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Season 16: Episode 8 - NANNY’S CRY FOR HELP: AMI SENT HOME

NANNY’S CRY FOR HELP: AMI SENT HOME: On their fourth trip in a row to Tribal Council, tensions ran high at the Malakal beach. Erik, the last remaining Fan on Malakal, saw his game quickly unraveling before him and played his final card. In an attempt to soil the relationship between Ami and her fellow Favorites, Amanda, Cirie, and Ozzy, Erik confessed to them every strategic move Ami had ever made against them while in league with the Fans of Malakal. Ozzy fell under Erik’s spell, believing Ami had maneuvered to oust him at the previous Tribal Council, and he decided to take revenge against Ami by voting her out. Amanda and Cirie, on the other hand, were hesitant to trust Erik, an unknown threat, over Ami, whose double-dealings they were already familiar with.

At Tribal Council, Ozzy's comments about "disloyal Favorites" reduced Ami to tears as she begged and pleaded to be given another chance to prove her loyalty. In the end, the Favorites ended her game, cutting her loose from Malakal and opting to put their blind faith in Erik, the lone Fan. Ami Cusack, the 35 year-old Nanny from Golden, Colorado, left her final words: "It kills me that Ozzy and Amanda didn’t trust me, that I'm not still there playing with them. The one day I finally feel like I'm part of something is the day I get voted out. This game definitely plays tricks on you. You learn a lot about yourself, like I really need to keep my head up. I really need to stay strong. I'm blessed that I got to play this game twice."

ODD MAN OUT The Malakal tribe returns to their camp after Tribal Council where Tracy was sent home. Erik finds himself alone and vulnerable as the last Fan on his tribe, declaring, "I feel like I'm the next to go no matter what." Around the campfire, Ozzy complains to his tribe about being put on the hot seat at Tribal Council as the overbearing leader of the tribe and flat-out rejects the label. "I don't see myself as the leader of this tribe since we all do our part. It's not like there's people that slack off." Ozzy, not wanting to draw any more attention to himself, realizes he needs to take things down a notch, admitting, "Even though I think I’m a valuable asset, I'm going to have a giant target on my back."

THE HUNTERS In the eerie gray morning light at Malakal, Ami and Cirie slowly trek through the jungle near a rocky slope, hunting giant land crabs. Patiently waiting for the perfect moment, they pounce on the crabs, skewering them with their worn machete. Eight enormous land crabs later, Malakal begins their breakfast feast. Ozzy, sitting down to eat with Ami, expresses to her some of his fears about being labeled as the leader. She reassures him, saying that he shouldn’t worry; the tribe needs him and has his back. As an example of her loyalty, Ami tells Ozzy that when Tracy tried to vote him out last night, she "stopped anything crazy from happening" and made sure he wasn't voted out. Despite her assurances, Ozzy senses Ami has a hidden agenda, and declares, "As much as [Ami] says she’s on my side, I’m starting to get uneasy feelings."

RAT-CATCHER Waking up at the Airai beach, the starving tribe is desperate for a taste of something different. Parvati exclaims, "I just don't want another bite of coconut! I just don’t!" Suddenly, they spot a rat moving about their camp and Jason snaps to attention. Hoping to catch the rat so they can eat it, Jason grabs a paddle from their canoe and corners the rat against the cliffside. The rat tries to dodge him but Jason lunges with his paddle trapping the rat beneath it. The girls squeal with delight at his catch and Jason proposes making a shish kebob out of him. He hog-ties the rat and leaves it hanging from their shelter to eat later, bragging, "Nobody's eaten a rat since the first season of Survivor, so it's kind of cool I'll be able to bring that tradition back." Parvati, on the other hand, is not impressed. "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."

