What? The recap’s been here the whole time! You just have to rub lemon juice on the computer screen to see it.Seriously, sorry I’m behind. We’ll get caught up over the weekend, I promise.
The episode begins with a panda lounging around on a branch. Sure, CBS people, you think appeasing me with pandas for the second straight week will make me be nicer. Sadly, it will not. At Zhan Hu after Dave’s booting, Sherea tells us that it’s much easier to sleep without Dave around. Really? That’s…something you have to actually put into words? Hmm. Also, Frosti would like everyone to know that he’s sick of losing. Man, the creative juices, they are flowing at Zhan Hu. The part where Jaime talked about how voting people out sucks must have been edited out.
After the credits, we are still at Zhan Hu, where Jaime and Erik are flirting in the water. They find out that they have some things in common, such as the fact that Erik’s middle name is Taylor, and Jaime has a friend named Taylor. OMG, soulmates, y’all! Somebody go get some Team Jairik shirts printed. So, one second they’re talking about middle names, and the next Erik is telling Jaime that he’s a virgin, as one does when talking about middle names. I mean, it’s the most private thing you can tell a person, your middle name. What’s a little sexual history between acquaintances after that? You might as well give the other person your Social Security Number.
At this revelation, Jaime makes a hilarious WTF face. In confessional, she tells us that because Erik is a virgin, he is a more trustworthy person. So, people who are virgins are more virtuous than people who aren’t? This explains why I always give local Dungeons & Dragons players the extra key to my apartment in case I get locked out. Jaime tells us in an unfortunate grammatical coincidence that she’s trying “to make it with him”. To the end, she means! No, the end of the game! A ‘That’s what she said’ would not be entirely out of order here.
So get Erik to trust her (because if you’re not a virgin, you have to give something up, right? Wait, that came out wrong. Man, I keep doing it!), she reveals the whole situation with the kidnapping and the idol clues and whatnot. Erik is like, “Cool, okay” because he is strangely without emotions at all, I’ve noticed. Then he tells her that he wants to go to the final two with her. That one is not a euphemism.
Fei Long! James tells us that he doesn’t really get along with most of the tribe, but that he really enjoys Denise and finds her work ethic attractive. Like most men, he loves a girl with a strong back. He tells us that if he were ten years older or Denise were ten years younger, “She would be in trouble.” Yes she would be, because then her hairstyle would be current! She probably had a beehive in 1997.
Denise tells us that she’s also a fan of James. I must say, I am a fan of Denise, especially after this episode. James, not so much. As the tribe enjoys their breakfast, a boat carrying an elderly Chinaman (is there any other kind?) arrives at camp, bearing a note for the contestants. The note is written on a scroll, but typed in Times New Roman, so…authentic! The note asks the members of Fei Long to choose two of the “strongest warriors” from the other tribe to join their own. Immediately, everyone figures out what the note implicates, which is that they will be losing James and probably also Aaron to the other team. They don’t even really care about gaining new people, they’re mostly just pissed about the James thing. Who will push over trees now? Quick, hide him under that rock! He’s small, he’ll fit.
Zhan Hu gets the same note and (using their previously displayed stunningly astute powers of observation that have given us such gems as “losing sucks”) quickly come to the conclusion that they will be getting two new tribe members for little to no reason. Well guys, that would be ridiculously lopsided and skewed to favor certain contestants, and what is this, Big Brother?
Nonetheless, Peih-Gee is really excited about the possibility of some new tribemates. She’s clearly Burnett’s favorite, you see, not the awesome be-mulleted lunchlady or the giant scary gravedigger who can destroy entire ecosystems with his left hand.
Over at Fei Long, Aaron is very, very unhappy. Jean-Robert goes so far as to straight up tell them that Aaron and James might as well sign everyone’s yearbooks right now, because they won’t be seeing each other until summer’s over. Aaron takes the lead and tries to get a consensus going about who they might want from the other tribe, and it ends up pretty unanimous for Frosti and Sherea. This is the right choice given that she could take both Peih-Gee and Jaime, and Erik has been pretty useless in the challenges so far because everyone knows that virgins are bad at swordplay.
