Survivor China: Season 15, Episode 11

Jake Indursky
4 min readAug 16, 2020


All James wanted to do was frolic naked in the garden of Eden! *Narrator*: “But there would be no frolicking for James.” Also, Survivor dishing out some beautiful metaphors on the nature of humanity — only 100 years (1,000 years? 10,000 years? Sorry I’m Jewish) after Eve was seduced into eating the apple and forsaking the eternal bliss of Eden, Amanda has fallen prey to the same fate. James saw a peaceful future in the final four, but as any Survivor contestant should know, peace is an illusion and chaos is the only prevailing order.

But also, nice move by Amanda! She seems to me right now to be the best player in the game ; Todd has clearly succumbed to his Machiavellian instincts — it was only last episode where Courtney hesitated on if she would vote out Frosti and the camera cuts to Todd who is like “well maybe it’s Courtney’s time.” No Todd! You’re not the Godfather, cutting people down for not displaying appropriate fealty. That role is reserved for Yul ❤ (but he would never act so capriciously).

And the way Amanda went about things was s-m-o-o-t-h. She had one conversation with Courtney, who I am pretty sure will literally vote for anybody she is told to vote for as her main focus is surviving 10 more days with -50% body fat. And then had a “group discussion” with Todd and Denise and that was it — my suspicion is that Todd, PG, Erik, all believe that Todd is still the one in control of the game, so I don’t see any target appearing on Amanda’s back from this move, which is pretty impressive.

My on qualm was with Amanda’s reaction to PG asking her to vote out James — by basically telling PG that was their plan, she opened a door that PG could have taken in telling James about Amanda’s plan, convincing him to play the idol, and removing Todd. I was prepared for PG to do exactly that, which would then give her the credibility to flip James to ally with herself and Erik, but alas — I had to settle for the James blind-side.

I do like the way PG is playing the game, despite every character seeming to think she is annoying — which I think is code for being a confident, smart woman in the early 2000s. I especially liked her pick of Denise — I thought it made sense on a strategic level (Denise is the farthest outside the Fei Long alliance) and on an entertainment level (Denise saying “wow, this is wicked sick” about a Shaolin Temple is what makes Survivor great).

On top of Denise’s grade-A Worcester-accent, I was also delighted to learn more about her Kung Fu bonafides. What an incredible plot twist this late in the game. As they are walking through the epicenter of the martial arts world, she makes the off-hand remark that she is up for her black belt and opened a karate school — I’m sorry what! And yes, I had to cite my sources on this one, because I was confident that our local-lunch-lady Denise was not also moonlighting as a Karate School Founder but as they say — the tape don’t lie!

This is Denise! Saying she opened a karate school!

To which our ever-insightful Erik provides an incisive “cool.” Yeah dude — that is pretty f*ckin cool?? Maybe if you care more when women mentioned they opened a karate school, you wouldn’t be playing acoustic guitar alone every night. And while Denise is out here punking these Shaolin children with a little Kenpo demonstration, Boston-style, we get a resounding “no way :)” from Erik.


We learned alot this episode: James was not as safe as he thought, Denise a bad-ass lunch lady, and Erik has the inner monologue of a 5-year old child (or in this case, a 24-year old virgin).