THE NUMBERS Later at Airai, James and Parvati commiserate over the barren island they inhabit. Parvati declares, "I want to go home to Malakal!" The two of them dream about returning to Malakal to be with their old allies, Ozzy, Amanda, and Cirie. Determined to make that happen, they crunch numbers regarding the remaining players. Despite avoiding the last three Tribal Councils, the two tribes are still even six-six due to Airai’s sudden loss of Jonathan and Kathy. Being a two-some in a tribe of six, James sends Parvati on a mission to bring in Alexis and Natalie to secure themselves enough numbers to make it to the merge. He tells her, "[If] Alexis and Natalie get too close to the merge, Ami and Eliza’s gonna scoop them up." In order to keep Natalie and Alexis in line, Parvati approaches Natalie and offers her an alliance of four that will last to the merge: Parvati, James, Alexis, and Natalie. Natalie agrees telling her, "I will work with you." Looking ahead in the game, Parvati furthers her alliance with Natalie by revealing she only committed to James and Ozzy up to the merge. After the merge, the guys will likely be the first targeted because of their strength, allowing the girls to slide right to the top. Parvati, turning her back on her allies Ozzy and James, goes so far as to declare to Natalie, "I wouldn't see anything wrong it with being ya'all two [Alexis and Natalie], me and Amanda - Final Four." The ladies agree on a final four girls’ alliance of Parvati, Alexis, Natalie, and Amanda. Parvati, admitting that she loves Ozzy and James but will turn on them when the time comes, declares that strategically, "They're dead to me."

TREEMAIL WITH A TWIST Eliza and Jason fetch the Airai Treemail where they learn that this time, the tribes will compete for both Reward and Immunity; one tribe will face Tribal Council tonight. Tribes are instructed to pick one member of the opposing team to send to Exile Island. The catch: the two exiled members will not compete in the challenge, rather they will be granted Individual Immunity good only at tonight's Tribal Council. Eliza exclaims,"This is huge!" At Malakal, Amanda reads the Treemail to her tribe and Erik sees a glimmer of hope. He prays that his old Airai teammates will see him, the last Fan standing on Malakal, as the obvious person to be voted out next, and will send him to Exile Island to save him. He prays, "I'm hoping so much that I get some form of Immunity here and survive this Tribal Council tonight."

REWARD/IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: THE GAUNTLET At the combination Reward and Immunity Challenge, Ozzy and Alexis are selected for banishment to Exile Island. Host Jeff Probst explains the rules. One tribe member at a time will attempt to navigate a balance-intensive obstacle course over a pit of water, while members from the opposing tribe try to knock them off by swinging heavy canvas bags at them. Once across, they’ll grab a flag and race back across the same course. If they fall off at any time, they will have to go back to the start and the next person goes. The first tribe to collect all five of their flags wins Immunity and a pizza party back at their camp. Jason and Eliza opt to run the course for Airai, while Erik and Amanda run the course for Malakal. It's a tough, competitive match as, one-by-one, Jason and Eliza race across the course for Airai, dodging the sandbags thrown by Cirie and Ami, keeping a very narrow lead over Erik and Amanda. Erik leaps across the first part of course, a horizontal rope ladder to the wooden platform and is nailed on the head by a sandbag thrown by James. Erik manages to keep his balance, though, and brings back the first Malakal flag. Eliza and Amanda both fall off the course on their first attempts and make up for it on their second attempts, each retrieving a flag for their team keeping the score close at two-two. Jason from Airai and Erik from Malakal continue to run the course keeping the score tied at three and then at four. Trailing just behind Jason in a race for their fifth and final flag, Erik leaps across the first pit again, but doesn't make it. Squarely slamming his chest into the wooden platform with a sickening thud, Erik, out of breath, stumbles off the course, giving Jason the headway he needs. Returning with their final flag, Jason pulls out a victory, granting Airai tribal Immunity, a pizza party, and sending a devastated Malakal to Tribal Council for the fourth time in a row.

Night falls on the Airai tribe and still the rain does not let up. The tribe crawls deeper into the cave and Kathy jumps as a bat swoops past her head. The tribe is forced to settle down amidst the rats, bats, and bugs in the cave. Kathy exclaims, "This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. This is the dumbest thing I've ever done."

DEAD MAN WALKING The downtrodden Malakal tribe returns to their beach and does a survey of their wounds. Ami asks who took the hard hit at the challenge, and Erik pulls up his shirt to reveal his red singed chest. As the last Fan on the tribe, Erik knows he's on the chopping block and laments their loss, declaring, "I tried my damndest. [Winning Immunity] was my last real attempt I think that I could have [to stay in the game]." Ami sums up Erik's bleak situation, saying, "I would have loved to see Erik stay, but I don't see any way out for him right now."

PIZZA PARTY The triumphant Airai tribe returns to their beach and congratulates Jason and Eliza, who worked their tails off in the challenge. Knowing that he has been on the outs at the tribe, Jason expresses his joy at their win, "I'd definitely say I was the MVP today. But I can’t really count on any alliances. I'm just gonna have to compete at 110% in every challenge or it could be the end of the game for me." Parvati admits that Eliza and Jason tried hard at the challenges for good reason. "I think they both kind of know they’re on the outs," states Parvati, "so they both gave it their all at this challenge, and they saved each other." A boat arrives, bringing the tribe boxes of pizza and a basketful of beer. As James opens beer bottles by chewing the caps off with his teeth, the Airai tribe chows down on the savory slices of pizza. Eliza exclaims, "Today was a great day."

