Parvati Shallow was more than just the flirt this time around.
She organized the all-female "Black Widow Brigade" responsible for blindsiding several of the stronger male castaways before winning Survivor: Micronesia Fans vs. Favorites during last night's finale of broadcast of the long-running CBS reality series' sixteenth edition.
The 25-year-old former Survivor: Cook Islands castaway from Los Angeles, CA claimed Survivor: Micronesia's $1 million grand prize during the live portion of last night's finale broadcast from New York City.
"I wasn't going to start playing in the beginning. I was going to fly under the radar and play the flirt and let everyone underestimate me," Parvati said after she was revealed to be the winner. "[But Jonathan Penner] outed me and said, 'This girl's a threat! We've got to get rid of her!' I was like, 'Okay. I've got to start playing.' I got my head in the game and started making moves."
Parvati defeated former Survivor: China castaway Amanda Kimmel by a 5-3 margin during the final Tribal Council jury vote. The finale marked first time since Survivor: Panama, the show's twelfth season, that a Survivor edition had ended with a Final 2 instead of a Final 3.
Survivor: Micronesia's finale broadcast began at the Dabu camp with Parvati, Amanda, former Survivor: Panama castaway Cirie Fields and Natalie Bolton celebrating being the show's first ever all-female Final 4, which they were able to achieve by convincing Erik Reichenbach to give-up the Individual Immunity Idol at the previous Tribal Council.
The next morning, the "Black Widow Brigade" continued to bask in the fact that they were able to eliminate all the guys while Natalie was surprised and happy to be the only remaining Fan.
"I definitely made a personal bond and connection with Parvati," added Natalie. "I think Parvati is an ally for me in this game."
The girls then received some Tree Mail, and were unsure if it would be a Reward or Individual Immunity Challenge.
"We're thinking that winning this challenge is pretty much guaranteed Final 3," aid Cirie. "So we have to beat Natalie."
Amanda, Cirie, Natalie and Parvati then arrived for Survivor: Micronesia's sixth Individual Immunity Challenge, and host Jeff Probst explained the rules.
Each castaway would start on a very small perch at the top of a 20-foot pole in the water. Using a bucket with several holes in it, they'd each gather water, which they would then pour into bamboo shoot. As the water filled up the shoot, it would raise a set of keys.
Once the keys were reachable, the castaways had to unhook them, jump in the water and swim to shore -- where they'd each unlock a chest containing 16 individually shaped latter rungs. The first castaway to correctly assemble her ladder and raise her flag would win Individual Immunity.
The challenge commenced and Natalie and Parvati got off to quick starts, as Natalie grabbed an early lead swimming to shore. Both opened their chests just as Amanda and Cirie grabbed their keys and began to swim to shore.
Natalie was the first to begin assembling her ladder but the other girls quickly caught up to her and Amanda eventually started to pull away. She subsequently completed the ladder and raised her flag to win Immunity.
"I made Final 3! I can't believe it," Amanda told the cameras later. "I'm ecstatic. That's twice in a row. This time I played my game so different and I feel so much better about it."
Meanwhile Natalie opined being the "low woman on the totem pole," but vowed to "explore all [her] options" before Tribal Council. She planned to be "calm, cool and collective."
"There's a way to weasel in and communicate with them in a way that may seem reasonable," said Natalie, who planned to appeal to Parvati as a last chance by explaining that Cirie is a bigger jury-vote threat.
Amanda and Parvati discussed who they would vote for, and Amanda thought Natalie "definitely deserved to be here" because she played a better game than Cirie.
"I don't who I'm voting for tonight," said Amanda.
Natalie then told Parvati about Cirie being a bigger jury-vote threat.
"I love Natalie to death and I think she's a lesser threat as far as jury votes than Cirie," said Parvati in a confessional. "Now the time has come where I could switch it up now and then we have our biggest jury threat out of the game."
Cirie was aware she might be booted.
"I could be going home tonight," she said. "They could of made a deal with Natalie."
The four women then arrived for Survivor: Micronesia's fourteenth Tribal Council, and the jury members --Eliza Orlins, Ozzy Lusth, Jason Siska, Alexis Jones, James Clement and Erik -- entered. Natalie gushed how Erik's blindside went down "seamlessly" before Jeff asked what she expected to happen with the impending vote.
