Survivor retro rewatch: Borneo episode 12, “Death of An Alliance”

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: the (sort-of) fall of the Tagi foursome on Survivor: Borneo at the final five in “Death of An Alliance.”

The title of this episode of Survivor: Borneo is a bit of a misnomer in one respect, although it’s not in another. “Death of An Alliance” sounds a lot more dramatic than how things actually played out, but so did “The Marooning,” the title of the premiere episode. This show did like to take itself seriously. Let’s jump in!

Survivor had my hopes up for not reusing the introductory segment explaining how the entire show works after episode 11 neglected to have it. Alas, episode 12 dashed those hopes.

However, I shall carry on to day 34 of Borneo. With five Tagi people left, it was time to smack-talk everyone to everyone else. Richard made many different plans, and Sean started to sound like a Pagong player. Kelly and Sue squared off, and where did Kelly go? Directly to Richard, making the case that she had wanted to work as part of the alliance all along. Her confessionals in particular kind of counteract this, but hey, that’s the game.

Speaking of things getting dirty, Survivor did a mud challenge. This one doesn’t appear so often anymore, but they had to carry mud on themselves and get the heaviest bucket of it in five minutes. The reward: hang out with Probst and see the first five minutes of the show itself. How delightfully meta.

Kelly won with nearly 16 pounds of mud and got to hug Probst while still dirty, too. The production had a little fun with showing everyone walking back to camp muddy accompanied by quite heroic music.

Probst and Kelly’s bar experience was weird, by the way. There were other people at the bar. He led her in blindfolded, he offered her cigarettes (this was 2000), and Probst had beer, too! Also, the viewers got to re-watch parts of the first five minutes of the show.

On the morning of day 36, Sue broke away from Kelly for the last time after the fight they’d had earlier in the episode. They said they’d be nice to each other, but they weren’t allies anymore.

For immunity, Survivor pulled a Blair Witch Project (Probst even named it the “Survivor Witch Project,” so it was very intentional). It was a memory challenge, with Probst telling them stories that they then had to answer questions based on. They had to film themselves answering.  Rudy mostly went around and filmed part of his face while he said he didn’t know. Everyone else played it a bit more seriously in that they answered the questions. Kelly won.

Rich basically set up the him vs. Kelly narrative a bit more, even as he spun different stories to different people (including Kelly herself).

At Tribal, Kelly openly said she knew she would have left the game if she’d lost. Interestingly enough, Probst actually asked about what people thought the country thought of them, giving them a chance to build their own storylines for a few moments.

However, the foursome didn’t quite take each other down just yet. Sean threw his vote Sue’s way, but everyone else voted Sean out without any qualms.

Next up? The finale of Survivor: Borneo (and a peek at the reunion, too).