Asian Grim Reaper comes to deliver the message that James and Aaron will be leaving shortly for Zhan Hu, as expected. JR is actually more unhappy with this development than James is, because JR has deduced that leaving him in a tribe where the Todd/Amanda/Courtney triad is running things might not be the best situation for him. He even refers to himself in the third person, which is how you know that he’s totally serial. Zhan Hu now gets the same note telling them to surrender Frosti and Sherea, and they are actually, seriously blown away at this development. “It never even occurred to me that people would be leaving” Sherea tells us. I was actually kind of hoping for the two people circled from each tribe to create a new, third tribe. That would have been really cool.
The chosen ones pass each other one water in a very cool shot. But where’s the salute? Zhan Hu is the first to welcome Aaron and James to their new habitat. They look around nervously like they are half expecting Dave to jump out of the bushes. This would also be my first worry. Over at Fei Long, this is not the case, as JR is trying to set up some sort of predetermined agreement to get rid of the new tribe members, should they lose anything between now and the merge. Everyone’s kind of like “yeah, we’ll do that, right” when they all sort of want to send him home. Like most things Jean-Robert will do in this episode, the subtlety is lacking. You’d think a poker player would be better at subtlety, but then again, we’re talking about a guy who walks around with his pubes blurred out most of the time.
The morning after Frosti and Sherea arrive at Fei Long, Jean-Robert decides to get up and cook breakfast for everyone, which is apparently the first time that he’s done so. Again, subtle. Act natural, mullets can smell fear! Case in point: JR makes a trip over to the shelter full of sleeping tribemates and begins to dole out the days chores, which is maybe not the best way of doing things. So, making breakfast and waking everyone up early to do chores? Jean-Robert is clearly employing the same strategy that my Great Aunt Millie has attempted (and failed at) in the past.
Denise, at the news that JR will be assigning her chores, essentially tells him to F right off, all “Okay, new leader! Will do!”. JR has absolutely no idea how to react to getting owned by a lunchlady, so there’s an awkward silence of approximately eight days before he comes back with “I…did not say..I was the leader”. Wow, astute. Denise 1, JR 0.
You can tell that JR is making an effort to be courteous and cooperative, but that he sort of…doesn’t know how. He walks away, and you can tell that he’s thinking “Hm. That did not go as I had planned”. Frost is smart enough to get excited about this development. “This is better than the food yesterday” he says, because it means that he’ll have someone to target if/when they lose. And it is episode five, so can we please see him run up a wall or something already?
Back at Zhan Hu, Aaron talks to the original members in the water while James is off by himself. He pretends not to care that much about his old tribemates, including James whom he is willing to sell out. He calls it a subtle move, but then he sinks down into the water like a Navy SEAL, so he should probably watch the body language. Well, that or snap everyone’s necks and get the hell out of there.
Later, Jaime and Peih-Gee whisper covertly out in the woods. Peih-Gee brings up the point that Frosti and Sherea might not be 100 percent safe over on the other tribe, so perhaps throwing this challenge and getting rid of James or Aaron would be the most prudent course of action to ensure their long term success. The commercials are meant to leave us in suspense, but I’m too busy getting excited about Viva Laughlin to care. HAHA, no I’m not.
Immunity Challenge! Today, the newly mixed tribes will send two people out into the water who will dive down and release twelve puzzle pieces. The pieces will float to the surface, and they’ll use a boat to drag them back to shore where the waiting members will use them to solve a puzzle featuring characters of the Chinese zodiac. JR and Frosti are diving for Fei Long, and Aaron and Erik are diving for Zhan Hu. Zhan Hu gets a small lead during the puzzle portion as Jaime and Peih-Gee discuss ways to share the puzzle-solving load with James that will cause him not to be involved. Jaime chooses this point to tell the people diving to take a break if they’re tired. She has Capri Suns back on shore if you want to come back for a drink!
Zhan Hu gets back to shore first (mostly due to Aaron dragging the boat back IN HIS TEETH) and Zhan Hu gets to work on their puzzles. Jaime gets off a sly move when she ditches one of the pieces in the shrubbery behind the puzzle board without James noticing.
