Survivor China: Episode 12

Peih-Gee’s impressive string of performances at challenges had not gone unnoticed by her Survivor: China competitors. And it made them eager to get rid of her the first chance they got.

Denise, who’d made the fateful — and probably foolish — decision to stick with her original alliance last episode, got the chance to give her cohorts an advantage when she won this week’s Reward Challenge. Instead of repaying Peih-Gee for taking her on a previous Reward, Denise took Courtney and Todd along on a trip to the Great Wall of China, just to make sure that Peih-Gee didn’t get any extra food in her belly.

But that meant leaving the other alliance member, Amanda, behind to subsist on the (usually) meager rations left at camp. Amanda and Peih-Gee seized the opportunity to bond over a double helping of the tribe’s rice, as well as some fruit and all of the fish they’d caught over the last few days.

Peih-Gee and Amanda were even more pissed at having been left out of the Reward when Denise, Courtney, and Todd returned complaining that they’d had to cook their own food in a hot pot, instead of just being given pizza and beer. Survivor contestants should always keep in mind that it’s reward enough not to have to catch and gut your own fish.

As often proves the case, the extra nutrition from the Reward meal didn’t really make a difference at the Immunity Challenge. In a challenge comprising segments of past challenges, the Reward-goers Todd, Denise, and Courtney were the first three eliminated.

Todd scored the lowest number of points in the ninja star-throwing round (from Episode 10). Then Denise couldn’t bring herself to eat a balut after having already failed to do so in Episode 6. And Courtney was the slowest when it came to navigating an obstacle course while keeping a ball bouncing on a drum (Episode 9).

The two most nutrient-deprived Survivors, Peih-Gee and Amanda, were left to fight for Immunity. They revisited the rope-chopping challenge from Episode 3, in which Courtney had proved she has as much upper body strength as a woman 100 years her senior.

Both contestants hacked at the ropes and freed their puzzle pieces within seconds of each other, but Amanda was speedier at assembling her puzzle. She won her first individual Immunity Challenge, and Peih-Gee seemed as good as gone.

At camp, Todd and Courtney wandered off on their own, feeling confident that Peih-Gee had resigned herself to going home. Meanwhile, Peih-Gee was pitching Amanda and Denise on the idea of taking out Todd while they had the chance, and Amanda and Denise were certainly listening.

Ultimately, the two ladies decided that Peih-Gee had played well enough that she might have earned a few million dollar votes from the jury, should she make it to the end. That made her more dangerous than sneaky "backstabber" Todd at this late stage of the game. Plus, Amanda probably figured that — after befriending Peih-Gee while the others were at the Reward — she now had at least one jury vote in her own pocket.

Peih-Gee was voted out, 4-1, rendering the original Zhan Hu tribe extinct.

Sunday night is a two-hour finale complete with three Tribal Councils (according to the promo), to be followed by an hour-long reunion special. I think that Amanda may have the best chance to win, followed by Todd, Denise, and Courtney, in that order. And, since there’s always at least one person who actually looked better on the island than they do at the reunion show, I’m predicting Todd to be this season’s strangely puffy or oddly coiffed reunion show attendee.