HOLLYWOOD—It was back on February 17 that “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” premiered and I surely became hooked to the latest installment in the franchise, just like “Survivor: Cambodia” which was responsible for reinvigorating my interest in this series that became a guilty pleasure some 15 years ago. SPOILERS: Stop reading if you have not yet watched the episode.

After 39 days, the jury crowned a winner who was none other than MICHELE! Take a moment to let that decipher, because it shocked me a bit to say the least. Let’s examine a bit regarding the chaos that led up to Michele walking away with $1 million.

With only four contestants left after Joe became the latest casualty of a medical evaluation, it really was anyone’s game with four power players, all equally deserving of the top prize as sole survivor. I mean Cydney, Tai, Michele and Aubry have all played great games and made moves that have been instrumental in game-changing moments and blindsides that have kept one hooked.

Tai who was in perhaps one of the best places in the game is now without an idol, so vulnerability is at its core. It’s Tai and Aubry against Michele and Cydney, so immunity is crucial for the final four to make it to the next stage in the game. Note: this is considering that we’re looking at a final three and not a final two. Cydney was in a perfect position, everyone wanted to utilize her which made strategizing that much more difficult in my opinion.

I was kind of stunned to see that ‘reward’ challenges were still in the midst considering that I was more interested in seeing who would be next to be voted out. It was Aubry in the end who finally won her first reward challenge and she used strategy to bring Cydney along to solidify her relationship. Back at camp, it became apparent that Michele and Tai were looking for a way to make a bold move to ensure they stayed in the game. Hmm, interesting transition, and Michele considered that Aubry was a bigger threat and it was time to take her out.

It became a battle of endurance during an immunity challenge that would certainly give viewers an inclination of where things could be headed in the game. Aubry had a comfortable lead in the game, and it was a battle between Tai and Aubry, as Cydney and Michele did their best to play catch-up. Once again it would be a puzzle that would determine safety or possible elimination. Looks like Tai and Michelle are neck and neck for victory. Can’t believe that Aubry who had a strong lead, fell behind and Michele delivered a knockout punch that I never saw coming. Hmm, looks like a power player is about to be ousted, the question is who, because allies are about to start backstabbing to survive.

It was great to see the opportunity of a tie that would result in the person who can make fire to ensure their safety. However, I’m getting the vibe that Tai wants to take out Aubry and it could very well happen. Michele guaranteed Cydney that she wasn’t going anywhere, so I have the perception that because Aubry is the most obvious choice to be booted, this could mean that someone else is going out. Aubry get that brain of yours cooking so that you can switch the tables in your favor.

Tribal Council was indeed one fun mess, where Aubry used persuasion and idle threats of how the jury might determine the winner in ways that may not be as visible to the others. When the votes were revealed, my fav and the underdog Aubry wasn’t sent to the jury, but it was a tie! Aubry and Cydney! Wow, Tai chose to side with his pal Aubry, which meant Cydney and Aubry had to make fire to stay in the game. This is nuts, Aubry looked certain to win, but her fire dissipated and Cydney had a chance, but Aubry reignited her fire to ensure her safety and Cyd was sent packing. Gosh, I love Cyd that much more because the emotion was genuine.

With Tai, Aubry and Michele left, it was obvious that Michele was on the outs yet again, but in the game of “Survivor” expect the unexpected people because the final immunity challenge was actually an opportunity for the finalist to vote out a jury member to prevent them from casting a vote. Hmm, that is quite powerful people, and Michele picked up yet another win. So we are indeed dealing with a final three, where 7 people will determine the victor.

Aubry has a few potentials, which I don’t think Michele and Tai have considered. Michele think wise, cause you want to ensure you take out a person to sway that you get 3 votes; that’s all you need to win. The jury was stunned by the reveal that one of them would be booted and not in attendance when the vote kicked off. Michele decided that it was Neal who was sent packing and he had some crazy words for Michelle that I didn’t expect. The final Tribal Council saw Michele, Tai and Aubry plead their cases, just as the jury lit a fire under them with tough questions.

Michele was quite persuasive in her response to Julia’s question about her level of gameplay. Jason grilled Tai on his level of betrayal. Scot was quite animated and rude in his demeanor towards the final three. He was more about getting the last laugh than actually presenting questions to make a million dollar decision. Aubry gave a rousing final speech that I thought showed she played a better game than Tai and Michele. Tai used emotion, as did Michele, who used waterworks as a way to get some sympathy from the jury.

After 2 hours of waiting, the viewers finally got the opportunity to see the winner crowned with Michele earning 5 votes compared to Aubry who received 2. I must say, I’m not happy with those results, I think Aubry played a much better game, but the jury might have been a bit bitter or just didn’t consider strategy and gameplay as vital elements in crowing a winner. Looks like “Survivor” is tackling millennials versus Gen X for its next season. This should indeed be interesting.