So, I’m sorry for the late recap on this completely awesome episode of Survivor, but I am part of the recent trend of TVGasm writers who have been moving to new apartments lately and subsequently submitting their recaps late. We’re nomads! What can I say, we know no master.
Well, except for this one.
I probably should have asked you guys if you would help me move. Moving in Chicago in December is not fun. Anyway, this episode was awesome and we’ll get to that in a second, but the thing is: aren’t throwing stars…Japanese? I don’t know very many Chinese ninjas. Really, I don’t know any ninjas. But if I did, that would be sweet.
The episode starts, as you’ll remember, with Probst telling everyone all about how “there is more business to attend to” at Tribal Council. Every looks all nervous, and for the past two weeks my friends and family have been whisper-yelling “WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS?!?” at me, and I’ve been all shruggy in response because they wouldn’t do a double vote, given that they started with sixteen people, so by process of elimination that means that it’s probably something underwhelming and lame. My guess was that Jeff was going to clap and be like, “Let’s everybody go around in a circle and say what our favorite thing about James is! Yay, James! Okay, I’ll go first: he looks like he gives totally bitchin’ piggyback rides. But, like, gentle ones. Who wants to go next?”
But alas, that is not to be. We find out that instead, they’re having a reward challenge right there and now for a reward that will allow the winner to take two others to a Shaolin Temple to spend time with the monks and mask in the Asian-ness of their surroundings. Everyone looks relieved that they don’t have to do anything unpleasant, except James, who is busy doing that stupid attention-grabby supergesturing that he’s been doing at Tribal Council all season. Probst eats it up because he wants to braid James’ hair and tell him all his most privatest secrets, so he is all “James, you relieved?” and then he blinks “YOU ARE DREAMY” at him in Morse Code.
SOS, your pecs are Heaven.
So, all the questions are about Chinese culture, and the long and short of it is that Peih-Gee wins. Quizzes: as riveting on television as they were in fifth grade.
Jeff tells Peih-Gee to pick two people. Off camera, he starts madly gesturing and mouthing “James! Pick James! And also, pick me! Then the two of us can spoon!” To her credit, Peih-Gee chooses Erik (which is a no-brainer) and Denise (which is strategically smart, because she’s clearly the outlier in that alliance). The next morning, the boat arrives and takes the winners away to a private plane, where they get champagne and the services of a stewardess that you can tell really, really wants to hold her nose anytime she goes near them.
The remaining four left behind (Courtney, James, Todd and Amanda) talk about how they’re about to get a day full of relaxation without the others around. Yes, if there’s anything that can give me a nice recharge, it’s a day spent with Todd, Courtney and James. I hope there are smores! And backrubs! They talk with each other about how this is “basically a nine-day advance sneak preview” of the final four, and how they all hope it ends up like this towards the end.
James (to his credit) knowing that the money is as good as his should this be the case, emphasizes the loyalty and need to stick together, even though no one really needs it but him. He tells us all about how Eve “bit the apple” and if she hadn’t then they’d be frolicking naked in Heaven (which is…not how the story goes) and he just wants to “frolic naked as long as possible” and how they just have to make sure that they “don’t bite the apple”. What’s with all the apple analogies coming from this guy? He does not look like a man who enjoys produce. As much as I’d love to start calling him Granny Smith, I’m not sure it’s get much use after this recap. (Aw, did I ruin the ending for anyone?)
Hintisies, if you have family dying in Louisiana, you’ll totally have someone to bury them by the end of this hour.
Amanda, however, realizes that this situation might not be the best for her, and good for her. She tells us that now is the time for a change to be made, because if she doesn’t do something she’ll essentially be playing for second place. I tried not to get too excited here because they should have gotten rid of James back during the Industrial Revolution.
Back on the private plane, Peih-Gee and Erik put the screws to Denise, emphasizing her low position on the Fei Long totem pole. Denise, having been filled with James’ crap up to this point about how loyal he is to her, knows this coming and tries to put them off.
Here’s to the ladies who lunch, lunch lady!
They arrive at the reward and are greeted by the monks, who then proceed to give a totally badass martial arts demonstration. Seriously, it rules. At one point, a guy breaks a sword in half WITH HIS FACE. This is not a skill that you need to perform during day to day life, and yet I still wish I could do it. Denise tells one of the monks that she’s a step away from her black belt, and tells us she was impressed with the variety of manners in which these guys are able to beat the piss out of you. Then children come streaming out of the monastery to visit with the castaways. Cute! And probably also deadly!
The kids proceed to show Peih-Gee, Erik and Denise some simple martial arts with their tiny, lethal hands. Sweep the leg! SWEEP THE LEG! One of the monks asks Denise to do a little showcase for them, so she performs a kata (is that what it’s called?) and you can tell that she clearly gets a lot of practice. Storytime: I have a (male) friend whose fiancÃ© is a black belt, and she is maybe a hundred pounds. One time, I watched her completely destroy a guy who called her a bad word with one move, and it was possibly the coolest thing I have seen, ever. I was like “Mental note: do not fuck with her.” This is not the way I would feel about Denise if I were one of the kids at her school. She’d be standing there behind the sneeze guard, and the options are now A: eat the green beans, or B: get your sternum fractured.
Back at camp, the other four huddle in a hole in the wall, which they are calling a cave, but is actually a hole in the wall. They are miserable. There is no talking, there is only displeasure. Todd tells us how much it sucks to get rained on for thirty days, and how he is “done with rain”. On one hand, I feel him, because I don’t even like to get my shoes wet, but on the other hand, “Done with rain?” He’s just being bitchy to be bitchy, now. The rewardees return to camp, and only Amanda goes to greet them. Peih-Gee then proceeds to go over to the cave entrance and tell them every single detail of the reward, from the jet to the mats they got to sleep on. They look on hatefully as she rambles. I hope that was done on purpose, because if it was, Peih-Gee is awesome. I doubt it, though.
