Survivor: China
Ride the Work Horse Til the Tail Falls Off
By Jim Van Nest
October 14, 2007

*This* is a knife!

Hello, good people. I'm thrilled to have you back for Week 4 of Survivor: China. Back on my normal timetable, I feel like I just wrote about Week 3! But, to stay on track, let's talk about what happened last week. Previously on Survivor: James got crabs, Dave got naked, Leslie got kidnapped, Courtney got exposed as the weak link, Zhan Hu got to the winner's circle twice and Leslie got excommunicated (from Survivor anyway.) This week promises fireworks: both literally and figuratively as Dave and Sherea square off. Let's get right to it...

We begin in Fei Long and Jean-Robert is starting part two of his plan. He's up early and working. He realizes he was close to going home the night before, so he knows now is the time to kick it into gear. He knows he'll last through the next vote because Courtney is so weak. We flip to him and Courtney working together and as she reaches for a pot, he quickly tells her watch out because it might be hot. As it turns out, she gets pissed because he "yelled at her." Ok, now I don't care for JR much, he seems like a scumbag. But in this case, he was simply worried that she would burn herself grabbing a pot that was just taken off the fire. He raised his voice, but not in a mean way. It was no different than any of us would have been if we saw someone getting ready to burn the crap out of themself. This little discussion lasts way longer than it needs to and Courtney tells us how she just wants him gone. She clarifies by saying that she really doesn't care who goes as long as it's not her. Cue the theme...

We check in with Zhan Hu and the rice supply has gotten moldy. Sherea sits down and sorts through the rice to dump the moldy part and save the decent stuff. Apparently, she didn't do it good enough for Dave as he corrects how she's doing it and then refuses to offer a suggestion on how to do it. Sherea has finally had enough. She begins to clean up around camp, including some shells that Dave was apparently saving for his mother. As he goes after her, she completely loses it and tells him to get away from her. It becomes a war of wills, really, and finally, Frosti comes in and breaks it up a bit. As Dave is complaining about it, Frosti tells him straight up that the problem is people are seeing him as someone who's going off all the time. He tells him that if he plans to lead, he has to work well with the people he's leading. "Crazy Dave may have just worn out his welcome."

Let me take this time to mention that if Sherea was a blond rassler, I'd be thinking that they're showing me Episode 2 again. This is the same thing that happened with Ashley. And here I thought things were supposed to get better when they got rid of problem child Ashley. As it turns out, and as most of us already knew, Dave is the problem here. They dumped Ashley and it didn't work out so well for them. If they dump Sherea and keep this tool-bag they will completely screw themselves again. This is now a pattern and Dave will just pick a different woman to order around and berate. I'm not sure what happened to him when he was younger. Maybe his mom wouldn't let him take ballet; maybe a bunch of girls beat him up a lot. But he definitely has issues with women and they will continue to rip this tribe apart until they dump his ass. And I haven't even gotten into how useless he is in a challenge. It's one thing to be an ass that leads his tribe to victory. It's a totally different thing to be an ass and the weak link in all the challenges. Moving on to Fei Long...

Welcome back as Aaron comes down with Tree Mail. The mail tells them to go to Tribal Council tonight for their next challenge. The clue suggests that the winners will be eating. While the promos made it seem like a double boot was coming with "both tribes going to Tribal Council", it seems that the reality is that they'll be having a challenge on the Tribal Council grounds. JR tells us that it is very important for them to win a food challenge as he hasn't eaten in about three days and he really needs to keep up his strength.

Probst sighting!!! As the tribes arrive at Tribal, Zhan Hu looks VERY surprised to see Leslie gone. Today's challenge is a fun one. Two members at a time will use huge chopsticks to carry a flaming ball across a course and drop it into a chute where the ball will roll down into a wok igniting some fireworks. Each round, the chopsticks will get longer and heavier. The first tribe to light all three fireworks wins reward. Wanna know what they're playing for? Tomorrow morning the winning tribe will be visited by a Chinese family that will teach them how to fish. They will bring vegetables, spices and everything needed to cook a great meal. They will leave the spices and stuff behind as well as the knowledge of how to fish these waters. In addition, the winning tribe will get to kidnap someone from the losing tribe. Worth playing for? I think so. Not surprisingly, Fei Long sits Courtney out.

