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Survivor: China – Who Will Go in Episode 5?by Kari Kennedy -- 10/18/2007
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"Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops, must be decided by circumstances." - Sun Tzu The Art of War translated by Lionel Giles.
It should be of no surprise that Dave is gone, considering his story arc reached proportions similar to that of the St Louis arch. He arrived off the boat in Episode 1 and immediately took over as the self-proclaimed leader of the Zhan Hu pack. He was clueless to his abrasiveness, condescending towards his tribemates, and was voted out unanimously over Sherea.
Now, if you take a look at the smaller Zhan Hu tribe, we're left with very little in terms of strength. In a bit of irony, Sherea is now really the remaining relative strength left on this tribe for challenges. The rest of her tribe might do well in challenges which don't require brute strength, but these days, those challenges will likely be few and far between. Will Sherea become more valuable to her tribe now, or will this group regret their decision to keep the laziest person to play Survivor since Gervase and Clay?
This week, Zhan Hu's saving grace may, in fact, be the hints of a tribal switch-up in the form of a double-kidnapping. Clues from CBS promos this week tell us that both tribes will be told to pick two players from the other tribe. I wonder if this will come between the reward and immunity challenges, as Fei Long won't know that Dave is gone until they show up at the reward challenge.
If I were a betting person (well, I guess I am since I'm in two Survivor office pools) I'd think that the weakened Zahn Hu would be nuts if they didn't select James and either Aaron or Jean-Robert to come over to supplement their tribe. Their brute strength should make the choice easy. In the late-week promos, there is one close-up shot of James that shows his buff color obviously altered by the producers, implying that he may, in fact, be selected by the other tribe.
Fei Long, on the other hand, has much less to work with as far as selecting decent players to kidnap from the opposition. Considering that she does do fairly well in challenges, I'd think that they'd pick Sherea first. The second pick would be a bit harder as they could either pick Frosti for his athleticism or Jaime, since they already have an established bond with her.
Whoa! All of these changeups bring many questions to mind as to how this will all play out in the short- and long-term games. How will the next clues to the hidden immunity idol play out with the kidnapped players this week? Will these be permanent switch-ups, or will this only last until after the next tribal council? How will those kidnapped position themselves within the new tribe so as not to be picked off quickly at tribal council?
Now you would think that if Zhan Hu picks up two strong men, that they'll have no problem winning the next immunity challenge. The CBS promo also alludes to the fact that one or both tribes might try to purposely lose this challenge, possibly to pick off the new people. This might be an exciting and effective strategy - as the merge is soon coming up, and this is a prime opportunity to get rid of an opponent who is not in the current tribal alliance. This is HUGE if the contestants are clever enough to figure this strategy out.
Let's move on to a few other tidbits we've been given over the past few episodes.
We see in two promos for this week that there is love blossoming between Jaime and Erik. When will people ever understand that, outside of Romber, couples don't make it to the end and win the game? Over the past two seasons, the episode titles have come out of direct quotes from the castaways. This week, the title is, "Love is in the Air." I have a doubt that either in this couple says these words and wonder if someone else actually observes these two coming closer together. This creates a problem in that someone sees this obvious duo and will have to find a way to split them apart later in the game.
Jaime has been given quite a bit of face time the first few episodes, but her confessional count dipped to only one last week. Her storyline was moved to the back burner temporarily, while Erik all of a sudden got three confessionals last week and a slight increase in face time. We'll see more of these two as time goes on, but for this week at least, I think they're safe as we see a love story develop between them.
Sherea's face time and confessionals took a huge spike last week as she fought with Dave and was edited to look like a complete slacker around camp. She was portrayed fairly well in the first few episodes, mainly during challenges, as a female force. Remember how well she did in the "King of the Dock" challenge? Last week, her edit turned 180 degrees as she lazed around while the rest of her tribe became more and more disgusted with her diva-like attitude. I think her story is coming to a close sooner rather than later and she may be perceived as expendable, especially with two new strong men to help the Zhan Hu tribe to the merge.
Speaking of Sherea, did anyone else notice the one animal clip of the praying mantis eating another mantis (or was it some other bug)? For those who don't know, the female mantis is known to eat their male counterparts. When I saw that clip plugged in just before the tribal council started and thought it could mean one of two things: short-term it could mean that Sherea would win out over Dave at council; or long term it could mean that a woman wins the entire game. I'd love to see how this animal snippet weighs out in the long term, especially because I'm still rooting for an exciting Todd/Amanda finale.
Todd is amazing in that he somehow has gained the trust of other castaways, so much that they just hand over clues to the hidden immunity idol. At this point, he is the only one on the Fei Long tribe who knows that one even exists this season. He's also in a fantastic position as the two who gave him the clues are both now living in Loser's Lodge. With some camera work, it made it seem as if Todd may have figured out what the idol may be, but now he has to figure out how to get to it.
Also gaining a bit of trust over at the Fei Long tribe is Jean-Robert. His plan of starting out as a slug, then improving, seems to be slowly starting to win over his tribemates, but will it be too little too late? He had a better than normal edit last week as he was showcased speaking Mandarin Chinese to the fisherman's family, but that slight positive edit was tempered with his usual barking orders at both Courtney and James during the show. He had four confessionals last week and has been hogging the camera for much of his time in China. I think that if Todd and Amanda are smart, they'll try to cut this big, annoying oaf out as soon as possible, especially since he may be harder to cut after the merge.
I was pleasantly surprised to finally get a peep out of our resident lunch lady, Denise last week. She suddenly appeared halfway through the show with four confessionals, all of which were about the reward itself. She's merely a character edit for this season and not a true player. We haven't been shown her playing the strategic game, nor have we seen her as having any influence on her tribe. Despite her size, she's only been marginal in challenges. She's way under the radar, but if she goes, I get the feeling that it might be sooner rather than later. Remember Liliana's edit last year where we heard nothing out of her until the fourth or fifth episode, then she was gone? Denise may be getting a similar edit, especially if she isn't perceived as being valuable as either a usable vote or challenge winner.
So in all the chaos that is expected this week, who will go home? Wow, this is the toughest guess for me to date. I think if Sherea ends up on Fei Long due to the switch it will be her last tribal council. Her edit and story arc gives us nothing to cheer about or root her on and unless there's something we're not seeing, I think her story is complete. She's the easy call.
The second choice is a tougher decision. If the Zhan Hu does pick two strong males and goes to tribal council, then one of them will be gone. My gut says that James will be safe in the short term, as we haven't seen enough of his story. I'd like to think that Zhan Hu will also pick up the other big guy, Jean-Robert and it makes sense to me, based on all the editing so far, that he will be forced to fold his cards and push back from the table.
Will these predictions pan out or will there be more unexpected surprises?
Kari is a retired Air Force Hurricane Hunter who thrives for big adventure. Please send any comments, questions, and thoughts about the bootees to Kari at firstname.lastname@example.org.