If you happen to have a seatbelt, now would be a good time to put it on.
Things started getting bumpy for Mike Zahalsky on Episode 9 of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. But first, it was reward challenge time. The castaways were randomly divided into two teams of five and had to perform a series of maneuvers then shoot balls into baskets. Zahalsky’s team won the reward: a pleasure cruise around the Fijian islands while dining on gourmet sandwiches, wine or beer, and chocolate cake.
Once back on land, the dirty business of alliances, strategy, and backstabbing was on. The alliance of seven — the “round table” — was carrying on with its plan to vote off the remaining Healers. Former Marine Ben took charge, ordering the members to split their votes for Cole and Zahalsky. That way, if a hidden immunity idol was played, they’d be assured that a Healer would be eliminated either way.
But some members bristled at Ben’s dictator-like edict, and questioned why plan B should be the affable Dr. Mike when the always-annoying Joe was ripe for picking. Lauren won the immunity idol, keeping her safe from elimination, though as one of the seven, she was presumably safe anyway.
At tribal council, things got even more interesting. Zahalsky openly questioned the alliance’s strategy, calling it immoral to leave a player in the game that everyone hates. That led to a philosophical debate about the game of Survivor. All of it was Zahalsky’s attempt to draw some fire his way, with the intention that he would then play his immunity idol, nullifying any votes that he received. In the end, just two votes were cast for him. Ultimately, Cole was eliminated, making him the second member of the jury who will choose the sole survivor.
That means Zahalsky is one of two Healers left. But will the alliance of seven hold? Find out next Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.