Squaring off with the first ball are Todd and Denise against PG and Sherea. Both teams are having a hard time...this is not an easy challenge. It is, however, one of the neatest challenges they've had in a while. Todd and Denise have taken a huge lead right off the bat, but PG and Sherea come back and make it a near tie putting the first ball in the chute. Amanda and Aaron are on the course against Jamie and Frosti with the second ball. Amanda and Aaron work very well; meanwhile, Frosti is stuck over the fire burning himself as they try to move the ball. Aaron and Amanda drop their ball way before Jamie and Frosti but with the longer chopsticks, it's still anyone's game. James and JR are now against Dave and Erik. Is it any wonder that Dave is completely tanking yet another challenge? James and JR get up next to the chute while Erik and Chucklenut are still back at the beginning. As Frosti tries to coach, James and JR drop their ball down the chute and the challenge is over. Fei Long wins reward! And now it's time for the kidnapping and much to the joy of the Zhan Hu tribe, they kidnap Dave. Sherea can barely contain her excitement. I've never seen a team less upset about losing a challenge as they just shrug off Jeff's patented, "I got nothing for you." I think they're all relieved to be going back to camp sans Dave.

We come back from break to the Fei Long tribe as they await their fishing family. The talk is about how good the food is gonna taste. Dave is thrilled to be there and getting a meal. Dave is treating this kidnapping thing as a mission to set up alliances for down the road. As he reads the clue to hand out to someone, he tried to figure out who the best person to give the clue is. He's treating this as a strategic move. As Dave gets excited about Courtney being from New York, Todd tells us how annoying he is, but he plans to be as nice as possible. Apparently it works, because Dave decides to give him the clue to the hidden idol. Todd agrees that if Zhan Hu kidnaps him, he will give the clue to Dave. As Todd reads the clues, the third item is a complete mystery to me. I have no idea what the hell it means. Todd does seem to be looking in the right place, but I don't think he realizes that he's looking at the idol.

Back at a much looser Zhan Hu tribe, everyone is basking in the silence. Sherea tells us she's thrilled to have Dave gone. After resting a while, the tribe gets up to do the daily stuff. Sherea, though, decides not to do anything. And just when you think Dave's a goner, Sherea steps up to give everyone a reason to dump her instead. I mean, for real, all you have to do is get up off your ass and do something...ANYthing. Frosti gets the fire started and I'm pretty sure he'[s the first person to start a fire that's not Dave. Sherea tells us that she is saving energy for challenges and that she plans to not do very much around camp for as long as she can get away with it.

Back at Fei Long, the local family arrives. They have with them a boat with several birds (pelicans of some sort) tied to it. It's a family of five, including two little kids. Denise tells us how happy she is to have them there. They bring fish, vegetables, oils and spices. And out of frickin' no where, Jean-Robert starts speaking Mandarin to these people. Um...where the hell did that come from?? He basically serves as a translator for this entire mission. Aaron and Denise join the folks on the water for some fishing. As the people tie small strings around the necks of the birds, we realize that the birds will go into the water, get the fish, but they won't be able to swallow, so they spit them out and they have fish. Amazing! As the woman explains how to clean the fish and what they need done, James gets a little offended at JR for "ordering me". While JR could get off his butt and do something, he instead is just translating and James takes a bit of offense to it. He does admit, though, that JR was awesome with these people and a huge help.

Back out on the lake, Aaron and Denise are learning how to use the net they already had. Denise is real happy to have a method for getting fish. As they cook up the food, she tells us that flavor has never tasted so good. She says that a lunch lady is not an expert on food. They take the nuggets out of the package, put them in the oven and there's nothing good about that. Amanda is just excited to have experienced the whole day and is happy to know they'll be eating better than the other tribe.

We come back from break to a Probst sighting!!! The tribes come into what appears to be a battle field and Dave is sent back to Zhan Hu. Today's challenge will have teams of two in traditional Chinese armor. They will throw meteor hammers at a series of vases behind the other team. The players will serves as throwers and blockers. The team to break the most vases after three rounds will win immunity. JR sits out for Fei Long. First round is PG and Sherea against Courtney and Denise. Each round will consist of three throws per team. And real quickly, before I get into it, the meteor hammers are a variation of what you'll see people throw in the Olympic Hammer Throw. The difference between these is there isn't a handle on the one end of the hammer; instead there are a couple balls on both ends. They look to be pretty formidable weapons for those who know how to throw them. Each team is also equipped with a bamboo staff to aid in blocking the hammers thrown by the other tribe. Okay, Survivors ready?

