That might've been one of the most topsy-turvy quarter hours of "Survivor" ever.
Malcolm was totally going home unless he played his idol. Then Andrea thought she was being targeted and flipped over the entire table. Dawn -- waffly, weak, cry-baby Dawn!!! -- tried to talk her off the ledge. Reynold played his idol ... but not for himself. And in the end, Michael was voted out.
Anyone else have a major case of whiplash?
Love Is in the Air
After Corinne's elimination, everyone's trying to get their bearings. Malcolm is concerned since his "Denise" of the season is gone. Reynold is happy with the outcome, even though Corinne was part of his nascent alliance. Now, he wants to cozy up with Andrea, noting, "Every girl that associates with [me and Eddie] gets voted out."
He's not the only one batting his eyelashes. Phillip seems to be flirting with Sherri. Well, at least his behavior sort of resembles flirting. She's cool with it, and is using him in return: "Phillip is my Shamar on this tribe."
The reward challenge splits everyone in groups of five for a challenge in which they throw balls past a keeper into a net. The all-male purple team -- Reynold, Eddie, Erik, Cochran, and Michael -- wins and gets to rappel down a waterfall and indulge in a picnic. They eat, they swim, they burp.
Michael tries to rally the guys to form an alliance, pointing out the fact that women dominated the last "Fans vs. Favorites" season. "Let's bro down!" Reynold agrees.
Or not, at least in Cochran's case. "I don't want to be engaging in any sort of masculine tomfoolery with these numbskulls," he sniffs.
Back at camp, Malcolm tries to use the opportunity to reform an alliance. But he makes the same mistake as Corinne and approaches Dawn, who immediately rats him out to Andrea. They decide that Malcolm has to go! (No doubt Twitter is echoing with cries of "Noooooooo!")
When the reward winners return, Eddie and Andrea are enjoying some alone time off in the woods. She's wary of believing that their romance is real, but he promises that he will vote with her. Trust me, he says.
But Andrea is way too smart to fall for that. Aren't you, Andrea?
Stay Calm, Carry On
The immunity challenge is one that would have given us nightmares: The players have to be under a grate in the water as it rises with the tide. The last player who remains under their grate wins.
It's not a strength challenge, so it's not a surprise that the last two standing (floating?) are Andrea and Brenda. But the former soon starts gasping for breath and ducks out. Brenda wins!
That really doesn't change anything, so let the scrambling begin! Malcolm declares, "I'm finally going to make my move," which usually foretells doom. He seeks reassurance from both Dawn and Andrea, who flat-out lie to his face. Even Andrea marvels, "The new Dawn ... she's good at this!"
Reynold even shows Dawn his idol to convince her to trust them, an action to which she privately shakes her head. For smart guys, Malcolm and Reynold are being very naive right now.
It's Eddie who changes things up when he asks his little girlfriend what's going on. Is he going home? Is Reynold? Is Malcolm? She doesn't tell him anything except to say it definitely won't be him. Then Eddie reveals that Andrea's name has come up.
Suddenly, she freaks that she might be eliminated at tribal council. She tells Dawn to switch votes to Michael, because it's the safe choice. This new, steely-eyed Dawn tries to talk sense into her -- she's sure that Malcolm doesn't have an idol, and they can split votes to cover for Reynold's. Of course, she's wrong, since Malcolm does have one, but given the information she has, her logic is sound.
[Related: Where Are 'Survivor' Winners Now?]
Andrea isn't sure what to think or do as everyone goes to Tribal. There, Phillip rambles on again about Stealth R Us and how anyone who works outside of the group will be punished. You can almost see the lightbulb go off in Malcolm's head -- he's suddenly realizing that Phillip might be talking about him and that maybe he's on the chopping block! Oh no, should he use his idol?!
Everyone votes, and before counting them, Jeff asks if anyone wants to play an idol. Reynold gets up, but Malcolm stops him. He says that Phillip's speech was about him and that Reynold should give him his idol. And Reynold actually does! Then Malcolm plays Reynold's idol! (Even though Malcolm himself voted for Reynold!)
Andrea, Dawn, Phillip, Cochran -- they're all shocked. Jeff reads the votes: Andrea gets a couple, Reynold gets the one, and the rest ... are all for Michael! Andrea's fit of nerves did change the game plan after all. Reynold threw away his idol (on another player, no less), and while Malcolm still has his, he's down in numbers. He'd better go find that other idol. Or maybe that was his diabolical plan all along?
Check out Twitter reactions to the episode, and then sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!
Seriously one of the best plays ever on #survivor! Malcom = evil genius.Now he needs to find the idol and have two.— Danial Thomas (@DanialThomas) April 11, 2013
Is sweet Dawn becoming a backstabbing player? I love her! #survivor— Lucas Blankenhorn (@lucasblanken) April 11, 2013
Seriously, when was the last time Brenda uttered a full sentence on this show? #Survivor— peterfutweet (@peterfutweet) April 11, 2013
that final scramble strategy scene between andrea and eddie though? best single scene #survivor has ever put on the show.— phil robinson (@phil_robinson) April 11, 2013
"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on CBS.