Dec. 3, 2004
Ami Cusack: clever, but not clever enough. (Photo: CBS)
"If I could just hold Twila underwater for two minutes I think it would make me feel better, but I really feel my integrity is still complete..."
(CBS) Ami Cusack was once the unifying voice of the all-female Yasur tribe. But Thursday night on "Survivor: Vanuatu," her plan to get rid of all of the men came to an abrupt end when a new alliance was formed and the only guy left in the game (Chris) won immunity.
"By the time I lost immunity," I knew I was going home," Ami told The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler during her morning-after interview. "It was definitely going to be me after that."
Night 30 for the Alinta Tribe and directly after the previous Tribal Council, Chris found himself in a new position, "I'm livin' with five wildcats right now, it's gonna be good."
Says Ami, "Chris did not want me in the game any more. He was like, 'Get her out of here. I've had enough of her. She's too much of a threat for me.'"
Is she surprised Chris is still out there?
"Yeah, I am surprised," Ami acknowledges. "But he's played such a low-key game all this time and, among women, that makes a difference. He does not stir anything up, He does not get pissed off. He does not throw temper tantrums. Up to this point, he's playing a cool game."
While it appears that all of the fighting has been among the women, Ami argues, "But he stirs it up. He takes off into the woods."
As for Scout, Ami said in Thursday night's episode that it would do her some good to see her name written down on the card.
"Up to this point," says Ami, "I feel like she's really just sat back and let Twila do a lot of the work. She says what she thinks, and Twila goes off and does what she says. It's to Twila's benefit; they have done well up to this point. But she didn't compete hard in the challenges or anything. So it was good for her to see her name written down."
But Scout is still out there.
"I know this," says Ami.
And Ami is not.
"I know this," Ami repeats.
At tribal council Thursday night, Eliza and Ami both talked about how much they like each other and got teary eyed.
And then Eliza cast the vote that sent Ami packing.
"It was a smart move for her," Ami says. "The reason I did not hit her as hard as I could have was because it was the smartest move for her. If it was me sitting in her seat, I would have to say I would have done the same thing. It's best for her game. She has to keep going."
Are they friends? Would Ami and Eliza go out and have a beer?
"I'm sure we will."
But Eliza stabbed her in the back.
"No," insists Ami. "She did what she had to do to further her game. It bums me out I couldn't have played longer with her, because I like being around her. She did what was best for her game."
So would Ami have done anything differently in the game? "Oh, God, yeah, are you kidding?" exclaims Ami. "I would take Twila swimming."
Ami said on Thursday's episode that she would feel better if she could hold Twila under the water for two minutes.
"Two minutes," confirms Ami. "See, that's not enough to kill her but scare her a bit."
It is clear that not only did the femme-faction crumble, but Ami had been targeted by Twila and Scout. Twila put it forth as though it were something of a class war; the proletariat rising up against bourgeois Ami.
Their chance to act on that was during the reward challenge that would grant the winners a clean hotel, food and a shower. Scout wanted Eliza to win the challenge, pointing out how skinny she's become. Eliza showed the audience her back and treated them to something that looked like a flapping bone butterfly. She'd become skinny enough that there was no fat on her.
Imagine a doggie obstacle course for people floating on water. Each contestant had to run across a series of out riggers, then dive underwater and retrieve a flag. Three flags top win.
Eliza, surpassing Ami just barely and taking first place, won a Pontiac G6.
Ami and Chris, coming in second and third, were allowed to accompany Eliza and share in the cleanliness.
During her interview on The Early Show, Ami said, "That was amazing. To be able to actually shower and run your fingers through your hair and smell good was the best, best reward we could have gotten."
At the hotel, there was an inkling of a new alliance between the challenge winners. Whether or not it is human nature or simply these people's drive to succeed that leads them to break their word and pass the blame cannot be said.
Ami tried to endear herself to Eliza and Chris, suggesting that breaking up Scout and Twila would be the most strategically beneficial move. It did not work with Chris. But Eliza, her mental and emotional state akin to that of a dumb puppy, fell for it.
When the winners came back from their hotel hideaway, the losers spent a good chunk of their time smelling them. Afterall, none of them had been clean in a month.
Scout and Twila realized immediately that Ami had been working on turning Eliza to her side. The battle lines were drawn, with the women all stabbing and attacking each other. Chris, the sole male member, watched happily from the sidelines, no longer under fire.
The Immunity Challenge was Survivor shuffleboard. Contestants were to roll their pucks onto different parts of the Vanuatu map. The player with the most pucks touching to most parts of the islands won. Ami, in an astonishingly bone-headed move, knocked herself out of the running and allowed Chris to win.
As always, there was the last minute scramble to turn the tables, to make a new and unexpected alliance, or to twist knives firmly planted in others' backs.
Eliza became the linchpin on which the game would turn.
Twila spent her time before the night's Tribal council trying to convince Eliza to vote Ami off. She wanted desperately to undue what Ami had accomplished during the overnight reward.
After her Twila-time, Eliza was being tempted and twisted by Julie and Ami. Ami overdid the faux friendships and an overbearing righteous 'morality' that wouldn't carry her beyond the game