Survivor: China
Love Is In The Air
By Jim Van Nest
October 24, 2007

Aaron, they say they are going to vote for the other guy, but I wouldn't trust them...

Hello, good people, and welcome to the 5th week of Survivor: China. Previously on Survivor; Jean-Robert and Courtney argued, Sherea and Dave argued, Sherea laid around and did nothing, James dominated yet another challenge and Crazy Dave got "committed" to Loser's Lodge. Tonight we've been promised Erik's virginity and a crazy twist that will shake up the game. Let's get right to it.

We begin the show at the new and improved Zhan Hu camp. Everyone is sleeping in for the first time since they got to China. As everyone is enjoying the Dave-less camp, Frosti is telling us about how strong the Fei Long tribe is at this point and how it's an uphill battle for them now. Sherea tells us that she's now feeling like an outsider and is looking forward to something changing in the game. Hmmm...Can you say "foreshadowing?" I knew you could. Cue the theme...

We come back to Zhan Hu and love is in the air. We were promised a show-mance and now looks like the setup. Jamie and Erik are enjoying a nice swim and Erik tells us about how he kinda likes Jamie. In fact, he also tells her that he kinda likes her. They make a little small talk and discuss the basics. You know, middle names, virginity. The usual. Apparently, Erik is still a virgin and he has no problem admitting this on national television. Jamie tells us that because of this, she feels like she can really trust Erik. To prove how much she trusts him, she lets him in on the whole hidden immunity idol secret. And with that, Erik's feeling pretty darn good with his little alliance/romance thing.

We finally visit Fei Long and surprise...James and Denise are working. James tells us how much he appreciates what Denise does and how that work ethic is very attractive. You might want to have the kids leave the room for what comes next as it's the scariest thing ever uttered on Survivor. James mentions, "If Denise was ten years younger or if I was older, whichever way, Denise'd be in trouble." *shudder* As James begins to cook dinner, Denise shares with us how much respect she has for James as well.

We interrupt the James/Denise love affair to bring Fei Long a special message. Some fishermen show up at camp with a note. The message says to select two people from Zhan Hu that they would like to add to their tribe and the fishermen will go get them. Naturally, this sends a small panic through Fei Long as they put two and two together and realize that Zhan Hu probably just got the same note and that James and Aaron might not be around much longer. After a quick discussion, Fei Long decides on Frosti and Sherea as their new tribe members. Jean-Robert re-enforces that if Zhan Hu got the same note, it means James is history.

Speaking of Zhan Hu, they are so completely clueless. They get the exact same note that Fei Long received, yet somehow they seem to think that they're getting two Fei Long members for free and will now have the 7-5 numbers advantage. Are you frickin kidding me? Why in the hell would they do that? As if this whole "pick the two people you want" idea isn't retarded enough, you actually think you wouldn't have to give up two people in return? Have NONE of you watched this game before? Stupid! Oh and by the way, they decide to take James and Aaron.

When the boat comes back to Zhan Hu, they're all a bit puzzled by the fact that James and Aaron aren't on it. When the fishermen give them another note telling them Frosti and Sherea have to go, the shock is overwhelming. After the fact, Sherea tells us that not realizing two people would have to go was pretty dumb. Uh, ya think? As they leave, Frosti reminds the other three that they will now have control over the two strongest players in the game. Hmmm...Can you say "foreshadowing?"

As Zhan Hu bid their tearful farewells, the inevitable hits Fei Long. Aaron and James are totally bummed, but not near as bummed as Jean-Robert is. He's lamenting losing his greatest ally in James. JR tries to rally the troops before their new members arrive. No one seems to think this is very important, but he's right when he says that they need to discuss strategy before the new people arrive, not after. With his own head on the chopping block, he knows it's imperative to make sure the Fei Long five will stay together when it comes time for a vote. He tries to convince the tribe that they boot the Zhan Hus first and then deal with each other. He summed it up best, "Today is a terrible day for Fei Long and a God-awful day for Jean-Robert."

We come back from break and James and Aaron are on their way to Zhan Hu. To save themselves, their plan is to simply win all the challenges. As they arrive at Zhan Hu, the fishermen come up behind them with a basketful of fruit, nuts and alcohol. And there is much rejoicing. James is completely crushed by the switch. He says this tribe is just too happy for him and he prefers misery. PG reiterates to us that they are in control and it just depends on what they want to do with that control.

