Survivor tribe members throw challenge to get rid of new members after switch

There’s a reason why Survivor China is the second-most popular reality show in the country right now, even though it lacks celebrities dancing or Paula Abdul’s swaying. Episodes like last night’s prove that human beings interacting and competing in artificial contexts are completely fascinating, frustrating, and fun, as is pointless alliteration.

First, the tribes switched players; each tribe selected two people from the opposite tribe, although Zhan Hu was initially clueless that they would lose two members, thinking that the twist only applied to them, the arrogant bastards. After the switch, Peih-Gee devised a strategy that would ensure her old tribe would dominate after the merge: She’d throw challenges and vote off the two new members of her tribe, who formerly were the strongest members of Fei Long. “It’s about winning the war, it’s not about winning the battles,” she explained later at Tribal Council.

With rather unprecedented boldness, Peih-Gee and her ally Jaime blew off the immunity challenge. In the past, tribes have talked of throwing a single challenge to get rid of a single team member, but I can’t recall anyone doing it so brazenly, and so brilliantly. As she threw a puzzle piece into the grass and wandered around aimlessly, Jaime acted like a petulant child who’d be mocked for being immature if she showed up in Bonanza City.

James begged to be voted off because he couldn’t stand watching his team throw a challenge (“I just can’t take another loss like that”), but Peih-Gee, Jaime, and virgin Erik voted Aaron out instead. Unless James can win the challenge by himself next week, they’ll undoubtedly do the same thing to him, too. Before he goes, I hope James dumps their food into the river and sets fire to their shelter.

By the way, another interesting part of the episode was the way the contestants suddenly manifested swimsuits for the swimming immunity challenge. Having been stranded with only the clothes they were wearing, most have been wandering around in their underwear, but suddenly four men had board shorts. Previously, they were given shoes to wear during challenges, and apparently the producers decided to spare the editors more blurring during the swimming–although there was enough random blurring of underwear and other parts last night that I almost thought I needed to see an optometrist.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.