Denise takes the first shot and misses way over the top. PG tosses and isn't even close. Sherea and Courtney both toss and miss. Denise fires the third shot and PG blocks it. Sherea takes the last shot and connects to give Zhan Hu a 1-0 lead. Second round is Frosti and Dave against James and Todd. Dave fires first and to no one's surprise, he misses. Frosti also throws and misses. James and Todd throw at the same time and both connect. Frosti throws the final shot and misses. James takes the final shot for Fei Long and connects to give Fei Long a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead heading into the final round. And that round is Jamie and Erik against Amanda and Aaron. Amanda shoots first and Jamie blocks it. Aaron shoots and Erik blocks it. Jamie takes her shot and ties it up by knocking off two in one shot. 3-3. Erik shoots and misses and Amanda fires and connects for a 4-3 lead for Fei Long with Jamie having one shot left. She launches and Aaron gets just enough of it to deflect it to the ground, giving Fei Long immunity.

And now it's time to play...well, there's no for sure vote here, so we have no game to play. Sherea and Dave seem to be the most likely options, but Courtney was a guaranteed goner last week too, right? We join Zhan Hu as they arrive from the challenge. As PG and Jamie get ready to cook food, Dave naturally has an issue with the water they're using. PG is completely annoyed with his complaining. She just wants to cook and eat and Dave wants to critique the way they're doing it. He tells us that he feels very uncomfortable with what's going on at camp. He goes to PG and Erik to ask what their plans are and Erik tells him that he's torn on many things. Dave tries to convince him that he's changing and getting better. Jamie tells us that Sherea doesn't do anything around camp, but Dave is hard to live with. As the other four take a dip, Frosti reminds everyone that they don't really need Dave anymore around camp. PG is annoyed by Sherea's lack of doing anything and her excuse of "saving it for the challenges." Sherea talks to Frosti and Jamie and tells them that her plan is to kick butt in the challenge, because she thinks that's the important part. Erik tells us that if it were up to him, he'd like to get rid of both of them.

The group comes to Tribal and Jeff starts with Sherea. He asks how the dynamic changed without Dave. She says they continued on just as normal and they got to relax a little. He asks Frosti if that's a credit to Dave and he says definitely. Erik tells us that he likes Dave and it frustrates him to see people not following Dave's leadership. Dave claims he never wanted to be a leader but he had more experience and yadda, yadda, yadda. I swear the dude is a broken record. The only thing that changes is the person that he's berating. Jeff asks Sherea if everyone is pulling their weight. She says that she is stepping it up and trying to do more. She says that they need to save energy for challenges, though. Dave says that saving for challenges is a short term goal and they need to work around camp to stay fed. Um...Dave, Survivor is a 39 day game at best. At the absolute most, you're three days from another Tribal Council and another vote. It's a short term gave, dumbass. You have to have short term goals. While I understand the food and working around camp and all that...if you keep losing challenges, you keep losing people. And you could have the frickin Taj Mahal as your camp, but if you perform like Dave does at a challenge, you're destined to be living in your Taj Mahal alone. Ask Stephenie and Bobby Jon how well the working hard at camp and sucking at a challenge works for you. Jeff asks PG which is more important and she refuses to choose one. She says you have to have a balance. Sherea chimes in that PG loves camp life. She loves it out there, while Sherea lives for the challenges. They're what keep her going from day to day. And with that, it's time to vote. We're not shown any words from the voters, but we see that Sherea and Dave vote for each other. While Jeff's tallying the votes, let me say that keeping Dave is gonna be a huge mistake. I can tell that Sherea is toast and it will be yet another boneheaded decision from a tribe that's loaded with them. First vote: Dave. Um...uh oh. That's not Sherea's handwriting. That's little tiny writing...I'm pretty sure it's Erik's writing. We could have an upset brewing here. Second vote: Dave's vote for Sherea. Third vote: Dave. Fourth person voted out of Survivor: China...Dave. WOO HOO!!!! I love to see a tribe make the tough but correct decision. Dave had to go. He really should have gone instead of Ashley, but he absolutely HAD to go this time. The tribe can live without him work ethic. They can also live without his berating attitude and condescending tone. Further, they can definitely live without his constant failures in challenges.

Next time on Survivor: a little romance seems to be brewing between Jamie and Erik and they end that portion with Erik saying, "I'm a virgin." Can't wait to see how Jamie reacts to that. Also, a big twist turns the game on its head. James says, "Oh, the humanity." *sniff* *sniff* Smells like a tribal shakeup to me. And I was so hoping they wouldn't go that route this season, but they apparently are. Oh well, it always does shake things up a bit and could really make things interesting if Jamie and Todd decide to team up on the immunity idol thing. Well, thanks for joining me again this week and I look forward to next...'til then, take care!