May 1, 2013
Someone must be missing that local running mecca, the Pinckney Bakery. In the first immunity challenge of the day, our Erik gave up a quest for immunity in a dubious trade-off for a plate of donuts and a large glass of ice cold milk.
"I so want that," he moaned, as host Jeff Probst took a huge bite out of a chocolate-frosted donut. Erik promptly made a deal to split the goodies with fellow tribe member Eddie, and they both stepped out of the competition.
It may have helped that the challenge was deadly dull. Balancing on a floating roof-like structure in the lagoon on a windy day, the contestants just had to stand there with their feet braced on either side of the structure. Then they moved up a level. And stood some more. And moved up a level and stood some more.
The final two stood on top of those things for THREE HOURS. Which made Erik's Donut Decision seem brilliant, as he sat on the dock quietly munching his donuts and sipping the milk to make it last. But what happened next made all the Erik fans gasp in collective did-he-learn-nothing horror.
In addition to immunity from being voted off, challenge-winner Andrea also won a clue to the location of a hidden immunity idol, which she shared with her alliance. Erik ended up finding the idol...and promptly handed it to Andrea. Who already had immunity for the evening vote.
What. The. Hell.
"These women are going to be the death of him," I thought, but this somehow worked for him. He just sat back as everyone else questioned his motives, his intelligence and his trustworthiness while they negotiated who to vote off the island - but his name was never mentioned. While his name did show up on one ballot (much to his surprise), he lived to see another Survivor day.
The next challenge was far more interesting. The contestants had to weave a buoy through a ladder structure on the lagoon, then untie a tangle of knots to get to a key. The key unlocked a chest with rungs that had to be fitted into a ladder - first one to put the ladder puzzle together and get to the top would win immunity.
"The challenge was right up my alley and I killed it," he said afterwards, and oh boy, did he. With what could only be Powered-By-Donuts determination, he was the front-runner all the way, and in addition to the immunity protection, he gained a visible confidence boost that somehow did not increase his perceived threat level to the rest of the group. They are not sure they can trust him, but again there have been no discussions of voting him off.
In a brilliantly constructed final bit of strategy, the group blind-sided Andrea in tribal council afterwards. Not suspecting a thing, she didn't play the immunity idol that Mr. Nice Guy so helpfully handed her previously, and suddenly she is Old News and Erik is looking a Little Less Nice.