voted out|
5th jury member
31, Detroit, Michigan
|To Tang||Chan Loh||11th voted out|
6th jury member
|Joseph "Joe" Del Campo
71, Vero Beach, Florida
|Chan Loh||Gondol||Medically evacuated|
7th jury member
22, Douglasville, Georgia
|To Tang||Chan Loh||12th voted out|
8th jury member
51, San Francisco, California
29, Cambridge, Massachusetts
24, Freehold, New Jersey
|Gondol||Chan Loh||Sole Survivor|
- On Day 38, for winning the final reward challenge, Michele earned the power to eliminate one of the jurors. She chose Neal.
- Julia was initially exiled after drawing the sole To Tang buff during the tribe swap. She joined the tribe that lost the next Immunity Challenge, Gondol, the day after their Tribal Council.
Caleb Reynolds, Debbie Wanner, Aubry Bracco, and Tai Trang returned for the 34th season, Survivor: Game Changers, and respectively finished 18th, 11th, 5th and 4th. Bracco returned again for Survivor: Edge of Extinction where she finished 15th. Michele Fitzgerald returned to compete on Survivor: Winners at War, where she made it to the final and finished 3rd.
The 18 new castaways were divided into three tribes based on primary attribute: Chan Loh (Brains), To Tang (Brawn) and Gondol (Beauty). Though the Brawn lost three of the first four immunity challenges, being reduced to only Cydney, Jason, and Scot, all three survived through the tribe swap, reaching the merge alongside four Brains and four Beauties.
Upon merging, the Brawns and Beauties initially aligned against the Brains but, put off by their male allies’ attitudes, the Brawn-Beauty women Cydney, Julia and Michele decided to team up with the Brains instead to form a new majority alliance. Though the minority alliance of Jason, Scot and Tai had two hidden immunity idols, Aubry convinced Tai to betray his allies, getting rid of one of the idols and joining the majority.
Aubry and Cydney were the primary strategists of their alliance, and turned against each other when there were four players remaining; Aubry won the tiebreaker to join Michele and Tai in the finals. While all three were praised and criticized by the jury, the jury applauded Michele's more relaxed, yet effective, social game over Aubry's outwardly strategic game play and Tai's erratic strategy, and she was awarded the title of Sole Survivor.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Reward||Immunity|
|1||"I'm a Mental Giant"||February 17, 2016||Chan Loh||Darnell||1st voted out|
|2||"Kindergarten Camp"||February 24, 2016||Gondol||Jennifer||2nd voted out|
|3||"The Circle of Life"||March 2, 2016||Gondol||Liz||3rd voted out|
|4||"Signed, Sealed and Delivered"||March 9, 2016||Chan Loh||Chan Loh||Caleb||Medically evacuated|
|Gondol||Gondol||Alecia||4th voted out|
|5||"The Devils We Know"||March 16, 2016||None[a]||Julia[b]||Anna||5th voted out|
|6||"Play or Go Home"||March 23, 2016||Gondol||Chan Loh||Peter||6th voted out|
|7||"It's Merge Time"||March 30, 2016||None[c]||Nick||Neal||Medically evacuated|
|8||"The Jocks vs. the Pretty People"||April 6, 2016||Debbie,
|Tai||Nick||7th voted out|
2nd jury member
|9||"It's Psychological Warfare"||April 13, 2016||Jason,
|Julia||Debbie||8th voted out|
3rd jury member
|10||"I'm Not Here to Make Good Friends"||April 20, 2016||Julia[e]||Jason||Scot||9th voted out|
4th jury member
|11||"It’s a ‘Me’ Game, Not a ‘We’ Game"||April 27, 2016||Cydney,
|Michele||Julia||10th voted out|
5th jury member
|12||"Now’s the Time to Start Scheming"||May 4, 2016||Jason,
|Cydney||Jason||11th voted out|
6th jury member
|13||"With Me or Not With Me"||May 11, 2016||Joe
7th jury member
|14||"Not Going Down Without a Fight"||May 18, 2016||Aubry
|Michele||Cydney||12th voted out|
8th jury member
|Michele[d]||No immunity challenge or elimination on |
Day 38 due to the Jury Elimination.[d]
- There was no reward challenge due to the tribe switch.
- Julia drew the sole To Tang buff during the tribe swap. As a result, she was exiled to the To Tang camp, and joined the tribe that lost the next Immunity Challenge, Gondol, the day after their Tribal Council.
- There was no reward challenge due to the merge.
