Survivor Micronesia: Fans Vs. Favorites
If It Smells Like a Rat, Give it Cheese
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
May 14, 2008

Do you think Natalie would betray me? I doubt it. Don't you doubt it?

Hello, good people, and welcome to the second to last episode of Survivor: Micronesia. Previously on Survivor: James had a boo-boo, hence James was med-evac'd from the game. That meant Erik was last man standing, hence he had to go. Erik won immunity; hence the ladies were screwed and targeted Amanda. Amanda was sent to Exile Island; hence she found the hidden idol. Amanda played a phenomenal acting game at Tribal, hence everyone but Parvati voted for her. She played the hidden idol, hence Alexis was the third player in a row to be blindsided out of Tribal Council. Promos for tonight show that Erik is going to be pulled in all directions by the remaining ladies. The question is, will the kid be able to handle the pressure and continue to win challenges? Or will he wilt under the scrutiny and be sent packing? Let's get to it!

We begin the show after Tribal as Amanda explains to Cirie that she didn't have the idol when she told them she didn't have it. Cirie is feeling pretty much on edge, with all the surprises. The next morning we join Erik and Natalie talking about Amanda being a huge threat in the final three. They agree that she should be the next to go. Erik tells us that he's pissed at how Amanda made him feel like such a fool at Tribal. He and Natalie decide that they need the hidden idol, so they make a deal to send each other to Exile if they have the opportunity. Erik tells us that he really doesn't trust anybody, but he needs to pick sides here soon. And cue the theme...

We come back from break to see Cirie, Parvati and Amanda talking final three. Amanda feels very sure about Cirie's loyalty and that they'll go to the final three. They decide that one way or another, they need to keep Erik and Natalie off Exile Island. Cirie comes up with the idea that Amanda should try to work on Erik to NOT send Natalie if he wins reward. She goes to talk to him and right off the bat makes a deal that if either of them wins reward, they should take the other. She says that they're the two strongest players left and they should team up. Amanda tells Erik that Parvati is the perfect person to send to Exile as she has no intention of looking for the new hidden idol. Erik tells us that now that he's winning challenges, he's got Amanda and Natalie all over him for his support.

Probst Sighting!! Today's challenge is a Survivor Trivia quiz. Not just this season, but all of the 16 seasons. First one to answer four questions correctly wins reward. Today's reward will be a helicopter ride to a luxury resort for a massage and meal and overnight stay. Also, the winner will send someone to Exile Island and yes...there is another hidden idol. Let's get started.

Question 1: On which season of Survivor did a castaway have a pet snake? Answer: Pearl Islands. Rupert had a snake named Balboa. Cirie and Erik get this one right.

Question 2: On which season of Survivor did a shark bite a castaway and then the castaway bit it back? Answer: Richard Hatch did it on All-Stars. Natalie and Amanda get this one right.

Question 3: In which season of Survivor did a tribemate ask another tribemate to pee on their hand after being stung by a sea urchin? Answer: Marquesas. John asked Kathy to pee on his hand. Erik is the only one to get this one right.

Question 4: During which season of Survivor was one of the castaways evacuated after falling into the fire? Answer: Australia. Mike Skupin passed out into the fire. Erik, Cirie and Parvati get it right. Erik now has three points, one away from victory.

Question 5: During which season of Survivor did they first divide the castaways into four separate tribes? Answer: Exile Island. Oddly enough, that was Cirie's season. Cirie, Natalie and Erik get this one right. Erik wins reward.

First up, Erik skips over Natalie and sends Parvati to Exile Island. And now, Jeff asks, who are you taking with you on reward? Again, he skips over Natalie and honors his word to Amanda and takes her with him. As Cirie chuckles at how well Amanda is playing him, Natalie is shooting daggers out of her eyes as they head back to camp.

As Natalie and Cirie get back to camp, Natalie's still bitching. She's pissed that Erik didn't take her or send her to Exile. She tells Cirie that if Erik really wants Amanda gone, he should have sent her to Exile. Cirie chimes in that Erik is a weasel and you have no idea where his loyalty lies. Cirie tells us that she's purposely egging Natalie on just to watch her get mad. She says the only pleasure she's gotten out of losing the reward challenge is to watch Natalie stress out.

We next join Erik and Amanda on their helicopter ride as they fly over their beach where Cirie and Natalie are waving to them. The helicopter ride looks quite breathtaking, actually. Erik tells us that he just wanted to relax on this reward and with Natalie there would have been no relaxation at all. We next join them as they're getting their massages. Erik is in heaven, as he's never had a massage before or been to a spa before. As they eat dinner, he tells Amanda how uncomfortable it is for him to be in the middle of all these women trying to pull him in all these different directions. He says he's never been in a position like this before and has no idea how to handle it.

