Maybe it’s because I’m relatively new at this blogging thang, but I admit to getting a kick out of checking the blog stats for me and my fellow Channel Guide bloggers. It’s interesting to see which of my postings get lots of hits and which of my brilliant musings get barely a glance. In particular, I’m amazed (and humbled) at how many hits have come from people searching with words pertaining to Amanda and her butt (which, by the way, once again attained blurry glory in this episode, and often). So as I approach the end of my first Survivor blogging season, I just want to say to all those searchers, with my deepest sincerity: survivor amanda butt blur china.
This episode begins with Peih-Gee lamenting about how she’s an outsider, both as the last Zhan Hu member left in the game and also as the least liked player. This is demonstrated at the start of the reward challenge, which involves shooting arrows at names on a target (with the winner being the one whose name gets the most hits). The contestants choose how many arrows their competitors get, and Peih-Gee receives one arrow (from Courtney), Denise gets two (“You know, I’m at the bottom of the totem pole,” she comments. Yes, we know. It’s because you don’t make a move toward the top.), Amanda gets four, Todd gets six, and Courtney ends up with a whopping 12 arrows. Todd’s the only one who gets the hang of shooting the arrows, hitting his own name five times in a row, but Denise wins the challenge when Courtney’s aim takes her arrows to Denise’s name five times.
Denise gets to choose two people to accompany her on the reward, which is a trip to the Great Wall. Peih-Gee pulls out the stops as she pleads with Denise to pick her (c’mon, I took you to the Shaolin Temple, with the monks and the kung-fu and the food and all — and hey, girl, don’t forget that I’ll be on the jury), but Denise doesn’t want Peih-Gee getting stronger, so she chooses Courtney and Todd.
Amanda’s not all that happy that she wasn’t picked for the trip either, but she and Peih-Gee make the best of their time together. Amanda asks Peih-Gee why she dislikes her, and that opens the door for the two of them to get to know each other (and for Amanda to gain a potential ally on the jury, should she reach the finals). Amanda tells Peih-Gee that Denise has just been a puppet this whole game — first a puppet to Jean-Robert and James, and now a puppet to Todd and Amanda.
Meanwhile, as Todd, Courtney and Denise settle in for the night on the Great Wall (which, according to Todd, “just keeps going.” That jives with what I’ve heard about it.), they talk about who they’d kick off if Peih-Gee won immunity. They wonder if the jury might like Amanda too much, and Courtney says of herself and Todd, “We’re the meanies. Me and Todd are like the devil incarnate in this game — they hate us!” Todd answers her, “We know we’re catty — we might as well go to the end together, right?” So the two of them pretty much say to each other, in front of Denise, “Hey, we’d be good in the final two together.” Denise the Puppet responds by lying down.
The immunity challenge contains elements of past challenges — throwing pointy stars, eating a chicken fetus, bouncing a ball on a drum while walking over obstacles, and chopping through ropes to release disks that are assembled into a puzzle — with one Survivor being eliminated in each round.
Todd is out after the star-throwing round, and we get to see if Denise can finally overcome her gagginess when it comes to eating a chicken fetus. Nope. She stops trying, and Courtney poses the same question I’d ask if I had part of a chicken fetus in my mouth and my competitor had given up: “Do we have to do this if she’s quitting?” Yes, Courtney, you do. Swallow your chicken fetus.
Courtney loses round three, and Amanda and Peih-Gee, the two people who didn’t go on the reward, battle in the final round, with Amanda winning immunity.
This episode is one of those where you keep getting teased that the person who’s the obvious pick to get booted might actually stick around. It’s like on That ’70s Show when Donna would tease Eric that she was ready to consummate their relationship:
Same deal here, only it’s:
Amanda: “I don’t trust Todd; it would be wise to vote him out; he can drive me nuts with his complaining; I have the power to switch things up; I’ve really bonded with Peih-Gee; maybe it’s better to go to the final three with her and Denise.”
Denise: “Yeah, we could rid of Todd; I’m at the bottom of the totem pole; I don’t want to be the odd one out.”
You: “Really? You’ll vote out Todd instead of Peih-Gee?”
Amanda and Denise: “No.”
And as Peih-Gee’s torch is extinguished and Todd’s face beams with utter glee, I know that during this Sunday’s finale, I will probably get teased again. And I’ll believe again. I’ll believe that maybe Denise or Amanda can win; maybe it won’t be a catty meanie who wins the million.
But although it would feel warmer and fuzzier for Denise or Amanda to win, I’ve got to say: It would be a lot more fun to see Todd or Courtney go before the jury. Those two can certainly rub the wrong way and be wildly insensitive and cocky and eye-rolling. But they’s good TV.