We join Fei Long as Frosti and Sherea arrive and Todd's thinking alliance. He sees the two new players as two new possibilities. The basket of food and alcohol is brought up and again, there is much rejoicing. Sherea likes the new arrangement. She's hoping that is she steps it up; she can start over and not have the reputation of lying around and doing nothing. Frosti is totally freaked out since he's at such a large numbers disadvantage. The next morning, Jean-Robert is up and trying to take James' place, I guess. He has the fire started and breakfast started before anyone else wakes up. As everyone starts to wake up, JR begins to assign duties to people. Surprised by this new, improved and bossy JR, the rest of Fei Long pretty much just bashes him. Amanda tells us that he's just trying to save his butt. Sherea and Frosti really don't care what he's doing. All they know is that they've found a crack in the Fei Long armor and both hope to exploit that in the coming days.

We come back to Zhan Hu and guess what? James is working! While he works, everyone else is in the water hanging out. Aaron is doing his best to fit in and Jamie and PG are drilling him for info. They're asking if Jean-Robert would be the first one voted off. Aaron is purposely vague in his responses. As he talks the tribe up for winning the challenges, they begin to discuss how mush of a threat James will be once the game becomes individual. PG tells us that she is very concerned with how long Sherea and Frosti will last in the Fei Long camp. She pulls Jamie aside and tells her that she expects the merge in two more votes (with ten people remaining) and she has a plan. She tells Jamie that with those two votes, you can pretty much expect Sherea and Frosti to be the vote getters. And if that happens, when the tribes merge, they'll be down in numbers 7-3 to Fei Long. PG suggests throwing the next two challenges in order to dump Aaron and James and get the numbers back to an even 5-5. And in the process, they can boot the two strongest individual players.

*Okay, I have to chime in here. I have to give PG credit for coming up with an incredibly risky, but potentially brilliant strategy. With Aaron and James out of the way, this becomes anyone's game. And at the same time, gives the tribes an equal merge. But, and this is a big but...there's no assurance that they're merging at ten. What happens if they boot Aaron and James and they tribes don't merge? They're toast in any further challenges and they'll just keep losing until only one remains. Like I said, the strategy here could be brilliant and turn out to be the best move ever in Survivor. One thing though, you don't throw a challenge. EVER! The one thing you never want to do is go to Tribal Council willingly. Too many things can happen. You can fall into a pattern of losing. The karma Gods of Survivor will see to it that you pay. You just can never willingly give up a member of your tribe and expect that to work for you. You can have the best strategy in the world, but if it requires you to purposely lose a challenge, you have just got to come up with a different way. You have to. ***

Probst sighting!! Also, there's a new swimsuit sighting. Apparently, the tribes were visited by the swimwear fairy last night and everyone has nice clean swimming suits to wear. Not that I have a problem with it, I was quite tired of the dirty nasty underwear and blurry patches all over the place. But would it kill them to show us how that happened? It's like they're not even trying this season. "Screw the audience, we'll tell them the players only get the clothes on their back and then will give them all their clothes later. They may notice, but who cares, we'll have them hooked by then." Anyway, all decked out in new bikinis and swimming trunks, the tribes hear about the immunity challenge. Each tribe will choose two swimmers. They will swim out to a platform, where they'll take turns diving down up to 12 feet next to a large underwater cage. Inside this cage are 12 discs representing the Chinese zodiac. (Frankly, they look like leftovers from the Dharma Initiative...all we need is Hurley and Sawyer to take us to the hatch...but I digress.) There are several bamboo poles sticking through the cage and holding the discs in place. The divers will need to dive in and remove as many poles as they can. Once they release all 12 discs, the tribes will load them into a little boat and pull them back to shore. At this point, the other three people will take the discs and put them on a big puzzle board. First tribe to get their 12 pieces on the board in the right place wins immunity. Fei Long chooses to sit out Amanda and Courtney. I understand that Courtney is a weaker player, but why sit her out now? She could easily do the puzzle and then you could sit her out at the next challenge. If the next challenge is physical and they lose due to Courtney's weakness, they have no one to blame but themselves.

So, Aaron and Erik will swim for Zhan Hu against Frosti and Jean-Robert for Fei Long. The challenge is pretty much neck and neck for quite a while, but Aaron and Erik do begin to build a bit of a lead. While Frosti and JR are still diving, Zhan Hu is bringing their pieces back to shore. As they're doing this, Jamie is trying to organize the remaining players to keep James as far from the puzzle board as possible. He's not going for it.