And then we went on a ferris wheel and got cotton candy and then Jesus came and was all whattup and we met Buddha and Marylin Monroe and I caught Tom Jones’ thong!
Later Erik has a discussion with James in which he tries to get James to come over to the Zhan Hu side of things. James just straight up tells Erik to stop trying, because he’s got five on his side, so why would he change to two? While normally this is the type of jackassery that I hate from James, I actually applaud this, because Erik knows that he has the idols and only needs to advance a little farther to lock up an appearance in the finals, so why the hell is he even trying?
Courtney and Amanda go to get the treemail and find the Possibly Japanese Weapon and the suggestion to practice their accuracy. There are also some helpful hints about throwing them with accuracy, which was nice of the producers to do. It does not say “PLEASE DO NOT WHIP THESE AT THE CAMERAMEN”, even though it probably should. Amanda takes advantage of the alone time to tell Courtney about her plan to blindside James at the next tribal council due to the fact that she doesn’t want to “write him a ticket” to the final three. Hey, someone figured it out! Late, but: Someone figured it out! Courtney (from the Sandra school of “as long as it isn’t me” voting) shakes her head and is like “Whatever, cool”. Hey, Sandra won, so maybe it isn’t so dumb.
Immunity challenge! In the first round, everyone gets three throwing stars and there are targets set up shaped like people with differing point totals. The three people with the highest point total move on to the final round. Star throwing ensues. Of note: Peih-Gee gets a massive zero. Way to save your own neck! Courtney gets six (!) points during her turn, as does James, Amanda and Erik, so they move on to the final round. Erik gets three points, and no one is able to match it (even though the brave Dick Donato music that plays during James’ turn wishes you to believe otherwise) and so Erik wins immunity.
Way to represent.
Back at camp, James wants to get rid of Peih-Gee, of course. Amanda, as we know, has a different idea. She takes Todd off by himself and tells him about her plan to blindside James. In response, he starts whining about how he’s just really, really worried about Peih-Gee and Erik, which: are you kidding? He is so much duller than I thought. Amanda finally just lays it out for him, letting him know that James sort of has a free trip to the final three, what with his idols and all, and if they don’t get rid of him tonight, they literally won’t be able to at all. He STILL argues for Peih-Gee’s ouster, which is completely ridiculous, but Amanda (who clearly no longer trusts Todd’s judgment) is assertive enough that he relents and agrees to get rid of James.
Later, Peih-Gee gets the same idea about blindsiding James and takes it to Amanda. Again, I’m surprised that her side hasn’t thought of this plan sooner either, especially since they’ve spent the whole time trying to get James over to their side, so I’m not saying she’s any smarter for just now figuring it out. Amanda (who, unlike Todd, doesn’t feel the need to change a plan just because someone else also thought of it) tells Peih-Gee that the best way for her to stick around would be to remain quiet. Ha, she’s totally afraid that Peih-Gee is going to screw up. Peih-Gee immediately goes to Erik about how she thinks there is a plan to oust James, and tells him that in case James uses the idol (which she then <em>pulls out of the roof of the shelter for emphasis</em>, that’s how much of a non-secret the whole idol business is, and how dumb James is in turn for not somehow stopping this), that she will be voting for Todd in case he plays it. And, to all the fools who are about to write that she should have just stolen the idol in the comments section: you can’t steal the idol. It’s part of the rules, because if it wasn’t there would be no fun to the whole idol thing, because then there would be no strategy, only idol stealing. Meanwhile, Amanda tells Denise about the plan to oust James. This is where I became convinced that it was going to go awry, because Don’t Tell Denise! She’ll tattle! There are some merits to including her, but man was that a risky call.
Hot chicks are untrustworthy. If they weren’t, we’d all be frolicking naked in Heaven.
Tribal Council! Peih-Gee and Erik (at Jeff’s urging) talk about how even though they might be the underdogs right now, some of the people in the alliance are going to have to realize that their place is not as secure as they think it is. James tries to do his stupid hyper-gesturing crap about how that’s not true (even though it is), and Peih-Gee totally gets one in on him about it by pointing out that it’s not only true, but that it’s going to happen sooner than he thinks, thanks to Zhan Hu’s propensity for winning individual immunities. So, maybe some people (particularly people with mullets and/or no body fat, hint hint) should start thinking about what’s going to happen down the stretch. Peih-Gee then talks about how she has no illusions about her place in the game, or the fact that she’s probably going to go home. A nice performance!
Time to vote! We see Peih-Gee vote for Todd, and we see Todd vote for James (“I hope this works, or I am SCREWED.” he says, which is the beautiful part about Amanda’s plan), and we see James vote for Peih-Gee. Jeff goes to read the votes, and asks anyone if they’re planning on playing the idol. People actually <em>turn to look at James</em>, which is hilarious. James decides not to use the idols, which is so, so tasty. So, there is one for Peih-Gee, one for James, one for Todd, and then another for James. He looks unconcerned, because he probably expected two votes from Peih-Gee and Erik, but then: a third vote. This, he did not expect. The rest of the votes are for him, and he is gone.
Dude, I totally meant what I morsed about your pecs. Call me.
Man, that is some tasty comeuppance, right there. I know a lot of people enjoyed him, but I found him to be condescending and overly confident without any merit, so this was almost as good as the Edgardo boot, to me. To James’ credit, his exit speech is level-headed and gracious, and he fully acknowledges that he was kind of a tool. So, maybe he’s not such a bad guy. But still: that was awesome.