When Michael is invited to interview for a position at Dunder-Mifflin corporate headquarters in New York City, he decides to hold a Survivor-like competition at Lake Scranton to determine his successor.
Michael selects the "tribe" captains (Jim, Dwight, Andy and Stanley), and instructs Pam to take detailed notes on the events of the day. Initially unaware of the purpose of the exercise, the employees do not all take it seriously. Once the job in New York is revealed, Andy and Dwight step up their efforts, Stanley tries to be enthusiastic but gives up, and Jim decides to interview for the same position that Michael is pursuing. Karen also applies for the position.
To support her secret lover Dwight, Angela sabotages Andy, leaving him adrift in the lake in an inflatable sumo wrestling costume.
Michael's final event is a walk across hot coals. Initially, no one volunteers, and Michael cannot even bring himself to do it. Dwight throws himself on the coals, refusing to leave until he is given the job, and he writhes in agony until he is dragged off.
As a last-ditch effort to salvage the day, Michael assembles a "Tribal Council" stand-up comedy competition. Jim declines to participate, and reveals that he has applied for the position in New York. Separated from the group, a barefoot Pam runs across the hot coals and, empowered by the experience, interrupts the Tribal Council to berate her colleagues for treating her poorly, citing as one example that almost no one attended her art show. She tells Jim that she called off her wedding because of him, that it is "fine" that he is with someone else now, but that she misses the fun that they had as best friends. As she runs to cool her feet in the water, all eyes turn to Jim who is now in a blank stare, shaken by the confession.