***Real quick, I want to introduce a new term to the Survivor recap. I'm stealing it from professional wrestling. The term is "turn heel." Simply put, it's when a fan favorite does something so terrible and vile that he/she becomes a bad guy as a result of that one action. I bring this up, because we are about to witness the worst case of "turning heel" in the history of Survivor. ***

After working their asses off to get a good lead for their tribe, Aaron and Erik are too tired to see what happens next. First off, Jamie takes one of the discs and casually tosses it aside. Then she and PG take their time trying to figure out the puzzle, which by the way wasn't very hard. James is doing the best he can, but with the girls standing in front of the board tanking it, there's not a lot he can do. The worst part of it is the girls laughing as they destroying this challenge. As the girls flounder and James gets pissed, Fei Long comes from behind and wins the challenge. To quote Jeff, "Zhan Hu, definitely the worst performance at a challenge yet."

And just like that, we have the worst case of throwing a challenge I've ever seen. Anyone who's ever played this game before has to be ashamed of the way these girls acted. I mean, if you're gonna throw a challenge (which is idiotic as it is), the least you can do is have the decency to feel bad for doing it to someone. Instead, they just thought it was hilarious. See what I mean by "turning heel?" You don't yet? Well, give it a few minutes.

We get back to Zhan Hu and it's time to play "It's anyone but James or Aaron." And I have to say, I don't think we're gonna like the outcome of this game. We join them as PG and Jamie are laughing almost uncontrollably at their success in destroying the integrity of the show's challenge. Poor Erik is left with the other guys trying to figure out what went wrong. He decides to just ask. He goes to the girls and asks them what the hell was up with the challenge and they admit that they threw it. He's pretty pissed about it, but feels like he's stuck voting with them. Bottom line, he has the hots for Jamie and she could have drowned James and Aaron earlier and he'd still vote with her. Erik suggests dumping James then but Jamie wants Aaron gone. It seems that the combination of brains and brawn have to go before just the brawn. We flip to PG talking to James. She tells him that if he wants to stay, she can make it happen. He tells her that Aaron deserves to stay and that he's ready to go. Erik passes along that James is the vote and Aaron reluctantly tells us that he'll vote for James just to stick with the group and not make any waves.

Finally we get to Tribal Council and Jeff starts off asking Jamie why they chose James and Aaron. She says they wanted to hurt the other tribe and taking their two strongest members should do that. Aaron says it was tough to leave because the other tribe was doing so well. As this whole exchange is going on, I can't help but notice that Jamie is wearing makeup. Ya know I let the swimsuit thing slide pretty easily, but makeup? Way to have these folks rough it there, CBS. Are you frickin kidding me? Do they get room service too? Anyway, Aaron is also saying that due to the numbers, it was pretty important for him and James to win that challenge. As all this is going on, Jeff finally comments on Jamie's big grin and laughter throughout. She says that while she doesn't want to be there, but she's not gonna be all pissed off about it. James chimes in, "'Cause she's got the numbers and she's chillin'." Jeff mentions the challenge and that he's been around this game a little bit and it seemed like she had no concern about winning it. She goes on to explain the whole merge thing and that she doesn't want to have them go back to Fei Long when the tribes get back together. Jeff asks her point blank if they threw the challenge and she admits they did. And to complete the "heel turn" as James and Aaron are dumbfounded by this news, she can hardly contain her laughter. By the way, what you feel right now is a natural reaction to a big-time "heel turn." Jamie's transformation is complete. She has now gone from a person we root FOR to a person we specifically root AGAINST. PG jumps in and explains the numbers thing to Jeff. He asks James is it's killing him to her that they were trying to lose. James is the most blown away by how happy they seem to be with themselves for losing. PG tells him it's not about winning the battles, but about winning the war. James is just beside himself with anger. He tells Jeff that this mentality is why they lose. He goes on to talk about how much he can't stand it and that he would rather leave than be a part of a team that would throw away challenges like that. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Aaron's vote for James and James' vote for PG. After that, it's three in a row for Aaron and Aaron becomes the shocked fifth person voted out of Survivor: China. I have to be honest...this whole episode made me wanna puke. And to think I was rooting for Jamie.

Next time on Survivor: Amanda, Todd and Frosti seem to have found one of the Hidden Immunity Idols and ladies and gentlemen: it's ba-a-a-ack. The Gross Food Challenge is back, baybee!!! They show some clips of Survivors running into and out of an abandoned house in some sort of challenge. Hopefully, James can singlehandedly win the Immunity challenge and save himself for one more week. Til then, take care.