We take a quick flash over to Exile Island, where Parvati is frantically...laying out. No searching for the idol. She's just chilling out being comfortable. She tells us the only reason she's there is to prevent Natalie and Erik from getting the idol. Her alliance has the numbers, so she's golden whether she has an idol or not.

Back at Dabu Island, Erik and Amanda are returning to a very bitter camp. They don't even get greeted on the beach. They decide to downplay the reward. Cirie tells them to stop looking so pitiful; she knows the reward was fabulous. Natalie hasn't said a word or even looked at them. We next join Cirie coming to talk to Erik. He tells her that Natalie's pissed at him because he didn't take her with him or send her to Exile. And that if he wants to vote Amanda out, why did he take her? He says that no matter what he does, he's gonna piss off someone. Cirie asks him how he would do against Natalie or Amanda in the vote. He explains that he thinks maybe he, Parvati and Cirie should go to the final three. Of course, as he's telling her this, Natalie is standing right behind him the whole time. What a schmuck. Dude, you can't just sit in the middle of camp with a blind spot behind you and start talking about people. The beach ain't that big. So, this shifts Natalie's anger into overdrive. Think Denis Leary if he just watched the Red Sox lose to the Yankees in game seven and then realized he was out of smokes. Yep, she's that pissed.

We come back from break to see all the girls gathered around talking about Erik. As they discuss Erik's new plan for the final three, they decide he's the one to get rid of now. They laugh about how he's gone to each girl and made essentially the same deal. He sees them talking and he then tells us that he might have made a mistake. I'd say that you made a huge mistake, dude. He confirms everything with Amanda. She tells him he needs to pick a side pretty soon. He tells us that he knows no one trusts him and that immunity has become more important to him than ever. Speaking of which...

Probst sighting! We bring in Parvati from Exile Island and Jeff gets to the challenge. Today they will work to solve three puzzles. They will use coordinates to cross two ropes. Where those ropes intersect, if you dig into the sand, you'll find your puzzle pieces. Those pieces will make a puzzle showing you your next coordinates. Once you have dug up and assembled all three puzzles, you will win immunity and be guaranteed a spot in the final four. While I think he's kind of an idiot, I really want to see Erik win this one, just to see what the girls will do without their scapegoat vote.

They draw spots and Jeff begins the challenge. As everyone scatters with their ropes, Erik is the first to start digging. He comes up with pieces very quickly. Cirie is next up with her pieces. As she opens her bag, Amanda finds her pieces and Erik has solved the first puzzle. As he begins to dig, Cirie solves the puzzle and heads back out. Amanda solves her puzzle as Natalie finds her first set of pieces. Meanwhile, Erik is back to put together his second puzzle. As Erik begins to dig for his third set of pieces, Parvati finally finds her first set. Everyone else is still digging for their second. AT this point, Erik would have to be shot in the face to not win this challenge. A few seconds later, he completes the third puzzle and Erik wins immunity and a guaranteed spot in the final four.

And now it's time to play, "It's Anyone But Natalie." We come back from break and Erik is taking it easy while the girls gather to talk votes again. Cirie confirms for Natalie that she is likely to get the vote. They're all pissed about how he was scrambling the day before. Cirie says, "I wonder if he'd give Nat his necklace." They ask her if she can talk her into giving her the necklace. Cirie tells her to offer that if he gives her the necklace, he'd have redeemed himself and that she and Cirie would vote for Amanda. Natalie says she'll try it, but in her own words, "Who would fall for that? I feel stupid for even listening to you right now." She says that it's ridiculous but she'll try it. Cirie tells her to tell him the only way she'll vote Amanda is if she sees him protect Nat.

So, off Natalie goes to talk to Erik. She suggests to him that if he hands over the necklace, that he, Cirie and Natalie will vote for Amanda. He says he won't even consider that. He says that he doesn't see what the problem is of doing the same thing and he keeps the necklace. Natalie plays the "you don't have many jury votes and this could redeem you" card. Are you frickin' kidding me? Who could possibly fall for this load of shit? Erik says he needs to go talk to Cirie, which comes off more as a "get me out of this conversation" move than a strategic one. So off he goes to get Cirie's story.

Cirie tells him that she wants to see him give up the necklace. She says she doesn't trust him after the way he flew around the day before. She says she wants to see a sign from him that the plan is on. And if he hands over the necklace, that's a cue that the Amanda vote is on. She tells us that she thinks he's nibbling a little on it, but she's not feeling too confident. She sets one more act in motion with Amanda before they head out. She tells Amanda that if she and Parvati just blast him at Tribal and then Cirie and Natalie will not, it might be enough to push him over the edge to handing over the necklace. Erik comes up with the idea that he wants to change the vote to Parvati instead of Amanda. Natalie and Cirie agree as Cirie says that they have him on the hook. The question now is whether they'll be able to reel him in.

