However the former Survivor: China castaway was medically evacuated due to an infection in his finger while the 24-year-old motivational speaker from Beverly Hills, CA was blindsided after one of her fellow castaways found the Hidden Immunity Idol -- and actually played it.
"Yeah I didn't see that one coming at all," said Alexis after her ouster made her the fifteenth castaway eliminated from the competition. "But, this is a game, so yeah, I'm not mad at all. I think I made my papa proud. I never lied once when I was here. I kept a level of integrity of who I am outside of this game. I'm rooting for my girl [Natalie Bolton], not even a question. This is the hardest physical, mental, spiritual thing I've ever done, and I'm better for having been here."
Survivor: Micronesia's twelfth episode began following the previous Tribal Council that saw Jason Siska get blindsided. Before the Dabu tribe returned to camp, James was instructed to meet with the Survivor medics for a cut on his finger.
"I got a finger injury. It was no big deal... Nothing really to bother with," said James. "We got to Tribal and it was kind of swelling up a bit, so I just had medical look at it to make sure everything was good. Give me some antibacterial, and I'll be okay."
However it wasn't that simple, as the medic told James that if the cut was to get infected and that infection were to reach his finger's joint, it would be a serious problem.
"I work with my hands so it's very important I get this thing fixed as soon as possible because I need my hands when I get back home," worried James as the situation became more real and the medic drove home the point.
"If in the morning, this doesn't look good, then it needs to go to surgery," she said.
As the seven remaining castaways returned to camp, James was peppered with questions about his finger.
"It's gonna be alright," he assured them.
However his fellow former Survivor: China castaway Amanda Kimmel was concerned -- both because James was her friend and her ally in the game.
"I hope his finger gets better," she opined. "I hope they come tomorrow morning and say, 'Hey, you're fine. You can finish the game.'"
James wasn't the only castaway who was injured, as Alexis said she suffered a twisted knee due to the "worst fall" she ever had while trying to maneuver around in the dark.
"Alexis takes a tumble in the dark. James, he has his finger infected. I know this is bad because I am a nurse, but that's two less people I have to fight against for $1 million," said former Survivor: Panama castaway Cirie Fields.
The next morning the Dabu tribe met for their next Reward Challenge, and host Jeff Probst explained the rules.
The castaways would answer a series of questions about their tribemates in private. Jeff would then tally the results and ask them the same questions again, only this time, the castaways would be trying to guess whose name came up the most often from the group.
Each time they answer correctly, they would get to chop one tribe member's rope. Each tribemate has three ropes connected to a weight. Once all three ropes are chopped, the weight would drop, releasing a spring-loaded mallet crushing the effigies of the castaways, ending their game. The last castaway with their effigy intact would win Reward.
Since it's getting late in the game, this would also serve as Survivor: Micronesia's "loved ones" challenge, as Jeff brought out Parvati Shallow's mom; Erik Reichenbach's brother; Natalie's mom; Alexis' brother; Amanda's sister; James' dad; and Cirie's husband.
"That's Jeff Probst! That's Jeff Probst! He's just standing there!" Erik excitedly told his brother.
"Erik, you're a freak," replied Jeff.
The winning castaway would receive a trip with their loved one to Jellyfish Lake, where they'd swim with thousands of non-stinging jellyfish. In addition, the winner would send one castaway to Exile Island, where Jeff explained there were new clues for the Hidden Immunity Idol, which had been re-hidden.
The challenge commenced, and the majority of castaways thought James does the most work around camp; Parvati does the most talking and also is the one who mistakenly thinks they're in control of the game; Alexis is the most honest; and James is the least likely that would be invited to family dinner.
The challenge ended when Cirie decided to cut Amanda's final rope instead of Alexis', handing Alexis the victory. She chose to take Cirie and her husband and Natalie and her mom with her to Jellyfish Lake. In addition, Alexis also sent Amanda to Exile Island -- although Amanda did volunteer, raising her hand when Jeff asked who would be sent.
"Can I at least give my sister a hug goodbye?" asked Amanda.
"No," replied Jeff. "Sorry."
All the castaways went their separate ways, with Alexis, Cirie and Natalie going on Reward; Amanda going to Exile; Erik and Parvati going back to camp; and James meeting with Survivor medic Dr. Carolyne Sein.
"Hopefully she lets me stay and we'll be able to keep things rolling," said James. "Hopefully."
Carolyne removed the bandages from James' finger and immediately explained the infection had gotten worse and was in need of immediate surgical attention. She asked James if at hurt at all, and while he tried to be tough and answered it didn't, he subsequently fessed up that it was bothering him a bit.
