Our Thanksgiving leftovers can finally finish digesting in peace — after waiting two weeks for last episode’s cliffhanger to be resolved, we learn that the “more business” Jeff Probst warned of after Frosti was voted out isn’t an additional elimination vote but is instead a reward challenge that, apparently just for dramatic effect, takes place at the Tribal Council location.
Peih-Gee wins the challenge, which is a quiz on Chinese culture (before you think that her Chinese heritage gave her an advantage, consider that “What is the capital of China?” was one of the questions). She chooses Erik and Denise to accompany her on the reward, which is a trip to the Shaolin Temple, an ancient Buddhist monastery and the home of kung-fu. Having studied karate for eight years, Denise is deeply grateful to Peih-Gee for choosing her for the trip, but despite Peih-Gee’s sales pitch, Denise is more “happy, glowing” grateful than “yes, I’ll form an alliance with you” grateful.
Meanwhile, Todd, Amanda, Courtney and James sit around and reflect how they’re experiencing a preview of how it could be to have the camp to themselves if they’re the final four. Well, James does most of the reflecting, as he exhorts the three not to be tempted to form other alliances and mess up their good plan. To put it in James’ words: “Don’t bite the apple. Leave it alone.” He says if Eve had resisted in the Garden of Eden, she and Adam would still be frolicking naked in heaven, and he shares his heartfelt wish: “I just want us to frolic naked as long as we can.” What a beautiful, profound thought … um … in the right context.
Amanda, however, doesn’t want to do any more naked frolicking with James (See? The expression quickly loses its Garden of Eden innocence. I’m rethinking my plan to use the phrase as part of my e-mail signature at work.), and she approaches Courtney with the idea of voting out James because he won’t be expecting it and won’t use his immunity idols to protect himself. Amanda tells the camera, “I’m not only ready to bite the apple — I’m ready to make the whole frickin’ pie!”
After Erik wins immunity, Amanda continues assembling her pie, getting Todd and Denise to agree with the plan to blindside James and pretend that the vote will go against Peih-Gee. Peih-Gee is the last to discover that James has an immunity idol, and she approaches Amanda with the idea of voting against him. Amanda doesn’t want Peih-Gee’s talk to stir up James’ suspicions, so she just quietly tells Peih-Gee that it’d be in her best interest (*wink*) to not say anything for the rest of the day.
It’s hard to tell if James gets tipped off by talk around camp (Peih-Gee tells Erik of the plan to vote out James; Courtney and Todd have a whispered “You think it’s gonna work, right?” conversation) or by anyone’s answer at Tribal Council. When Todd casts his vote, he says to the camera, “If this works, wow. If not, I’m scared for my life.”
But James doesn’t play the idol. Or the other idol. And the jury members giggle when he’s voted out.
When Erik approached James earlier in the episode, feeling out if he’d be willing to side with him, James explained that he was in the nice, happy group of five and he wasn’t going to be the dummy to jump to the evil group of two. James did avoid that fate, but he’ll now be known as the Survivor who was voted out while holding two immunity idols.
In his post-vote goodbye to the camera, James shows the two unused idols and concludes with the understatement, “I guess I should’ve played ’em.”