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Nov 29, 2007

Survivor: China - Episode 11 Recap

After a two week break for the viewing audience, the contestants of Survivor resumed their play right where we left them - at Tribal Council, shortly after Frosti was voted off. Though the outlook was bleak, Jeff shocked the gang with news that they were staying not for another vote or anything like that, but to immediately jump into the Reward Challenge (for really no apparent reason).

It was the standard multiple choice quiz style, with the topic at hand being "Potent Potables of China," or at least that's what it might be titled if this were Jeopardy! First person to get five right wins the reward. As there was little drama, we'll fast forward to the end, where we find PG the winner. Immediately, the remaining contestants start their cries of "Shenanigans! No fair! She's Chinese!" Okay, that's a lie, but it would have been funny had they done that.

As the winner, PG gets to take two losers of her choosing along with her on the trip, which will be to a remote mountain that houses the Shaolin Temple. Very, very cool. She picks her old Fei Long buddy Erik the Virgin first, then debates a while before taking Lunchlady Land, who we later learn is a student of ka-ra-tay herself (Kenpo, to be specific).

This is where we really learn why the show skipped the usual "getting back from Council" formalities and went straight to the Reward Challenge. The next morning, PG, Erik, and Denise are whisked away to a posh chartered jet, where they drank champagne, got naked and played Twister. Or maybe they just drank champagne. Either way, they enjoyed themselves. Without gushing too much, I'll just say that this was probably the best reward ever given to a group of contestants - as Jeff pointed out to everyone earlier, making the trip and staying at the Temple is something that very few outsiders are privileged enough to experience. What we're not told is that it is even rarer for the monks to get a chance to see a specimen as strange and unique as Lunchlady Land; word is, they lobbied for PG to pick her so that they might meet her.

Upon arrival at the Temple, the group changed into the native garb, got the grand tour, and not long after were enjoying a demonstration of the martial arts that made the Temple famous. Amidst all this, we're treated to quite the nugget: Denise gives her own demonstration to the inhabitants of Shaolin. More shocking is that she looks quite competent at what she's doing, and under tremendous pressure (akin to me giving a film review class to Siskel & Ebert, I guess). For all the trouble I give Lunchlady Land, I was genuinely impressed by her guts and thrilled that she got to experience this; I can only imagine how much it meant to her.

Anyhow, back to snarkiness and the game. As the gang of three arrived from their mountain paradise, the losers left behind were huddled like wet dogs inside a tiny cave near their campsite. Sad Stick Figure managed to show her winning personality wet again, declaring the cave "her happy place," and generally wishing death upon anyone that dared come near her, let alone speak to her. I'm so glad she didn't get to go to the Temple - if she had started rolling her eyes, I might have punched the television.

More tastes of the local environments for the Immunity Challenge, as throwing stars had to be hurled at cheesy targets to earn points. It's Stereotype Darts! Shockingly, Courtney managed to make it through the first round - given her prior performances, I would have thought the stars too heavy for her. She, James, Erik, and Amanda all make the final round, with each getting one star to throw for the win - get the most points and you win. Continuing the streak, another former Fei Longer wins, as Erik takes Immunity.

Back at camp, the scheming finally gets REALLY interesting, as a plan is hatched to not only oust James, but we confirm what we'd seen only glimpses of in prior episodes: the chief of this motley tribe is not outspoken, wannabe leader Todd, but Amanda Hathaway. The cunning linguist single-handedly hatches her plan to get rid of the big guy, taking a chance at catching him off guard (read: not playing one of his idols).

And it worked.

True, I've been a big fan of James - but he got played, and he deserved to go home. Getting blindsided ("I've been bamboozled!") is one thing, but this fellow had, in his possession, not one but two Immunity Idols, with only a few chances to play them. What are you waiting for?!?! At the same time, season after season goes by where we see the players without the idols afraid to make this play, for fear that should the person in James' shoes play an idol, one of them could be going home. They looked that chance in the face and kicked its ass, to put it bluntly. Todd even knew that, if anyone, he was the whose head might potentially be chopped, yet he never made a stink, going forward with the plan.

Hats off to Amanda - I'll be rooting for her from here on out.

Survivor: China homepage at CBS.com


4 people have chosen wisely: on "Survivor: China - Episode 11 Recap"

The Big Picture said...

no fletch. fuck amanda. she's a dirty tramp. james was the man, and yes, he shoulda known to play them, but that's bullshit to stab him in the back like that. there's no integrity in this game anymore.

i'm rooting for, fuck, what's his name? the dude who won immunity. he's just quietly going along and keeping quiet. i like that.

PG, Todd and Courtney are three of the most obnoxious players to ever be on the show. if one of them wins, i'm gonna make a fuss.

NFL Adam said...

I hope that blonde chick who tried to play the fake immunity idol got quite the chuckle of dumbass James getting played like that. I believe that is what the Chinese call karma.

Shippo said...

I'm rooting for Lunchlady. Should the Final 3 consist of her, Courtney, PG/Eric she has a decent chance of winning.
I don't think they'll be forward-thinking enough to band together and oust Amanda, then Todd, but then I didn't think anyone would get booted with 2 idols in his pocket.

Robb said...

First of all, a huge compliment on your usage of "Shenanigans", which is a word I've been trying to bring back into the common lexicon, as it is simply a kick ass word.

However, a poop on you for forcing me to imagine either PG or Denise naked. Like, I don't want to go there.

Otherwise, I'm stoked that you have come over to the dark side and are embracing the "outwit". Isn't it awesome? The best part, is that even had James played the idol and Amanda's plan had failed, it still would have been more interesting than just voting off PG this week and then Eric next week. Inevitability is boring. (Sorry, Hillary.)