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Week-by-week with Jan Gentry

By ERIC DEGGANS, Times TV Critic

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 13, 2002

A short look at Jan Gentry's long road to Survivor: Thailand's final four.

WEEK 1: Chosen along with 61-year-old Jake Billingsley to pick the game's two teams, she makes what seems to be a fatal mistake: picking the oldest and oddest competitors for her tribe, Chuay Gahn. It turns out her gut instincts build a cohesive group bonded by teamwork and blessed by good luck, vanquishing their younger, more athletic rivals over time.

WEEK 2: Jan doesn't complain when teammate Helen Glover -- who insists she knows how to find the tribe's watering hole without a map -- turns an hourlong trip into a six-hour search, as the two paddle around trying to remember where it was.

WEEK 3: Jan starts her habit of flying under the radar, taking a back seat during a tribe meeting to discuss teammate Ghandia Johnson's allegations that fellow tribe member Ted Rogers Jr. groped Johnson while she was sleeping.

WEEK 5: Jan wisely passes up a blanket offer made by host Jeff Probst to allow anyone to switch tribes -- another gut-level decision that kept her off the losing Sook Jai tribe.

WEEK 6: Teammates see her as a flake for holding a funeral for a stillborn bat -- making her a prime candidate for expulsion. But Chuay Gahn is starting a long streak of immunity challenge wins, keeping her out of danger until she's no longer perceived as a threat.

WEEK 7: Sook Jai joins Chuay Gahn in the same living space, and at a celebratory party, Jan drinks some wine and stumbles over a rock. Not the best national television moment for an elementary school teacher.

WEEK 10: Jan gets her first Tribal Council vote from Jake, who later says he only voted for her because she said she'd be happy to be among the seven ejected competitors who choose the final winner. Jan's friends in Tampa don't buy it.

WEEK 11: Son Jef gamely eats grubs in an attempt to win 24 hours with his mom on the island. The ejection of Jake and growing friction between Ted and Clay Jordan convince fans that Jan is a shoo-in to make the show's final four.

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