One of the most common and fascinating categorisations of Survivor players is based on whether they are viewed as a hero or a villain. Survivor is a show built around highlighting these two sides and showing the inner conflict contestants face when making tough moral decisions. While some players seem to easily fit the mould of one particular camp, others are more difficult to place definitively. In today's feature article Ozlet Alex Morella looks at whether Survivor's most recent winner Mike Holloway best fits the category of Hero or Villain. Read on to find out!
It’s kind of a basic question that can be loaded with answers and make Survivor fans get really annoyed, is someone a hero or a villain? Usually the answer isn’t simple and clear, and can change depending on actions throughout the game, as well as how everyone acted around you, but that’s a safe, political answer that really is no fun! So let’s look at Mike, our most recent member of the winner’s club, and where he would classify in this group.
For those that think it’s still too difficult, just think of it as if there was a season of Heroes vs Villains 2, where would you want to place Mike? I personally feel he has demonstrated tendencies for both sides of the plate, so it really could swing either way depending what is argued. I know the Ozcars had Mike nominated as a hero, and that is a widely held view, but I think he can absolutely be justified as one of the villains of the season due to the way the season played out, who he aligned with and who he aligned against, and some of his actions throughout the season, but I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s look at Mike, the ‘Merican hero!
The Case For A Hero
Mike Overcame The Odds
It’s a simple concept that brings up many heroes, they overcome the odds of evil or other players to win their way into our hearts! The heroes beat the villains, they stand up for what they believe in, and they come from difficult situations to upset the odds and the bookies for what is a fairytale finish!
Ok, so maybe that is a tad dramatic! But the concept remains, Mike has overcome the odds, from around the Final 7, 8, or 6, I don’t know…somewhere around there! Mike burnt all his bridges, and lost anyone who was showing support for him. His only way to survive was to win immunity! And he did that a lot, because SPOILER ALERT – He won! He won every immunity challenge he needed to, and used his idol on the one he didn’t! So he was safe the whole way, how nice! Without that, he doesn’t win, and that run is one of the true heroes! Tom Westman and Coldy Donaldson conjured up similar runs, as did Fabio, who may not be a hero like the above 2 icons of Survivor, but he won, and by god we were all delighted for it!
So Mike satisfies that category, he was against 6 people by himself, and he overcame them all, they all wanted him out! That’s so heroic!
Of course that’s not all!
Mike Stood Up To The Bullies
Ok that’s a sensationalist headline, but bear with me, there is a reason for that! Mike was the saviour who stood up to the cruel and unreasonable Will, to defend Shirin from the horrors of bad words! In reality, Mike told Will to shut up when Will went on a verbal tirade when no one else did, so it is standing up to a bully that was a dead fish? Either way, it’s damn noble! And we heard about this, for the rest of the season, how heroic it was to stand up to Will, and how much it meant to Shirin, and you could see it did! It was built up to a ridiculous level, but it was a strong statement to make, even if it was a small thing, like just putting a jacket around a small boy, to show him the world hadn’t ended. Ok that was batman, but same sentiment, a small action results in a huge change, and it made Mike a true hero to Shirin, and to many viewers. I don’t remember seeing a huge amount of it when Lindsay was fighting with Rodney, but we’ll leave that for another day.
Mike Is A True ‘Merican
Hard working ‘Mericans are always love by all! Mike is no exception! This oil worker is a loving Christian who looks to find the best in people. Everyone loves that story! He worked hard around camp, ate a scorpion, and he told those that didn’t work hard to get cracking! He worked hard, and played hard, and ultimately was rewarded for this tough style! A true proud American!
Mike Had A Happy Dance
Ok, a small point, you don’t show villains doing a happy dance! So there’s that!
So Mike was courageous and heroic, but could some of the actions and edit define him as a villain instead of a hero?
The Case For A Villain
That Dastardly Move!
The auction move by Mike will go down as one of the most villainous moves of all time! Which is one clear reason why I think Mike can be defined as a villain! Basically, Mike used people’s affection and loved ones to get further, how manipulative! You saw the hurt on Dan and Caroline’s face, and the reaction of that, and the immediate ostracising of him showed how much of an effect that had on everyone! He went from being the leader of a crucial alliance, to being unwelcome around camp! And more than that, he made Dan, Caroline, Rodney and his whole alliance, who had really been the ‘bad guys’ of the season, look like they were the victims of a terribly evil plot! And we felt sad for them, I can’t think of many of us who would be brave enough to do that!
Mike Was Part Of The ‘Bad Guys’ Alliance
Mike was the leader of a bad guys alliance, which is what I see as the other key point against him! Let’s look at his alliance briefly, and judge them by their edit:
Dan – Definite bad guy
Rodney – Bad Guy
Caroline – Seemed like a bad girl (could go either way)
Will – Bad Guy
Tyler and Sierra – meh
So there’s a key contingent of the season’s major cast, of who Mike was aligned with since the very early days, and then the merge, up until the auction, and you’d consider these people to not be the good guys, I mean the Survivor universe seemed to thoroughly dislike Dan, yet he was Mike’s closest ally, so…it does make Mike very guilty by association, even before you look at some of the fact of how his alliance played the game, in a very ‘bad guys’ fashion. That’s not a bad thing, Mike played similar to Boston Rob for a long time in the way he knew everything that was going on, it just fell away at the end!
He Took Out The Good Guys
Ok, so for Mike and Dan to be the bad guys, someone had to be the good guys. Enter Joe, Hali and Jenn (and Shirin I guess), the No Collars who were the ones loved by the fans! They were happy, they were exciting, they were good looking, fun-loving, and they were the underdogs! Everyone loves a hero story, and Mike and his alliance quickly stamped that out! It was brutal, ruthless, without mercy, and everything that a good alliance does! It certainly wasn’t heroic though was it?
Basically, the viewer favourite in superstar Joe was shot down, and I don’t know many people who really were happy about that, there was a lot of disappointment, not really only because of the way the season went, but that particular move showed us we didn’t want Mike and his side to win really, we wanted Joe and Jenn and Hali and Shirin to make a crazy comeback, it was nice to see a Mike comeback when he was out of it, but let’s face it, it was just an ok substitute for what we really wanted to see!
He Threw A Challenge To Help The Other Tribe
My fourth small point (I felt 4 for each was necessary) was that he blatantly cost his tribe a challenge to save Kelly! It was ballsy and brave yes, but it was certainly a little bit dastardly, to send your own tribe to tribal, we saw Drew do that in the season before, and we know how we think about him! It’s not the greatest look.
So there are the arguments, it could go either way! I personally voted for Mike as the Best Villain in the past 2 seasons as he:
- Took down any other alliance that stood in his way
- While is a nice person, was not well supported by the Survivor public who wanted a different underdog (this may have changed when he was at the bottom but it felt more like the dethroning of a villain)
- Played a strong leader-based game that was polarising to viewers!
I know the rest of the Survivor Oz fanbase put him as a hero though, and I know Mike and many of the cast would probably agree, so it creates a fascinating little situation!
Whether hero or villain, Mike won, it was a fantastic comeback, and I guess we’ll only find out if he returns for Heroes vs Villains 2*
*Not confirmed, may never happen but…come on! Of course we want to see it eventually!
Did you consider Mike as a hero or a villain while watching his game? What points sway your opinion? Comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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