Survivor: Micronesia - Fans Vs Favorites
A Lost Puppy Dog
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
April 6, 2008

She's a flip-flopper.

Hello, good people, and welcome back from a long layoff to Survivor: Micronesia. Since last we spoke, we're down to the Final Four, Kansas hasn't choked yet, baseball season started and the networks are FINALLY getting new episodes of hit shows back on the air. Since it's been a while and we had the rare week off from Survivor, let's recap where we are at this point. In the past two episodes, we've lost four Survivors - Jonathan to med evac, Kathy to crazy evac and Chet and Tracy have both been jettisoned from the Malakal tribe. Despite winning every immunity challenge since the Tribal Switch, Airai finds their advantage still only at one. Airai has six people remaining: James, Parvati, Eliza, Alexis, Natalie and Jason. Malakal has five people left: Ozzy, Amanda, Cirie, Ami and Erik. My quick math tells me that we have seven favorites left against only four fans. It's safe to say that the fans better start integrating themselves into these tribes soon or this show will be Survivor: Micronesia - Fans.

Everyone is starting to get tense around camp as the merge approaches. Ozzy is being seen as a huge threat and Ami has been plotting to dump him for a couple weeks now, but she can't seem to rally the fans to get behind her. Meanwhile, Ozzy has taken Erik under his wing and done his best to make him Ozzy Jr. Despite her claims that she's not, Amanda has not shown anything to indicate that she is anything but an Ozzy pawn, which essentially means that Ozzy has three votes in his pocket and the likelihood of Ami or Cirie being able to turn the tables at this point is very low. When you throw in the fact that Ozzy is also sporting the Hidden Immunity Idol, he looks to be long for this game, as long as his arrogance doesn't get the best of him.

Over at Malakal, James and Parvati are pretty much running the show, but the previews seem to indicate that Parvati may make a move behind the big guy's back with the other ladies on the tribe. We've seen very little of Natalie and Alexis so it's hard to say where they're at. What we do know is that they were prepared to follow Joel down one of the dumber paths in Survivor history, so for me, their gamesmanship is still heavily in question. Jason found Ozzy's fake immunity idol and is riding pretty high because of it. Poor Eliza has some of the worst luck I've ever seen on this show. First she hitches herself to Fairplay who flakes out and leaves after three days. Then she hitches up to Cirie who promptly lies to her alliance's face and dumps Yau Man. Then she gets the gift of the switch and is sent to chucklenut beach, only to lose her biggest ally to a freak leg accident. As it is, the puzzle queen is an island out there and relying on winning challenges to stay alive. However, Eliza is whip smart and if the rest of Airai knows what's good for them, they'll try to take her out before she can make a move.

Okay, does everyone feel more caught up now? I know I do. So, the previews promise us a possible all-girl alliance on Airai and an Erik injury that may result in our second med evac in three shows. I, for one, can't wait for this episode to get underway, so without further ado...

We begin at Malakal after the Tracey vote. Erik tells us that he's lucky to still be there, but he's the last fan left and he'll likely be the next to go no matter what. They begin to discuss whether or not Ozzy is the leader of the tribe. He tells us that he thinks he has a lot of good opinions and know-how, but he's not the leader. He also feels like he has a giant target on his back and he's doing what he can to avoid that. Cue the opening...

Coming out of the break, we join Ami and Cirie apparently on the hunt. Armed with machetes, they appear to be crab hunting, and Ami is successful. Woo hoo! Or something. And so they bring them back and cook them up and then get joined by Amanda where they celebrate eating something not caught by Ozzy. Speaking of which, we join Ozzy talking to Ami later on. He's talking about Tribal being annoying and she tells him not to let it get to him. He's concerned that people will start to want to get rid of him now. Ami told him that Tracy was just doing anything in her power to stay in the game and get him out of it. She then tells him that she was approached by Tracy and did everything she could to keep him in the game. He tells us what she said and says that Ami is a little too adamant about it and he's feeling uneasy about her.

At the nine-minute mark, we make our first trip over to Airai to see what's up over there. They're talking about food. Pizza, nachos, etc. Which has Jason looking for other food sources. And for the first time since Season One of Survivor, a Survivor catches, kills, cooks and then eats a rat. Parvati tells us that Jason has really been trying to impress the Favs since they got there, but it's not working on her. I can only assume he's not cute enough for her or something.

