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Welcome back! We’ve had a week off thanks to college basketball, and I for one actually needed the little recap at the beginning of this week’s show to remind me of where we left things. Tracy was voted out, despite a plan by Ami to get rid of Ozzy. This week, that may come back to bite Ami in the butt, even though she voted with the favorites. I wouldn’t put it past Ozzy to be psychic – since he seems to do everything else so well, why not mind-read his enemies? – so Ami is playing with fire.

A Leader in Denial

Malakal returns to camp from having voted out Tracy, and Erik is shaken because he’s the last remaining fan on the tribe. He says he feels lucky to still be there and have a shot at the game, but he’s scared because he’s the last fan left and doesn’t “see any leeway with these favorites.” He thinks he’s the next to go.

Ozzy is still upset by Tracy painting him as the big leader during tribal council. He says everyone does their part, but that he just has “a lot of good opinions and a lot of know-how when it comes to surviving out here.” He wants to avoid having the “leader” target on his back.

The next day, Ami and Cirie are off in the woods, walking slowly, and everything’s in black and white. They whisper to keep going, while a crab peers out at them. Suddenly there’s yelling, and Ami stabs the crab. Uh, ok. Back at camp, in color again, they revel in having killed 8 crabs. Amanda congratulates them.

Ozzy tells Ami tribal council was annoying, and that he doesn’t see himself as the leader, and now he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. She tells him not to worry, but he says it’s getting to the time when people do think about things like that. Ami winds up telling him Tracy asked her to vote for him, but that she didn’t. She says he’s not in any danger and she’s on his side. But Ozzy thinks she doth protest too much. “As much as she says she’s on my side, I’m starting to get uneasy feelings,” he says.

Rat Barbecue

At Airai, the women are talking about food, nachos, etc. “I just don’t want another bite of coconut,” Parvati says. Then a rat comes scurrying out, and they say nervously that the rats are getting more confident. Someone suggests they try to kill it for food, and Jason takes an oar and ends up whacking it to death. He says he’ll feel a little bad eating the rat – mostly because there’s not much meat on it. But, he says, they’re “in the bush” and he’s prepared to give it a shot.

They hang the rat up by its little feet, tail toward the camera. Jason says no one has eaten a rat since the first season of Survivor, so they can bring that tradition back. Parvati says Jason is trying to impress the favorites and she thinks he’s a loser.

James and Parvati talk about how much they hate the Airai island and miss the Malakal one. There, they had a lagoon. Here, it’s rough ocean and rocky beach. “You can live on Malakal. Over here, this is where they bring the criminals,” James says. James also says he’s at his wit’s end. He just hopes to make the merge. But if Alex and Natalie get to the merge, he tells Parvati, Eliza and Ami will scoop them up. Parvati says she and James need to pull in more people to keep a strong position in the tribe.

So she goes to Natalie, explaining how they have to get through to the merge. Natalie says she’ll work with them. Parvati says after the merge, all the targets will be the big guys, like Ozzy and James, and the girls can slip through. Privately, Parvati says she can’t beat Ozzy and James, so she might pull in Alexis and Natalie and take them with Amanda to final four.

Let’s See, Who Would We Like To Screw Over?

Airai then gets a message about their next challenge, which will surprisingly be a reward and immunity challenge in one. They must choose someone from Malakal to sit out today’s challenge and go to Exile. But that person will get individual immunity for a tribal council that night if the tribe loses.

Eliza says it’s shocking since they just had an immunity challenge. Jason wonders who’s name the other team will be circling.

At Malakal, Amanda says she thinks whoever wins gets a feast, and the other tribe will have to go to tribal council. Erik thinks he’s dead if they go tonight, so he’s praying for some form of immunity.

At the challenge, Jeff calls for their choices. Airai selected Ozzy to sit out, while Malakal selected Alexis, after having first considered James. Ami says they choose her because she seems to have good balance, and that’s what they thought the challenge would involve.

Ozzy and Alexis head off, and Jeff tells the rest they’ll be trying to navigate an obstacle course while the other tribe swings heavy canvas bags at you. Make it through, collect a flag. Get five, win pizza and beer delivered to camp. You can see everyone start to salivate. In fact, that sounds pretty good to me, and I’m not even starving and reduced to eating rats.

Parvati sits out. Eliza and Jason, Erik and Amanda, will run the course, while the others swing the bags. Erik comes out first, throwing himself across the course. But he almost falls, and Jason gets ahead. Both of the girls fall off immediately, so the guys go again. Airai has a slight lead, and Eliza is the first one knocked off by a bag. It’s still close. But as Erik tries to leap across one portion, he lands face-first on a platform, giving Airai a lead. Jason keeps it, and Airai wins.

A Pizza and Trickery Interlude

At Malakal, they ask if Erik’s ok. He says he hit his chest, and the challenge was tough without Ozzy. He thought it was his last best chance. Ami thinks Erik is a good person, and wishes they’d won so he could stay, but she doesn’t see any way out for him now.

At Airai, they return to camp excited. The girls tell Jason the challenge was made for him, and he feels good about his performance, but nervous about his position overall. He thinks he has a hidden immunity idol – haha, sucker– but no real alliances.

Parvati tells us Jason and Eliza are both on the outs, so they gave their all. They’re delighted they won’t be having rats for dinner. The pizza and beer delivery arrives, and they gorge themselves.

Meanwhile, on Exile, Ozzy is pretending to Alexis that he doesn’t know where the immunity idol is. He wants, however, to find out if someone else found the fake idol he left behind. He manages to casually look under the rock, and sees someone has “taken the bait.” He wonders who it is. “Who is going to be tricked by Ozzy?”

