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A Chicken's a Little Bit Smarter is the first episode of Survivor: China.

Story

Day 1

Host Jeff Probst begins the season by introducing the sixteen castaways as they travel by train and truck from Shanghai out into the wilderness to a Buddhist temple on the shore of the Lake of a Thousand Isles. The cast is comprised of a former Miss Montana (Amanda Kimmel), a middle school lunchlady (Denise Martin), a Christian radio talkshow host (Leslie Nease), a gay Mormon flight attendant (Todd Herzog), a professional wrestler (Ashley Massaro), a University of South Carolina honors student (Jaime Dugan), a chicken farmer from Virginia (Chicken Morris), a professional poker player (Jean-Robert Bellande), a fourth-grade school teacher (Sherea Lloyd), a Nashville musician (Erik Huffman), a gravedigger from Louisiana (James Clement), a jewelry designer from Los Angeles (Peih-Gee Law), a New York City waitress (Courtney Yates), a surfing instructor (Aaron Reisberger), a bartender and former model (Dave Cruser), and a twenty-year-old student and athlete (Frosti Zernow).

Jeff greets the castaways and informs them that before the game would begin, they would all take part in a Buddhist ceremony within the temple, though he assures the group that the service was not religious worship but a mere welcome. Some, like Denise, find the ceremony to be a profound moment, whilst others, like Courtney, dislike the experience. Leslie, however, struggles to get through the ceremony, feeling as though her participation in it is against her Christian values as it feels like worship. Tearfully, she leaves the ceremony partway through. After the ceremony's conclusion, once the group reassembles, Jeff asks Leslie why she did not complete the ceremony, and she answers that she is a believer in Jesus Christ and "the only time I'm going to put my face on the floor is for Him". However, she adds that she does not feel like her decision to leave the ceremony would have an effect on her game over the subsequent 39 days.

I walked in... It was an adventure for me. I was just like a damn kid in a carnival. I ain't never known nothing like it, but I loved it.

Chicken Morris


Being Chinese, it's so amazing coming to do Survivor in China. My grandfather passed away, like, a couple weeks ago and he would have just gotten such a kick out of seeing me here, y'know, doing this.

Peih-Gee Law


I work as the lunch lady behind the counter in the cafeteria and to actually be in a temple like that? What a great experience. It almost made me cry, to tell you the truth. Like, it was just spiritual. It was really emotional for me.

Denise Martin


I'm a waitress from New York City, dude, what do you think? Do you think I know how to do this stuff? Y'know, like, I'm not trying to be a monk here. I'm tired. I want to go sit back with a lemonade. I don't really want to be, like, bowing thirty-seven times. And we bowed! We bowed for, like, days! I swear to God we were there forever.

Courtney Yates


I'm a believer in Jesus Christ and in the Bible, it says, "Thou shalt not bow down to any other god." Y'know, it really felt like worship. We're in a temple. There's the Buddha. I just couldn't do it. It was emotional for me because I knew I did the right thing, but it was so hard.

Leslie Nease


Jeff then addresses the group and tells them that a central teaching of Buddhism is the leaving behind of worldly possessions, revealing that the castaways would be going into the game with only the clothes on their back. The news shocks everybody, including Ashley, who is stuck with "twenty-pound" boots, and Jaime, who is not wearing a bra. The sixteen castaways are then divided into two tribes: Zhan Hu in yellow (translating to "Fighting Tiger" in Mandarin), comprising Ashley, Chicken, Dave, Erik, Frosti, Jaime, Peih-Gee, and Sherea; and Fei Long in red (translating to "Flying Dragon"), comprising Aaron, Amanda, Courtney, Denise, James, Jean-Robert, Leslie, and Todd. Before the new tribes depart, they are each given a map to their camp and a copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War, an ancient and definitive Chinese text on military strategy and tactics.

From the get-go, I saw we had a pretty strong team. I'm the youngest and the smallest guy out here, so I gotta prove my worth.

Frosti Zernow


I am so happy to be a Fei Long member because I think James and Aaron are definitely two of our strongest members, so I think we're gonna be a powerhouse in challenges.

Amanda Kimmel


As Fei Long rows to camp, Aaron takes on a leadership role, instructing the tribe on how to navigate and row. The tribe celebrates upon arrival at their camp, discovering the supplies given to them, including a bag of rice, a machete, and a couple pots. However, rain soon begins to fall, but the spirits of the tribe are not dampened as they continue to get to know each other. That is, with the exception of Courtney, who is put off by her tribemates' optimism and joy.

