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Surviving the Ultimate Chinese Torture Testby Ken Kellam III -- 12/14/2007
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Given that there were just five players left and Peih-Gee was basically a dead woman walking, you’d think there wouldn’t be much of substance in this episode. But thanks to the producers and the players themselves, that wasn’t nearly the case.
Let’s start with the reward challenge, which was basically politics in action. The obvious question is, how on Earth did Courtney end up with 12? What are we not seeing that makes her so darn popular? Or did she get so many because the others figured she wouldn’t be able to do much damage? By the way, it’s a good thing the players used a crossbow instead of throwing the arrows, since each one by itself probably weighs more than Courtney.
Once Denise won or, rather, Courtney won it for her, it was obvious Courtney would be her first choice. Then came Peih-Gee’s attempt to strong-arm Denise, trying the old “I took you on a great reward and I’ll be on the jury” ploy. Did Denise make the right decision? Well, yes and no. She was right to take someone from her alliance, or else the other three in her alliance might have turned on her. And her not wanting Peih-Gee to get stronger was understandable, given Peih-Gee’s previous challenge prowess. But where she went wrong was in saying it loud enough so Peih-Gee could hear it, albeit unintentionally. Denise reminds me of a co-worker who hollers when she gets agitated and doesn’t realize how loud she can be.
But of course, Peih-Gee couldn’t resist a chance to whine whine whine again, now could she? After last week’s episode, my colleague Eileen Witker took Peih-Gee to tasks for her whining. When it started up again this time, I thought, “Boy, Eileen’s really going to love this.” Maybe the final Zhan Hu should be in the next Alien sequel: “In space, no one can hear you whine, thank God.” And then Peih-Gee didn’t seem to understand that Denise’s desire to keep her from getting stronger was strategic, not personal, and complained that she was still a person. Yep, a person who whines and bellyaches when she doesn’t get her way.
Then came the reward challenge, and frankly, I thought the interaction between Peih-Gee and Amanda back at camp was much more interesting to watch than that of the other three. Here’s my question regarding Amanda: Why exactly did she feel Peih-Gee disliked her so much, and when did Peih-Gee ever take aim at her during Tribal Council? What it is that Mark Burnett isn’t showing us? I’ve seen Peih-Gee go after people at Tribal Council, most notably James, and I also realize we see only a fraction of what goes on there, but I frankly found this comment by Amanda rather puzzling.
Incidentally, was Amanda missing out on the reward made a little better by the fact that she’s actually been on the Great Wall of China before? In fact, according to her bio, she stood on the Wall and flew a kite, in high heels no less. At least nobody told her to go fly a kite.
After the three got back, Todd and Courtney started complaining about the food, and Amanda started complaining about Todd and Courtney. At first, I thought maybe they were just trying to downplay the reward so as not to flaunt it, but upon further review, I agree with Amanda: They find things to complain about when they win, and take so much for granted, in which case, heaven help us should one of them win it all.
As far as Denise telling Amanda how Todd ate all the boiled meat sandwiches on the way back, even if it isn’t true, it’s smart of Denise to tell Amanda that in order to build animosity towards Todd. Of course, Denise just happened to have some nuts she smuggled back. In the words of Saturday Night Live’s Church Lady, “How conveeeeeenient.” In any event, this was awfully good strategy on Denise’s part, whether or not it was intended as such.
Then it was time for the immunity challenge, which was really a series of past challenges. When Jeff Probst was goading Denise into eating the chicken fetuses, I couldn’t help but thinking, “Shut up, Probst. Yes, a million dollars are on the line, but if she can’t get it down, she can’t get it down.” There are foods in this world that I couldn’t get down if you offered me a million dollars, and Denise knows her own palate.
When it came time to bounce the ball off a drum, I couldn’t help wonder if this one might take a while. After all, the two people who seemed to excel at this challenge, Erik and Frosti, were gone, and I wondered if this might be like the fire-starting tiebreaker between Danielle and Cirie, where no one seemed to want to win. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out that way. Once it was time to face the blade, I realized why Courtney had so much trouble with this the first time: The blade probably weighs more than she does. That would be like me trying to lift a blade that weighs, uh, never mind.
As noted in the recap, how ironic was it that the two finalists were the ones who didn’t get to eat? So much for Peih-Gee not getting stronger. Yet imagine how she could’ve done with food in her system, which just shows that strategically, Denise did make the right choice.1 2 Next-->
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