OZZY'S DISCOVERY On Exile Island, Ozzy is curious to see if anyone has found his fake Idol he planted there at his last stay. He leads Alexis on a search for the 'Hidden Immunity Idol' and plays dumb as he guides her to the decoy's hiding place. Lifting the rock that Alexis coincidentally names "the perfect spot for an Idol," Ozzy finds his fake idol is gone. Someone has taken the bait! Ozzy excitedly wonders, "Who's it gonna be? Who is gonna be tricked by Ozzy?"

DROWNING ON LAND At Malakal, Erik knows his time is up. "I wanna stay in this game very badly," proclaims Erik. "I'm trying to work with what I have and I'm pretty desperate right now." As a last ditch effort, he spills his guts to Amanda and Cirie about Ami's duplicitous maneuvering. He swears to them that Ami had made agreements with the Fans and conspired on several occasions to vote for Ozzy. Cirie and Amanda are stunned at this revelation. Cirie doesn't know what to think, pondering, "The problem is I don't trust Ami, but I don't trust Erik either. So my dilemma is, who do I trust the least?" Erik makes a deal with the two women, telling them about tonight's vote, "I want you guys to know that if you decide Ami, I’d be in with that." As Erik makes his plea, Ami wanders over to the conspiring trio and catches Erik red-handed as he figuratively throws her under the bus.

TRUST ISSUES Freaked that Erik could have revealed her double-dealing, Ami quickly assures Cirie and Amanda that Erik is just trying to save himself and they shouldn't trust him. She tells the two women, "He's gonna do whatever he can to stay in the game." Silence greets her, and she adds, "I've stuck by you 100% and I always will." Amanda and Cirie begin to consider Ami’s reasoning, but want some issues laid to rest. They point out that she has been acting strange lately, to which Ami counters that she’s never felt fully included with the Favorites at Malakal. "I want to stick with you guys the whole way and feel like I'm part of you guys," she pleads. "But nobody has really said, 'Hey Ami, we want to fight with you.'" Amanda, weighing whether to side with Ami or Erik, warms to the idea of sticking with Ami, the person she’s known longer. Amanda rationalizes, "It's almost better with the devil you know than the devil you don’t know." Having laid out their issues, the three women give each other a big group hug, and Ami finally begins to feel accepted and secure with Cirie and Amanda.

BACKFIRE Ami finds Erik to thank him for ratting her out to the girls. By doing so, it forced the girls to work out their issues with each other, making them closer than ever before. She tells him, "I actually feel like I'm a part of them now. Thank you. Thank you." Erik realizes that his efforts to change the girls' opinion of Ami backfired. "I don't want to give up, I don't want to admit defeat, but it's so hard to keep going," moans Erik. "We'll just have to see what Ozzy has to say when he comes back from Exile." Erik plops himself down on the beach and sits like a puppy waiting for his master to return, his eyes scanning the waters for any sign of Ozzy’s return. As Ozzy's boat appears on the horizon, Erik rushes down to the shore and he immediately explains the situation to Ozzy, who is amazed by the sudden turn of events. After learning that his tribe lost the challenge while he was on Exile, Ozzy now hears accusations from Erik of Ami playing both sides. Most importantly, gunning for him. Ozzy declares, "The way I play this game, as soon as someone makes a move against me, that's it, I'm gonna do whatever I can to get them out as fast as I can." Ozzy tracks down Amanda and they have a final chat before departure. Amanda is sure that they should stick with Ami because they know her better, but Ozzy vehemently disagrees, wanting Ami out immediately. As Malakal heads to Tribal Council, the tribe is torn between trusting Ami or Erik.

Tribal Council At Tribal Council, Erik admits to pulling out the stops and trying everything in his power to stay in the game at Ami's expense. He recounts Ami's failed strategic maneuvering, hoping to reinforce doubt of her loyalties. Ami fights off the barrage of accusations, begging Ozzy and Amanda, with tears streaking down her face, to remember how hard she’s fought for the tribe, giving them her blood, sweat, and tears. She denies she would have ever made a play against Ozzy a