Pre-credit sequence. It's Night 36 and Erik's head is killing him. Dawn thinks that Erik is just stunned by Brenda's elimination, but no. Erik's head is spinning. Jeff Probst and Dr. Joe show up to examine Erik, which leads Dawn to suspect something may be genuinely wrong. She's a clever one, Dawn is. Dr. Jen takes Erik's blood pressure and Dr. Joe suggests that Erik may be in a starvation state and he worries that not enough blood is getting to Erik's head. They're going to give Erik an IV and, remarkably, Eddie is the one who can explain what's happening. Eddie, you see, is an EMT. This is the smartest Eddie has looked all season. Yay, Eddie. I guess. Dr. Joe doesn't want Erik to crash any further and he officially pulls Erik from the game. Holy Cow. "This game just got rocked again," Probst says. "I don't know what tomorrow's gonna bring," says a dazed Cochran. Everybody comes and says good-bye. "I wouldn't want to share this with anyone else," Cochran tells Erik, adding that he didn't come to make friends, but he made a friend in Erik. Sniffle. They have three days left and Probst warns them that no relief is coming. "This opens the door hugely for me," says Eddie, whose place in the Top 4 is wildly unexpected and weird. This is going to cause endless "What ifs," most particularly, "What if Erika had bailed seconds *before* Tribal Council? Would that have saved Brenda? Etc...
Steady Eddie. It's *still* Night 36, but there are only four people getting back to camp. Dawn is shaken, but she likes that her odds have improved. "He was starving and yet he still had those rewards," Dawn points out, while Eddie agrees that he's just as starving. "I'm already thinking about the game," Cochran says, realizing suddenly that he may need to bond with Eddie and fast. It's not hard. Talking to Cochran, Eddie agrees that it'd be best if they went to the end with Sherri. They shake on it and Dawn is the next target, at least for now. Tree-mail warns them that a Reward is coming and mentions something about digging deep. "I'll be so relieved to have my brain back," Dawn says, reflecting on the decisions she's made that got her to Final 4. "It's almost all you can do to keep it together," she says.
Babel. Reward is up for grabs. It's that task where you have to balance a board while simultaneously building a house of cards/tiles that can reach a red line. Want to know what they're playing for? The winner gets a scroll that gives a huge advantage in the Final Immunity. That's pretty big. I'd want a cheeseburger. Cochran is getting close, but his tower comes tumbling down. Sherri's tower tumbles next. Dawn is close, with Eddie right behind. Down goes Dawn's stack. Down goes Eddie's stack. Now Sherri is getting close. Aren't I doing an awesome job of capturing the drama? Yeah. Probably not. Sherri gets close and her stack collapses, down it goes. OK. Just assume everybody's getting close and blundering til I tell you who won. Sherri and Dawn are neck-and-neck and... Cochran WINS! Go Cochran! "This could be a million dollar reward right here," Probst announces.
Baby, Baby, Baby Ohhhhh. Cochran is glad that his challenge streak as return. "I am the Challenge Beast," Cochran crows. "It's in the right hands. It's in capable hands. And I'll see what happens," Cochran says of his advantage. Sherri wants to go to the Final 3 with Cochran and Eddie, still figuring that Dawn would be unbeatable because of the sympathy card. "I'm not sitting next to that. She's too powerful," Sherri says. Back at the fire, Dawn and Cochran agree that they're locked into voting Eddie out next, though Dawn is getting paranoid and Dawn's paranoia is concerning Cochran. Cut to Dawn comparing herself to "a baby stomping its feet." So Cochran's job is to be the baby-wrangler. "Every day is a roller-coaster with her and it's not fun and it's not funny," Cochran says.
Rites of Passage. Day 38. Tree-mail tells them to wait for some men in a boat before Rites of Passage. Cochran is jazzed to have made it this far. Oh, Francesca. The Johnny Vander Meer of "Survivor" losing. Oh, Allie. "So who exactly was Allie? Which one of the three blondes was she?" Cochran asks tellingly. Oh, Hope. "Survivor" relishes the chance to showcase slo-mo jiggling footage, teasing us at the attractiveness we missed out on.. Oh, Shamar. "He was misunderstood," Sherri says. Oh, Laura. I thought Laura was smarter than she got the chance to showcase. Too bad. Oh, Brandon. NEVER AGAIN, "Survivor." "I made it rain with them beans," Brandon reminds us. Ugh. Oh, Matt. I'll miss your beard most of all. Oh, Julia. Who? Oh, Corinne. Always good for an exit interview. Oh, Michael. Shrug. Oh, Phillip. "He was a powerhouse," Cochran says respectfully. Oh, Malcolm. I take back what I said about Matt, I'll miss you most of all, Malcolm. Oh, Reynold. I can't believe they called everybody a "Challenge Beast" other than the REAL Challenge Beast, Reynold. Oh, Andrea. We all know that I was just kidding about Malcolm and I'll really miss *you* most of all. Oh, Brenda. Never help people find their teeth. Lesson learned. Oh, Erik. Tough way to go out. Facing the last Immunity, Eddie is hoping it'll be something physical.
