Is Mike Holloway a Hero or a Villain?


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!

survivor-worlds-apart-winner-mike-hollowayHe won this a lot

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.

It looks heroic with a bike!

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!

Mike4‘Merican shorts!

Mike Had A Happy Dance

Ok, a small point, you don’t show villains doing a happy dance! So there’s that!

He did it after he found this amongst other times!

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!Mike7

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!

You can just sense the evil!

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!

Mike9Not these two!!! We loved these two!!!!

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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15 Comments on Is Mike Holloway a Hero or a Villain?

  1. Mike is a total hero! The points you listed for hero trump those you listed for villain and even some of those you listed for villain (throwing a challenge) actually seem heroic to me, he threw the challenge to help his biggest ally, which is a truly heroic move. #MikeIsABigHero

  2. A hero in survivor is someone who works hard at camp does well in challenges and sticks with their alliance till the bitter end.

    A villain in survivor is someone who is out for themselves is not a good challenge asset for their tribe or alliance and who will flip and back stab their own alliance to make it farther in the game.

    Mike was a hero is every since and was the biggest hero since Rupert in season 7.
    Rodney was the biggest villain this season by far.

  3. Too many exclamation points.

    Interesting and pretty well-reasoned article though. I consider throwing the challenge more a hero move, though, since it was to save his biggest ally.

    I’d say he was certainly edited to look like a hero, but I don’t really consider him one. Maybe that’s just because I’m not the biggest fan of his win. #CarolynWasRobbed

  4. I would prefer to see an all winners season before heroes v villains 2, but mike would definately be put in the heroes tribe (cbs and merica love him. partly based on the edit)

  5. smilingldsgirl // August 3, 2015 at 1:28 pm // Reply

    I see your points but he’s a hero in my eyes.

  6. Even though I loved this season, I just couldn’t wait for it to end. Why? Because the entire thing was the Mike show. It was just so much. And if there was an all winners season, I hope that he wouldnt dominate the edit the way he did this season.

  7. Everyone was unhappy when Joe went out? Speak for yourself, Alex! BeigeMalcolm was my least favourite contestant this season; I require my players to have a personality.

    Mike was 100% edited as a hero. I can see the arguments that he was a villain but I think most of them don’t quite add up (particularly the challenge throwing thing – despite what Jeff Probst and Eliza say, throwing a challenge isn’t always a villainous or dumb move). Interesting to hear points from the other side, though!

    • RB Liljestrom // August 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm // Reply

      Couldn’t agree more about throwing challenges to enhance your numbers. It’s a no-brainer. You should never do it early in the game to get rid of a tribe mate you don’t like. (ie. the dickheads getting rid of Russell on Redemption Island) Mike’s a hero. Shirin’s the real villain but was saved by a very favorable edit. Nice article Alex.

      • How is Shirin a villain? She did gotten a good edit but that was only after the merge.

  8. You made good points but I still think he’s a hero.

  9. survivornerd // August 5, 2015 at 2:54 pm // Reply

    I still think really the only villainous thing he did was what he did at the auction. He took out the good guys and the bad guys, but I think he is a hero.

  10. I think he is an anti-hero. A hero but not really the traditional hero.

  11. Mike truly is Batman

  12. Every point about him being a villain has major holes in it.
    1. He never actually went through with the move. That moment was way overblown.
    2. Everyone can be viewed as bad guy from a certain perspective. Joe and Jenn certainly were the villains to Nina. Really the only true villain mike alligned with was Rodney. Dan was just an ignorant and awkward man and Will had 1 bad moment where he lost his temper. After that Will did nothing. Mike was aligned with who he had to.
    3. He threw a challenge to save his ally and get rid of an enemy. He risked his OWN game (albeit was to help himself in the future) to save an ally. How is that a villainous move?

    I really don’t think anyone can win survivor now and not have glimpses of being a villain unless they just ride coattails the entire time like Natalie White. Bottom Line: Mike’s a hero.

  13. Mike is a hero that played a villains game.

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