Credits. Nice touch, the snake appearing to scream. Some days, I know just how he feels.
When we come back, Jeff says that this will be a quiz on "Chinese culture." First person to get five points wins reward. The first question is whether it's true or false that China is credited with inventing the abacus. Todd, James, Peih-Gee, and Denise got it right; Courtney, Amanda, and Erik got it wrong. Okay, let's speed up, because I still hate explaining challenges, especially when they involve trivia questions. Peih-Gee and James are the first to surge. Interestingly, James gets all the questions right until the one where Peih-Gee hunches over her answer. You can then see him looking over at somebody else's cards while they're all trying to answer -- it's not cheating, really, if people make their answers visible, and it could be a coincidence, but it does appear that maybe there's a little peeking going on, probably from everyone, but certainly from him. At any rate, Peih-Gee is the ultimate winner of reward, and she looks very happy. I will freely admit that I spent this entire challenge saying to Joe R and our pal Survivo-Nerd that there was nobody in this group who was going to take Denise on the reward, so of course, Peih-Gee proves me wrong by first choosing Erik, and then choosing -- you got it -- Denise. I think Peih-Gee made the right choices: if you leave Erik back at camp with Todd, etc., you risk plotting with him that you don't know about that might make your situation even worse. You also piss him off, or you would if he wasn't so serene. The only other good choice other than Denise is Courtney, so my guess is that Peih-Gee was taking a shot at which of the two was more likely to be flippable and which was more likely just to stay with Todd. I think it was probably about even between those two, but Peih-Gee certainly would have gained nothing from taking Todd or Amanda. Or, obviously, James. Denise looks seriously psyched about the reward. Everyone is going back to camp, and the rewardees will take off in the morning.
The next morning is a dewy Day 28 at Hae Da Fung. Everyone is asleep except James, who is breaking some wood (hee/ouch) when the boat comes to retrieve Peih-Gee, Erik, and Denise. Denise tells us that she's seriously excited about the reward and has big love for Peih-Gee at this moment. On the other hand, leaving everybody behind at camp always makes you a trifle nervous. This is true. As it has been for the past fourteen seasons when similar interviews were broadcast. These three leave for the reward. Amanda immediately declares that the four remaining at camp -- herself, Todd, Courtney, and James -- should eat a lot while everyone else is away. James wholeheartedly agrees. Todd smugly declares it a "nine-day advance sneak preview" of what F4 will be like. He interviews that he was really pleased that when they discussed just going to F4 with these people, "there was no arguing." He is so naïve. James announces that he wants the group to "frolic all the way to four." He returns to his apple metaphor to explain that the four of them are in the Garden of Eden, and that if Eve had listened to God, they'd be "frolicking nekkid in Heaven." I wonder if he knows that it wasn't Heaven. It was a garden, in theory, on Earth. Which is the point, kind of. It's like he heard the story, but not all of it. Anyway, he says he wants them to frolic as long as possible. "Don't bite the apple; leave it alone!" he urges rhetorically into the camera. (Camera guy, looking around: "Uh...okay.") Todd keeps prattling that this will be the top four, and Amanda gives a tentative "yeah." She interviews as follows: "I don't feel comfortable going to the final three with any of them." Hear that? With any of them. She wants out of this whole thing. Doesn't want Todd to get to the end, or Courtney, or James. "This is my chance to make something else happen the way I want it to happen," Amanda voices over as we watch the rest of the group sit around, happily unaware of her plotting.
Back from commercials, we see the rewardees on their private plane. They scramble aboard happily, and Peih-Gee discusses the contrast between the beautiful plane and their stinky, raggy selves. The plane takes off, and champagne is served. They all toast. When they're one sip into their champagne, Peih-Gee says that after the boot the previous night (of Frosti), the three of them could be final three. (At this point in the show, Survivo-Nerd holds up three fingers on one hand and four fingers on the other hand and makes a "Wha?" face.) Peih-Gee's idea is to get James to vote with them. Denise is bringing new meaning to the word "noncommittal" as her response is "You never know what's going to happen, though." You know, Peih-Gee, I'd say she's not fully on board. Denise interviews that Peih-Gee is, of course, "working her strategy"; Denise doesn't want to "make enemies."