Survivor China: Episode 8

Jean-Robert has a surprisingly bad poker face for a professional gambler — which made it that much more satisfying to watch his expression change when he realized he’d been voted off of Survivor: China.

The entire episode was a tribute to Jean-Robert being woefully out of the loop. Until Jaime tried to play what she incorrectly thought was an Immunity Idol at the last Tribal Council, Jean-Robert was the only person who didn’t suspect the Idols even existed.

James’ opinion of Jean-Robert seemed to be shared by all of the original members of Fei Long: "We just need to keep his dumb ass in line, just because we stuck with him now."

At the Reward Challenge, Jean-Robert and Peih-Gee were randomly chosen as team captains in a two-round competition to swamp the rival team’s boat. Jean-Robert chose James, Todd, and Amanda for his team, while Peih-Gee picked Frosti, Erik, and Courtney. That left Denise sitting on the sidelines, ineligible for the reward.

One team member sat in a tub floating in the water bailing water out of the tub as three members of the opposite team used buckets to toss water into the little boat. Courtney couldn’t out-bail Todd, and then Frosti lost to Amanda. That earned John-Robert’s team the reward.

The reward was a huge lunch in a Chinese village that has been inhabited for 1000 years. The winning team was also given the final clue to the location of the hidden Immunity Idol. They read as a team.

Of course, James, Amanda, and Todd knew the clues were useless at this point — since James already had both Idols — but Jean-Robert read the clues aloud with wonder. He speculated about the possible locations of the Idol, while the other three smiled and nodded at his brilliance.

Back at camp, Jean-Robert couldn’t sleep for excitement over his newly-acquired knowledge. He searched everywhere, eventually ripping off the three plaques that remained on the archways at camp. He figured that one of them had to be the hidden Immunity Idol. For some reason, he didn’t figure that the one space where a plaque was missing was a sign that the real Idol had already been claimed.

After the rest of the Survivors woke up, Todd started talking over a new plan with Amanda: get rid of James before he’s suspicious enough to use one of his two Immunity Idols. But Amanda thought it was too soon to deviate from their plan to get rid of the former members of Zhan Hu.

Todd’s plan also depended on James not winning the Immunity Challenge. And this week’s challenge was definitely not designed for a big, strong guy like James to win. Survivors had to balance while seated on a suspended, water-filled barrel. As water drained from the barrel, it became increasingly unstable.

The barrels were set up over a shallow, muddy swamp, and as the barrels became wobbly, they pitched their riders into the mud, often in a particularly humiliating fashion. Jean-Robert, Denise, and James — the three largest contestants — were the first three to take a dive into the sludge.

The contest came down to nimble Frosti and rail-thin Courtney. For more than 30 minutes, Courtney never wobbled once, and she was able to win her first Individual Immunity Challenge. The Immunity Necklace looked enormous on her small shoulders.

Back at camp, Jean-Robert felt so confident that Fei Long would stick with their plan to vote out Peih-Gee that he bragged to Erik about the Immunity Idol he thought he’d found: "Now that I have it, I look like I’m pretty much guaranteed Top Five for sure."

Erik: "What would you say if I told you that I was pretty sure that you didn’t have the right Immunity Idol?"

Jean-Robert: "I’d say that you probably don’t have as many clues as I do."

Erik explained that he and Jaime had found two plaques in James’ bag: "’There’s two Immunity Idols."

"There’s two Immunity Idols?" asked Jean-Robert.

Jean-Robert then decided to play hardball with his buddy, James. After taking him on a private fishing trip, Jean-Robert told James, "You’ve been holding out on me." James played dumb, but Jean-Robert wasn’t convinced by the act.

Following the fishing trip, Jean-Robert found Todd and said, "Big news, bro. I know where the Idol is. And there’s not just one Idol, there’s two Idols."

Todd: "Are you talking about James?"

Jean-Robert: "How’d you know about that?"

Jean-Robert suggested taking out James, which slightly irked Todd, since he’d come up with that idea the day before. Todd didn’t like the thought of another schemer still in the game. He told Jean-Robert that he’d wait and see how things played out.

Todd told James, Amanda, and Courtney about what Jean-Robert had told him, and warned James that J-R might have Erik, Peih-Gee, and Frosti on his side. Todd suggested taking out Jean-Robert, and James reluctantly agreed.

Amanda was nervous about Todd’s change of strategy: "He’s second guessing himself, and in this game you have to be confident in your choices." But Courtney was pleased for the chance to take out her nemesis, even if she didn’t want to get her hopes up that Jean-Robert might finally be out of her life for good.

They all agreed not to tell Denise, making Frosti the swing voter.

At Tribal Council, the votes were read in the following order:

Jean-Robert
Jean-Robert
Peih-Gee
James
James
James

At this point, James looked absolutely stunned, while Jean-Robert grinned at the major coup he’d staged. His smile faded when Jeff Probst read the next three votes:

Jean-Robert
Jean-Robert
Jean-Robert

Jean-Robert left the game thinking he’d been voted off because "they realized that I was the best player in the game." Watching the season on television should’ve convinced him that his teammates just didn’t like him and were happy to be rid of him.

Next week, the Survivors become increasingly annoyed with each other, and they are presented with another twist at Tribal Council.

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