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n new castaways will outwit and outplay in the Orient. Nine castaways, 39 days... only ONE Survivor!

Recaps by Chico Alexander & Eric Pierce, GSNN

Jeff Probst
Creator: Charlie Parsons
EP: Mark Burnett, Charlie Parsons
Packager: Mark Burnett Prods., Survivor Prods., Castaway TV Prods.
Origin: China
Airs: Thursdays at 8pm ET on CBS


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A Chicken's a Little Bit Smarter

China... An exotic land where no reality show camera dared to spend an entire season... Until now. Television history is made again as sixteen ordinary Americans strand themselves in the remotes of this far-off land. At stake: $1 million and the title of... Survivor!

Day 1: the marooning...

First things first, let's meet this season's cast of survivors...

Jean-Robert Bellande; 36, Las Vegas; poker player
James Clement; 30, Lafayette, LA; grave digger
Dave Cruser; 37, Simi Valley, CA; former model
Jaime Dugan; 22, Columbia, SC
Todd Herzog; 22, Pleasant Grove, UT; flight attendant
Erik Huffman; 26, Nashville
Amanda Kimmel; 23, Kalispell, MT; hiking guide
Peih-Gee Law; 29, Marina Del Rey, CA; jeweler
Sherea Lloyd; 26, Atlanta
Denise Martin; 40, Douglas, MA; school lunch lady
Ashley Massaro; 28, East Northport, NY; pro wrestler
Steve "Chicken" Morris
; 48, Marion, VA; chicken farmer
Leslie Nease; 38, Tega Cay, SC; Christian radio host
Aaron Reisberger; 31, Venice, CA; surfing instructor
Courtney Yates; 26, New York City; waitress
Michael "Frosti" Zernow; 20, Chicago; student/athlete

(Thanks, Wikipedia!)

We start at a Buddhist temple, where monks greet them with a ceremonial bell toll. Before the game can begin, the players engage in a Buddhist ceremony. Not as a worship service, mind you, but merely as a form of welcome to their land. This is a very surreal experience for all except Courtney who doesn't want to bow "37 times" or Leslie, who, as a Christian radio host, takes the words "thou shalt bow down to no other God before me" to heart.

And you tell me that this isn't double speak: "I'm not a religious person, but I have a special relationship with Jesus Christ."

Now, the tribesmen meet up with Jeff outside. He says that a big theme is leaving behind of worldly possessions. To that end, the suitcases they brought? Useless. The only thing they have is whatever is left on their back.

Now to divide into tribes..

ZHAN HU (Fighting Tiger) TRIBE FEI LONG (Flying Dragon) TRIBE

Each tribe is given a map and a copy of what is probably the best treatise ever written on strategy: "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. Buffs on... Let's play Survivor.

Boats are paddled to their respective camps, each one pre-built. We have rice, a knife, and a pot, but nothing else. Courtney... is in her own private hell. Seriously. She hates being around chipper teachers and flight attendants. We have a Negative Nancy in sector 7G.

Meanwhile, a couple of guys head deep into the forest and find the Tree-Mail stump... with nothing in it. Jean-Robert, one of said guys, thinks that Todd is lying about being a flight attendant. What if we told you he WAS a flight attendant? Jean-Robert says his main strength is being able to read people. Todd lets Jean-Robert know that he will do whatever it takes to win the million.

Over at Zhan Hu, the tribe arrives to more or less the same set-up that the Dragons have. First thing they get to doing... building a proper shelter. Getting wood, building camp. Chicken thinks he has a lot of experience coming from the backwoods... literally. "I'm giving my opinion and nobody wants it. I'm done suggesting."

The Tigers can't believe that Ashley's a wrestler. Oh yeah. She's prepared. She doesn't want to go home a loser, citing fan worship.

Peih-Gee says that she's on the lazy tribe, and who can blame her... No one wants to do anything. Everyone's just hanging out talking about whatever. Until the rain starts falling. Then they start talking (to Chicken, no less) about shelter.