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

At Malakal, Cirie wonders why they can’t win. Amanda says she’s never lost so many times in her life. They discuss how competitive Erik is, and how he’s different in challenges than he is at camp. Erik climbs a coconut tree, tossing coconuts down, telling us he wants to stay so badly. He’s seen so many seasons of Survivor, it’s killing him to be so close to the next phase of the game. “I’m pretty desperate right now,” he says.

So, Erik decides to throw Ami under the bus. He goes to Cirie and Amanda and asks how well they trust Ami. He tells them she’s been trying to work with the fans since Joel left. He describes Ami’s failed efforts. He says he likes her a lot, but this isn’t about that. He says he’d vote for Ami. But, Amanda says, after the merger he’d go back to Airai. He says Ami would too.

Cirie says she doesn’t know who to trust, since Erik would sell his soul to the devil and say anything to stay. But she doesn’t trust Ami. “The problem is, I don’t trust Ami, but I don’t trust Erik either,” Cirie says. “So the dilemma is, which do I trust the least?”

Ami comes over and asks Erik if he’s telling them everything from day one. He says he’s trying to. Ami says she knew that was coming, and tells the women he’s going to do everything he can to stay in the game. She tells the women she has stuck by them 100 percent, and that Erik’s just desperate to stay. Cirie tells us the vote is risky either way, because both of them could ally with Eliza and the other fans after the merge.

Ami talks to Amanda and Cirie more, explaining why she was looking for other allies in the first place – it’s because she didn’t feel part of their Favorites group. She says she was the last one they talked to about allying with them. Amanda says it’s because they thought she was with Eliza. Ami says she was. But that they haven’t come to her since and made her feel a part of their group. Amanda tells her she’s in. Amanda tells us they don’t know Erik the way they know Ami, and the devil you know is better than the one you don’t know.

Ami goes to Erik and tells him she owes him a thank you, because she just had a good talk with the women and she feels closer to them – basically saying to Erik that his bare-all strategy backfired. So there. It looks like a pretty uncomfortable conversation, especially since Ami’s waving the machete during it.

Erik tells us things are looking pretty bad. He doesn’t want to give up, but it’s hard to keep going. But he wants to talk to Ozzy about alliances.

Ozzy arrives and asks how it went, and Erik tells him they lost. And then he launches into the “how well do you trust Ami?” spiel. Ozzy tells us that as soon as he got off the boat, there was Erik “looking like a lost puppy dog.” Erik tells him all of Ami’s efforts, and that Ami tried to get out Ozzy. He asks Ozzy to help him stay in the game.

Whether Erik knows it or not, he just said the magic words – that Ami worked to vote Ozzy out. Ozzy says as soon as someone makes a move against him, that’s it, he’ll try to get them out. He thinks Erik will prove trustworthy and is willing to take the risk. He talks to Amanda. She says she doesn’t trust Ami, but …. But nothing, Ozzy says. Ami tried to get him out. Amanda says at least they know what Ami’s capable of. She doesn’t think they can trust Erik either.

Who’s Not The Leader Now?

At tribal council, Jeff’s first words are to remind them this is four times in a row, and they’re clearly the inferior tribe. Cirie says they can’t figure out why.

Erik says he feels “hopeless” because of the continuing fans-vs.-favorites alliances. Ozzy says yes, alliances were made. But the game gets in the way. The favorites who might feel they’re at the bottom of the pecking order start playing the fans. “I’m starting to realize certain things are not what they seem,” he says.

Ami tears up. She says she knows Ozzy is talking about her. H asks why she’d think that. She says she knows what Erik’s been saying all day. She says she could have gone with the fans the first vote, and had the numbers, and she didn’t. And now she finally feels like part of the tribe. She hasn’t felt that, they make decisions they don’t ask her about. Ozzy says he just wants to know if she was gunning for him. She says she would not have voted with the fans against him ever, she was just giving them hope. “The only way I would vote for you is to win a million dollars, period,” she says.

Cirie is asked how to make this decision. She says all the favorites have a mutual respect for each other, it’s like the home team. “You don’t want the visitors to come in and win the game.”

Amanda says Ami’s a good person, and they’ve gotten close and she wants to believe her.

Ozzy says he wants to trust Ami – who starts crying. “It just kills me that he says he wants to,” she sobs. “I can’t believe that he doesn’t.”

Jeff says the vote is bout trust. Why should they believe Erik? He says he has no other option, he’s backed up against the wall. He hopes they’ll see Ami’s a threat.

Why should they believe Ami? She says they know where she’s coming from, she wants to fight for this tribe, and doesn’t want to go out now. She tells Ozzy he knows he can trust her, and Amanda. Erik’s a good guy, but she has everything invested in this. She wants to keep Parvati, James and even Eliza in. “I swear, I’ll give you everything I have,” she pleads.

And, to no avail. The vote is three for Ami, one for Erik, and she’s out. She cries, telling Erik he’s going to have so much fun, and telling the tribe they’ve got to start winning.

In her final confessional, Ami says it kills her that they didn’t trust her and that she’s not still there. “This game definitely plays tricks on you,” she says.

Next time:

Finally, it’s the merge. Ozzy says he’s ready to go beyond fans vs. favorites, presumably to make new alliances. Amanda thinks Alexis has to go, and Cirie thinks it’s because she’s jealous – apparently Alexis is flirting with Ozzy. Meanwhile, Jason tries to show Eliza his “immunity idol” and she tells him it’s not real, because it’s just a stick.