Tribal begins with Jeff asking about the Reward challenge. Erik tells Jeff that his taking Amanda was an offering of peace to help redeem himself with her. Jeff asks Parvati about her time on Exile. She says it was like a vacation for her. But when she came back, she heard about Erik running around making deals with everyone and then backing out of them...despite having immunity in his back pocket. Erik admits to what he was doing and that he was making a mistake. As he's saying that, Amanda lays into him all over again. That everything he's said to all of them is exactly the same and that no one believes him any more. Basically, Parvati and Amanda have the poor kid talking in circles. I half expect him to just get up and run out of Tribal crying. He is not handling this well at all. And I guarantee he's losing what little jury support he may have had.

Jeff asks him what it'll take to win this game. He says he has no idea what to do. He needs some kind of redemption before he can consider himself in the finals. Jeff asks Cirie is it matters if you redeem yourself. She says that she thinks it does matter. She says she thinks that you can redeem yourself and that it's important that you do. This whole speech from Cirie is masterful. He was on the hook back at camp. He took a bigger bite as Parvati and Amanda yelled at him. But as soon as Cirie was a friendly voice and didn't attack him, the hook has now been sunk. The next question will be whether or not Erik wants to keep immunity. I have to say, right now, it's 50/50 that he gives it up. This is nothing short of amazing. As Jeff asks about the necklace, Erik says, "...I wanna give individual immunity to Natalie." And there it is. Erik sunk his teeth into James' apple and at the same time, took James' crown as the dumbest Survivor to ever play the game. With that, it's time to vote.

For the first time ever, they actually show us all the votes. We see Erik vote for Parvati saying that he has to take a risk and hopes people keep their word. Next up is Natalie voting for Erik saying that she doesn't know what to say, but "Thank you." Amanda is up next voting for Erik. Cirie is up next with her Erik vote saying that her mother always told her that you may not be able to beat them with your muscles, but you always can with your head. Finally, Parvati sums it all up by saying, "You're crazy. You'll officially go down as the dumbest Survivor ever. In the history of Survivor. Ever." As Jeff reads the votes and the jury has a good laugh, it sinks in with Erik that not only is his time here done, but he went out in the dumbest possible manner. I mean, going home with two immunity idols in your pocket is pretty frickin dumb and it pales in comparison to this move. As he heads to have his torch put out, James celebrates losing his reign as the dumbest Survivor ever.

Now, there's not a whole lot left to say except what Jeff says next, "I think that's what's known as a life lesson." I have to be honest, it's hard for me to put into words how absolutely, devastatingly dumb this move was. So I'm not going to try. What I am going to do, however, is mention that this is yet another perfect reason why the producers of this show cannot be trusted to pick the cast. Any fan of the show should have known better than to do something that idiotic. Since I've been pushing all my readers to flood the CBS Feedback box with links to these columns and the request that they put a REAL fan on the show, I think I'll give my rendition of what Tribal Council should have gone like. It should have gone a little something like this...

As soon as Parvati and Amanda started laying into me, I'd have shut them down. "Ladies, here's the deal. You've been trying to get rid of me for a few days now. I'm the odd man out. My only shot to stay in this game is to either win immunity or find some way to break a new deal with one of you. I'm doing what anyone else in my position would do. Anything and everything I can to stay in this game. And now you tell me, I need to redeem myself for playing the game and trying to stay alive? Let me tell you something. Screw you guys. I don't owe you a damn thing. I'll say what I want to who I want. You don't get to tell me what to do. Amanda, I like you a lot, but get over yourself. I don't owe you shit. I took you on the reward with me. That should be enough. As it is now, I have immunity and I don't plan on losing it. If you girls have a problem with me being here or with how I'm playing this game, I have two words for you, 'Beat me.' If you don't or you can't, then shut the hell up. I don't even owe you an explanation let alone anything else. I'd suggest it's time to stop reaming my ass and figure out who you want to vote for." And I'd leave it at that. First of all, that would have won a TON of jury points for having the balls to tell the girls to go pound sand. A helluva lot more points than giving away the immunity necklace. I mean, let's break this down. These women convinced Erik that the only way for him to get farther in the game was to give away the only way for him to get farther in the game. Please. Dearest readers...if you care about the show and the game play, I'm begging you, help me get on this damn show. After this season, it seriously needs a shot of intelligence from the male gender. Again, the link is: Feedback.

Ok, with that all out of the way, next time on Survivor: well, they show us nothing of the new episode, actually. They just let us know that the finale is on Sunday and that it's a two hour show to be followed by the live one hour reunion. So, with nothing to talk about for Sunday, until then, take care.