So we're on this lake in the middle of China. We have no idea where we are. Y'know, it's like rice paddies and tropical rainforests and I don't think my tribe, for the most part, knows what's going on. I see myself as a leader, but I try and do it as subtly as possible. I don't want the target on my back.

Aaron Reisberger


Sorry, I am easily irritated. I seem to be sorta marooned in a land of, like, flight attendants and Sunday School teachers. Like, come on! I live in a city. People who live in New York don't act like this. This is like my own private hell. There's, like, exactly the kind of people that, like, I don't like being around that are always like, "Everything's always great, isn't it amazing? Like, you're doing a really good job with that." (sarcastic thumbs-up)

Courtney Yates


Jean-Robert and Todd ho exploring and discover the tribe's Tree Mail box. Jean-Robert voices skepticism about Todd's alleged job as a flight attendant, saying that although he likes him, he thinks that Todd "seemed like someone who's a little devious". Todd then admits that he "really, really wanted to be there" and that he would do whatever it takes to stay. He asks Jean-Robert to keep his suspicions to himself, and Jean-Robert agrees.

I'm a professional poker player and one of the strengths that I have is my ability to read players. My conversation with Todd was deliberate. I wanted him to know that, "Listen, I know that you're the clever guy. Hey, I'm on to you. Don't come this way and you'll be right."

Jean-Robert Bellande


Jean-Robert was very right. I will do whatever I need to do to win that million dollars. I can't have someone walking around saying, "Watch out for Todd!" Y'know, I'm saying, watch out for Jean-Robert now. I'm here to win a million dollars. That's a million dollars! That's a lot of money!

Todd Herzog


Meanwhile, at Zhan Hu, the tribe immediately begins to consider how to construct their shelter. Ashley, Erik, and Frosti find the remnants of a bamboo construction, and suggest using it in a lean-to shelter. However, Chicken objects that it is not going to be big enough for everybody to fit under, and when asked what he suggests, he said that they should build one themselves. The rest of the tribe counters that they still need wood to build something, and that they could use what they had found. Soon after, Chicken tries advise on the construction of the scaffold, but Ashley interjects that they just needed to build "something". In a confessional, Chicken states that since his tribe does not want to listen to his advice, that he would stop giving it.

When I first walked up, I have on a dress with heels. I'm a Southern girl, but I'm not an outdoorsy girl and this situation is so disgusting and so nasty. Camp sucks, and this is way harder than I expected.

Sherea Lloyd


I'm from Virginia. I've lived in the woods. I got a lot of experience over these characters. I just giving my opinion and nobody wanted it, so I'm done suggesting. Y'know, I won't do that no more.

Chicken Morris


As the tribe works, they get to know each other, with Ashley revealing that she is a professional wrestler, much to Erik's surprise. However, the getting-to-know-you begins to distract from the tasks at hand, prompting Peih-Gee to feel like they might become the tribe that has a lot of laughs, but has no shelter or food. As the rain sets in, Sherea suggests to build the shelter out in the open, away from the messy underbrush, and the tribe seems to like the idea. When they ask Chicken what he thinks, he refuses to give an opinion, saying that he would just do what they want.

I'm a WWE Diva, and I wrestle for a living, I compete. I think that it's probably prepared me a great deal more for this game because there is that competitive nature that you have within the locker room and that's a great positive that I'm going to have going into this game. I don't want to go home a loser, you know what I mean? Because my fans are going to want me to win.

Ashley Massaro


I think I'm on the losing tribe. Just seeing, like, half the people want to just stand around and talk about the most ridiculous stuff I've ever heard. I can't connect to the wackiness out here. Like, I mean I can probably do it at home, but I just... I feel so serious.

Peih-Gee Law


Back at Fei Long, shelter construction is well underway, with Aaron and James chopping down whole trees to salvage for the shelter. Yet, despite his physical ability and work ethic, Leslie worries that James is being quiet and withdrawn. She approached him, asking what he did for a living, and he surprised her by saying, "Bury people." She gives him some advice on how to integrate with the tribe on a social level, for which he is grateful.

We're getting a lot accomplished with our shelter. We are a very strong tribe. We get along great and we work well together.