Carolyne reiterated the risk that the infection could spread to the joint.
"It's not superficial," she said. "It's deep."
Jeff arrived and asked what the status was, and while James wanted to stay, Carolyne wouldn't let him.
"My call is that it is too big a risk," she said. "It is."
Before he went to the hospital, James went and said goodbye to Erik and Parvati.
"James is one of the toughest guys I ever met in my life, and I just have so much respect for James," said Parvati through tears. "It's just not fair. It's just not right for him to go out like that."
Erik realized he was the only guy left in the game as James became the fourteenth castaway eliminated -- and the third Micronesia castaway to exit the competition without being voted out.
"I'd much rather have been voted out but I'm definitely ready to go get this thing fixed," said James. "Ain't no need playing with it, ain't no need fraternizing about it, just go and get it done."
As those on Reward frolicked with the jellyfish, Amanda arrived at Exile Island on a mission.
"My only priority while I'm here is getting the idol," she proclaimed.
Amanda found the first few clues easily enough before the final clue required her to dig a massive trench, which she said took her hours. However it was a success -- or so she thought, but instead of finding the Hidden Immunity Idol all she got was another clue that the idol was actually back at the Dabu camp buried under the tribal flag.
The night Alexis, Cirie and Natalie returned to camp and learned that James had been evacuated. It made Alexis realize the possible seriousness of her knee injury and also raised the stakes for the women's alliance since there was only one guy left.
"With James leaving the game, it kind of puts us in a weird state. We absolutely have to beat Erik at the next Immunity Challenge," said Cirie. "If it comes down to him winning Immunity, we'll definitely have to start eating each other."
The next morning Alexis' knee wasn't doing any better, as she explained she had "no stability" with it and lacked the strength to even walk around. Parvati offered to vote Alexis out at the impending Tribal Council if her knee was bothering her that much, but Alexis declined and added it's "not even a question" that she could make it through the rest of the game if need be.
"It was definitely something that was a little threatening," said Alexis of Parvati's offer. "I hope that it's not a reflection of her mentality for the rest of the game, but then again you never know."
The women then agreed Erik would be booted next unless he won Immunity, at which point Natalie voiced her opinion on who she would eliminate.
"If I were to put myself in the Final 3, I couldn't win against Amanda," said Natalie. "She's played a good social game where everyone's on her side. That's where the problem is."
But Parvati was having none of it.
"It's been pretty much me and her since Day 1, so I feel like I can't screw her over at this point," explained Parvati to Natalie and Alexis. "So if something were to happen as far as her getting voted, I can't have a part of that. I just won't."
Dabu then arrived for Survivor: Micronesia's fourth Individual Immunity Challenge. Amanda rejoined the tribe and realized James wasn't there.
"We are down to six [castaways], having three people leave this game due to reasons other than being voted out," said Jeff. "Definitely a Survivor first."
Jeff then explained the rules. Each castaway would shoot a high-powered rifle attempting to hit individually-colored sake bottles. The first castaway to hit all three of their sake bottles would win Immunity.
Natalie, Parvati and Erik all hit their sake bottle during the first round -- however Erik was the only castaway to hit a bottle during the second round, and he made quick work of the challenge by doing the same in the third round. Erik won Individual Immunity for the second week in a row.
As soon as Dabu returned to camp, Amanda emptied her bag and turned her belongings inside out to prove that she did not recover the Hidden Immunity Idol while on Exile Island. However instead of revealing the idol was hidden at camp, she told them she couldn't find the third clue.
"It was harder than I thought," said Amanda, and everyone believed her.
The tribe decided it was time to eat another one of its chickens, and as they prepared it, Amanda took Parvati aside and told her the truth about the Hidden Immunity Idol being buried under the flag at camp. Parvati also told Amanda that she's being targeted by Alexis and Natalie, and Amanda answered by wanting to boot Natalie while Parvati wanted to get rid of Alexis.
"Yes, but what if Natalie beats one of us later?" asked Amanda.
"I think Alexis is our biggest threat as far as jury votes in the end, and I'm looking towards the end of this game right now," said Parvati in a confessional. "I see where Amanda's coming from on the other hand, as far as Natalie being a bigger threat in challenges. So it's kind of a toss-up right now."
Parvati wondered if Amanda would be able to get Erik on their side since Amanda and Ozzy Lusth had spared him at a previous Tribal Council before the merge.
"I don't know if I can trust Erik," Amanda told Parvati. "He might vote with them."
With the situation looking dire, there was really only one solution.
