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Oct 18, 2007

Survivor: China - Episode 5 Recap

CBS doesn't want us to watch Survivor anymore. That's the message I'm getting loud and clear. First, they did the stupid freeze frame during the immunity challenge a few weeks ago. Then last week, they topped themselves with the whish-whoosh effect as the ballchucks were being thrown during a challenge. But this week they went beyond special effects during challenges and just decided to ruin the integrity of the game (at least, whatever integrity was there). I'm pissed, the contestants are pissed (some of them, anyway) and you should be pissed, too.

But more on that later.

We start off with a happy Zhan Hu tribe, having ridded themselves of jackass superleader Dave (Occupation: Former Model) at the previous Tribal Council - now all they needed to do was dump lazy, whining Sherrea and the remaining four (Musicial Virgin Erik, Horse Teeth, PG-13 and Frosti aka the Asian Freddy Rodriguez) would be, if not a strong tribe, at least a happy one.

The same couldn't be said for the folks over at Fei Long. Jean-Robert (not French) seems to be the bane of everyone's existence over there, with his "be lazy first and work hard later" strategy not exactly paying dividends just yet. Sad Stick Figure wants him out and Lunchlady Land isn't a fan, either. Looks like they better keep winning. In the meantime, though, John Coffey drops a bombshell on us by proclaiming his would-be love for Lunchlady Land (?!?!?!), stating "If she were younger or I were older, she'd have to watch out." James is many things, being particular is apparently not one of them.

But then! Big news is afoot. A boat arrives on each shore; a messenger appears and delivers a note. Each tribe is instructed to identify the "two best warriors" from the other tribe that they would like to kidnap and make a part of their tribe. Fei Long identifies Frosti and Sherrea, and immediately they know that James and (most likely) Johhny Utah are sure to be snatched form their side. Zhan Hu, meanwhile, naturally identifies James and Aaron, followed by each and every one of them celebrating their good fortune. Having started the episode with a 5-7 deficiency, they can't believe that the odds are turning in their favor. Now they will have a 7-5 advantage. "Lucky us!"

Oops. Uh, no - that's not how it works. So with James/Aaron and Frosti/Sherrea now switched, the game is set to begin.

After a lot of get-to-know-ya stuff on either tribe, followed by some verbal beatdowns of Jean-Robert by the other Fei Longers, the bomb drops. PG-13 unveils her plan to Horse Teeth - she figures if they throw the Immunity Challenge(s) and systematically vote out Aaron and James, if and when the tribes merge (at 10, they assume), the sides will be even again, with 5 original Fei Longers and 5 Zhan Hus remaining. Musical Virgin Erik is not told of the plan.

Fast forward to the Immunity Challenge. Long story short, the girls not only throw the challenge, but do so in the least convincing manner possible. Jeff Probst, either through being pretty observant or form having watched video prior to the challenge, picks up on the funny business, as you can hear the derision in his voice. PG, Jamie and James work the second half, which consists of them putting 12 discs in place on a platform (puzzle). PG, who had just hours earlier claimed of her fondness and affinity for puzzles, gives a performance worse than a mentally challenged fourth-grader. Both girls are visibly amused, and James is borderline livid. They lose horribly.

Back at camp, Aaron and James are upset, but aren't fully aware of what's happened. they deploy Erik to find out "what's up." Jamie informs him of what just went down, and while he's not pleased with losing on purpose, he's too smitten with Horse Teeth to really care. He's just along for the ride (and maybe some deflowering). James, on the other hand, is livid, and rightfully so.

(Start rant)

It's one thing to introduce hidden immunity idols and exile islands and even the atrocity of the "outcasts" from a few seasons back, but this was too much. The show instructs the tribes to cherrypick (more or less) the two best players from the other tribe, then sets them up for immediate failure. I'm not even a contestant and I'm pissed. I know neither life nor the game is fair, but this is ridiculous. Give them immunity for the first council or something! At the very least, they could have set up the worst players on each tribe for failure - James, Aaron, Frosti and even Sherrea deserved better. All the while, SSF gets to skate by while not even competing in any of the challenges. Way to screw over "the best," and the audience as well.

(End rant)

Aaron ends up the sacrificial lamb, due in no small part to James's yeoman-like effort around camp. He'll be lucky to last three more days, though, as he'll no doubt have to win the next challenge all by himself - if he doesn't get kicked off for having killed his tribe mates first, that is.

What a crock.

