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Friday November 30, 2007 3:00 pm

Survivor: China: “Ready to Bite the Apple”

Survivor ChinaAfter Frosti’s elimination at the last Tribal Council, Jeff made a surprise announcement to the seven remaining survivors:  they still had other business to attend to.  Before heading back to camp, they had to participate in a reward challenge right then and there.  The prize for this event would be one like no other.  The winner (and two friends) would travel by private jet to the Shaolin Temple.  The monastery – around since the 5th century – is most famous for being the home of kung-fu.  It’s a place where very few outsiders have been invited to stay, and for some reason, 3 stinky contestants from America would get a chance now.

For the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the players had to answer a series of questions based on Chinese culture. The first one to reach 5 points would get the prize.  After a very close battle between James, Peih-gee and Todd, Peih-gee came out victorious; this was now her 2nd challenge win a row.  She opted to take her Zhan Hu buddy (Erik) and the possible swing vote (Denise) with her.

The next morning, a boat picked up the three winners to start them on their travels.  Although Denise was excited to go on the trip – she had been studying karate for several years now – she was concerned about leaving camp.  She didn’t like knowing what would be waiting for her when she got back.  Of course, Peih-gee immediately worked on recruiting Denise the minute they boarded the jet.  (By the way – how could their stinky butts be allowed to sit in such a nice plane?)  Although Denise pointed out that an alliance would still make them three-against-four, Peih-gee felt confident they could get James over to their side.  Huh?

Back at Hae Da Fung, Courtney, Todd and James were celebrating their time alone.  Now they had a chance to preview what the Final Four could be like (backstabbing, lying, fake smiles, etc.).  Although Amanda did her best to play along, she was secretly plotting to break up the friendly group; she didn’t want to go into the Final Four with any of them.

Meanwhile, Peih-gee, Erik and Denise were being greeted by the monks of the Shaolin Temple.  After being handed robes and slippers, the three were treated to an afternoon of martial arts entertainment.  Denise even had the opportunity to show off some of her moves.  (I’m not sure if the shocked children were laughing at her or not.)  The survivors were then give a nice dinner and soft mats for their overnight stay.

On Day 29, Peih-gee, Erik and Denise returned to a muddy camp; a torrential downpour had forced the other four to hide out in a small cave.  Although Todd, Courtney and James were not eager to see their tribemates return, Amanda stepped out of their hole to welcome them back.  Peih-gee then naively chose to invade the cave anyway (a.k.a Courtney’s ‘Happy Place’) to brag about her wonderful adventure.  (If the three didn’t have a reason to hate her before, they did now.)

Denise – assured that she was still part of the Final Five -  later told Todd about Peih-gee’s plan to kick him off.  Meanwhile, Erik approached James about switching alliances.  James laughed him off and said it would be an incredibly stupid move.  Why would he separate from his happy group of five just to align with the ‘evil two’?

The next day, Amanda told Courtney about her new plan: she wanted to eliminate James as soon as possible.  Since he was in possession of both Hidden Immunity Idols, he was already guaranteed a spot in the Final Three.  If they were to convince him that Peih-gee was he next to go, he might not pull out an idol in time to save himself at Tribal Council.

For the next Immunity Challenge, each contestant was given three stars to throw at a series of targets; a varied number of points would be given depending upon accuracy.  The three people with the highest score at the end of Round One would move on to a sudden death final.  After some pretty anti-climactic rounds, Erik was the winner.

Although another former Zhan Hu member had just wonn immunity, James didn’t seem to be worried; he now knew Peih-gee was simply the next to go….or so he thought.  While he was resting comfortably, Amanda was broaching Todd about her plan to vote off James.  Surprisingly, the master manipulator seemed genuinely resigned to do whatever Amanda, Courtney and Denise wanted.

While discussing that night’s Tribal Council, Peih-gee and Erik found one of the immunity idols James had hidden in the roof of their hut.  Hoping to use this ‘discovery’ to her advantage, Peih-gee pulled Amanda aside and proposed blindsiding James (of course, not realizing this was Amanda’s plan).  Amanda simply told Peih-gee to (wink, wink) not say or do anything for the rest of the day; she needed to keep acting like she was going to be sent home. 

Peih-gee then turned around and told Erik about the surprise plan; she also suggested that they vote for Todd as a possible backup.  If James were to negate the votes against him with an immunity idol, they would still have another Fei Long member eliminated.  Weirdly enough, Erik didn’t seem completely on board with the Todd idea.  He was afraid that he could be risking a lot by making that move. Why?

Later at Tribal Council, things went according to plan for everyone but the clueless gravedigger.  Much to the amusement of the three-person jury (Frosti, Jaime, and Jean-Robert), James was sent home packing with the two useless idols still packed in his bag.  LOSER: James.

(You can review last week’s episode here.)
(You can read next week’s episode here.)

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