|"Trial by Fire"|
|Season:||The Australian Outback|
|Episode Number:||6/16 (020)|
|Original Release:||March 1, 2001|
|Viewership (in millions):||31.32|
|Previous:||"The Gloves Come Off"|
Trial by Fire is the sixth episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback.
Thunderstorms dampen the Kucha tribe's 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 be able to pick off the Ogakors one by one.
On Ogakor, Amber Brkich and Jerri Manthey fawn over the foods they miss from home, particularly chocolate. Jerri and Keith Famie later get into an argument about tomatoes, continuing to bicker "like two alley cats scratching at each other," according to Colby Donaldson. Tina Wesson, 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".
The Reward 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 Brown 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 takes notice of Michael Skupin, who is writhing and screaming in pain.
Michael 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. Michael's tribemates try to help him, but he remains in a state of desperate pain.
The medical team rushes in and immediately calls for Michael to be airlifted out. The medics wrap cold bandages around Michael's hands and load him onto a stretcher. Before Michael is taken away, his tribemates gather around him. Michael tearfully says goodbye to his tribe. "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 Michael is gone.
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 are completely shocked and saddened to hear the news, making this result bittersweet. Back at Kucha, the still shell-shocked tribe realizes that the numbers are no longer in their favor, but they remain determined to win the game in Michael'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 Varner 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. First, the blindfolded tribe members must place two logs between a sawhorse. Then, they must switch a pair of traps, one on the table, the other in the water. Next, they must grab a bucket and fill it with water. Then, they must place the water in a larger bucket. When the large bucket overflows, they must then place the picnic basket on the table with a barrel of Mountain Dew. The first tribe to successfully complete the course wins.
Reward: Doritos and Mountain Dew.
|Removed from Camp|
|“||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.||”|
Still in the Running
- Before Michael Skupin'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 neither an Immunity Challenge nor a Tribal Council took place.
- This is, so far, the only episode where an elimination took place outside the presence of host Jeff Probst.
- This is the only episode in which executive 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.
|Survivor: The Australian Outback Episodes|
"Stranded" · "Suspicion" · "Trust No One" · "The Killing Fields" · "The Gloves Come Off" · "Trial by Fire" · "The Merge" · "Friends?" · "The First 24 Days" · "Honeymoon or Not?" · "Let's Make a Deal" · "No Longer Just a Game" · "Enough Is Enough" · "The Final Four" · "The Most Deserving" · "Reunion"