Survivor China: Episode 5

Peih-Gee and Jamie established a new Survivor maxim: when the producers mess with you, you mess back.

Before producers thrust a big twist upon the tribes, romance was brewing at both camps. At Zhan Hu, Jaime confirmed her affection for Erik by telling him about the hidden Immunity Idol. And at Fei Long, human action figure James admitted to have a certain appreciation for the hard working lunchlady, Denise: "If Denise was 10 years younger, or if I was older — whichever way — Denise would be in trouble."

The lovebirds were interrupted when a boat pulled up at each camp. Chinese fishermen handed each tribe a note instructing them to choose two members of the opposing tribe to join their own.

Fei Long chose Frosti and Sherea because of their strong performances in challenges. Then the tribe — correctly assuming that the other tribe would be receiving a similar message — steeled themselves for the likely departure of James and Aaron.

Zhan Hu selected James and Aaron, and immediately started celebrating the addition of two members to their ranks. "Power really shifted to our tribe today," bragged Peih-Gee.

It never occurred to the members of Zhan Hu that Fei Long might have gotten the same note. Not when their boat left, and not when a second boat arrived without James or Aaron. The depleted Zhan Hu tribe thought the producers were just giving them the gift of two strong members.

Only when they were handed the second note, instructing them to hand over Frosti and Sherea, did they realize that their good fortune came with a price.

After swapping tribe members, both tribes celebrated with a basket of food and wine. But Peih-Gee never stopped thinking about the game, and she pulled Jaime aside to discuss strategy.

If Zhan Hu won the upcoming Immunity Challenge, then Fei Long was sure to vote off Frosti or Sherea. Assuming that the tribes would merge when there were ten Survivors left in the game — and assuming that Zhan Hu won the next two Immunity Challenges — Zhan Hu would enter the merge with only three original members.

However, if Zhan Hu lost the next two Immunity Challenges on purpose, Peih-Gee, Jaime, and Erik could get rid of James and Aaron, and Zhan Hu would enter the merge with five original members to Fei Long’s five.

In other words, by throwing the next two challenges, Zhan Hu could neutralize the twist and garner the same net effect as if they’d won the two challenges and lucked into Fei Long voting out its two strongest members

At the Immunity Challenge, Erik & Aaron (Zhan Hu) and Jean Robert and Frosti (Fei Long) exhausted themselves diving for underwater puzzle pieces and dragging them to shore. Apparently, Peih-Gee and Jaime hadn’t filled Erik in on the plan ahead of time.

Onshore both teams began assembling their puzzles at nearly the same time: Peih-Gee, Jaime, and James for Zhan Hu, and Sherea, Denise, and Todd for Fei Long. But Jaime and Peih-Gee giggled uncontrollably and blundered about, with Jaime going to far as to discretely pitch one of their puzzle pieces into some tall grass. Only host Jeff Probst suspected they were tanking the challenge; everyone else just thought they were idiots.

Working by himself, James couldn’t outsolve Fei Long’s puzzle masters, and Zhan Hu lost, badly.

Back at camp, a confused Erik confronted the still giggling Jaime and Peih-Gee: "What the hell was that?" Jaime asked Erik, "Could you not tell we were throwing it?" Evidently, Erik couldn’t. He didn’t approve of what they’d done, but he wasn’t going to turn against them, since their plan wasn’t without merit.

Later, Peih-Gee asked a grumpy James if he’d like to stay in the game at Aaron’s expense. James replied, "Send my ass home." But Jaime felt that Aaron’s social connections with the members of Fei Long made him dangerous.

At Tribal Council, Jeff Probst got Jaime to confirm that they’d thrown the challenge, and James said that he didn’t want to stay on a team that was happy about losing. But the original members of Zhan Hu stuck with their plan and voted out Aaron.

After being eliminated, Aaron said, "I’d rather still be on that island with those people, even though I don’t like them anymore."

Next time, prepare to leave the room when the Survivors endure a gross food challenge.

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