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Season 14: Episode 9 - Tribes Merge: Michelle Voted Out
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

On Day 22, two tribes merged into one. But when the new tribe was randomly spilt in half to compete at the combination Reward/Immunity Challenge, a surprise twist sent the losing team of five directly to Tribal Council. With no time to strategize, Michelle Yi, the 23-year-old student from Cincinnati, Ohio, became the third member of the jury when she was voted out two votes to three. With a smile and a positive attitude, she delivered her final words: "Survivor has been an amazing experience. I think my alliance is a little weaker now that I'm not there. Earl's going to have to find himself a new spy, but I think I'm just affirmed that I know what kind of person I am, and I know what I'm capable of, and that I'm just as strong as I thought."

The Four Horsemen
With Dreamz out of camp collecting pineapples, Mookie, Alex and Edgardo relish their new treasure, the hidden Immunity Idol. But the alliance of the Four Horsemen, as they call themselves, is far from secure. "The idol I have in my pocket… it's for myself," gloats Mookie. "[It's] to get myself further along in this game. Now if that plays into my alliance with these guys, then I'm all for it." Concerned with Dreamz's ability to keep a secret, Mookie, Edgardo and Alex continue to withhold the idol's whereabouts from Dreamz.

Merge at Exile 
Both tribes receive a cryptic message in Tree Mail. They are to gather only their personal effects and travel immediately to Exile Island. "The game takes so many twists," laughs a nervous Edgardo. "I'm hoping for a merge but if it's not, it's part of the game."

On the shores of Exile Island, the Moto tribe watches nervously as Ravu paddles aground. It is a happy yet anxious time for the two tribes as they wander aimlessly around the island together. "When we got to Exile Island there were no instructions," says Alex. "Jeff wasn't around. We assume all ten of us are going to live here. That sucks, but hey, at least we came from Ravu where it kinda sucks anyway, so whatever." On their stroll around what they think is their new island home, they reach a tower and climb to the top. To their delight, they find ten new purple buffs and a short message. The tribes of Moto and Ravu are no more. Traveling together as a new tribe, they will paddle to their home at the old Moto beach. "For once I get to see Moto," cheers Mookie, "and experience that island because I am the only person that has not been there yet."

Starting from Scratch
The newly merged tribe gladly arrives at their new home, the old Moto camp. But their excitement is short-lived as they round the corner to find the old Moto camp completely barren. Left with nothing but fishing gear, a machete, flint and a few pots, they must quickly call on their basic survival skills. "Everything was gone," states Earl. "I felt okay with that. Had a little smirk on my face because I've already been trained being at the old Ravu." With Bula Bula as their new tribe name, Michelle and Stacy paint the tribe flag and focus on one simple fact. "I think boys are going to start attacking boys," says Stacy, "because they look at us as non-threats. We're in a pretty good spot."

Divide and Conquer
With his game plan turned on its head again, Boo takes a back seat to consider the best move. "All I can do is be the good little helper," he says, "and then when it's time, I'll assume the leadership role again." Anxious to get the upper hand, Alex surveys the playing field. "So the moment has finally arrived," states Alex. "These first couple hours are really crucial. They're going to determine who's in the final five. I'm ready to fight."

As the Four Horsemen had discussed, Mookie and Dreamz make an attempt to reconnect with Cassandra and Yau-Man, looking for recruits and finding a common goal. "Right away, we found they wanted Boo out, and then we take out Stacy," explains Mookie. "Right now our plan is working out perfectly as far as we know; we just have to execute it right." Excited by the prospect of gaining the majority and with a hidden Immunity Idol in his back pocket, Yau-Man considers a second idol. "Potentially there should be two immunity idols in play in the game," he explains. "The question is who's got the other one? We don't trust anybody in this game."

Let the Games Begin
Left alone in camp, Alex and Stacy share strategies and a plan to oust Boo. "I really have a lot of trust in Alex because we're both original Moto." says Stacy. "He's the most trustworthy person that I can think of right now." With Stacy's reaffirmed allegiance, Alex heads off to check in with the Four Horsemen. "Unless I'm mistaken the Four [Horsemen] are controlling this game right now." As Mookie, Dreamz and Alex furtively discuss the voting order, Mookie suddenly turns to Dreamz and tells him he found the hidden Immunity Idol on Ravu. When the stunned Dreamz listens to their reasons for not telling him in the first place, he makes a promise to himself. "We had a pact and it kinda made me not trust them a little bit," explains Dreamz. "It made me feel like I was on the outskirts. I'm gonna trust them until I can't trust them no more."