- On Day 38, for winning the final reward challenge, Michele earned the power to eliminate one of the jurors at Tribal Council. She chose Neal.
- There were three separate reward challenges held simultaneously. Each one was for a different reward, and players could each choose only one challenge in which to participate.
- There was no immunity challenge due to Joe's evacuation from the game.
|Original air date||US viewers|
|471||1||"I'm a Mental Giant"||Recap||1.9/7||February 17, 2016||8.30||13|
The eighteen new castaways, divided into three tribes of six, were given two minutes to ransack a boat filled with supplies and load them onto their rafts. Upon arriving at camp, Jason from the Brawn tribe formed multiple alliances, including one with Jennifer and Scot and another with Cydney, and targeted Alecia for her perceived weakness. Later, a bug crawled into Jennifer's ear, which caused her pain, but Scot was able to pull it out. On the Brains tribe, Debbie was unable to back up her claim about knowing how to make fire without flint, and Aubry, Liz, Neal and Peter formed an alliance against the older Debbie and Joe. Aubry had a panic attack and was consoled by her tribe mates, but they worried about her behaviour. The women of the Beauty tribe—Anna, Julia and Michele—quickly bonded. Though they considered recruiting Tai to be the fourth member of their alliance, they lost trust in him after they caught him looking for a hidden immunity idol.
Darnell lost the Brawn tribe's diving mask, which caused them to struggle retrieving their paddles; though they recovered during the cart-pulling portion, Alecia panicked on the puzzle and they lost the challenge. Back at camp, Alecia and Darnell were targeted due to their struggles in the challenge. Scot told Alecia not to scheme because they were voting against Darnell, but she continued to campaign for her safety, which angered him and Cydney. At Tribal Council, Darnell's pleas convinced Cydney and Jason to vote against Alecia, which caused a tie between her and Darnell. But on the revote, Darnell was unanimously voted out.
|472||2||"Kindergarten Camp"||Recap||1.9/6||February 24, 2016||8.39||15|
At the Beauty camp, Tai found the hidden immunity idol inside a locked box buried beneath a tree, with instructions to find the key at the top of another tree, but he was unable to retrieve the key. He later bonded with Caleb despite their vastly different personalities and lifestyles. On the Brains tribe, Debbie continued to annoy her tribe with her constant bragging, while Joe and Liz fought over camp life. At the Brawn camp, tribe outsider Alecia gave the tribe fire after trying for five hours.
Beauty placed first, with Brains in second. Back at the Brawn camp, Jason and Scot continued to target Alecia. However, Jennifer convinced Alecia and Cydney to form a girls' alliance and target Jason, though she later had second thoughts. At Tribal Council, Jennifer revealed that there had been multiple plans floating around, which alarmed Jason and Scot. After being questioned, Jennifer outed the girls' plan to vote Jason out and blamed Alecia, who denied it. Ultimately, Alecia, Cydney and Jason decided Jennifer couldn't be trusted, and she was voted out.
|473||3||"The Circle of Life"||Recap||2.2/8||March 2, 2016||9.24||5|
Though she was spared again at Tribal Council, Alecia was still on the outs of the Brawn tribe. She found a clue to the hidden immunity idol, which she shared with Cydney, but Cydney secretly tipped off Jason and Scot, and all four raced to claim the idol for themselves. With Scot's help, Jason snatched the key to unlock the idol. At the Beauty camp, Tai also retrieved the key to unlock his tribe's hidden immunity idol; Jason, Scot and Tai discovered that two hidden immunity idols could be combined into a "super idol" that could be played after the votes are read at Tribal Council.
Later at the Beauty camp, Tai reluctantly helped kill one of their chickens, but was comforted by the rest of his tribe except for Nick, who offered no empathy. Nick's attitude set the girls against him, and Anna asked Caleb to join up with the girls to vote Nick out. On Brains, Liz and Peter decided to betray their initial alliance with Aubry and Neal, who they perceived as bigger threats and less loyal than Debbie and Joe. However, Debbie and Joe disapproved of Liz and Peter's arrogance, and aligned with Aubry and Neal against them.
Beauty placed first, while Brawn beat Brains by mere inches to win their first challenge. Back at the Brains camp, Liz and Peter planned to eliminate Neal for being the biggest perceived threat to them. Though they conspired with Debbie and Joe to split the votes between Aubry and Neal in case of an idol, Debbie and Joe didn't trust them, and told Aubry and Neal of the plan. At Tribal Council, Peter revealed the plan to eliminate Neal but, when the votes were revealed, they were tied two apiece between Aubry, Liz, and Peter. On the revote, Liz was unanimously voted out.
|474||4||"Signed, Sealed and Delivered"||Recap||2.1/8||March 9, 2016||9.26||7|
After Liz's elimination, Peter vowed to turn on his Brains tribe-mates once the tribes were swapped or merged.
