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July 1, 2015

Survivor China: Ride the Workhorse 'til the Tail Falls Off

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Oct 11th 2007 11:18PM
Great chopsticks of fire - Survivor China reward challenge
(S15E04) "Flavor has never tasted so good. This is the delicatist thing I've ever put in my mouth." - Denise

Hmm ... I believe she was going for a variation of delicacy, but who knows? Unlike some of the castaways, I find this season of Survivor China is stepping up more each week. That is, despite the slaughter of the English language at times, it is.

It's not my all time favorite cast, but these people are quirky and interesting enough to keep this long time show fan watching. I think tonight's challenges were different -- something that's hard to do after so long. Plus, the locale and the bits and pieces of the culture we're seeing are breathtaking and enlightening. When you think back decades ago, no way would Americans be welcomed in China for something like this and here we are. World peace next!

Well, maybe I'm a bit carried away with the world peace bit, I guess.

After all, how can there be world peace when Courtney and Jean-Robert are going at each other? Or, their doppelganger duo over on the Zhan Hu tribe -- Sherea and Dave -- doing the same thing? When tonight's episode started with both of them arguing, I just wanted to move it along. Nothing to see here, folks. Just silly people having coed pissing contests. Of course, if I were on the show, I'd be happy all of the attention was on them and not me. I think a few of the tribemates are looking at it that way, too.

After promoting this week's episode as both tribes going to Tribal Council, well, no. That's not quite what happened. Here I was ready for one from each tribe to be booted this week and it was all over-promo hype. Yes, both tribes went to the Tribal Council area, but it was for reward, not even immunity. Oh, but what an unusual and cool challenge it was!

Two at a time had to use giant chopsticks to bring a fireball to a tube, drop it down the tube into a wok, then it would ignite fireworks. It looked very difficult to maneuver and no one had an easy time of it. But in the end, Fei Long's great balls of fire brought them the win. They chose to kidnap Dave from Zhan Hu. He would soon drive them crazy, but they can plead ignorance.

Fishing birds on Survivor ChinaSo, the challenge was different but the reward even more unique. It's a reward of a kind we've seen before, but with a neat cultural twist I never knew existed. You know the type -- native local teaches them how to fish. Ho-hum, boring, done before, have seen it, yawn. But this one was so COOL! Yes, the capital letters just had to be done.

First, it was a family with small children arriving at the Fei Long camp, not a man or many men as we've seen done before. They came bearing cormorants -- a water fowl. They restricted the throats of the birds enough so they couldn't swallow fish, then sent them diving. The birds would return and spit out fish. While I've seen birds catch fish, I never knew people used them like that. Nifty keen, I say!

Another oddity which went down while the Chinese family was there was that all of a sudden Jean-Robert started speaking Mandarin. Huh? I guess the guy does have secrets. He said he lived in Taiwan for a few years and hadn't spoken it in about twenty years. As he acted like a translator for the family (after rubbing James the wrong way as he translated), Fei Long got a lot more out of this visit than they ever would have otherwise.

They learned about Dave, though. Dave decided he liked Todd as he was pondering who would get the clue to the hidden idol. On the other hand, Todd told us that "Dave is a nutcase and annoying." But Todd ended up with another clue. He's been racking them up, hasn't he? I don't see him sharing the knowledge, either. Smart kid.

The clues basically tell them the idol is in plain sight, not on the ground, and (now) something to the effect of "when creatures of the night take flight, it allows one to stay." Um, okay. They keep showing the ornate piece on the entry to camp, but I doubt it. If it's there, it's behind it. And, if it's behind it, it's not in plain sight.

While Dave was sucking up to the Fei Long folks, back at the Zhan Hu camp they actually missed him. Since they had to do all the work he had been doing there, they appreciated him a bit more. Or, at least the work he does. They all still think he's a crazy annoying person. Sherea totally lazed about saying she was saving her energy for the challenges bringing about her line which they used as the title for this episode. That did not go unnoticed.

Chinese armor for the immunity challenge on Survivor ChinaThe immunity challenge was similar to, but not quite the same as some we've seen in previous seasons. I liked the Chinese armor. After watching Heroes this week and now this, I might have to go get my own suit of armor. Joust, anyone? The meteor hammers they used to break the vases reminded me of nunchucks, but two wood balls connected to a rope. Maybe they remind me more of click-clacks, a toy which was really dangerous but fun when I was a kid. Yeah, that's it!

Fei Long is back in the winning streak once again after their poor showing last week. So, it would be Zhan Hu sending a person home. Because two have made their presence both disruptive and extremely noticeable, the target immediately focused on Sherea and Dave with no thought of anyone else getting a vote. As Erik put it, "Can we send both home?"

I really thought that Sherea's cormorant may have been cooked because she didn't fare too well with Jeff in the Tribal Council interrogation ...er, questioning ... in addition to her behavior at the camp. While they stepped up when Dave was away, the ones who actually worked (not Sherea) were exhausted. I personally think that it would behoove them to keep him on and rid themselves of dead weight. Yes, Sherea is a contender in challenges, but it's not fair that everyone else has to work.

Do they ever listen to me? Nope, they voted out Dave with a unanimous vote outside of Dave's lone vote for Sherea. I want her gone. I don't want to look at her nasty underwear for another week. If they want to keep her, get the woman some clothes!

I don't have a clearcut favorite, but I'm thinking more highly of Todd each week. And, we finally heard Denise talk tonight. I get a kick out of her and wish they'd show her more. James still looks darn good, but he was right about having no social game. Remember, strong and silent could be a good game plan, James! I'm edging my respect a smidgen for Jean-Robert because of the Mandarin Chinese. Just a smidgen, though. Courtney's edgy behaviors have quieted a bit and I like her more for it. Who are you liking?

Who would you have voted off?
Sherea216 (74.0%)
Dave66 (22.6%)
Other - tell us in comments!10 (3.4%)

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