Now, here’s where things get sort of ugly. Peih-Gee and Jaime proceed to throw the challenge obviously. Like, really obviously. Several members of the WWE watching from their television sets at home are like “Man, that shit is fake.” Oddly, the only people who don’t pick up on this are Aaron and James, who grows increasingly frustrated with the performance of the women. Jeff, catching the snap, is like “So, Peih-Gee, I thought you said you were good at puzzles?” At this, Peih-Gee fully stops participating in the challenge to tell Jeff that she meant that she was good at Sudoku. James, in the line of the evening: “Girl, fuck Sudoku! Pay attention.” Me, from home: “Thanks for the recap title, James!”
As a result, Fei Long wins and Zhan Hu will be making the trip to tribal council. Jeff, after the fact, calls out Jaimes puzzle piece throwing all indignantly, in what I consider to be a pretty douche move on his part. You’ll notice that Jeff tends to insert himself rather drastically into the game when matters of “integrity” like this are involved. Shut up, Jeff.
So, I should state here that I am fully in favor of this move from a strategic standpoint. While there’s not a 100 percent chance that Sherea and Frosti will stay loyal to the old Zhan Hu members at the merge, there is a 100 percent chance (given what they know about Aaron) that he is viewed as the leader by the other team and would flip back to them in a heartbeat. Statistically, throwing the challenge makes sense. What I am not in favor of, however, is the manner in which this is done. If you’ll recall the Cook Islands season, Yul stated during the reunion that he pretty much threw every individual challenge. However, no one noticed because he did it in such a way as to stay just behind, appearing to compete and being prepared to win in case they needed him to for strategic purposes. This is the way to throw something successfully if you want the victim not to realize it: don’t tell anyone what you’re doing until well after it’s done, appear to make an effort, pretend that the victory is genuine. Jaime and Peih-Gee do none of these things.
Back at Zhan Hu’s camp, Aaron, James and Erik really, really haven’t figured out what just happened. Is there some sort of cursed ancient Chinese artifact buried somewhere around camp at Zhan Hu that makes people dumber the closer they get to it, like some sort of retarded Monkey’s Paw or something? Because that’s the only answer to this stupidity. James is particularly indignant, effectively telling the girls to decide amongst themselves which one of them will be going home. This is where I started disliking him, this whole thinking that Survivor is some sort of meritocracy thing. Somebody’s been spending too much time around Probst.
Jaime (as someone who is not used to doing mean things, then does one is prone to doing) literally cannot stop herself from giggling. She’s just trying not to feel bad about what she just did, but her poker face is really, really bad. I still have a feeling that she could take JR, though.
Nonetheless, the males still don’t get it, even a little. Aaron and James get Erik alone and get all WTF on him, and Erik agrees to go have a chat and see what’s up. Really, you’d think they’d let him in on it, unless they were worried that he somehow wouldn’t do it, which is probably the case. Peih-Gee and Jaime let him in on the secret, to which he acts surprised, which wow. They leave him with little choice about getting rid of either James or Aaron as a result, so I guess it worked. Erik doesn’t really even appear that worried in confessional. He tells us that he still wants to “go to the end” with Jaime. Yeah, you do!
Peih-Gee gets James alone, thinking that she can somehow make another ally on the side in case something goes wrong. She tells him that if he wants to stay, she can make it happen (even though she probably already has knowledge of Aaron’s eminent departure). James just tells her that he doesn’t care anymore, which is both hilarious and incredibly childish.
Tribal Council! After Jeff’s first question, Jaime basically caves and admits to throwing the challenge. This is a huge mistake, because 1) she didn’t have to say anything, especially because they might have to do it again next week, and 2) it sends Jeff and James into fits of righteousness, which it does not do to Aaron, interestingly. Jeff goes right to James, all “Aren’t you disgusted with them?” like Peih-Gee and Jaime have operated outside the rules or something, which they very plainly have not. James essentially asks to be sent home, which is dumb. “If you’re not going to play the game the way I want, I’m taking my dolly and going home!” What a totally pissy sentiment. Fine, take your shit and get off my show.
Time to vote! We see Aaron vote for James and James vote for “PG”. When the votes are counted, it ends up being Aaron who is expelled, leaving James to be all huge and whiny all over the place. Seriously, are there no other options? It’s not like you could appeal to Erik’s sense of justice and try to force a tie, or make Peih-Gee paranoid about Erik and Jaime’s relationship and exploit her desire to win to your own benefit or anything. Just bitch a bunch, it’s cool.