Now that Andrea's gone, all bets are off with the alliance. Everyone knows that Eddie is probably next, but they all try to set up their final three and figure out what they will do if Eddie wins immunity. Meanwhile, Erik is kind of losing it over lack of food among other things.
Then they get video messages letting them know that their family members are on the island for a visit, and everyone is recharged. There are the usual tears and hugs, but no Lisa Whelchel-style breakdowns, thank God. The challenge with family members involves spinning around in circles to unscrew rails on a ladder, and then throwing bolos at them in a giant game of ladder ball, the popular tailgating/picnic game. It comes down to Brenda, Dawn and Sherri with their loved ones, and Brenda and her dad win it.
Brenda chooses Dawn to enjoy the reward with her. And then Probst screws her over; he reveals that everyone's second loved one is also on the island. Sherri seemingly has a nervous breakdown when she learns that her son is there as well as her husband. Probst tells Brenda that she and Dawn can be joined by their second loved one OR they can both give up all loved ones, but the other four will get to spend time with both of their loved ones. Brenda gives it up. Wow. She just earned a ton of jury votes if she makes it to the finals. Except probably from Dawn.
So Cochran, Erik, Eddie and Sherri get to have a picnic with their loved ones on a floating dock offshore, and the worst part is that Brenda and Dawn can see and hear them. That is just mean. Brenda tries to comfort Dawn as best she can, but Dawn is sad and angry and hungry. When the others return, Cochran interviews that "likability is a liability" and that move might have been Brenda's downfall.
For the Immunity Challenge, the players have to stand on a ledge, leaning over the water, while holding a rope behind their backs. At intervals, Probst lengthens the rope, making it more difficult to hold on until only one person is left standing. Eddie, who needed immunity more than anyone, goes out second. It comes down to Brenda and Dawn. Dawn tries to get Brenda to give it to her, since Eddie is already out, but Brenda wants to play it out. And then Dawn wins anyway. Brenda claims afterward in an interview that she threw it. Hmm.
Cochran and Dawn realize that it might be in their best interest to get rid of Brenda, since Eddie is pretty sure he's going home. But Cochran, Dawn and Sherri vote for Brenda, and that's all it takes for her to go home. She's genuinely hurt by the vote. I get that it hurts to be blindsided, but she honestly should have expected it. I'm not sure that "be nice and humble" is a winning strategy for this game.
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The morning after Andrea is blindsided, Erik wakes up with the sunrise. Eddie gets a fire started and starts some rice. He interviews that all the women he goes after seem to go home. Maybe he should worry less about hooking up with chicks and more about winning immunity or getting in an alliance or playing the game in any fashion. Anyway, Eddie thinks he's probably going home next. At least he's smart enough to realize that.
Eddie and Cochran chat about how the game will play out now. Cochran asks who Eddie thinks will go if Eddie himself wins immunity. Eddie, this is your chance! Make an alliance with Cochran! I mean, try something! Instead, Eddie says that he thinks Cochran will be next, and he thinks the group is leaning that way. First of all, Eddie knows nothing about what the group is thinking. No one but Andrea ever talked game with him. And second, what a dumb answer. Tell Cochran you have no idea who's going next and offer to be a vote for whomever Cochran wants gone. It might get you one step further in the game. Cochran interviews that he figured as the nerdy non-threatening one, he'd be everyone's first choice to take to the end, but now he's having to reconsider.
Brenda and Dawn have a strategy chat about who needs to go next if Eddie wins immunity. Brenda says that she thinks it needs to be Cochran, and she thinks Erik would be on board. Dawn interviews that she's been working with Cochran and Sherri, but now she's got the option of working with Brenda and Erik instead. Except that she's had an alliance with Cochran from Day One and she's not sure she wants to break it. I'm not sure why she thinks Brenda and Erik would be a better choice? She doesn't really explain. Dawn tells Brenda and Erik that she would have a hard time voting Cochran out, but she knows he's a threat. And then she interviews that she hopes that making some strategic moves will prove to the jury that she's playing the game and earning the million.
Erik carves a notch into a tree to mark his seventieth day playing the game. He interviews that he should be happy, but he's really unhappy. We see lots of shots of Erik sitting around looking emaciated as he complains about how hungry he is. Didn't they just get more beans and rice? And didn't Erik just go on a Reward Challenge? The problem might be mental as Erik complains that there's nothing more to talk about or say. Look, I can't imagine what the suffering would be like, but I do know that lots of other people have done it and made it under far more trying circumstances than this. Erik decides to climb a really high tree and get some coconuts. The others are a little worried because it's really high. He gets about halfway up and realizes how dangerous it is and then he starts talking about how he might fall and break his leg and have to leave the game. It's not clear to me if he wants that to happen? You guys, we need to talk about Erik.