updated 11/14/2013 AT 2:00 AM ET
•originally published 11/14/2013 AT 9:45 AM ET
Stephen Fishbach was the runner-up on Survivor: Tocantins and has been blogging about Survivor strategy for PEOPLE since 2009. Follow him on Twitter @stephenfishbach. Erik Reichenbach is a Survivor fan-turned-favorite, a comic-book author and artist. He placed fifth on both Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Caramoan. Follow him on Twitter @BloodyAmer1can.
“I hope you don’t cast your vote based on that you got your feelings hurt. I think it’s poor sportsmanship, and I don’t think that it relays who the true Survivor is. It just shows that you got your feelings hurt.”
– Tina Wesson, winner, Survivor: The Australian Outback
How epic is the Survivor gross-food challenge?
First, it’s fun to see people’s blech-faces as they try to shove wriggly worms down their gullets.
Second, the challenge is a metaphor for the game of Survivor itself. Can your mind overpower your body’s natural reflexes as you strive for a million bucks?
Survivor is all about control. You have to be able to control your tribe mates. But just as important, you have to be able to control yourself. Can you say just the right things and act in just the right way – even as you’re starving, exhausted and slowly losing your mind from the game’s constant pressure?
That’s why it’s surprising that Monica won immunity. She aced a competition for mental toughness, even as she unraveled.