Todd Herzog


I think James is amazing. He's like Superman! I've never seen... He just works! But I'm worried about James because he's just been very quiet.

Leslie Nease


Yeah, I'm a gravedigger. I like that work because, y'know, I'm kind of by myself. That's part of my problem over here now 'cause I'm just used to being by myself. It's the whole initiation of the social thing, talking and strategizing. Oh... That's gonna kill me. I'm definitely worried about the social aspect. I need to pay more attention to that, so I need to do a little more hustling, hopefully pull out the challenges and make 'em love me.

James Clement



Day 2

A stormy night sees Zhan Hu, who have not yet completed their shelter, huddle together under a standing archway for cover. The following morning, prioritizing the shelter construction is the main task on everybody's mind. Chicken hopes that the miserable storm experience might bring everyone onto the same page. However, Ashley is feeling unwell, experiencing chills and stomach pains. The tribe is concerned, and although Dave and Frosti offer her words of encouragement, Dave is determined to vote her out first if she does not get better.

Last night was really wet. It's a reality check for these guys up here. So we'll try and straighten this mess up a bit. Maybe everybody'll come together today, y'know?

–Chicken Morris


My first night was pretty rough. I was soaking wet the whole night. I think I'm pretty sick. I have chills, like, really bad and, like, I keep dry-heaving. Like I want to throw up but there's just nothing in there. I've wrestled sick before. I've wrestled with a one-hundred-and-four fever before. I have to stay in the game. I'm not leaving. Hopefully, it'll pass.

–Ashley Massaro


Ashley, I thought she'd be a much stronger person considering her profession and how her demeanour is, but if Ashley's health stays the same, Ashley's going first.

–Dave Cruser



Day 3

Fei Long receives their first Tree Mail: a dragon dance sculpture. Todd reads the note to the tribe: 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 honor in your heart, will you lead your tribe to victory or be the first one to depart? Anticipating the Immunity Challenge, Amanda suggests that they read the copy of The Art of War and Aaron reads aloud a passage to the tribe concerning the qualities of command. Todd interprets the passage as a need to have a tribe leader, and notes that Aaron had already taken on such a role. Aaron, somewhat reluctantly, agrees to be the tribe's leader, but establishes that the tribe would be a democracy.

Aaron's a very strong player. And I'm very, very smart in trying to push the leader role moreso onto Aaron, 'cause I don't want to take that position but also to keep him close to me. I want him to trust me.

–Todd Herzog


Being in the leadership role, it's not some place I want to be, but leadership is just going for it. I'm ready, but I'm nervous.

–Aaron Reisberger


Meanwhile, Zhan Hu receives the same clue. Ashley assures her tribe that she would be up to the challenge, and Frosti asserts that he is good at obstacle courses and his small stature might aid him in that respect. He elaborates in a confessional that he is also skilled in parkour.

I'm a parkour and free-running performer. Parkour, basically, comes down to what's the best, fastest, most efficient, safest way to get over anything. So if there's a wall, you're gonna run up it, jump over it. If there's rails, you're gonna vault 'em. Whatever it takes, I'm going to use my skills to get my team across that finish line first and win.

–Frosti Zernow


The tribes then convene for their inaugural Reward/Immunity Challenge. Jeff asks Chicken how Zhan Hu is faring, and he answers, "About as well as expected," adding that they are getting by. Jean-Robert is asked what the worst thing was, and he answers that it was very difficult to sleep when drenched by the rain. Jeff then reveals the challenge: Dragon Dance. Each person would carry an awkward, heavy pole connected to a ceremonial "mascot" in the style of a traditional Chinese dragon dance. They must maneuver their mascot along an obstacle course until they reach a locked gate, at which point one "runner" will run ahead, scaling two walls to release drawbridges at each one. They must then retrieve a key, unlock the gate and rejoin the tribe navigating through the last obstacle, a swamp pit, before reaching a puzzle platform where each pole must be placed in the correct slot. The first tribe to solve the puzzle would win the challenge, fire in the form of flint, and the Immunity Idol (which resembled a kneeling Terracotta Warrior). The castaways are given their running shoes, and Frosti and James are selected as the tribes' runners.

