Survivor: China
Hello. I'm Still A Person
By Jim Van Nest
December 17, 2007

Try to forget that I was evil to Aaron.

Hello, good people, and welcome to Survivor Week, 2007!! Tonight we'll whittle down our remaining 5 players to the Final Four that we'll have to spend two hours with on Sunday. But before we get to that, previously on Survivor: loved ones made an appearance, Todd ISN'T Jonny Fairplay, Denise won reward and dissed PG, PG got even by winning immunity, Erik and PG targeted Todd, their plan failed and Erik moseyed on to Loser's Lodge. The previews for tonight show PG and Amanda bonding with Todd as a target. Generally, the previews try to mislead you, but at this point, anything can happen.

We begin tonight's show after Tribal. Denise tells us that she doesn't feel comfortable with her vote for Erik, but she decided to stay safe. Courtney is talking about how nice Erik is, but he wasn't nice enough that she wants to hand him a million bucks. Cue the theme.

Day 34 dawns and PG is the only one up. She tells us that she's not very well liked and that she's definitely on the outside. She gets to the Tree Mail box and the mail is wrapped around some arrows. The poem suggests that skill and popularity will come into play this time around. Todd tells how important rewards are at this point to help keep you going and that he REALLY hopes he's skilled and popular.

Probst sighting!!!! Okay, I've listened to Jeff explain the challenge twice. It makes no sense the way he says it. So, the basics are: everyone gets five arrows to shoot out of an ancient Chinese crossbow. They will go behind a screen and divvy up those arrows amongst the other four Survivors. Whatever arrows end up in a person's jug, they get to shoot at a target full of names. Whoever has the most targets with their names hit, wins reward. Wanna know what they're playing for? The winner will be flown by private jet to the Great Wall where they'll have a meal and spend the night. Sound good enough? I thought so. Let's move along. First up, everyone has to divvy up their arrows. When all the divvy-ing is done, PG gets one arrow from Courtney and...well, that's all. Denise gets two arrows, Amanda gets four arrows, Todd gets six arrows and Courtney comes in with 12 arrows. Least amount goes first.

PG fires and misses. Denise is next up and misses with the first shot and connects on her own name with her second shot. Amanda is up next. Her first and second shot hit Denise, giving her three points. She misses the board on her fourth. Todd's up next and connects with his own name on his first five shots. Very impressive shooting. His sixth shot falls short and Todd is in the lead 5-3 over Denise. PG and Amanda have zero. Courtney's up and her first shot misses. She connects on her second shot. On the third, she hits Denise. Next up is Amanda. A miss. Now a shot on Todd. Then a shot on Denise and it's 6-5 Todd over Denise. Amanda and Courtney each have one. Denise. Todd. Miss. Denise. To recap: Denise 7, Todd 7 and Courtney has one shot left. As if she was trying, she gives Denise her eighth point and the victory. Naturally, when Jeff tells her to pick one person, she picks Courtney. Then Jeff lets her pick one more person. PG starts chiming in about how she's gonna be on the jury and she took Denise on the Shaolin Temple reward. Denise is then heard telling Courtney that she's afraid of letting PG get fed and strengthened. After much deliberation, she chooses Todd. After the pick, Jeff asks PG why she's so down and she goes on about not getting taken on a reward after taking Denise and how she has to fight harder than anyone. Ya know I might feel for her if she hadn't been a complete jerk through most of the season. And then there's the whole "throwing the challenge thing." And in another example of why ya gotta love Probst. He asks Amanda about not getting to go and she says that it hurts, but what can you do? Probst, "Not much, cause I got nothing for ya." Heeeee!

When we come back to camp, we get an eyeful of Amanda's blurry ass. PG tells us that she got very frustrated not getting chosen for the reward. Plus she overheard Denise commenting on not wanting her to get stronger. If I may interrupt her rant for a second...I understand how she feels about not getting payback for taking Denise on a reward. However, stop revising history and acting like you took Denise because you wanted to. You took her as a strategic move to further yourself in the game. Denise has her eye on a million dollar prize and the last thing she wants to do is go up against the underdog in the finals. At this point, if PG makes the finals, she's a shoe-in to win. Everyone will appreciate how she beat the odds and survived. So, PG, I'm sorry that your feelings are hurt, but this is a game and Denise is in it to win it. If you can't understand probably shouldn't be out there. Amanda's also upset about not getting to go. She's feeling pretty left out as she was the one who was normally part of the winning group.

