Survivor: China

High School Friend Contest

By Jim Van Nest

November 10, 2007

Jean-Robert thought he had aces in the hole. He was wrong.

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Later that night the Feasting Four return to camp after everyone else is asleep. As they all climb into "bed", JR can't sleep. He's got the idol on his brain. So he gets up and starts searching all over camp for the idol. He grabs down all of the other plaques and decides to stash them, just in case one of them is the idol. What surprises me is that he's feeling quite confident with the potential idols. I just get blown away that there are four plaques hanging. One of them is gone. Could he really think that one of the other three is really the idol? I mean, come on. For me, I'd see that empty space and just know the idol is gone. He is, however, a poker player. Maybe he's collecting them as a bluff.

We come back to camp and the discussion turns to how James eats more than twice as much as everyone else. JR and Todd are a little annoyed. Todd tells us that he's tired of hearing JR's voice and that he's a little pissed off at James. He gave him one idol and told him where the other one was and at no time has James even offered to give one back. So he's thinking it might be nice to see some craziness happen at camp. I have to say, I'm surprised it's taken this long to hear Todd talk about this. I've been thinking all along that when the tribes merged, James giving Todd one of the idols back was just a given. I can't believe he's actually kept both.

This in mind, we join Todd and Amanda at the watering hole. Todd tells Amanda that he's almost guaranteed final four. She says she wants to stick with the plan and dump PG and then look to boot James at eight. Todd is concerned about an immunity challenge run by James and thinks he might have to go now. She's worried about the idols and Todd suggests that if James is 100% guaranteed that PG is going home, he won't play one. It'll have to be a complete blindsided vote. I'll jump in right here to say this is brilliant strategy. Aside from being the biggest physical threat, James is a likable guy that people will want to give a million dollars to. Oh yeah...and he has two immunity idols. If they can blindside him right now, they can dump the biggest threat and the two immunity idols all in one shot. What could be sweeter than that?


Todd's next stop is Frosti. He gives Frosti his idea and Frosti, just looking to make it another three days, is good to go with it. He tells us that he's happy to be the swing vote right now and that the plan is to not let James win immunity and to blindside him at Tribal. Also, PG is not to know about the plan, because she would make a beeline to James with the info.

Probst sighting!! The survivors enter the challenge area through very thick muddy water. In the area is a huge Chinese dragon. Each person will balance on part of the dragon. It is actually a decorated barrel filled with water. The barrel will begin to drain water, which will make the barrel that much more unstable. When you fall off, you're out. Last one still on their barrel wins immunity. Survivors ready? First up, the push a lever that starts the water draining. Then they push the lever that unlocks the barrel. The only rule is that the hands and feet may only touch the barrel. Right off the bat, James and Denise are having trouble, while Courtney hasn't moved. As the challenge goes on, JR starts talking about having an itch. "None of you guys are itching?" He goes on about mosquito bites, but it's not getting anyone. A few seconds later, JR loses his balance and becomes the first one out. Shortly after JR, Denise loses it and takes a tumble. 20 minutes in, Erik and PG are showing signs of trouble. Courtney is still strong. Then it happens, James loses it and falls in. Todd and Amanda share a grin. As they steady themselves, Erik loses it. Seconds later, PG falls in and Amanda is in trouble. To steady herself, she moves her hands off the barrel to part of the structure and is disqualified. After 30 minutes, Todd loses it leaving Frosti and Courtney to duke it out. Jeff points out that Courtney hasn't moved in 32 minutes, to which she replies, "I am lazy." Finally Frosti loses his balance and after a great struggle drops into the water. Courtney wins individual immunity. Who ever saw THAT coming?

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