As the tribes first race out of a spiral path, Denise loses her footing, giving Zhan Hu a very slight lead. However, Fei Long takes the lead at the next obstacle of slanted walkways to reach the locked gate first. However, James struggles to unclip himself from the pole, resulting in Zhan Hu catching up and the two runners breaking free simultaneously. Frosti, however, forgets to let down the drawbridge as he climbs over the first wall which gives Fei Long the lead once more. The tribes are neck-and-neck going into the swamp, but Zhan Hu begins to fall behind. Although both tribes reach the puzzle platform, Fei Long quickly solves the puzzle to win flint and immunity.

As Zhan Hu returns to camp defeated, Peih-Gee breaks down in tears and is comforted by Dave. Dave continues by giving a speech to the tribe in which he encourages them by claiming that they were still a strong tribe. Peih-Gee adds that she really wants to see everybody pick up their workload. She then oversaw the improvement of the shelter, but when she asks Chicken for his opinion on the construction and he would not give her one, she grew frustrated with him.

We are not going to win any challenges if we don't have, like, a decent shelter. It is hard out here. Moreso than I ever imagined and I'm trying to get through it without being down about it. Chicken won't give an opinion on how he thinks anything should be done. It's not worth anything to me if he chooses not to apply his strength.

–Peih-Gee Law


However, despite her best intentions, Peih-Gee's rise to leadership rubs Ashley the wrong way. She approaches Erik to gauge the tribe's opinion on who should go home, fearing that her brief illness, which had now passed, might be putting her name on the block. True to her fears, Chicken tries to rally Frosti to vote against Ashley by pointing out how little work she had done. Frosti counters that she had been sick, but Chicken reminded him that physical capability was an important factor to consider.

Peih-Gee, all of a sudden, she's like barking out orders and trying to step into this leadership position. If you're going to be doing that, then you shouldn't be crying after challenges. Y'know, that's not a leader role. I would hope to think that I'm not going to be voted out by anybody because I'm not sick at all. I feel a million times better than I did before. I would hate to think that one day of being sick would dominate over everything.

–Ashley Massaro


I feel like Ashley's gone. It's what I'm writing down tonight. She ain't done nothing since she landed down here. Y'know, I don't even know if I'm a hundred percent safe tonight, y'know, for whatever reason. That's what makes the element of the game!

–Chicken Morris


As the tribe prepares to leave for Tribal Council, Sherea tells Jaime that she is tossing up between two people: Chicken and Peih-Gee. Meanwhile, Dave wants to keep a more experienced person in camp, and assures Chicken that he will not be writing his name down.

I think the heads on the block tonight are Chicken, Ashley, and Peih-Gee. Chicken and I, y'know, we're the two oldest guys and I've got nothing against youth, but, y'know, in this kind of environment situation I would prefer to have a little more experience in our tribe right now. I don't wish anybody bad here, but I want our tribe to be strong and it's time to make stuff happen.

–Dave Cruser


At Tribal Council, Jeff instructs the Zhan Hu tribe to light their torches. Peih-Gee is first asked if the game thus far has been more than she had bargained for, and she agrees, saying that it was much more challenging than expected. She particularly notes the difficulty in building a good shelter, at which point Chicken raises two fingers. When asked what he meant by the gesture, he points out that it had taken them two days to get a shelter built when it really should have been accomplished by Night 1. Jeff asks Chicken if he stepped up to be a leader, and he says that he is not "driving the bull by the horns," but agrees that a leader is needed to unite the tribe.

Jeff asks for a show of hands to see if anyone wants to be the leader of the tribe. Dave immediately raises his hand, and Peih-Gee follows. Dave said that there is no time to mess around and even though he had not wanted to be in the leadership position, he feels that it is important that someone starts getting the tribe on the right track. When asked what she would bring to the table, Peih-Gee adds that she is worried about sounding bossy, but thinks that it is necessary for someone to just step up to that task. The tribe agrees to let Dave and Peih-Gee lead, which Peih-Gee celebrates with an enthusiastic pump of the fist.

The conversation shifts to the night's vote. Dave says that the most important thing about the vote is to "trim the least productive person". Chicken says that he is voting for the person who had done the least so far. Erik is asked if a person's workload is important, and he feels that people need to be accountable for their efforts, particularly given how long it had taken the tribe to get shelter. Ashley then states that whilst she had initially thought that she was fitting into the group, she is now worried because her day of sickness had left her unable to contribute in camp. However, she did not think that she should be judged by that. On the other hand, Chicken says that he knows he does not fit into the tribe, but he is still working hard, which he believes to be the greater virtue. He concludes by telling Jeff that if the tribe does not "open their eyes, then we'll be seeing you a lot".