To kill some time, I guess, she hits PG point blank with, "Why do you dislike me so much?" She tells PG that she feels like she's always being attacked at Tribal and they never talked at camp. PG tells us that she really respects Amanda for bringing it to her like she did. As they talk it out, you can almost feel a bond forming. They head out into the woods and shake some fruit down off the trees for dinner. Speaking of dinner...

We join the others on their way to the Wall. Todd tells Denise that he's so happy she didn't give PG any strength. He says he feels bad for Amanda, but he knows she'll stay true to them. Besides, he says, will she align with PG and a bush to try to vote them off? As they arrive at the Great Wall, they are greeted by a gentleman who shows them a table and their beds. They all sit around the table and have a hard time figuring out how to eat. They have plates of raw meat and a volcano looking bowl of hot water that they have to put the meat into to cook it. As they stuff themselves to capacity, they discuss strategy. They're talking about how PG is going to be completely pissed off when they get back. Courtney tells us that taking Todd was good strategy as Amanda is less likely to stir up trouble at camp than Todd. To quote her, "An angry Todd is a bad Todd."

We come back to camp and join Amanda and PG out fishing. They bring in quite a few fish on their net and feel pretty good about bringing in such a bounty. As they fish and cook, again, you can feel the bond growing stronger. All I can think is that this is not looking good for Todd. As they eat, PG mentions that there's only enough rice for like two days. As night falls, Amanda tells PG what a puppet Denise is. She was a puppet of Jean-Robert and James and now she's a puppet of Todd and Amanda. PG suggests maybe getting rid of Denise or Todd on the next vote. Amanda admits that she's been up for a switch all along. As they discuss what a great day they've had, we switch back over to our reward folks.

Before bed, they're treated to an ice coffee. Over coffee, Todd asks what they want to do if PG wins immunity. He suggests that maybe they could band together and dump Amanda. He's suggesting that they probably can't beat Amanda in the end. Denise is just sitting back and listening and getting more and more nervous. She feels like she might be the one left out of their group.

As Todd, Courtney and Denise get back to camp, Amanda and PG are nowhere to be found. They search around a bit, but can't find them. Todd is concerned, of course. Especially considering how pissed they were when they went off to the reward. When they finally come back to camp, the talk turns to the Great Wall. As they talk about the food, they try to play down the quality and the reward in general. Amanda and PG are both annoyed that when they come back from a REWARD, Todd and Courtney can still find something to complain about. I could be wrong here, but it seemed more to me like they were trying to play down the coolness of the reward, knowing how upset Amanda and PG were about not going. I could be wrong about that, but that's how I took it. Bottom line, there wasn't much they could say about the reward that would have set well with the people that didn't get to go. There's just too much sour grapes this late in the show. Denise tells Amanda that they had made boiled meat sandwiches to bring back, but Todd ate them on the plane, so they only have some nuts and stuff to bring back for them. Amanda thanks her and Denise looks like she feels real bad, but what can she do? Todd decided to be a jerk and that's that. Amanda tells us that Denise seems to care about her where Todd does not. She tells Denise that she's got her back and that they'll talk later because she has some ideas.

The next morning, Todd and PG head to get Tree Mail and the clue suggests they'll have the "repeat of other challenges" challenge. Amanda tells us that PG is under the most pressure to win this time around, but Todd shouldn't be feeling too comfortable either. She's feeling a growing need to get rid of him.

Probst sighting!! As suggested, this is a challenge made up of other challenges from the rest of the show. Stage One is a throwing star stage. Each person will throw two stars. The person with the lowest score is out, everyone else moves on. Stage Two is an eating station. Each person will have to eat 1 balut (that's the partially formed chicken/egg thing). Last person to get it down is out, everyone else moves on. Stage Three is a "bounce the ball on a drum" challenge. First two to bounce one ball through the obstacle course and into the finishing bin move on to the finals. The Final Stage will see the last two chop through some ropes to release round puzzle pieces. Once all eight pieces are released, they'll need to complete a vertical puzzle with them. First one done with the puzzle wins immunity and a guaranteed one in four shot at a million bucks.

They start off with the throwing stars. PG leads off and scores two total points. Denise is up next and scores a nice six points. Amanda throws third and scores three points, leaving PG in last place. Courtney squeezes out two points to tie PG. Todd finishes off and scores a measly one point and like that, he's done.

Stage Two is the balut and you can pretty much guess that Denise won't make it past this. As expected, she does not. Everyone else does and Amanda, Courtney and PG all move on to the next stage.