After the tribes dug in the grueling heat for nearly an hour, the Brains tribe placed first, with Beauty in second. During the challenge, Debbie was treated for heat stroke and exhaustion, but recovered. Following the challenge, Caleb and Cydney were also treated for this; Caleb was medically evacuated from the game after his heart rate continued to drop. Back at the Brawn camp, Alecia confronted Scot for telling her to "keep cheerleading" during the challenge, which further alienated her from her tribe-mates.
After the Brawn tribe lost yet again, Scot openly claimed that Alecia had no chance of surviving the upcoming Tribal Council. Jeff offered to hold an elimination vote on the spot if the tribe would unanimously agree to it, but Alecia bluntly told Jeff there was no way she would go along with that. Later that night, the tribe carried forward Scot's take that Alecia had no chance, so Jeff wrapped up the discussion quickly and Alecia indeed was voted out unanimously.
|475||5||"The Devils We Know"||Recap||2.1/8||March 16, 2016||9.50||7|
Neal found the Brains tribe’s hidden immunity idol. Later that day, the 13 remaining castaways were shuffled by random draw into two tribes of six, with the leftover castaway exiled to the former Brawn camp and joining the tribe who lost the next immunity challenge the day after their Tribal Council. The Chan Loh tribe was Brains Debbie and Neal, Brawns Cydney and Jason, and Beauties Michele and Nick; the Gondol tribe was Brains Aubry, Joe and Peter, Beauties Anna and Tai, and lone Brawn Scot; Julia was exiled. On both tribes, the Brains and Brawn planned to eliminate a Beauty due to Beauty Julia joining the losing tribe. At Gondol, Scot and Tai bonded, as did Cydney and Debbie on Chan Loh.
Chan Loh won immunity. Back at the Gondol camp, Aubry, Joe and Peter continued their plan to eliminate a Beauty, while Tai and Anna recruited Scot to get rid of Peter for his arrogance; Tai revealed his idol to Anna and Scot, and planned to use it that night to forgo the tie. However, Aubry told Scot that the target was Anna, and Scot—knowing that both Jason and Tai had idols, and that they could be combined—tried to convince Tai not to play his idol. At Tribal Council, Tai listened to Scot, and they joined the Brains to vote Anna out.
|476||6||"Play or Go Home"||Recap||2.1/8||March 23, 2016||9.31||9|
After Anna's elimination, Peter considered betraying fellow former Brains Aubry and Joe, and conspired with Tai to vote Joe out next. At Chan Loh, Debbie tried to align with Nick. Before the reward challenge, Julia officially joined the Gondol tribe.
Michele lagged on untying the buoys for Chan Loh, and Gondol won the challenge. Back at camp, Michele—already distraught after her ally Anna's elimination—worried that her performance in the challenge would make her a target, but Debbie assured her that she was safe, and the two aligned against Jason. Nick told Michele not to align with Debbie, but Michele didn't appreciate Nick's patronizing attitude. At Gondol, Peter recruited Julia for his new alliance. Joe, wary of Peter's behavior, confronted him and the two argued.
Chan Loh narrowly won immunity. Back at the Gondol camp, Aubry and Joe realized that voting Peter out would cost the former Brains their majority, and realigned with Peter to vote Julia out as to not alienate new allies Scot and Tai. However, after Peter broke the news to Scot and Tai about changing the target from Joe to Julia, they and Julia decided to target Peter instead. To avoid a tie, Julia and Tai tried convincing Aubry that Peter had been targeting her. At Tribal Council, though Aubry initially wrote down Julia's name, she crossed it out and voted for Peter instead, joining Julia, Tai and Scot in sending him out of the game.
|477||7||"It's Merge Time"||Recap||2.0/7||March 30, 2016||9.16||8|
Back at Gondol, Scot reprimanded Aubry and Joe for being untrustworthy: Joe for voting against Julia and Aubry for changing her vote. The next day, at Chan Loh, Cydney and Jason spotted a bulge in Neal's pocket, and assumed he had a hidden immunity idol. Later that day, the tribes merged. The four remaining Brains (Aubry, Debbie, Joe and Neal) realigned, as did the three Brawn (Cydney, Jason and Scot). Needing six votes to form a majority, both sides courted the Beauties; Tai and Julia quickly joined Scot and the Brawn alliance, while Michele and Nick entertained offers from both sides. To gain Nick's trust, Scot told him and Jason about Tai's idol. Debbie's brazen attempts to align with the Beauties alienated them, and a worried Neal revealed his idol to Aubry, as the two considered using it at the next Tribal Council.
