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Jan watch

By ERIC DEGGANS, Times TV Critic

© St. Petersburg Times
published November 8, 2002

WHAT HAPPENED: In what may have been the most boring episode yet, Survivor producers passed up the usual reward challenge/immunity challenge pattern to feature one competition for immunity early in a show. Told that the challenge would test how long competitors could stay underwater with a bamboo snorkel, Gentry's Chuay Gahn chooses to bench the member that is a Navy-trained swim instructor -- Huh? -- but nevertheless wins immunity when car salesman Brian Heidik outlasts the entire Sook Jai tribe. Producers bore us with another 30 minutes of Sook Jai agonizing over their fourth straight Tribal Council vote, completing the humbling of a team that was once the most athletic, competitive and annoyingly confident of any Survivor group.

JAN'S BEST MOVE: Realizing, along with all of her Chuay Gahn tribemates, that Sook Jai manipulator Penny Ramsey's cutesy, get-to-know you act was just that.

JAN'S WORST MOVE: Breaking into tears when Sook Jai killed a chicken they had kept around awhile, saving the head and legs to sink in a makeshift "pet cemetery" where she had already buried a stillborn bat. Softhearted or no, such sentimentality over a much-needed meat dinner seemed a little, well, wacky.

BEST QUOTE: New York firefighter Ken Stafford's growing annoyance over his belief that Chuay Gahn people were urinating inside their shared cave: "It's like p--- in your front door. It smells like under the boardwalk at Coney Island."

WHO GOT THE BOOT: Texas real estate agent Erin Collins, 26, seemed blindsided by a surprise alliance surely engineered by Ramsey when every other Sook Jai member voted her off. On Survivor, it always pays to keep your eye on the cutesy one.

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