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Survivor Fodder

Survivor China -- Week 11: Don't I Know You?

As we rejoin the tribe back at camp, everyone is still talking about the ousting of James, so I think it warrants another second of our time here. James was a strong player, but as one of the comments noted, with only three more opportunities to use the immunity idols and the possibility of winning immunity one of the last two times, James had to play one of the idols and didn't. It's a baffling decision, and goes back to the point of "what good are the idols if you don't play them?" James' trust cost him, but so did his lack of logic-- and James had been extremely logical and calculating until that minute. I think we have to chalk it up to the fact that he'd be out there for THIRTY DAYS and the strategy of only have 3 more chances to use the idols might not have been quite as obvious to him. He didn't eat the apple, but he was a little greedy and wanted a free ride to the final three. And now he's on the jury.

We go to the Reward Challenge and with six people left you better believe it's gonna be the "Family and Friends" morale support episode. In the challenge, each player pairs up with someone and starts on opposite sides of a maze. While blindfolded, they must find each other and get to the center of the maze. Their partners are their visitors. Erik's mom shows up, Peih-Gee's dad, Amanda's sister, Courtney's dad (who is amazingly British, well-dressed, and awesomely un-survivor), Denise's husband, and Todd's sister. Todd's sister whispers a message to Todd, and Jeff calls them out on it. Todd explains that their other sister was supposed to have a baby and miscarried-- losing the baby, but being ok herself. Todd gets a more choked up than everyone already is and says it is alright. On to the challenge-- that is, right after Jeff makes the most blatant and awkward sponsor nod yet-- which I'm not going to repeat because that's what they want me to do.

There isn't a good way to describe the progression of the challenge to you in an exciting format, so let me just tell you some of the more amusing bits. First, Courtney's dad is horrified that he has to do a challenge and Courtney apologizes profusely to him. This family is getting better by the minute. Then, when Jeff announces, "Courtney and her dad STILL trying to find each other," she shouts, "Oh, stop it Probst!" in one of the first game-time asides to Jeff Probst I have ever heard. It further cements Courtney in my favorite crazy players category and while there is absolutely no reason for her to win, her "entitled" attitude and quirky snottiness has become endearing. Amanda and her sister decide making bird calls is the best way to go about things, but have trouble getting to each other. Fairly quickly, Denise and her husband, Robert, find each other, and shortly after that, they are on the platform in the center, winning reward!

They get to go on a small ship cruise with a delicious meal, and Denise gets to answer a special phone call from her oldest daughter. She also gets to choose two people to come with her, and she quickly and almost regretfully selects Todd and Amanda, who are extremely thankful. Peih-Gee rants about how she selected Denise and it hurts to not get paid back, but all this shows is Denise's intelligence. How many times have selecting the wrong Reward Challenge buddies led to getting voted off? Todd and Amanda are in control and they are in Denise's alliance. She is very smart to keep them by her side and to give them something positive. Peih-Gee must be mad for losing and not getting picked, but it's insane of her to think that she was in line for a reward at this point in the game.

Aboard the ship, they eat a big meal with chocolate cake and all sorts of treats. Denise gets a call from her daughter, and they both kind of cry and exchange a few words. Eventually Denise says she loves her and has to go. She hangs up. I think there's something very important here. Throughout the game, myself and plenty of other people have criticized Denise as being slow, uncoordinated, not very useful, and clearly one of the last ones picked for teams. She doesn't seem to be a great player, competitor, or strategist-- she's around because she aligned with the right people who plan on dumping her at the final four and she knows it. BUT, what she is is a great MOTHER and WIFE, and I stress that I don't mean that in any condescending way at all. Her character and personality and role all suddenly come together when you see her husband and hear her daughter. She is the glue of the family, and she's working hard to prove herself on the island, but her family is where her strength comes from. She's not dumb, she's just in a tough spot strategically and can't make any moves-- she's probably lasted longer than she ought to have. But she's fighting, and now we know who she's fighting for, beyond herself.

Back at the camp, Erik, Peih-Gee, and Courtney start gossiping. Erik says he has to get something off his chest and admits that he doesn't believe Todd's story about his sister. He says if it's true it's horrible and sad, but it felt forced and too perfectly timed. Courtney rants to the camera about the timing and the Oscar performance he put on. She does a great Jeff imitation asking about the story and Todd choking back tears as he tells what happened. It's worse than Johnny Fairplay, she says, because at least that was kinda funny. When Todd and the rest get back, bearing chocolate palms that they allow the others to lick....I'm gonna let that sink in.....after that, Todd and Amanda and their sisters are swimming and Todd says that he really hopes people don't see that as a clever move or a lie-- beacuse it's absolutely true. Who's the asshole now (we'll have to wait until the reunion show to see if he was telling the truth or not for sure-- I think he is)?

The Immunity Challenge is fairly simple, but could prove problematic. Each player must go through a short obstacle course to get to a box. In the box is a question with two answers. Each answer has a key below it. The players take the key of the answer they think is right, make their way back to the start, and test the key on the 3 locks they have. If it opens, the answer was correct. If it doesn't, it was wrong and they have to go back again. They have 3 locks, so they need 3 keys, and whoever does that first, wins.

Todd makes his way back first along with Amanda and they each have 1 lock undone. Erik is in last place after getting one wrong, and Peih-Gee gets her first lock. Amanda and Todd get back again and Todd opens his second lock. Amanda was wrong and has to go back. Peih-Gee ties Todd with 2 and they both go back for the last question. Todd gets a key first and charges back, with Peih-Gee just behind him. Whoever's key is right wins Immunity. Todd tries his. Again. Again. Wrong answer. Peih-Gee tries hers. Again. Again. And the lock opens. Peih-Gee wins immunity and protects herself for another week. She's the pest that won't go away, and while nobody likes her, she's somehow managed to keep herself afloat. Not somebody you want in the final two.

The only talk back at camp is about Todd or Erik. Peih-Gee and Erik make a play for Denise, telling her that everyone knows Denise is the fourth out, and Denise agrees. She also doesn't know if the move to tie the score at 3-3 in a vote would make sense. Todd consoles her and tries to make sure she's on his side, but Denise has a big decision to make, and is the swing vote that could decide the next four weeks of the game.

At tribal council the usual questions of trust come up and shockingly people don't know how much to trust each other, but they have no choice. A clean shaven James glares from the jury, and Denise fidgets, waiting to vote. The votes are cast and Denise says she's probably making the biggest mistake of the game. Jeff reads the votes.
Todd. Erik. Todd. Erik. Erik. Erik. He's going home. Denise stuck with her trust and her faith, to get another day on the island, and we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.

On the plus side, with the obvious exception of Peih-Gee (I reward good play, but I still can't side with the devious scrounging, non-charismatic player), each of the final five Survivors have something going for them in the like-ability department. Todd is just as devious, but also very clever, has been a major power player, and has some sort of anti-hero like charm. Amanda is slightly less worthy as she has ridden by Todd for most of the game, but she's pulled some of her weight and will probably he Todd's undoing. Denise is a hard working person and while she might not deserve to win Survivor unless she pulls out something remarkable in the next couple of episodes, she certainly is a good candidate to win the money and improve her life. And of course Courtney. Least deserving of them all, she has been the gnat that stuck around and we'll have to see if she ends up biting anyone. Her inexplicable ridiculousness makes her newly enjoyable in my mind. It's going to be a fun last few episodes.

Until Next Time, Keep Your Fire Burnin',
Witz


Posted by jon on December 7, 2007 3:01 PM
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