Nick won the challenge; back at camp, he and Michele decided to team up with the Brawn alliance, believing them to be less likely than the Brains to earn the jury's votes at the end of the game. The Brawn-Beauty alliance formulated a plan to split the votes between Aubry and Neal to flush out Neal's idol. However, before Tribal Council, Jeff and a doctor visited the camp to inspect some of the castaways' injuries. Neal was evacuated from the game after the doctor judged that an infected wound on his knee could possibly worsen and affect his joint, and Tribal Council was cancelled. Neal left the game with his hidden immunity idol, and became the first member of the jury.
|478||8||"The Jocks vs. the Pretty People"||Recap||1.9/7||April 6, 2016||8.98||10|
After Neal's evacuation, the three remaining Brains — Aubry, Debbie and Joe — tried to find dissent within the seven-person Brawn-Beauty alliance.
Debbie, Julia, Nick, Scot and Tai handily won. Jason and Scot later worried about a women's alliance, and decided to split their alliance's votes between Aubry or Debbie, with Debbie going home. Nick consulted with Julia to ensure there was no women's alliance but Cydney overheard, and ratted him out to Jason and Scot. Though Cydney and Jason tried to talk it over, Cydney felt untrusted.
Five minutes in, host Jeff Probst offered food to anyone willing to drop out of the challenge; Jason, Joe, Michele and Scot took the offer. Nick publicly admitted that he felt safe and that a Brain would be going home that night, and dropped out immediately once all the Brains had been eliminated. Tai defeated Cydney to win immunity. Back at camp, Nick told Aubry to vote against Debbie, but Cydney decided to rally the women against Nick. However, the Beauty girls, Michele and Julia, debated between remaining with the Beauty-Brawn alliance or joining the other women. At Tribal Council, Tai accidentally revealed that two idols could be combined to form a super idol, which increased suspicion on the Brawn-Beauty men. Tai then deviated from the plan and voted against Jason, while the five women and Joe united to send Nick to the jury.
|479||9||"It's Psychological Warfare"||Recap||1.9/7||April 13, 2016||8.39||7|
Back at camp, the minority alliance of Jason, Scot and Tai regrouped, and Jason and Tai officially revealed their idols to each other. As revenge for Nick's blindside, Jason and Scot hid the tribe's axe and machete and extinguished the fire; Tai was uncomfortable with the sabotage, and the other tribe-mates were able to recover.
The tribe took Jeff's offer to choose their own teams. Julia chose to join the minority alliance's team, while Joe opted to sit out; he predicted that Aubry, Cydney, Debbie and Michele would win, and would enjoy the reward with the winners if he was correct. Jason, Julia, Tai and Scot won the challenge. Julia's choice made the other girls suspicious of her; during the reward feast, Julia admitted that she wanted to work with the men, believing she had a better chance to defeat them at the end of the game. Though Debbie thought Julia was loyal, Aubry and Cydney disagreed, and considered voting Julia out. Aubry told Debbie that voting Julia out would circumvent the idols, but Debbie refused to target Julia. Tai decided to join his alliance in sabotaging the tribe, and doused the fire.
Julia won the challenge, thwarting Aubry and Cydney's plan. Debbie told all the women, including Julia, to split the votes between Scot and Tai, with Scot as the main target. Julia then told Scot the plan, and he told her to vote against Cydney. Perturbed by Debbie's volatility, Aubry and Cydney decided to target her, and tried to recruit Joe and Michele; Michele agreed, but Joe did not. Needing one more vote, the women then tried to recruit Julia instead. At Tribal Council, Jason and Tai revealed their idols, and Jason said that he and Scot would play rock-paper-scissors to determine who between the two would play it that night. Scot won rock-paper-scissors, but he and Jason gave it to Tai instead, who didn't play either idol. Ultimately, Julia joined Aubry, Cydney, and Michele in voting Debbie out.
|480||10||"I'm Not Here to Make Good Friends"||Recap||2.0/7||April 20, 2016||9.27||4|
After Tribal Council, Tai returned Jason's idol. The next day, the minority alliance of Jason, Scot and Tai stopped sabotaging the camp in order to gain allies; Scot apologized to Aubry, and tried to recruit her to eliminate Cydney for dismantling the Brawn-Beauty alliance, but she was noticeably hesitant.
