"Trial by Fire"
Michael in Pain
Episode Information
Version: United States
Season: The Australian Outback
Episode Number: 6/16 (020)
Original Release: March 1, 2001
Viewership (in millions): 31.32[1]
Ratings/Share (18-49): 13.7/34 Summary: Link
Episode Chronology
Previous: "The Gloves Come Off"
Next: "The Merge"

Trial by Fire is the sixth episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback.


Day 16

Thunderstorms dampen the Kucha tribes clothes, but not their spirit. The tribe still had a 6-5 member advantage over the rival tribe Ogakor. The tribe is looking forward to the merge, knowing that if they win the next Immunity Challenge, they will ll be able to pick off the Ogakors one by one.

On Ogakor, Jerri and Amber fawn over the foods they miss from home, particularly chocolate. Jerri and Keith later get into an argument about tomatoes, continuing to bicker "like two alley cats scratching at each other," according to Colby. Tina, annoyed with their bickering, snaps and tells them to stop, and warns them they will both get time-out if they continue to bicker. Meanwhile, Kucha has found a new source of food—chicken feed, which they discover tastes like popcorn. Everyone is happy to learn that the next challenge promises a food reward. They name the new delicacy "Kucha Corn."

Day 17

The challenge requires one member of each tribe to lead the others—who are blindfolded—through a series of tasks. Ogakor's Jerri and Kucha's Nick are the eyes for their tribes. Ogakor has the lead heading down the final stretch, but a blindfolded Amber veers off track, resulting in a photo-finish which Kucha wins by a hair. They eagerly take home Doritos and Mountain Dew. Everything seems to be going Kucha's way. But soon, it all goes up in flames—literally. As most of the tribe relaxes back at camp, a scream suddenly rings out. The tribe mates take notice of Mike, who is writhing and screaming in pain.

Mike splashes into the water. Between screams, he reveals that he inhaled too much smoke and passed out—directly into the fire. His hat kept his face safe, but he severely burned his hands and shoulder. Mike's tribe mates try to help him, but he remains in a state of desperate pain.

The Survivor medical team rushes in and immediately calls for Mike to be airlifted out. The medics wrap cold bandages around Mike's hands and load him onto a stretcher. Before Mike is taken away, his tribe mates gather around him. Mike tearfully says goodbye to his team. "I'm looking at some brave, beautiful people who I have grown to love so much," are his last words before leaving. The helicopter takes off, and Mike is gone.

Day 18

Ogakor receives news in Tree Mail about an accident and an evacuation at Kucha camp. They learn that there will be no Immunity Challenge that day, and that all five of them will make it to the merge. Although relieved, they were completely shocked and saddened to hear the news, making this result bittersweet. Back at Kucha, the still shell-shocked tribe realizes the numbers are no longer in their favor, but they remain determined to win the game in Mike's honor. "We're going to eat them up and spit them out, and that's the way Mike would want it to be," Jeff promises. Ten castaways remain.


Reward Challenge: Blind Leading the Blind
The tribes will select one member of each team to act as their "eyes" while the other members are blindfolded. Sitting atop two towers, the "eyes" must guide their blindfolded tribe members through a series of obstacles, such as: stacking wooden beams and filling up buckets of water. The first tribe to successfully complete the course wins.
Reward: Mountain Dew and Doritos.
Winner: Kucha

Tribal Council

Removed from Camp
S2 michael bw
Michael Skupin

Final Words

You don't want to leave. The longer you're here, the longer you want to stay here. And it's not even about winning as much as playing. The winning will be anticlimactic. The playing is where it is for me.

Michael Skupin

Still in the Running

S2 debb bw
S2 kel bw
S2 maralyn bw
S2 mitchell bw
S2 kimmi bw
S2 michael bw
S2 alicia t
S2 amber t
S2 colby t
S2 elisabeth t
S2 jeff t
S2 jerri t
S2 keith t
S2 nick t
S2 rodger t
S2 tina t


  • Before Michael's accident when coming back from commercial break, a warning screen was shown to state that viewer discretion was advised.
  • Michael's accident became the show's first major injury and medical evacuation.
  • This episode was the first in which an Immunity Challenge and Tribal Council did not take place.
  • This is, so far, the only episode where an elimination took place outside the presence of Jeff Probst.
  • This is the only episode in which producer Mark Burnett appears onscreen.
  • This episode was voted the 9th best Survivor episode of all time in the "Top 25 Greatest Episodes of all time" poll by Survivor Oz in 2015.