Next up are James and Parvati complaining about being there. They want to go back to Malakal. James tells us that you could live on Malakal beach, but this place is where they send the criminals. The conversation then turns to missing Amanda and James tells us the original alliance was he, Parvati, Ozzy, Amanda and Cirie. James is worried about Alexis and Natalie making the merge and hooking up with Ami and Eliza. So Parvati makes a move to talk to Natalie. She suggests that Natalie and Alexis join her and James through the merge. At the merge, she suggests that the guys will be the targets and that they can pick up Amanda with the three girls and run that to the final four. Parvati tells us that as much as she loves James and Ozzy, she doesn't want to go up against them and that she might be best off running with the all-girl alliance 'til the end.

We come back from break to the Airai tribe getting some tree mail. The note says that for today's challenge, they must select someone from the other tribe to skip the challenge, go to Exile Island and get an individual immunity that will be good for tonight's Tribal Council only. Eliza is freaked at this. First the mention of Tribal that night, second because they choose someone to be immune and you can expect that Malakal got the same note.

We go over to Malakal to see their reaction. Ozzy reads a note that suggests the challenge is a balancing challenge and the winner will be immune and get a feast. They try to figure out who the best balancer is. Erik tells us that he is hoping Airai picks him.

Probst sighting! First off, both tribes hand over their sealed choices to Jeff. Jeff opens them and the choices are Ozzy from Malakal and Alexis for Airai. So, Alexis and Ozzy take off to Exile Island with individual immunity in their pockets. Today's challenge will have one member at a time navigating an obstacle course while the other tribe swings heavy bags at them trying to knock them off. Once they make it through the course, they'll get a flag and try to make their way back. If they fall off, they have to make their way back to the start and the next person will go. First tribe to get five flags wins. Not only do they win immunity, but they'll win a pizza and beer party at their camp. Airai chooses to sit out Parvati and we're ready to go.

It's Eliza and Jason running the course against Erik and Amanda. Erik takes off like a bat out of hell and gets through with little trouble. Jason is right behind him. Erik makes it back with the first flag, as does Jason. Eliza and Amanda both fall off which sends Jason and Erik back out. Erik and Jason are having very little trouble with this. Both make it back with the second flag. Eliza gets knocked off and Amanda does pretty well. As Amanda goes to get the third flag, Jason starts to catch up. Both Amanda and Jason get back and we're tied 3-3. Eliza and Erik are back on the course and both make it to the flags. Both of them get back to make it a 4-4 tie. Jason takes off and Erik heads back out and absolutely crushes himself into the platform. While it didn't look as bad as it did in the preview, it still looked pretty rough. As Erik heads back onto the course, Jason gets back with the fifth flag and sends Malakal to Tribal Council yet again.

We come back to visit the Malakal tribe and they talk to Erik about how he is from the fall. He says he's pretty hurt. And it appears that aside from the painful ribs, we're playing "It's anyone but Erik." Ami tells us she sees no way he'll stick around.

And to the Airai tribe, we get back to hear Jason bragging about how he was the MVP today. But, he tells us that he's very nervous right now, even though he has the hidden idol. Parvati tells us that Jason and Eliza saved each other today because they both know they're on the outs. Shortly after that, they get a delivery of pizza, bread sticks and beer. James uses his teeth to open the beers. Jason tries, but fails. So James hooks him up.

Over at Exile, Ozzy and Alexis are looking for the hidden idol. Ozzy's doing his best to pretend like he doesn't have it. He also wants to find out if someone found his fake idol, so he and Alexis go on the hunt. As they get to the place where the idol should be, Ozzy sees that there's nothing there, so he's pretty excited to see that someone found and kept his fake idol.

We come back to Malakal, as Cirie and Amanda are discussing why their team can't win. Talk turns to Erik. Amanda talks about remembering when he body slammed her a few challenges ago. Meanwhile, Erik's using his newfound skills to get some coconuts and tells us that he's just nuts that he's so close to the next level and it appears that he's got nothing going for him. So he approaches Cirie and Amanda about Ami. He tells them that Ami's been trying to hook something up with Airai since they got there. Which, of course, puts a different idea in Cirie and Amanda's head. Amanda comes back with "But after the merge, you're gonna go right back to Airai." Cirie tells us that Erik is trying to save his own ass, but that Ami can't be least by her. Ami joins the conversation by saying to Erik, "Are you telling them everything since Day One?" "Trying to."

We come back from break to where else but the Malakal tribe. Ami is talking to Cirie and Amanda and telling them that she would be doing the same thing Erik's doing if she was in his position. She tells them that she's stuck by them 100% and always will. Cirie feels that either vote will be risky. She's worried about Erik joining up with the rest of the fans. But she thinks Ami might do the same thing. As they talk more, Ami pleads her case that she is always the last one to be talked to about anything. She tells them that she wants to stick with them and be part of them, but no one ever comes to her to let her know that she is part of them. Amanda tells us she thinks they might be safer with Ami and her lies then with Erik, who they don't know very well at all. Kind of a better off with the devil you know kind of thing. Next up is Ami talking to Erik. She tells him that they all had a good talk and she feels like she's part of the group now and she thanks him for that...weird move, if you ask me. Erik tells us that he wants to talk to Ozzy before he gets too bummed out.