Later while fishing, Edgardo is furious to learn that Mookie revealed the Ravu Idol to Dreamz. Worried Dreamz might have a moment of weakness and tell Cassandra and Earl about the idol (rendering it useless), a frustrated Edgardo chastises Mookie. "If Dreamz tells somebody, I'm going to kill you Mookie, seriously." As Edgardo cools down, Alex offers to pull Stacy into the alliance with the Four Horsemen to gain strength in numbers. Giving in to Alex, Mookie worries about a risky imbalance Stacy could create in the alliance of the Four Horsemen. "Alex and Edgardo want to bring Stacy in," says a cautious Mookie. "So when it gets down to five as we planned, Stacy is on their side and me and Dreamz, we're left out of the loop."

A New Plan
At his first available moment, Mookie pulls Dreamz aside, warning him about Alex's plan to bring in Stacy. As they both agree that an alliance with Stacy would play exclusively into Alex's game, they adamantly make a pact to get rid of Stacy once Boo is out of the picture. "I'm really looking forward to voting off Stacy," grins Dreamz. "She treated me so bad when I was with the old Moto, and all of a sudden she's happy and nice and glad to see me all of a sudden because I got plans and she doesn't have the power anymore? She's got to go."

Immunity Challenge: River Rats 
The newly merged Bula Bula tribe meets with Jeff for their Immunity Challenge, but before the challenge begins they are randomly separated into two teams of five. Alex, Mookie, Dreamz, Michelle and Stacy will compete as the Green team, while Edgardo, Cassandra, Boo, Yau-Man and Earl will compete as the Orange team. Shown a large Fijian mask, teams are to memorize the symbols and their arrangement on the mask. Teams will paddle down a river to three stations to retrieve three bundles of puzzle pieces. Once they have retrieved all three bundles, they'll paddle to the finish where two tribe members from each team will then use those pieces to construct six of the symbols from their Fijian mask. The first team to place the symbols in the correct order on their team mask wins Immunity and is safe from Tribal Council. In addition, they will return to camp to feast on massive slabs of steak, veggies and seasoning, while washing it down with a few bottles of wine. Losers will receive a note, which will be read after the Challenge, as well as a visit to Tribal Council.

Both tribes frantically study the symbols painted on their masks, committing them to memory. The Green team, consisting of Alex, Mookie, Dreamz, Michelle and Stacy, and the Orange team, consisting of Edgardo, Cassandra, Earl, Boo and Yau-Man, reach the first station seconds apart. As Yau-Man steadily figures out a system to get his bag down for the Orange team, Stacy, unable to free the green bag of puzzle pieces for the Green team, switches out with Dreamz. The Orange team heads out to the second station while Green falls farther behind. With a huge lead and two bags already retrieved, Orange heads out for their third and final station. Yau-Man makes quick work of the third bundle and they head for the finish. Finally, the Green team retrieves their second and third bundles before paddling to the finish.

With the Green team closing the gap, Yau-Man and Earl of the Orange team solve their puzzle with seconds to spare, winning Immunity and a feast for the their team. Facing Tribal Council, the upset and exhausted Green team of Alex, Dreamz, Mookie, Michelle and Stacy await the message from mysterious the note. It reveals they are not going back to camp. The losing Green team is heading to Tribal Council immediately, leaving them no time to strategize.

Who Knows What Could Happen?
Safe from the dreaded Tribal Council, a relieved Boo takes charge of the cooking, while Earl worries about the fate of one of his solders alone at Tribal Council. "If Michelle is gone," explains an apprehensive Earl, "I'm definitely concerned about the future because she is a key component in my strategy. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that she's still alive." Even with three of the Four Horsemen at Tribal Council, Edgardo expresses his concern for his closest ally. "I hope [Alex] doesn't get voted out because if he gets voted all the strategies that I worked for the last twenty-four days will be gone."

Ultimately, Dreamz's vote becomes the deciding factor as Michelle's torch is snuffed in a close 3-2 decision. Michelle is now the third member of the jury that will decide who will be the next Sole Survivor.