We only have one episode left of Survivor: Philippines – Sunday night’s two-hour finale – and I’ve got to say, this has been a hell of a season. There have been several episodes where I wasn’t sure who would be voted out, including tonight’s episode. I cannot wait for the finale, because I really think any of the remaining four have a chance to win.
This episode was all about Abi trying to convince everyone else to keep her around. And, to her credit, she had a strong argument to make. Denise and Malcolm both have great chances at winning, so first Abi went to Lisa to try and convince her to vote Denise out. (Malcolm, of course, was automatically in the final four thanks to his Immunity Idol.)
Ring, ring, ring!
The Reward Challenge was extremely interesting because of Abi’s position as a swing vote and an ideal person to take to the end. I wouldn’t have wanted to leave her alone with anyone.
For the challenge, players had to race to collect rings and then throw them onto five pegs. It was close between Skupin and Malcolm, but Skupin pulled off the win. Man, you’ve got to admit, he’s incredibly athletic for a guy his age. It’s impressive. Skupin won a boat cruise pizza party and got to invite two guests. I knew he’d invite Malcolm, because Malcolm had chosen Skupin for the family visit. But the second pick was important. If I were Skupin, I would have then selected Denise, thus leaving Lisa to work on getting Abi’s vote back at camp. Or I would choose Lisa and Abi to go on the reward, delivering the chance to woo the swing vote while Malcolm and Denise are out of the way. Instead. Skupin picked his pal Lisa, leaving Denise back at camp with the swing vote.
That should have been a stupid move. But Denise is so annoyingly committed to the idea of going to the end with the best that she didn’t try and convince Abi to vote with her and Malcolm. She just tiredly agreed with everything Abi said, all afternoon, in an attempt to avoid conflict and make their alone time as painless as possible.
Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Boat
Meanwhile, Malcolm was on board the most hilarious boat ride of all time with Lisa and Skupin. Skup, who doesn’t normally consume sugar, drank pop for the first time in thirty years. (Hilarious that he said pop – usually you Americans say “soda”.) In fact, he had three pop and was quite literally sugar high. It was like he was drunk – so hilarious! I laughed out loud when Malcolm said “Suddenly, Michael Skupin is fun to be around!” Is he normally a wet blanket?
The reward was pretty cool, because they got to go swimming with some kind of whale-shark-fish type thing. Of course, Skupin had some kind of run-in with it. What an accident prone guy! Later in the episode the fire spit a spark at him and I screamed “NOT AGAIN SKUPIN GET IT TOGETHER!” like a madwoman.
On the boat, Malcolm took the opportunity to throw Denise under the bus and make a final three deal with Lisa and Skupin. I’m curious to know how serious he is about this – is it a backup alliance, or is he really going to vote Denise out? Lisa wasn’t completely on board with the idea, but she went along with it. Our little Lisa is finally playing the game.
The thing is, it’s no less dangerous for Lisa and Skupin to go to the finals, theoretically, with Malcolm than it would be to go with Denise. They’re both very strong players who could win the game. The correct choice is to take Abi. I really wish we were getting a final two this season instead of a final three.
You’re such a pain in the…
The next morning, poor Denise woke up with a terrible, burning pain in her neck…and it wasn’t just from having to hang out with Abi. She’d gotten some kind of bite on her neck (is Abi a vampire, do we think?) and was having an allergic reaction. It was sad to see super-tough Denise break down like that, she was obviously in a lot of pain. The Prayer Patrol, Lisa and Skupin, prayed for her. Abi crossed her fingers for a medical evacuation. You can’t really blame her.
An A-Maze-Ing Finish
Despite her pain, Denise performed well in the Immunity Challenge. The challenge was a complex one. Players had to cross a rope bridge with planks, collecting puzzle pieces along the way. Then they had to assemble a puzzle-maze and get a ball through the maze. Malcolm fell off the rope bridge and fell far into last place, and Denise was way ahead of the others in the puzzle. But once Malcolm caught up, he put the puzzle together with amazing speed. It was really an incredible come-from-behind victory. Malcolm didn’t need to win Immunity, but you can’t say that he didn’t deserve the win.
Of course, it complicated things. I’d assumed that if Malcolm won the challenge that he’d give his Hidden Immunity Idol to Denise, thus ensuring that they both make it to the final four. But because of his conversation on the boat with Lisa and Skupin, I wasn’t so sure.
You’re a Mean One, Ms. Abi
With the Immunity necklace sitting around Malcolm’s neck, Abi had to get back to her task of trying to convince people to keep her around. This time she worked on Skupin.
But what was really interesting was Malcolm’s reluctance to give Denise the Immunity Idol. She asked, and he gave a vague answer. He was so confident that everyone would vote out Abi that he didn’t feel like he needed to give up the Idol. Even knowing the outcome of the vote, I think this is stupid. Why risk it? There is a small risk in giving away the Idol, and that’s indicating to Lisa and Skupin that a) Denise is your homegirl and b) You don’t trust them. But this is the homestretch. The much greater risk is Denise, a close ally, getting voted out of the game at the wrong time. If Denise had been voted out tonight, Malcolm surely would have been next week. So I think the smart move would have been to give Denise the Idol.
However, Abi’s own stupidity had to have played a role as well. When everyone got to Tribal Council, she laid it on too thick – just like she did with her Hidden Immunity Idol lie. All Abi had to say was that Malcolm and Denise will likely win, and that she is a desirable person to keep around because she won’t get any votes. That’s it, that’s all she needed to say. But instead, she also called Skupin an idiot and a moron (twice!) and said he has no chance at winning the million bucks. Is she really that rude, or was that a ploy to make herself seem like even more of a bitch who couldn’t possible win the vote? I think the latter, and that she went too far.
Everyone voted out Abi, and while I’m happy she’s out of the game, I think it was a mistake. I would have kept Abi around until the end. That said, with Abi out of the game the finale should be very interesting. Let’s talk about what could happen.
This foursome has successfully reached their goal, but it’s always been quite clearly comprised of two pairs. What will happen in the next vote? Will there be a tie? Will Malcolm betray Denise? Or will Denise turn on Malcolm? Let’s assume a final three – that one person will be voted out halfway through Sunday night’s episode, and then three will go to the end. (Womp-womp.)
If Denise or Malcolm gets into the finals, I think she or he will win. But if they’re both in the finals, I’m leaning towards Malcolm winning but I feel less confident. I think Lisa is next likeliest to win and, sadly, Skupin is least likely to win. (My mom has Skupin in the office pool, which she started up and has yet to win. I would love for her to win the pot this year, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s in the cards.)
What do you guys think? I’m SO EXCITED for the finale.