"I think at this point the four of us respect each other enough that I don't think that there would be a blindside," said Natalie, a comment that made Jeff and the jury look a bit surprised. "I would pray for a blindside on some levels because now it would actually benefit me better than all the other four."
Amanda and Parvati said they were surprised by Natalie's comment and Jeff asked if they had just been assuming that there would be a Final 3 instead of a Final 2.
"No one here -- I think I can honestly say -- is expecting a Final 2," answered Amanda. "At this point in the game, it would take us for another whirlwind."
"It is nerve-racking to think that it could be a Final 2 because that makes me feel like -- once again -- I'm on the bottom of the alliance," said Cirie. "Which is not a good place to be Jeff."
Amanda then interjected and asked Cirie when she began to think she was on the bottom of the alliance.
"From the five -- when I started with you, Ozzy, James and Parvati -- basically it's unspoken that I'm on the bottom," Cirie answered, adding it was "obvious" she was also at the bottom when it came to her alliance with Amanda and Parvati. "Not one person in any alliance has ever said, 'I won't vote for Cirie'... So that clearly places me at the bottom of the alliance. I would be foolish not to think that."
Natalie said she saw the bickering as an "opportunity."
"I'm just letting them duke it out and may the best woman win," she said.
However Amanda and Parvati stuck to their alliance with Cirie and all three women voted for Natalie -- who became the seventeenth castaway eliminated from the competition.
"I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the way I played the game," said Natalie after Jeff snuffed her torch. "I was the last Fan standing, and I feel proud of the group of girls that I finished with. I respect the way that you guys played the game with me and I thank you."
Back at camp, Amanda accused Cirie of trying to make she and Parvati look "awful." Amanda and Cirie continued to argue about Cirie being on the bottom of the alliance, with Amanda mostly upset about Cirie mentioning it in-front of the jury.
"If you were me, what would you feel?" asked Cirie as her voice begin to raise. "And because I said it out loud, you're upset?"
She reiterated she's been at the bottom of "every single alliance" and Amanda continued to insist she didn't understand.
"I can't explain it anymore," said Cirie.
"It makes sense," added Parvati, agreeing with Cirie.
Amanda then "broke down" and cooler heads prevailed as the three girls hugged and apologized.
"I feel like I've been doing this forever," said a tearful Amanda. "Straight from China and I come here and I just can't take it."
Amanda told Parvati and Cirie she "almost lost it" when Jeff mentioned there "might be a Final 2."
"There's no way that it would be a Final 2," assured Parvati, although Cirie wasn't so sure.
"It would just break my heart to find out it would be a Final 2," said Cirie.
The next morning the girls let "Gloria" -- their final chicken -- go in the wild. Instead she immediately made a nest at camp to lay an egg.
They then retrieved some Tree Mail, which informed them they'd be remembering Survivor: Micronesia's 17 previously booted castaways via the game's traditional "Fallen Comrades" journey before going to their final Individual Immunity Challenge -- meaning there would be a Final 2.
"It's like when is it going to end. There's only so much you can take," said Amanda. "I am so tight with these girls. This just sucks completely."
Cirie saw a Final 2 instead of a Final 3 as "almost poetic."
"We've been blindsiding people left and right, and essentially we got blindsided," she added. "We thought we had it made. I guess what goes around comes around."
Once the "Fallen Comrades" journey was complete, the Final 3 met for Survivor: Micronesia's seventh and final Individual Immunity Challenge, where Jeff explained the rules.
Each castaway would have a long, wooden cylinder that had been cut into several pieces. In the center was slot, which would hold a metal ball. On Jeff's go, the castaways would pickup the first pieces and balance the ball. Every five minutes, the castaways would have to add pieces to their cylinder, making it longer and more difficult to hold onto.
The castaway able to keep their metal ball from falling the longest would win Individual Immunity at the impending Tribal Council and decide who would sit next to her in the Final 2.
The challenge commenced and all three castaways easily survived the first two rounds. However Parvati dropped her ball during the third round, which both Cirie and Amanda were able to survive.