"Find that damn idol, lady," Parvati instructed Amanda.
As if on cue, Alexis and Natalie conversed with Erik and Cirie to rid themselves on Amanda.
"Luckily she doesn't have the idol," said Erik. "That's a good thing."
With the numbers against her, Amanda approached Erik and logically explained how she had his back before, so why wouldn't he have hers now?
"When you needed my help, I helped you out," she told him.
However it was a lost cause as Erik explained Amanda was too big of a risk for him to keep around.
"I mean if you're gonna vote for me, could you just tell me?" asked Amanda.
"I feel like, yeah, I'm voting for you," responded Erik. "I feel like that."
Amanda then went to Cirie to see if she would vote with her and Parvati -- creating a three versus three tie at Tribal.
"I'm going to be so sorry to see Amanda go," said Cirie in a confessional. "But strategically, it's not such a bad thing because I don't Parvati or myself could beat her with jury votes."
Telling Amanda she was caught between a "rock and a hard place," Cirie wanted nothing to do with creating a tie since that meant the tribe would draw rocks, and whoever drew the colored rock would go home.
Amanda thanked Cirie for her honesty and asked a simple question.
"Can I just have your word though, that if it wasn't like this you'd stick with me and Parv?" asked Amanda.
"You know that I would," immediately answered Cirie. "I thought it was gonna be me, you, and Parv to the end."
As the tribe settled down to eat the chicken, Amanda was nowhere to be seen and Parvati helped her out by telling the rest of the tribe that Amanda was bathing since she stunk. In reality, Amanda was digging beneath the tribal flag.
Survivor: Micronesia's twelfth Tribal Council commenced, and the jury and remaining castaways were all shocked to see James come out attached to an IV.
"I had an infection they had to take care of," said James. "So that's very bad. You could lose your hand. I need my hands to work with, so it wasn't a chance I was able to take. But I'm here now. As long as I have the IV, I'm good."
Jeff then asked Amanda if she spent any time looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol on Exile, and she gave him the same story she previously told the rest of the tribe.
"I couldn't find it," she said solemnly. "It's frustrating when you're looking for something to save your life in this game and I just didn't do it, unfortunately."
Cirie then singled out Erik and Amanda as the game's remaining physical threats. Jeff stated the obvious, that since Erik had Individual Immunity, that left Amanda.
"Pretty much everyone here has told me that they're voting for me tonight," said Amanda. "The only person that's voting with me tonight is Parvati."
"Amanda has become like my little sister in this game," answered Parvati. "I can't vote for her and I won't."
Amanda then expressed frustration at Erik for not sticking with her despite the fact they've "gone through a lot of this together."
"When he needs someone, he comes across trustworthy," said Amanda. "But then when you need Erik for something, he finds greener grasses somewhere else. That's pretty much how it is."
Erik had a hard time defending himself since what Amanda had said was basically true.
"I helped you stay here through the merge, and then I was asking for your help this time, and you clearly denied me of that," she told him, her voice rising in anger. "Yeah, I'm mad about it. I'm pretty pissed off right now."
Natalie said Amanda concerns her the most.
"She has done no wrong to anyone sitting over there on the jury," said Natalie, referencing James, Ozzy, Jason Siska and Eliza Orlins. "Voting her out is the unfortunate part of getting down to this part of the game. But I feel the need to at least be honest with my reasoning behind my vote."
"We're going to tell her because we respect her so much," said Alexis. "I would grant that to any of these people because I truly respect every person here right now."
The tribe then cast their votes, with Alexis, Natalie, Erik and Cirie voting to oust Amanda; while she and Parvati voted to boot Alexis. Before Jeff tallied the votes, he reminded the castaways that now was the time to play the idol.
"If anyone has the Hidden Immunity Idol and you want to play it, now would be the time to do so," he said.
"About that Jeff," said Amanda, standing from here Tribal Council seat. "I just want to say, when I told you' all I didn't have it, I didn't have it then. So I didn't lie. I got it!"
Jeff said the idol was real and the jury looked visibly excited that Amanda had played it -- presumably only reinforcing the fears of Natalie, Cirie and Erik that Amanda would be unbeatable in the Final 3. Alexis looked terrified, and since the four votes cast against Amanda didn't count, Alexis was given the boot.
"You guys are perfecting the art of the blindside," said Jeff. "That is the good news. That is the bad news."
Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites penultimate episode will air Thursday, May 8 at 8PM ET/PT before its two-hour finale airs on Sunday, May 11 at 8PM ET/PT.
(Photo credit CBS)
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