Frosti is then called to vote, followed by Ashley (who casts her vote for Peih-Gee). Erik and Sherea vote next, followed up by Chicken (who votes for Ashley). Jaime and Dave follow, with Peih-Gee casting the final vote (for Chicken).

Jeff then tallies and read the votes. The first vote is for Chicken, followed by two for Ashley. Peih-Gee then receives a vote and Chicken receives a second vote against to make it two for Chicken, two for Ashley. The remaining votes, however, are all for Chicken, making him the first person voted out of Survivor: China. He exclaims loudly, "DAYUM!" which surprises his tribemates. He takes his torch to Jeff and as it is snuffed with the departing line, "The tribe has spoken," Chicken sighs, "I heard 'em." As the tribe departs, Jeff gives them fire in the form of flint.

Challenges

Reward/Immunity Challenge: Dragon Dance
Each tribe is to maneuver a heavy Chinese puppet (a dragon for Fei Long, and a tiger for Zhan Hu), held on poles individually by each tribe member, through a maze, with the lead runner for each tribe having to open obstacles along the way. At the end of the course, the tribe members are to match their poles with corresponding spots in the ground. The first tribe to complete this task wins.
Reward: A piece of flint.
Winner: Fei Long

Tribal Council

Tribal Council 1:
Zhan Hu
Voted
Against
Voter
S15 chicken t
Chicken (5 votes)
S15 erik tS15 frosti t
S15 jaime tS15 peihgee tS15 sherea t
Erik, Frosti, Jaime, Peih-Gee, Sherea
S15 ashley t
Ashley (2 votes)
S15 chicken tS15 dave t
Chicken, Dave
S15 peihgee t
Peih-Gee (1 vote)
S15 ashley t
Ashley
VOTED OUT:
S15 chicken bw
Chicken Morris

Voting Confessionals

S15 frosti t
Frosti

(voting against Chicken) It's all about harmony, man.

S15 ashley t
Ashley

(voting against Peih-Gee) I'm voting for Peih-Gee, because I feel like the group already has a leader and that's Dave. I think Chicken is the wrong choice because we need the strength of a man to build the shelter right now.

S15 erik t
Erik

(voting against Chicken) Sorry, man. There was just too much information going on in the tribe that was saying you were lying. I didn't know who to believe, so I went with the numbers.

S15 sherea t
Sherea

(voting against Chicken) My vote is for you because you act like you're not playing the game but you really are.

S15 chicken t
Chicken

(voting against Ashley) Just bad luck. Wrong time, wrong place.

S15 jaime t
Jaime

(voting against Chicken) You kept lying way too much.

S15 dave t
Dave

(voting against Ashley) I would love to see you actually apply more of what we read.

S15 peihgee t
Peih-Gee

(voting against Chicken) Chicken, you get to my vote because I think you've truly lived up to your nickname and you've been too afraid to step up to anything and we don't need that right now.


Final Words

S15 chicken bw
Chicken

It was kind of a shock that the young group didn't come together, and I don't think they ever will. They're just playing by the seat of their pants. I put a lot of thought into it, but, y'know, I never got nowhere, but there's no one more proud to have been such a small part of one big adventure. It's truly an honor to be here, without a doubt.


Still in the Running

 Chicken
16th
S15 chicken bw
 Aaron
Fei Long
S15 aaron t
 Amanda
Fei Long
S15 amanda t
 Ashley
Zhan Hu
S15 ashley t
 Courtney
Fei Long
S15 courtney t
 Dave
Zhan Hu
S15 dave t
 Denise
Fei Long
S15 denise t
 Erik
Zhan Hu
S15 erik t
 Frosti
Zhan Hu
S15 frosti t
 Jaime
Zhan Hu
S15 jaime t
 James
Fei Long
S15 james t
 Jean-Robert
Fei Long
S15 jeanrobert t
 Leslie
Fei Long
S15 leslie t
 Peih-Gee
Zhan Hu
S15 peihgee t
 Sherea
Zhan Hu
S15 sherea t
 Todd
Fei Long
S15 todd t

Trivia

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References

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