The fourth round began -- with Amanda holding her cylinder underhand and Cirie going overhand -- and both survived to make it to the fifth round, which would last until somebody dropped her ball. Cirie lost her concentration, dropped her ball and Amanda claimed Individual Immunity for the second time in a row -- receiving a spot in the Final 2.
Back at the Dabu camp, Amanda called deciding between Cirie and Parvati as the "hardest decision" she's had to make in the game so far. Cirie opined her defeat in the challenge.
"Unfortunately Amanda won. Since Parvati and Amanda are so buddy-buddy, unless something happens, I'm probably going home tonight," she said.
Parvati said she was "fairly confident" Amanda would take her to the Final 2.
"We've had an alliance since Day 1 out here," she said. "We also have a really tight relationship that's developed over the course of this game. So I'm not worried about it, really."
Somewhat stupidly, Parvati then told Amanda she thought Cirie "pissed way more" jury members off than she did -- which placed a seed of doubt in Amanda's mind about taking Parvati. Amanda went to talk with Cirie.
"I feel like your best shot with the jury is taking me over Parvati," Cirie told her. "Every person she's screwed over, I've screwed over. We did everything together. Every blindside we orchestrated together -- most of them I did most of the talking for."
Amanda agreed, but said she was still nervous of having Cirie in the Final 2 since she's one of those people who can "talk their way in or out of anything they want."
"Cirie has pissed a lot of people off on the jury -- probably more than Parvati," said Amanda. "But Cirie is a hell of a speaker. She can convince anyone to do anything. In the final Tribal Council, if she can convince the jury -- that's $1 million. So it's kind of a catch 22. Making this decision tonight is killing me. You kind of have to just go with how you feel, your gut feeling. But I know that this decision could cost me $1 million."
Survivor: Micronesia's penultimate Tribal Council then commenced and the jury entered. Amanda described winning Immunity as a "blessing and a curse" because it gave her a "hard, hard decision." Cirie said she believed it was a difficult decision for Amanda since the three of them had been together since Day 1.
"I honestly don't envy Amanda's position at all right now," added Parvati. "I don't think it's going to be an easy decision."
Amanda said picking between Parvati and Cirie was a "toss-up" and got emotional about the impending choice.
"I feel like either way it's a lose-lose situation for me at this point," said Amanda. "I know that this vote tonight is going to hurt someone's feelings. I'm just having a hard time with that."
Amanda then cast the Tribal Council's lone vote for Cirie, who became the eighteenth castaway eliminated from the competition.
"Here I am again, coming up just short," said Cirie, who finished fourth during Panama. "I tried my hardest. It just wasn't meant to be."
The next morning Amanda and Parvati both expressed excitement about being in the Final 2 and being able to go home that night. They received a breakfast basket and celebrated their accomplishment, which both said was the biggest of their life so far.
"I think it's interesting that me and Parvati are in the end of this game together because we have played completely different games," said Amanda. "I think I have played this game loyal to my alliances, and Parvati pretty much did anything she needed to do to take control. Because of that, a lot of people on the jury don't like her. That could be a benefit for me."
"I really honestly feel so relaxed going into this final Tribal Council," said Parvati. "I feel like I've played a game that's been very true to myself. I don't feel like I could have played this game better. My game was a lot more aggressive than Amanda's game -- it was a lot more cutthroat and more cold blooded. I was playing this to win. I think my strongest point that I an make tonight is standing up and owning that I have been a powerful, controlling player throughout the duration of this game."
Survivor: Micronesia's final Tribal Council then commenced. Jeff explained that Amanda and Parvati would each make an opening statement before each of the eight jury members would have the opportunity to either ask a question or make a statement of their own.
Amanda said she entered the competition wanting to "play a loyal game" and "fight physically, strategically and mentally to the end," and thanked the jury for helping her get to the Final 2.
Parvati said she had a reputation as "the flirt" from Cook Islands and had to "play so much differently" in Micronesia -- which included her being more aggressive and making "bold power plays." She assured the jury "honest answers."