Julia beat Joe to win a letter from home and Michele outlasted Scot and Jason for the meal. Tai defeated Cydney and Aubry for the advantage: an extra vote at any Tribal Council of his choice up until the final five. Playing both sides, Julia proposed to Aubry and Michele that they vote against Tai to flush out his idol. Aubry, suspicious of Julia, asked Tai to join forces instead, but when Tai revealed this to his allies, they changed their target to Aubry; Tai felt alienated from his alliance and reconsidered his loyalties.
Jason defeated Aubry to win immunity; back at camp, he gave Scot his hidden immunity idol, and they and Tai planned to form the super idol that night. Julia told Scot and Jason about the plan to flush Tai's idol, and the three planned to betray Tai later on as they felt he was unbeatable with the jury. However, Aubry — wanting to work with Tai and not Julia — recruited Cydney and Joe to switch the target to Scot instead; needing one more vote, she propositioned Tai, who weighed both options. At Tribal Council, Tai voted against Scot; Scot received the most votes and was eliminated after Tai refused to form the super idol, joining the jury with Jason's idol in his pocket.
|481||11||"It’s a ‘Me’ Game, Not a ‘We’ Game"||Recap||2.1/8||April 27, 2016||9.47||3|
After eliminating Scot and taking out Jason's idol, the new majority alliance of Aubry, Cydney, Joe and Tai celebrated their victory, with Jason as their next target, while a confused Julia and Michele lamented being left out of the plan. The next day, Tai tried to rationalize his betrayal to Jason, explaining that he was afraid that he and Scot were going to betray him, but it failed to diffuse Jason's anger.
The pairs were divided by random draw; Jason did not compete. Cydney and Michele narrowly defeated Joe and Tai, and brought Aubry with them on the reward. On the reward, Michele tried to reintegrate with her old alliance, and Aubry and Cydney discussed teaming up with Michele to eliminate Tai for being too likable and powerful, but only once Jason and Julia were gone. At camp, Jason and Julia plotted to recruit Cydney and Michele to eliminate Tai at the next Tribal Council.
Michele beat Julia to win immunity. Back at camp, the majority alliance — Michele included — chose to target Julia over Jason for her challenge and social prowess, but Cydney and Michele later debated between voting against Julia or Tai. At Tribal Council, a nervous Tai considered playing his idol; ultimately, Tai kept it, and Cydney and Michele voted against Julia, sending her to the jury.
|482||12||"Now’s the Time to Start Scheming"||Recap||2.1/8||May 4, 2016||9.48||4|
After Julia's elimination, Tai revealed his advantage to Aubry and Joe, while sole outsider Jason urged Cydney and Michele to think about taking him to the end over Aubry or Tai. Michele hoped that, by voting out her closest ally in Julia, she had gained trust within her alliance, but Tai considered blindsiding Michele for her likability.
Jason, Michele and Tai won the challenge. On the trip, Jason's positive attitude strengthened Tai's resolve to eliminate Michele. At camp, Joe's bossy demeanour irritated Cydney.
Cydney won the challenge. Back at camp, Tai reinforced his desire to vote Michele out; though Aubry agreed, Cydney didn't appreciate Tai's brusque attitude, and she revealed his scheme to Michele. At Tribal Council, Tai claimed Michele was at the bottom of their alliance; he used his extra vote advantage to vote against Michele twice, but the rest of his alliance abandoned his plan and sent Jason to the jury.
|483||13||"With Me or Not With Me"||Recap||2.1/8||May 11, 2016||9.51||3|
After Jason's elimination, Tai tried to make amends with his alliance after he was left out of the plan, and confronted Aubry about her betrayal.
After everyone else ran out of sandbags, Joe took his time and won the challenge with his final toss. He chose Aubry to join him on the trip; when given the chance to bring another castaway, Joe deferred to Aubry, who picked Cydney. On the trip, Joe proposed a final three alliance, and claimed that Aubry would automatically win against him and Cydney; Aubry privately realized that Cydney was a bigger threat to win than Tai, and considered betraying her. Back at camp, Michele and Tai attempted to reconnect, and the two decided to team up against Aubry. However, after returning to camp the next morning, Aubry reconciled with Tai, and the two decided to go to the end with Joe, while Cydney and Michele teamed up against Aubry and Joe. Joe began feeling ill as a result of the previous day's feasting; after his condition kept worsening, the medical team withdrew him from the game.
|484||14||"Not Going Down Without a Fight"||Recap||2.1/7||May 18, 2016||9.54||5|
Having lost Joe and, as a result, their majority alliance, Aubry and Tai decided to target Michele for her close personal relationships with the jurors, while Cydney and Michele targeted Tai.
