Quick Note: We’ve got a lot of “Survivor” stuff going on as we hit the home stretch. We inducted two members into the “Survivor” Hall of Fame this week; Amanda Kimmel and Rob Cesternino. We’ll be inducting a third this Friday at 2 p.m. ET. This Sunday we’ll have a full recap of the finale immediately after the episode. And, next Monday we’ll have an interview with the winner of “Survivor: Philippines.” Then I’ll leave you alone…
For a while…
Last Week: Abi found herself without any backing, Lisa’s brother thought her strategic game was lacking, and some blonde guy the producers claim had been on the show from the beginning was sent packing.
39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog
Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…
The Dangrayne Tribe (wearing black)
Abi-Maria – Business Student, 32
Denise – Sex Therapist, 41
Lisa – Former ‘Facts of Life’ Star, 49
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Michael – Professional Speaker, Author, and Coach, 50
It’s high fives all around after Tribal Council as everyone is psyched to be a part of the final five. Even Abi is in a good mood as she thought her time was up. She isn’t sure if anybody bought her immunity idol bluff, but she’s prepared to try it again. C’mon Abi, it’s like trying to convince people you have four aces in a game of Uno.
Later, Malcolm is concerned because Lisa said she wanted to be with people she could beat. Wait, there are people Lisa can beat?
The next morning, Abi tries to convince Lisa that Skupin, Malcolm, and Denise are plotting against her. Lisa doesn’t buy it for a second, but I’ll give credit to Abi for trying to get something going.
Lisa lets us know that she intends to use Abi for her best game plan, whether if that’s a final three or to have Abi on the jury. Lisa, you need Abi by your side at the final Tribal. You can not beat Denise or Malcolm. It’s debatable if you can beat Skup.
Reward Challenge Time: Players will race up and over a slide and into the water. In the water they’ll retrieve some rings. They’ll return to the beach, drop off the rings, then do it again. Once they have all of their rings they’ll compete in a ring toss. First one to land five rings wins a trip to do some pizza eatin’ and whale shark watchin’.
Whoa! Probst says he knows it’s worth playing for. He doesn’t even ask. Dude’s getting cocky after 25 seasons.
We start off and Skup and Malcolm jump out to a quick lead. There’s like a slip ‘n slide at the end of the ramp which makes for some hilarious visuals as everyone skips across the beach.
Skup, Malcolm, and Denise are the first ones to start ring tossin’. It’s close between Skup and Malcolm, but Skup picks up the win.
Michael is allowed to take two buddies with him, so he chooses Malcolm (because he picked Skup last week) and Lisa (because they’re BFFs). Abi is not thrilled. As she walks away she not-so-subtly says “I guess my vote doesn’t mean anything.”
Back at Dangrayne, Abi and Denise are doing their best “Odd Couple” impersonation. Maybe they’re angling for the next Boston Rob vs. Russell season?
At the reward the trio enjoys some pizza and cookies on a boat. Aww…too bad Angie didn’t stick around longer.
Then, Skup drinks “pop” for the first time in 30 years and goes a little crazy. Oh great, the most accident-prone guy in the history of the show is on sugar high. Someone strap him to the boat “What About Bob” style.
Heh…”I’m sailing! I’m sailing!”
They discuss strategy afterward and Malcolm pitches the idea that they should get rid of Denise at the final four. Skup and Lisa don’t want to make the same mistake Penner did and agree to it.
Back at camp, Denise is not feeling well and has a weird bite mark on her neck. Lisa and Skup share a quick prayer to help her feel better. Oh man, remember how Roxy’s religious stuff drove Denise nuts earlier in the season? She must be hating this.
Fun Fact: If you think religion in “Survivor” is big now, go back and watch “Survivor: Marquesas.”
Immunity Challenge Time: Players will use planks to cross a rope bridge. As they cross they’ll collect pieces of a maze. They’ll then put the maze together and navigate a ball through it. First one to complete the maze wins immunity.
Malcolm has a lead, but falls off of the rope bridge at the very end and has to start over. Skup and Denise are the first ones through.
By the time Malcolm catches up, everyone is already working on their maze.
Then, Malcolm tears through the puzzle and wins immunity! That was pretty amazing. Also, that maze puzzle was very cool.
Back at camp, the fire explodes and nearly kills Skup. It’s like a greatest hits CD.
Later, Abi smartly gets in Skup’s ear and plays the “You can’t possibly beat Denise or Malcolm” card. Skup approaches Lisa with the plan and she’s completely on board. Their only concern is if Malcolm wins immunity at final four.
Denise approaches Malcolm about handing over his idol. He says he’d do it if the situation called for it. This makes no sense to me. If it’s the last Tribal he can use it and Abi’s going home either way, why not look good in front of the jury by protecting your buddy? He says he wants to give it to his mom. OK, it’s tough to argue with that.
That night at Tribal Council, Lisa commends Abi for not going down without a fight. Why’s she fighting if she has an idol?
Probst points out that Abi is the best person to take to the end because she’s the worst person who has ever existed. OK, he didn’t use those exact words, but it was close. Abi agrees that she is the perfect person to keep around.
Denise thinks it’s smart to take Abi if that’s the kind of game you want to play. Denise then says that Abi was lucky that she didn’t have to outwit or outplay because Tandang never went to Tribal Council.
Lisa smartly says that Tandang’s wins weren’t luck. Every Tandanger on the jury nods. This was like something a politician would do where they twist someone’s words around, because Denise was not saying Tandang was lucky to win, she was saying Abi was lucky to be on their tribe. Well played, Whelchel.
Abi doesn’t think anyone can beat Denise or Malcolm at the final Tribal. Whoa…it’s so weird to agree with Abi.
She then calls Skup an idiot and a moron and says that he’s giving away a million dollars. Skup tries to play it off, but she won’t let up. It’s kind of hilarious.
Malcolm thinks goats have won “Survivor” before, so taking Abi to the end might not be a great idea.
Voting Time: Abi votes for Denise, Denise votes for Abi, and the rest of the votes will wait for some tallying.
JPro does the aforementioned tallying and returns. He asks if anyone would like to play an idol and…Malcolm does not. Happy Holidays, Mrs. Freberg.
We’ve got one vote for Denise, two votes for Abi, and the fourteenth person to leave “Survivor: Philippines” and the seventh member of the jury is Abi.
As they’re walking away from Tribal holding their torches, Skup breaks out into a happy dance. How he didn’t set himself on fire, I’ll never know.
Verdict: I don’t think there’s ever been a time headed into a finale where I was cool with everyone winning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Team Malcolm, but I’m fine with the other three walking away with the check. (Not to mention that I picked three of the final four at the beginning of the season. Go me.)
Who’s Going to Win: Lisa and Skupin don’t have a chance. Malcolm and Denise have managed to skate through the second half of the game without ruffling any feathers. The only questions is; who wins if Malcolm and Denise both make it to the end? Right now, I think Malcolm has an edge with all of the Tandang votes.
Power Rankings Results: Kat and I got it right again. We both had Abi in spot five. So, the final score of the “Survivor: Philippines” Power Rankings Challenge is Team Kat: 133, Team Awesome Thunder: 134. I’d like to give Kat mad props (that’s a thing, right?) for being a fierce competitor.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes