"A Chicken's a Little Bit Smarter"
Episode Information
Version: United States
Season: China
Episode Number: 1/15 (216)
Original Release: September 20, 2007
Viewership (in millions): 15.35[1]
Ratings/Share (18-49): 5.0/N/A Summary: Link
Episode Chronology
Previous: "Reunion"
(previous season)
Next: "My Mom Is Going to Kill Me!"

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


Day 1

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 greeted the castaways and informed them that before the game would begin, they would all take part in a Buddhist ceremony within the temple, though he assured the group that the service was not religious worship but a mere welcome. Some, like Denise, found the ceremony to be a profound moment, whilst others, like Courtney, disliked the experience. Leslie, however, struggled to get through the ceremony, feeling as though her participation in it was against her Christian values as it felt like worship. Tearfully, she left the ceremony partway through. After the ceremony's conclusion, once the group had reassembled, Jeff asked Leslie why she hadn't completed the ceremony, and she answered that she was a believer in Jesus Christ and "the only time I'm going to put my face on the floor is for Him." However, she added that she didn't feel like her decision to leave the ceremony would not 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 addressed the group and told them that a central teaching of Buddhism was 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 shocked everybody, including Ashley, who was stuck with "twenty-pound" boots, and Jaime, who was not wearing a bra. The sixteen contestants were 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 departed, they were 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 rowed to camp, Aaron took on a leadership role, instructing the tribe in how to navigate and row. The tribe celebrated 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 began to fall, but the spirits of the tribe were not dampened as they continued to get to know each other. That is, with the exception of Courtney, who was 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 went exploring and discovered the tribe's Tree Mail box. Jean-Robert voiced skepticism about Todd's alleged job as a flight attendant, saying that although he liked him, he thought Todd "seemed like someone who's a little devious." Todd then admitted that he "really, really wanted to be there" and that he would do whatever it took to stay. He asked Jean-Robert to keep his suspicions to himself, and Jean-Robert agreed.

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 began to consider how to construct their shelter. Ashley, Erik and Frosti found the remnants of a bamboo construction, and suggested using it in a lean-to shelter. However, Chicken objected that it wasn't going to be big enough for everybody to fit under, and when asked what he suggested, he said that they should build one themselves. The rest of the tribe countered that they still needed wood to build something, and they could use what they'd found. Soon after, Chicken tried advise on the construction of the scaffold, but Ashley interjected that they just needed to build "something." In a confessional, Chicken stated that since his tribe didn't want to listen to his advice, he'd 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 worked, they got to know each other, with Ashley revealing that she was a professional wrestler, much to Erik's surprise. However, the getting-to-know-you began 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 set in, Sherea suggested the build the shelter out in the open away from the messy underbrush, and the tribe seemed to like the idea. When they asked Chicken what he thought, he refused to give an opinion, saying he would just do what they wanted.

I'm a WW 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 was well underway, with James and Aaron chopping down whole trees to salvage for the shelter. Yet despite his physical ability and work ethic, Leslie worried that James was being quiet and withdrawn. She approached him, asking what he did for a living, and he surprised her by saying, "Bury people." She gave him some advice on how to integrate with the tribe on a social level, for which he was 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've 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 strategising. 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 saw Zhan Hu, who had not completed their shelter, huddled together under a standing archway for cover. The following morning, prioritizing the shelter construction was the main task on everybody's mind. Chicken hoped that the miserable storm experience might bring everyone onto the same page. However, Ashley was feeling unwell, experiencing chills and stomach pains. The tribe were concerned, and although Frosti and Dave offered her words of encouragement, Dave was determined to vote her out first if she didn't 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 received their first Tree Mail: a dragon dance sculpture. Todd read 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 suggested they read the copy of The Art of War and Aaron read aloud a passage to the tribe concerning the qualities of command. Todd interpreted the passage as a need to have a tribe leader, and noted that Aaron had already taken on such a role. Aaron, somewhat reluctantly, agreed to be the tribe's leader, but established 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 received the same clue. Ashley assured her tribe that she would be up to the challenge, and Frosti asserted that he was good at obstacle courses and his small stature might aid him in that respect. He elaborated in a confessional that he was 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 convened for their inaugural Reward/Immunity Challenge. Jeff asked Chicken how Zhan Hu was faring, and he answered, "About as well as expected," adding that they were getting by. Jean-Robert was asked what the worst thing was, and he answered that it was very difficult to sleep when drenched by the rain. Jeff then revealed 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 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 were given their running shoes, and James and Frosti were selected as the tribes' runners.