This Cochran's on Fire. Immunity Time. Erik's departure really screwed with the timing on this episode. I have no clue how they're going to fill the next 30-ish minutes. Ruh-roh. The task has a heavy physical component. It involves a lot of running up and down to a three-story tower, collecting pieces to make a fire puzzle. What is Cochran's advantage? He doesn't have to untie his bags of puzzle pieces. Hmmm... I'm really not sure how huge an advantage is, but Probst thinks it's big. OK. It takes only one time through for me to see where Cochrane's advantage becomes a large one. He's basically one bag ahead throughout and he gets his last of three puzzle bags when everybody else is on their second. Surely Cochran should be good enough at puzzles to make this pay? "Big advantage, don't squander it," Probst says. Soon, Cochran's advantage is gone. Probst won't let Cochran forget what he seemingly squandered, as Dawn moves into the lead. But Cochran begins to come back and he moves back into the lead. I like Eddie's look of glee as he finally begins getting a couple pieces. Cochran pushes back into a growing lead. Only three pieces remaining. Two. One. Cochran wins! It's his third Individual Immunity and his fourth individual challenge win. That's crazy. Cochran explains this puts him in with the Donaldsons and the Marianos and who's going to argue? Under what circumstances could Cochran possibly lose the million? Nobody would have been surprised by Cochran strategically dominating this season, but doing it strategically *and* in challenges? Anybody who votes against him should get caned.
Made it ma... Top of the world! "The big question right now is who deserves $100,000 and second place," Cochran ponders. "It's so lonely at the top... This is horrible stuff for me to be saying. I will, of course, lose," Cochran laughs. I'm so pleased with and for Cochran at this point. We should spend the next 50 minutes just honoring him. "There is a part of me that feels like I don't deserve to do good," Dawn says. BABY MONKEY! Eddie doesn't want to bully Cochran, but he wants to convince Cochran that he can't beat him. Eddie, for the record, knows exactly what he wants to do with the money. "I want to open like a dog... kennel... playpen area attached to a bar," Eddie says, because this combines all of his favorite things. "I hope I don't kick myself over this decision," Cochran says.
Tribal Council. Erik looks much happier. Have the coconuts stopped screaming, Erik? Eddie says that Erik, Dawn and Sherri were the Final 3 if Erik hadn't gone out, which raises Cochran's hackles. But now, let's celebrate Cochran. "I've always thought 'Maybe I can satisfy a third of those requirements,'" Cochran says of the Outwit, Outplay, Outlast motto. He talks about how he wouldn't have been able to do this a few years ago. "I feel like I've done a pretty good job of maligning myself with most people on the Jury," Dawn says, before praising Eddie's likability. Eddie reminds us that he only voted one person out of the game and basically says that he didn't do a darned thing strategically. It's funny how well Eddie understands his uselessness. "My perception of what the Jury wants in a winner, that's what I'm probably going to base my vote on," Cochran says. Sherri says that she's been overlooked. "I may not say a lot, but I take in a lot," Sherri warns. I'm so fascinated by what the final Jury vote is gonna look like. Let's get there, eh?
The Vote. Eddie writes Dawn's name. Dawn writes Eddie's name. Probst tallies: Dawn. Eddie. Eddie. Eddie. "I'm gonna miss you," Dawn cries with a level of insincerity that makes everybody on the Jury laugh. Hey, I'm vaguely impressed that Eddie made Top 4. He deserves exactly the right amount of credit for that achievement. "I think Sherri has a zero percent chance of winning," Eddie says, maintaining that he would have won if he'd made the Final 3. I'm glad we'll never have to find that out, because he'd have been the least deserving winner in "Survivor" history. 
[This recap is too long for only one page... Continued on the next! Sorry...]
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.