Eliza commended both for playing "great strategic games" but added she had no idea who she'd be voting for. However she said she'd "have a lot of difficulty" giving Parvati the $1 million because she "might just be a mean person." In addition, Eliza accused Amanda of being "superficial."
Jason then asked Amanda if they would have told her about their plan to blindside Ozzy before it happened, would she have warned him.
"Yes," she answered.
Jason then asked Parvati about what some of her "redeeming qualities" were in the game since he saw her as "manipulative." She said she was "very protective" of her alliance with Cirie and Amanda and was loyal to them all the way to the end.
Alexis asked Parvati what makes her a better role model for young girls, and Parvati answered she's "more independent" than Amanda.
"Amanda, I have seen a bunch of Oscar Award-winning performances," said Alexis. "We couldn't help but be laughing when you were crying about sending Cirie home... I think you cried wolf so many times that, what about -- if any -- part of your game has been genuine?"
Amanda answered that crying about booting Cirie was "genuine."
"I didn't come here trying to get sympathy votes. I don't want sympathy votes," she added.
Natalie said both Amanda and Parvati have her "respect" and asked Parvati how being a flirt "resonates in the bedroom." The jury laughed at the odd question, and Natalie explained she was asking if Parvati being a flirt was one of her real-life qualities or something strategic for the game. Parvati said she flirts with both guys and girls at home and often uses it to get what she wants.
"It is an old standby, I'm not going to lie," answered Parvati.
Natalie then accused Amanda of always having a "glazed-over look" on her face and asked if that was a strategy or who she really is a person. Amanda said she's a "strong woman" who "definitely has substance" and came into the game to compete with the guys, which she felt she was able to do.
Erik said he would have been "100%" voting for Amanda and saw her as a "big sister" until she had harsh words for him at the two Tribal Councils leading up to his ouster, which he said left him feeling "totally burned" and "thrown under the bus." He asked her on what basis she had to judge him?
"Everything I said in Tribal Council was honest," she answered. "You were un-loyal to me and you tried to get me voted out and I was hurt. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings."
Erik didn't believe the apology and called "too little too late."
James said he felt Amanda already had the jury vote "in the bag" and added he thought Parvati fed him a "bunch of fluff" after Ozzy was blindsided and asked her to be honest.
"There was no chance for me to win this game if I stuck with you and if I stuck with Oz," she answered. "I felt like I had to make that move when I made it. It also gave me a lot of control, and that's what I wanted."
Cirie asked Amanda "why Parveti deserves a $1 million more than I do." Rather than turn the question into an explanation of how she'd deemed Cirie to be the bigger threat, Amanda instead said that Parvati had "played a very aggressive, bold game" and earned her respect by standying by her throughout the entire game. Amanda added while she also respected Cirie, Parvati made "bolder decisions" and was "kind of the powerhouse" in making those decisions happen. Neither response seemed to go over well with either Cirie or the jury.
Parvati then said Cirie played a "pretty brilliant" game that was a little more under the radar than her own. In addition, Parvati said it would have been difficult for either her or Amanda to compete for the jury's vote against Cirie because she has three children.
Ozzy was the last jury member to face Amanda and Parvati. He said he was "hurt" by Parvati's "great move" to blindside him.
"I never in a million years thought that you could do that to me," he said. "You put a price on our friendship. You threw us away like garbage. It hurts. It really does hurt. How can you say you're a role model when you're willing to discard a valuable friendship like that."
Ozzy didn't even give Parvati a chance to talk.
"Honestly the hardest part for me was the fact that you took away 14 days that I could have spent with Amanda," continued Ozzy to Parvati, adding he was never faking his feelings for Amanda.
"I honestly feel like I started to fall in love with you. I'm glad I didn't win Cook Islands so that I could be here and meet you."
The eight jury members then cast their votes, with Parvati winning by the aforementioned margin.
During the subsequent live reunion show, Jeff revealed James had won the "Survivor of the Season" text message/cbs.com vote that allowed home viewers to award $100,000 to one of the season's castaways. James had also won Survivor: China's "Survivor of the Season" $100,000 prize.
In addition, Jeff also confirmed recent online rumors that Survivor's Fall 2008 seventeenth season will be set in Gabon, a west-central African country along the equator that borders Guinea, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea.