Usually the disgusting food challenges happen pre-merge as a team competition with rounds of individuals going head to head to score points for their side, but this time the race will take place in bigger rounds with top finishers advancing to try to win the whole thing. The competition begins with beetle larvae that is literally “running off the plate” according to Malcolm. But it clearly doesn’t bug him too much as he advances along with Andrea and Eddie, who not only does not stick his tongue out, but also appears to still be chewing even after Probst announces him as advancing. I would claim the fix is in, but why would anyone rig the contest so freakin’ Eddie could stick around?
Of course, the best part of the first round is what happens with the three losers after it finishes. Sherri spits hers out and then vomits it back again while Corinne doubles over as well to expel the offending material. But Erik? He just keeps on chewing away like he is Aunt Edna choosing to chomp down on the peed-on sandwich in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Let me just say, I don’t like that move by Erik. I LOVE IT! You’re already halfway home, might as well finish the job.
The second round kicks off with Jeff Probst and Dawn Meehan staging a modern day retelling of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?”
Dawn: “Can I go whole?”
Probst: “Hold on, Dawn. Put your food down”
Dawn: “Wait, put it down?”
Probst; “Yeah, just wait.”
Probst: “For go.”
Brilliant. So after another round of beetle larvae, and then a round of shipworms, we were on to my all-time Survivor fave: balut. Let me tell you something about balut, which are partially formed bird embryos. I like to think that I would do pretty well at the game of Survivor. And I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in many actual challenges while on location covering the show and —without sounding too Reynoldish and braggy — have acquitted myself quite well. But I have to say: I don’t know if I could do the balut. I really don’t. I am not exactly what you would call an adventurous eater. I’m the type of loser that goes to a sushi restaurant and asks for the California roll. My idea of living on the edge gastronomically is ordering something with the word “tandoori” in it. Once in Bali I ordered rice for dinner. Just rice. (Everything else freaked me out too much.) So here is an arena in which I would most likely be destined to fail.
But pimp daddy Cochran has no such issues. He scarfs down the balut as if it’s an Easter Peep candy and then faces Malcolm in the final. But what is it? “It looks like brains,” says Malcolm. “You’re right,” responds Probst. “It’s pig brain.” Of course it is. Cochran just bests Malcolm in a photo finish and then suddenly morphs into Muhammad Ali, raising his hands in victory and then awkwardly shadowboxing around the premises. He then closes it out with a quote to Probst that might be seen as more than slightly creepy when taken out of context: “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this. You’re going to touch my shoulders. It’s going to be incredible.” Actually, it’s kind of creepy even in context! Oh, and P.S. — Phillip totally threw the challenge in case you were wondering.
NEXT: Corinne gets punched in the face