Naturally, Erik is out there to meet Ozzy when he lands and breaks the news that they lost. He gets with Ozzy and starts throwing Ami under the bus again. He goes through the whole story all over again. Erik tells Ozzy that he is voting for Ami tonight and he'd like Ozzy to back him up. Ozzy tells us that since Ami made a move against him, he wants her gone. As Amanda and Ozzy talk, Amanda is trying to sway Ozzy toward Ami by saying that she doesn't trust Erik. She knows what Ami's all about and she would rather go up against what she knows. I have to say, as they head to Tribal, it's not looking good for my girl.

As the tribe gets to Tribal, Jeff rubs it in that this is the fourth time in a row. He starts with Cirie by mentioning that it's clear that they are the inferior tribe. She says that it's horrible and it sucks around camp. He asks Erik about the fact that the Fans are going one by one. He says that he realizes it and is pretty bummed about it. Jeff moves on to Ozzy and he confirms that the Favorites have had an alliance but that all of a sudden, the Favorites that are at the bottom start playing the Fans and playing both sides. Naturally, he's talking about Ami. He says that he's starting to realize that certain things aren't the way they seem. Jeff points out that Ami is tearing up and she says that it's obvious that Ozzy is talking about her. He comes back with, "Why would you say that?" She says because she knows that Erik has been running around playing both sides. She says that she could have gone with the Fans on the first vote but didn't and now that she finally feels like part of the group, Ozzy can just dismiss her as not trustworthy.

Ozzy comes back by asking her how they made her feel like she wasn't part of the group. She says that she hasn't felt like she's part of the tribe and that they never included her on the decision. Ozzy asks her straight up if she was gunning for him. She says that she told Erik and Tracy that to give them a good feeling around camp and that there was no way she would have ever voted for him. Jeff moves on to Cirie. He says that it would be easy to just stay the course and dump the last Fan. But Ami throws the whole thing into question. Cirie says that the Favorites all gave a lot of respect for each other and that there's a bit of a feeling that they're the home team and you don't want a visitor to come in and win. She finishes by saying that she'll just have to go with her gut feeling. Next is Amanda, what part of you wants to believe Ami. She says that she thinks Ami is a very good person and she wants to believe her. Ozzy's take is that he really wants to trust Ami. Ami comes back with a statement that she can't believe that he doesn't trust her. Next up, Jeff asks Erik why they should believe his story. He says he has no other option and that he will tell the truth and hopefully they'll see that Ami can't be trusted. He then asks Ami why they should trust her. She says that the tribe has so much to do and she wants to fight together. She says that she looked into their eyes and they should be able to trust her. She says she wants to keep Parvati and James in and even Eliza. She offers to give them everything she has to give to stay with the tribe. Will it be enough? It's time to vote.

We see Ami's vote for Erik saying that he's a good guy. We see Cirie take a long time to vote, but we don't see for whom. We then see Erik's vote for Ami saying that she's an awesome person and he hates that it had to come to this. The last vote is Ozzy's and he seems to take a long time to write as well. And with that, Jeff's going to tally the votes. First vote: Ami. Second vote: Erik. Third vote: Ami. And with that, my favorite girl becomes the eighth person voted out of Survivor: Fans Vs Favorites. Well, that sure sucked. While we got rid of the dead weight of Tracy/Chet/Kathy, but we've also lost Penner and Ami in the last three weeks and I'm just not cool with that.

Okay, with the agony of that vote behind me, it's time for my weekly quest to flood CBS's inbox with requests, nay, demands to get a REAL fan on the show for one of the next two seasons. I think it's been shown that this crop of "fans" have been less than stellar and that they need someone who studies the game, not someone who just "really, really likes" it. So, please take a second and send a quickie comment, with a link to this column to the CBS Feedback Forum. Feedback. And CBS, when you wisely decide to contact me about being on a future season, you can feel free to do so at: vannestjc (at) gmail (dot) com.

Next time on Survivor: the tribes will merge, Amanda's claws come out and Alexis is the target, and after confiding in Eliza that he has the idol, Jason learns that he is sadly mistaken and his idol isn't real. At least he learns before Tribal! And with that kids, I'm out of here. Until next week, take care.