The bouncing ball/drum challenge is next and Amanda makes pretty quick work of it. PG's doing well, but midway through loses the ball and has to start all over again. Courtney loses it as well, so it's neck and neck between Courtney and PG. Amanda drops her ball in the bin and easily moves onto the finals. Courtney never does get it together and PG drops her ball in the bin to move into the finals against Amanda.

The final stage is the rope cutting stage and Amanda jumps out to a quick lead. Rather than try to keep anyone in suspense, she keeps that lead throughout the challenge and gets her puzzle put together first, pretty easily. Amanda wins immunity. Naturally, this sets up...

It's time to play, "It's anyone but PG." PG seems to think that Amanda might flip and save her neck one more time. Amanda is feeling pretty good with her guaranteed final four slot. She's also feeling like she has some power coming into this vote. As it becomes time to cook, Todd starts to complain about having no rice left. Amanda is totally annoyed with that and she takes Denise aside and suggests that Todd is the least trustworthy person there and it might be time to get rid of him. The odd thing about that is Amanda might be the only person that CAN trust Todd. We then join PG telling Denise how hard she's fought to be there and while she's correct, that's EXACTLY why she has to go. She's a guaranteed winner if she makes the finals. Denise seems to think she has a better shot at beating Todd in the finals. Amanda and Denise tell PG that neither one of them wants to see her go. PG tells them that she hopes they vote for Todd then.

We join Todd and Courtney talking and he's wondering if PG is trying to work anything to stay in the game. When Courtney says she hasn't heard anything, she mentions that that could be a sign that PG just isn't talking to THEM. Todd agrees and suggests that he might get blindsided tonight. He tells us that PG is being seen as a fighter and that's why she has to go as soon as possible. He also tells us that if they vote him off tonight, he'll be completely pissed off, but, "Big ups to them for figuring out a way to get rid of me."

We get to Tribal Council and Jeff begins with Denise. He asks her about having to pick two people and leave two behind. She says that she had to pick Courtney and she also took Todd. Jeff asks Courtney about the reward and she says it was odd because they didn't know what to do with the food. As PG rolls her eyes, Jeff asks her what's up. As she goes on about how she's so positive, James gets a good laugh over on the jury. She also talks about how it just bothered her how some people can be so negative while she has to fight for everything. Jeff then asks Amanda about having a chance to finally get to know PG. She says she definitely got a different perspective on PG and she really respects how she's made it this far. Next question is for Courtney and he asks her if she's looking to hang with people that deserve to be there or is she just looking for people that she can beat. I love her answer to this question. So much so that I'm going to quote it. "How can you look at anyone who's sat outside for 36 days and put up with all this insanity and say 'you don't deserve to be here'?" Very nice Courtney. Very nice indeed. He moves to PG and asks her if after tonight's vote will the remaining four people be the most deserving. Her answer is a little annoying to me. She says that she feels that someone who plays more honorably (like throwing challenges) and fights hard (like throwing challenges) is more deserving than someone who got there by cheating, lying and backstabbing. While her point might be valid, the fact that she seems to consider herself the former and the others the latter, after pulling what she did to Aaron, I just can't help but laugh through everything she says now. He asks Todd who he would take to the end. Todd says he feels like he pissed the most people off. He says people probably won't vote for him because they hate his guts. He says you have to look at everyone and think about who you can beat, instead of looking at someone who really deserves to be there and will probably kick your ass. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Courtney vote for PG and PG vote for Todd. We hear no comments and it's time to tally the votes. So, did Denise switch it up? Or did she stay true to an alliance that she won't be able to crack? First vote is for PG. Second vote is for Todd. Third, fourth and fifth votes are for PG. I can only assume that Amanda got wind that Denise wasn't flipping and decided to stick with the group. And with that, PG becomes the 12th person voted out of Survivor: China. As much as PG became an underdog people were rooting for, from a strategic point of view, she was the most dangerous person out there and had to be removed right now. You may not like it, but the alliance did what they HAD to do.

Next time on Survivor: we're down to the Final Four. The Lunch Lady, The Long Shot (Courtney), The Schemer (Todd) and The Chameleon (Amanda). The most interesting thing in the promo is Todd saying that he feels like he's the only one thinking. Um, Todd...that's why you're gonna lose this game. Amanda's not only thinking and playing the game; she's playing a better game than you. And the fact that you think no one else is thinking...dude, when you dig that knife out of your back, Amanda's name is gonna be on the handle. Three Tribal Councils, two Full Hours, one Ultimate Survivor!! Til then, Take care!