I have a Corey Hart song stuck in my head. No, not the one about wearing sunglasses at night….Oh, wait. Crap! Now I have that song stuck in my head. ”Don’t switch the blade on the guy in shades, oh, no/Don’t masquerade with the guy in shades, oh, no!” See! Dammit! I hate that song! Anyway, I used to have another Corey Hart song stuck in my head: ”Never Surrender.” It should be the Survivor theme song (except Corey Hart is Canadian and they don’t let Canadians have anything to do with Survivor). Erik is merely the latest example of how when all hope seems completely lost, start a fire and see if someone else manages to get burned. Never surrender, baby! Frankly, last night his ability to continue in the game seemed in doubt even before his tribe lost the challenge. That was due to one of the nastiest wipeouts in recent Survivor history. At least one of the nastiest not involving Eliza. Erik tried to jump over the stepping-stone portion of the immunity challenge, and instead it became an introduction of epic proportions. Erik’s chest, meet a plank of hard wood. Plank of hard wood, meet Erik’s chest. It was intense. It was brutal. I watched it five times. Then in slow motion. And backwards. And then in slow motion again. And then I went to get some Double Stuff Oreos. And then six more times. And then my wife yelled, ”What the hell’s wrong with you?” at me. And she left the room. I waited for her to go upstairs. And then three more times.
But Erik survived that mishap. And then he survived the threat of being booted out of his tribe by planting the seeds of doubt about Ami. It didn’t seem to work with Amanda and Cirie, but it did lead to one of my favorite back-and-forths of the season after Ami felt she had finally cleared the air with the other female favorites.
Ami: ”I owe you a thank-you. We had a really good talk.” Erik: ”That’s what I wanted.” Ami (pointing machete): ”That’s not what you wanted.” Erik: ”That’s not what I wanted.”
Hey, point a machete at me and I’ll repeat whatever you say too! It’s like the biggest, sharpest, pointiest Jedi mind trick ever. (”These aren’t the droids your looking for.” ”These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”) But while Erik’s plea may have fallen on deaf ears with the ladies, he still had the don’t-call-me-a-leader leader to work, and work him he did. Somehow Erik convinced Ozzy, who in turn convinced Cirie and Amanda, that Ami would flip on them, even though — as far as we saw — Erik made no assurances whatsoever that he would stick with them come the merge. Think about that for a second. He didn’t have to promise away his firstborn to stay, or even a few scoops of rocky road at his ice cream shop in Hell, Michigan. He never — again, as far as we saw — said that he’d stay true and not vote any of them out, yet he still got them to vote out someone who was pledging complete, 100 percent support anyway. Amazing.
A few other things I found amazing about this episode:
· Jason bragging about killing a rat and talking about eating it, only to be followed up by this kinda genius quote from Parvati: ”I think Jason’s been trying to impress the favorites ever since the switch-up. It’s not working, though. I think he’s a loser.” She said it so matter-of-factly, without a trace of animosity. As if it was just so obvious. People really, really, really do not like Jason this season. Even Probst gave him a little lip at the challenge when Ozzy Lite asked, ”How about what we’re playing for?” and the host tersely responded, ”How about first you give me immunity back? How about that?”
· I got news for you, James. I think Popeye and Jacques Cousteau could handle that water (which looked roughly equivalent to the wave pool I used to swim in as an 8-year-old) just fine. I also didn’t get James’ comment that ”I don’t care if I win anymore, as long as I make it back to the merge.” James never struck me as a quitter. Then again, that seems to be in fashion these days on Survivor, so you never know.
NEXT: Ami’s strange exit