Peih-Gee’s elimination from Survivor China looked like a done deal, until she was saved by bovine intervention.
Feeling giddy after Jean-Robert was voted out, instead of her, Peih-Gee couldn’t keep her mouth in check at camp. Her micromanaging and chatter made Todd feel as though he’d merely exchanged one annoying player for another.
Then the Reward Challenge brought out the worst in Peih-Gee. Teams of four had to navigate an obstacle course, with each team member carrying a traditional Chinese drum. Teams had to use the drum heads to keep a ball bouncing at all times as they traversed the course — essentially playing hacky-sack with the drums.
If the ball hit the ground at any time, the team had to start over from the beginning. The first team to complete the course three times won a reward.
Peih-Gee’s team of James, Todd, and Denise could not master the ball-bouncing technique, holding their drums at angles which made the ball bounce out of reach. Peih-Gee, the only player on her team with any finesse, was wielding the smallest drum, giving her a much smaller margin for error. But the team never changed their strategy, and they bungled along, as the other team bounced to an easy victory.
When they returned to camp, Peih-Gee unloaded on James for what she considered his lack of hustle. "My ass wasn’t strollin’ back to the mat every time," said Peih-Gee. "I raced back to that damn mat."
She lost all connection with reality when she told James, "I can’t believe you ever accused me of giving up at challenges." She’s the one who, with the aid of Jaime, threw a challenge during Week 5 in order to get rid of Aaron — a fact to which Jaime had admitted at the subsequent Tribal Council.
James reclined in the shelter during Peih-Gee’s tirade, trying to convince her to shut up and go away: "Please stop messin’ with me, because any time you bring stuff up, I will quickly blast you back and make you look quite silly."
Meanwhile, Amanda, Courtney, Frosti, and Erik were enjoying their Reward: a river cruise and all the fried chicken they could eat. Frosti and Courtney flirted as Erik showed off his surprisingly realistic impression of a goat bleating.
When the well-fed foursome returned to camp, Todd filled them in on Peih-Gee’s meltdown. There was no doubt that she had to go next.
At the Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst presented the Survivors with another chance to eat. Contestants who felt confident that they didn’t need Immunity to survive Tribal Council could gorge themselves on cheeseburgers and fries instead of participating in the challenge.
Those who wanted to compete for Immunity would play a memory game, in which Jeff called out a series of Chinese zodiac symbols. Contestants, standing at individual puzzle boards, used a knife to stab the corresponding painted tiles in the correct order.
The contestants who chose to eat could only do so as long as the challenge lasted.
When asked to reveal their choice, only Peih-Gee, Frosti, Erik, and Amanda were concerned enough to compete for Immunity. The rest tore into the food like a pack of hyenas. (Courtney, probably the skinniest Survivor contestant ever, feasted for the second time this episode. She has a serious metabolism.)
Erik screwed up on the very first sequence of symbols, giving him plenty of time to stand by and watch James, Todd, Denise, and Courtney chow down. Amanda lasted one more round before joining Erik on the "hungry loser" mat.
The final round was between Peih-Gee and Frosti, both of whom were twitchy, thanks to the pressure of the situation and the smell of delicious cheeseburgers. Peih-Gee got the sequence of tiles correct, but Frosti chose Rabbit when he should’ve chosen Rat. Thus, Peih-Gee foiled everyone’s game plan for this week’s elimination.
Jeff Probst told the Survivors who’d decided to eat to back away from the table. By the time the challenge ended, Todd, Courtney, and Denise had eaten a total of four cheeseburgers between them. James had eaten seven.
Back at camp, the former members of Fei Long debated what to do, now that Peih-Gee had been saved by the beef. The castaways discussed whether to vote for Erik or for Frosti. Both of the guys were well liked, but Frosti’s string of strong challenge performances made him the bigger threat.
James and Denise were worried that Courtney’s loyalties had shifted, and that they might not be able to rely on her vote. "She’s lovin’ the hell outta some Frosti," James told Todd.
Todd told Courtney about James’ and Denise’s concerns, and he asked her if she’d be able to vote against her "Survivor boyfriend," Frosti. She was noncommittal, but seemed to realize that the decision was as much a test of her loyalty as it was the elimination of a threat.
At Tribal Council, the decision was unanimous (except for Frosti, who’d voted for Erik). When Jeff Probst snuffed Frosti’s torch and said his traditional, "The tribe has spoken," Frosti replied, "With cheeseburgers still on their breath!"
In his exit interview, a disappointed Frosti said, "I got beat by the tiny flight attendant, the sassy New York waitress, and the lady with the mullet."
As Frosti walked alone into the night, Jeff said to the remaining Survivors, "Now, more than ever, the ability to adapt, moment to moment, is what’s going to keep you in this game. We’re gonna test that right now."
The Survivors and jury members looked about in confusion as Jeff continued, "Tonight, you will not be heading directly back to camp. We have more business to attend to here." Then, the credits rolled, forcing viewers to wait another week to learn about the twist that was teased at the end of last week’s show.
Next time, the contestants show off their gross scabs, and, from the looks of things, James and Todd get to shave. (Update: Looks like it’s a Thanksgiving recap episode, and the footage is from earlier in the season. So, if you skip next week’s episode, you won’t miss much, besides a handful of scenes that didn’t make the original cut. The next all-new episode is November 29.)