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Survivor China: Week 4 - I'm Sorry Dave, I Can't Do That

Picking up where last week left off, Dave is getting into fights over at Zhan Hu. After last week's Ashley debacle, I really hoped Dave would somehow step up and change his ways so as not to further exacerbate problems in the tribe, and prove that not Ashley, but HE was the issue. No such luck. Sherea and Dave start bickering over how to do certain things, Sherea gets on Dave for the way he talks to her and the tribe, Dave gets on her for being lazy, and the scene is set for the rest of the episode. This week, Sherea and Dave are on the block.

Over in Fei Long, Jean-Robert goes in the opposite direction, taking strides to be a more valuable player in the game. He says he loves starting at the back of the pack and working his way to the front--it's how he plays poker, and it's how he's playing the game. We'll see. Courtney still thinks he's gross, but I can't handle her anymore and I don't think Fei Long can either. She's weak, whiny, and narrow-minded if the last three weeks are any indication. Before they throw us to a surprise Tribal Gathering for the Reward Challenge, we got a shot of slovenly Jean-Robert bending to pick something up and giving us a blurred shot of his pubes hanging out. A few weeks ago, one of my faithful, attentive readers questioned how blurred out images of breasts and booty can raise ratings when nobody gets turned on by blurred out images. I believe it is the IDEA that drives it, that somewhere in the world, breasts are exposed, butts are hanging out, sexy bits are seen where they ought not be seen. The Real World thrived on this for far too long. I'm not saying it's turns people on, I'm saying it piques people's interest, because something you "aren't supposed to have seen" are being seen by someone, even if it's not you--you know it is happening. I can sum it all up much easier in the form of another question: If blurred out images have no effect on us, then how come Jean-Robert's blurred out pubes still made me throw up a little in my mouth (ancient proverb from Sun Tzu's The Art of War).

Everyone heads to a surprise Tribal Reward Challenge Gathering and we find out it is because everyone, including Jeff Probst loves fireworks. Each tribe must carry a small fireball across sand to a wooden chute. They carry each ball with oversized chopsticks, one per person in pairs of two. When the ball gets into the chute, it rolls down, lights a wick, and sets off a firework. Cool. They're playing for a fishing lesson with a family of Chinese fisherman, who will then cook them a meal.

Courtney sits out because the last thing she tried to lift was a grain of rice and it threw her back out, so she can't handle the chopstick. Sherea and Peih-Gee start against Denise and Todd, who quickly pull it together to set off their first firework. Amanda and Aaron keep the lead strong over Jaime and Frosti and there is only one more pair to go. James and Jean-Robert step up and fly down to the end, but stumble as they try to lift the final ball to the chute with their gigantic sticks. Dave and Erik catch up slightly, but the two big men pull it together and win the reward for Fei Long. They choose to kidnap Dave, which is an interesting decision given the turmoil over at Zhan Hu.

It only takes a few minutes at Fei Long for Dave to prance around like a lunatic, showing off his ass-crack and trying to hug James, who will have none of it. Todd quickly gets to the point, telling us that Dave is nuts and "annoying as hell." Ok, so maybe it's a Dave problem, not a tribal dynamic thing over at Zhan Hu. Still, always the gamesman, Todd bonds with Dave and Dave gives him the clue, thinking that he will return the favor down the line. This is the second time Todd has been trusted with a clue, and he now has 3 clues towards the immunity idol hidden in camp. This clue states that when the night creatures set to flight, they carry the answer or something like that. Then we get another shot of the seal at camp, which doesn't make any sense, but it's fairly obvious by now that it contains the immunity idol (or is one). Back at Zhan Hu, everyone's glad Dave isn't there, but they can't pull together and get anything done. They eventually get a fire going, but it takes time, and Sherea lies there conserving her energy for the challenge, which she has yet to prove herself in as an asset.

Fei Long gets their reward and goes fishing with a Chinese family. The biggest surprise comes, however, when the family shows up and Jean-Robert INEXPLICABLY SPEAKS MANDARIN! WHAAAAT??? He had that ace up his sleeve the whole time and it was a great time to play it. He apparently lived in Taiwan for a short time twenty years ago and just realized he remembers how to speak Mandarin. He is a huge help translating for the family. Denise and Aaron go fishing with the men and it is one of the most interesting cultural displays I have seen on Survivor. They fish by tying a reed or bamboo string semi-loosely around a bird's neck. Then the birds dive and catch a fish in the water. The birds return to the boat (they're trained), but can't swallow the fish because of the tie around their neck. So you simply open their mouth and take out the fish, entirely fresh and intact. Briliant. On the shores, Jean-Robert takes a little flack for acting arrogant and in charge because he speaks Mandarin, but he's translating tasks for the Chinese woman, so he can't be blamed too much. Jean-Robert is stepping it up big time this week.

Just in time for the IMMUNITY CHALLENGE:

This week, each tribe has pairs of players dressed in ancient Chinese armor. Each pair has three "Meteor Hammers" which are like bolos in England. You twirl them around your head and throw them at the vases. Each player also has a stick to defend with. It's kind of like Uber-Dodgeball, only you'd prefer to get hit by a Meteor Hammer than have a vase broken behind you when you dodge.

Denise and Courtney vs Peih-Gee and Sherea "“ Sherea comes up big and gets the only hit of the round. 0-1 Zhan Hu.

Todd and James vs. Frosti and Dave "“ James absolutely guns the projectile and trounces the vases. Todd gets a hit too. 3-1 Fei Long.

Amanda and Aaron vs. Erik and Jaime "“ Last round. Zhan Hu needs 2 to tie and GETS IT when Jaime shoots one hard through the air which takes out 2 vases. Zhan Hu has one shot left though, and Amanda HITS, taking out a vase. Zhan Hu has one shot to tie it. It zooms through the air, is deflected, but not stopped, and it JUST misses a vase. 4-3 Victory for FEI LONG. Zhan Hu is heading to Tribal Council. One note about the cinematography of this challenge. They used the same anime/old Chinese cinema style when filming the hammers that HIT vases as they did when they freeze framed the swords right before they CUT the rope last week. In response to a comment last week, I think it is simply the cinematic reference and style they are using in challenges as opposed to a method of hiding anything that they don't want us to see.

After the challenge, a few obvious things happen. Dave returns to camp, notices people acting strangely towards him and calls it out that he's on the block. People admit to liking what he does around camp, but causing a lot of trouble. Meanwhile, Sherea is on the block for doing almost nothing and not coming through terribly in challenges, although today she had a useful, if ultimately useless, success. Sherea bafflingly finally questions whether her doing NOTHING is a problem.

They go to Tribal Council and we don't learn anything new. It's coming down to a simple vote: Lazy vs. Crazy. The votes come out! .And! ..Crazy wins--er, loses. Dave gets 4 votes, but other than his vote for Sherea it was actually a clean sweep. Ashley must be punching the wall at home (or trouncing other female wrestlers in the ring). Dave goes quietly, but it's clear a large presence is leaving and Zhan Hu has a long road ahead of them.

Until Next Week, Keep Your Fire Burnin',

Posted by jon on October 12, 2007 5:07 PM
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Two things. First, the whole fishing thing WAS awesome. And second, I absolutely hate the whole freeze frame action sequences. They add nothing to the excitement that is Survivor.

1. Posted by: John R. Shearer at October 14, 2007 12:47 AM

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