Aubry won the challenge, and chose to share her reward with Cydney to ensure Michele lost the next immunity challenge but while they enjoyed the meal, Michele talked to Tai about breaking up Aubry and Cydney's partnership.
Michele came from behind to win the challenge, narrowly beating Tai. Aubry changed her target to Cydney and pled with Tai to vote with her and force a tie, while Michele and Cydney proposed getting rid of Aubry as the best likely speaker in front of the jury. At Tribal Council, Tai voted against Cydney, forcing a tie between her and Aubry. Aubry defeated Cydney in the fire-making tiebreaker to make Cydney the final member of the jury, making Aubry, Michele and Tai the game's three finalists.
Michele narrowly defeated Aubry to win the challenge. She considered eliminating Joe for his unfaltering loyalty to Aubry, Neal for his loyalty to Aubry and persuasiveness, or Scot for being the victim of Tai's biggest move in the game. At Tribal Council, Michele chose to remove Neal from the jury.
The next night, at the final Tribal Council, Tai was criticized for his erratic gameplay and misplaying his advantages, Aubry was praised for her transformation throughout the game, and Michele was reprimanded for coasting through the beginning of the game but was praised for working her way back into the majority after being left out of Scot's elimination.
|485||15||"Reunion"||N/A||1.5/5||May 18, 2016||6.42||18|
|A year later, at the live reunion, Michele was awarded the title of Sole Survivor with Debbie, Scot, Julia, Jason, and Cydney's votes, Aubry placed second with votes from Nick and Joe, and Tai placed third after receiving no votes to win. After the reveal of the final vote, the castaways discussed the season with host Jeff Probst. During Tai's discussion about his kindness to animals especially the relationship with Mark the Chicken, Sia made a surprise appearance and announced that she is donating $50,000 to Tai and another $50,000 to the charity of his choice.|
The season received mixed to positive response from critics and commentators, who praised its unpredictability and strong players including Fitzgerald, Bracco, Gillon, and Trang. The members of the jury, the lackluster final tribal council, and the final twist that gave one of the finalists the right to vote out a jury member (which resulted in Gottileb's removal), however, were received poorly by many.
Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter praised the season's unpredictability but panned the final Tribal Council, saying "this was one of the rare seasons that came into its last leg with no inherently 'wrong' winner;" but was critical of the jury members for providing a very dull final tribal council. He praised Fitzgerald for her alliance management and for winning challenges at crucial points in the game and was of the opinion that the last two challenge wins, which provided "nice [moments] of release and catharsis", were what won her the title in the end. Fienberg, however, criticized the jury, Pollard and Jason in particular, for not voting for Bracco, who he thought had been a stronger strategic player and the undue attention given to Tai during the reunion show; he went on to call the whole two hours "awful".
Andy Dehnart of Reality Blurred echoed Fienberg's sentiment, stating that it "ended up being a strong season overall, with some exceptionally dramatic moments and interesting game play throughout" but the finale was a "disappointing three hours." He was especially critical of jury members Pollard, Jason, and Maiorano, the editing of the final episode, Probst's undue discussion on non-game related things, and lack of attention on players including Bracco and Gillon during the final episode and the reunion show respectively.
Survivor fans agreed with the final outcome, voting for Fitzgerald over Bracco by a margin of 3% in a poll conducted by Entertainment Weekly which asked who should've won every season of Survivor.
Trang also received positive attention for his treatment of animals throughout the game, most notably for domesticating a chicken named Mark, after series creator and executive producer Mark Burnett, over the course of the game. Trang's actions prompted musician Sia to make a surprise appearance at the live reunion show to donate $50,000 each to Trang and an animal charity of his choice.
Ratings for the premiere were down considerably from both the Worlds Apart season and Cambodia season, attaining a 1.9/7 rating/share among adults 18-49; this was largely due to American Idol airing at the same time as the show and attaining a 2.0/7 rating. Including DVR playback, the premiere was watched by 10 million viewers and got a 2.6 rating in the 18-49 demographic, slightly surpassing American Idol's 9.76 million viewers and 2.5 rating.
It was often in the top ten most watched broadcast shows among adults 18–49, a trend that started with episode three. By April, the show became the No. 1 unscripted program among adults in all demographics, beating The Voice.