Back to Fei Long, though. Shelter is already underway. Everyone is working well together. Leslie thinks that James is like Superman. James says he can be more social, although he's not used to it. Leslie advises him to talk to other people, ask a lot of questions.

Night 1: Gimme Shelter.

"The heavens unzipped on us."

Day 2: ... PLEASE Gimme Shelter.

Now the Zhan Hu want to come together to make something a little more permanent in terms of shelter. Meanwhile, Ashley is not feeling too well. She's having chills and dry heaves. But she swears that she's not leaving. Dave thought that Ashley would be a lot stronger than she let on. But if her health stays the same... she's first.

Day 3: TREE MAIL!!!!

The untested enemy you must face today.
They may have the power to send one of you away.
With your namesake held above you, and with honor in your heart,
Will you lead your tribe to victory, or be the first one to depart?

They read from "The Art of War" Chapter 1...

The COMMANDER stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness. -Sun Tzu

So the team needs a leader. Aaron takes up the mantle. Because Todd doesn't want it. Smart for Todd. It's not someplace that Aaron wants to be, but if he is called, he'll go for it.

Frosti takes up the mantle for Zhan Hu, because he fancies himself a badass.

I-Challenge: Chasing the Dragon.

Both tribes will be carrying a ceremonial mascot. They have to maneuver through a maze filled with drawbridges and stairs. Then once they get out of the maze, they'll have to traverse a swamp to a waiting puzzle, where they will have to match up poles with holes. First tribe to do that wins Immunity and more time in the game. Also, Jeff will pony up one piece of flint for the winning tribe.

Oh, and you'll need running shoes. We have those.

Frosti leads the Tigers; James will carry the head for the Dragons.

It's a dead heat heading out of the maze and into the swamp. Fei Long is pulling ahead thanks to a slip-up by the Zhan Hus. Now to put the poles in the holes...

Winner: Fei Long.

For the Dragons, fire in the form of flint. For the Tigers... fire in the form of Tribal Council torches.

Back at camp, Aaron says that Tribal Council sucks, but it is something that has to be faced as a team. Peih-Gee doesn't want to be down about it. She asks Chicken about what should be done re: Tribal. She says that nothing from him is worth anything if he chooses not to apply himself. Ashley thinks it's way too early for Peih-Gee to assume a barking leadership. She also hates to think that one day of being sick would dominate over anything.

Chicken thinks that Ashley is going tonight. But whatever happens happens, as Chicken thinks that he is in no way safe tonight. So the marks tonight are Chicken, Ashley, and Peih-Gee.

Aaron? "I don't wish anyone bad here, but it's time to make stuff happen."

Night 3: Tribal Council ...

Fire = life. Fire good. No fire, bad.

Peih-Gee thought this was a piece of cake. WRONG. Took them two days to make shelter. Aaron and Peih-Gee volunteer to be leaders of the tribe. Aaron doesn't know what's going to happen, but he wants this tribe to act as a unit. Peih-Gee doesn't want to be bossy, but someone has to do it, because it's not happening. Dave wants to cut the dead weight. Chicken, likewise. Erik thinks contributions are huge. We'll have to hold each other accountable. Ashley thought she fit into the group, but she feels kinda thrown off, citing her earlier illness. That makes her feel a little uneasy. Chicken knows he doesn't fit in. "You want the guy that don't fit in? Or you want the guy that works?"

Time to vote.

Ashley: P(EIH)-G(EE). "I feel the group already has a leader and it's Dave."

Chicken: ASHLEY. "Just bad luck. Wrong time. Wrong place."

Peih-Gee: CHICKEN: "I think you've truly lived up to your nickname. You've been afraid to step up to anything right now."

One each. Now the rest of the votes...


The rest of the count, not that it matters...


By a vote of 5-2-1, Chick-- "DAMN!" ... yeah, him. Chicken, THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN. "I heard'em."

At least the tribe will have fire tonight. Unfortunately, Chicken won't be around to roast in it.