As the tribes first raced out of a spiral path, Denise lost her footing, giving Zhan Hu a very slight lead. However, Fei Long took the lead at the next obstacle of slanted walkways to reach the locked gate first. However, James struggled to unclip himself from the pole, resulting in Zhan Hu catching up and the two runners breaking free simultaneously. Frosti, however, forgot to let down the drawbridge as he climbed over the first wall which gave Fei Long the lead once more. The tribes were neck-and-neck going into the swamp, but Zhan Hu began to fall behind. Although both tribes reached the puzzle platform, Fei Long quickly solved the puzzle to win flint and Immunity.

As Zhan Hu returned to camp defeated, Peih-Gee broke down in tears and was comforted by Dave. Dave continued by giving a speech to the tribe in which he encouraged them by claiming they were still a strong tribe. Peih-Gee added that she really wanted to see everybody pick up their workload. She then oversaw the improvement of the shelter, but when she asked Chicken for his opinion on the construction, and he wouldn't 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 rubbed Ashley the wrong way. She approached 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 tried to rally Frosti to vote against Ashley by pointing out how little work she'd done. Frosti countered 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 prepared to leave for Tribal Council, Sherea told Jaime that she was tossing up between two people: Peih-Gee (for her bossiness) and Chicken. Meanwhile, Dave wanted to keep a more experienced person in camp, and assured Chicken that he wasn't 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 instructed the Zhan Hu tribe to light their torches. Peih-Gee was first asked if the game thus far had been more than she'd bargained for, and she agreed, saying it was much more challenging than expected. She particularly noted the difficulty in building a good shelter, at which point Chicken raised two fingers. When asked what he meant by the gesture, he pointed out that it had taken them two days to get a shelter built when it really should have been accomplished by Night One. Jeff asked Chicken if he'd stepped up to be a leader, and he said that he wasn't "driving the bull by the horns," but agreed that a leader was needed to unite the tribe.

Jeff asked for a show of hands to see if anyone wanted to be the leader of the tribe. Dave immediately raised his hand, and Peih-Gee followed. Dave said that there wasn't time to mess around and even though he hadn't wanted to be in the leadership position, he felt that it was important that someone started getting the tribe on the right track. When asked what she would bring to the table, Peih-Gee added that she was worried about sounding bossy, but thought that it was necessary for someone to just step up to that task. The tribe agreed to let Dave and Peih-Gee lead, which Peih-Gee celebrated with an enthusiastic pump of the fist.

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

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

Jeff then tallied and read the votes. The first vote was for Chicken, followed by two for Ashley. Peih-Gee then received a vote and Chicken received a second vote against to make it 2 for Chicken, 2 for Ashley. The remaining votes, however, were all for Chicken, making him the first person voted out of Survivor: China. He exclaimed loudly, "DAYUM!" which surprised his tribe mates. He took his torch to Jeff and as it was snuffed with the departing line, "The tribe has spoken," Chicken sighed, "I heard 'em." As the tribe departed, Jeff gave them fire in the form of flint.


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 some 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
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
S15 chicken bw
Chicken Morris

Voting Confessionals

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


(voting for Peih-Gee) I'm voting for PG, 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.


(voting for 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.


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


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


(voting for Chicken) You kept lying way to much


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


(voting for 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

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.

Chicken Morris

Still in the Running

S15 chicken bw
Fei Long
S15 aaron t
Fei Long
S15 amanda t
Zhan Hu
S15 ashley t
Fei Long
S15 courtney t
Zhan Hu
S15 dave t
Fei Long
S15 denise t
Zhan Hu
S15 erik t
Zhan Hu
S15 frosti t
Zhan Hu
S15 jaime t
Fei Long
S15 james t
Fei Long
S15 jeanrobert t
Fei Long
S15 leslie t
Zhan Hu
S15 peihgee t
Zhan Hu
S15 sherea t
Fei Long
S15 todd t


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