Survivor: China homepage at CBS.com

10 people have chosen wisely: on "Survivor: China - Episode 5 Recap"

bee said...

I can't believe they let two people from either team work that hard - just to throw away ANY chance they might have of sticking around.

Poor James was so mad - me too. He really deserves to be there.

Robb said...

At first I was really surprised by your post Fletch, because I found this a highly enjoyable episode. But then I realized, you are a fan of the "outplay". And, indeed, James is the embodiment of "outplay" so far. Aaron too, although to a much lesser extent.

But while I have rooted on my fair share of "outplay" contestants - Terry and Tom to name a few - I also enjoy the "outwit", which to my mind is just as legitimate a strategy as any other. (And in the case of Stephanie, "outlast" made me love her.)James and Aaron are competitive, but other than James' fabulous crush on Lunch Lady, neither have been particularly interesting so far. I hated the evil Rob (who remains my favorite villian of the entire series) when he voted off alpha male Hunter, but I couldn't deny the strategy was sound. Ditto here.

I do agree that too many "twists" just get annoying, and tend to favor luck over either strength or wit. (The return of the Scout Master remains in my mind the absolute low-point in that category.) I also think twists are far less interesting or necessary than the producers apparently think. But I don't think they are inherently unfair either. The game has always been unpredictable, that is just part of the adventure.

Anyhoo, I think it is a subjective call deciding which players are "the best". (Although I think we can all agree that Courtney is "the worst", heh.) And yes, bee, James has every right to be mad that the game turned against him. But being physically dominating already marked him as a target anyway, if not this episode it would have bit him soon enough anyway. But again, I think that who "deserves" to be there is highly subjective.

Sheamus the... said...

Hey...i am gonna link you at my site...

Fletch said...

@sheamus - Gracias! As you should see, I've already got you covered.

@robb - I pretty much agree with you, but in this case, it's the inevitability of PG and Jamie's decision that nullifies it.

They didn't outwit anyone, really, as anyone with half a brain (myself included) would have made the same move in their shoes, and would have been dumb not to. It's the situation that the producer's put them in that is unfair. With the tribe numbers the way that they were, whoever was sent over was doomed. That's what I have a problem with.

NFL Adam said...

I believe that Survivor likes to make rules on the fly. I knew one of the writers from the first two seasons and that is the impression that I got. (Not 100 percent mind you.) So I believe that they will move the merge back if James doesn't single handedly win the next competition. How funny would it be if the merge came at nine and one of those three had to be voted out?

Still, I can't argue with the strategy. How is that different from Richard Hatch throwing the final challenge because he knew that the Rat would outlast Rudy on the poll?

But overall, I am a sucker for the outplay people, too. Terry was awesome and it kills me that some former UCI bench warmer ended up winning that year. All because boobs wouldn't hold on to her end of the agreement.

What category does Danny go into?

BTW, I'm kind of bummed. My days off will be switching from Friday-Saturday to Wednesday-Thursday which means I won't be able to watch Survivor at work on Thursday nights.

DCMovieGirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DCMovieGirl said...

Gotta point out a few things:

#1 John Coffey was a gentle, albeit big, strong, black man.

The guy from survivor is just a jackass.

#2 Sherrea is lazy and BLACK and that is annoying.

Casting usually goes for the black bitch or the lazy black bitch.

#3 I just realized, the other day that the annorexic chick looks EXACTLY like Mia Farrow, circa Rosemary's Baby, without the Peter Pan 'do.

#4 NONE of the players are particularly likeable but I think you're being a bit unfair to the free-running, Chinese dude.

He's much cooler than Freddie Rodriguez.

Fletch said...

@dcmovie girl: I wouldn't worry too much about Sherrea giving black women a bad name - at least James is there to provide the opposite skill set. He works like nobody's business. Can't believe you think he's a jackass! He's probably my favorite contestant thus far, save for his odd taste in women...

Good call on Sad Stick Figure. She does resemble a young Mrs. Farrow.

What's wrong with Freddie? I think it's a pretty apt comparison...

@adam: no, like I said, I can't argue with the strategy, either - except for the fact that it barely qualifies as strategy when the producers give you no choice but to do that, and gave James/Aaron no choice but to get picked off (realistically speaking).

Danni the radio show host I presume? She was a good melding of the skills.

Damn - you'll just have to watch Survivor at home...

NFL Adam said...

Aren't you an hour ahead now? Where are the spoilers so I can go home early?

Fletch said...

That doesn't happen until next week, I think.

(Not that I'm that fast, anyway.)