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Survivor: Philippines – Episode 5 – So Long, Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Good Night.

And just like that, she’s out and Kalabaw is down 7-6 in numbers. Which is huge. Now, if you question her decision to bail now, and thus put her tribe in danger of losing two people in rapid succession, think about how much you probably whined the last time you had a sunburn. The lady was in pain, and said today in interviews that she spent four days in the hospital. Could she have sucked it up and staggered onto the challenge field and ensured her tribe’s loss, and then taken one for the team? I guess so – but that’s asking a whole lot from someone who’s as sick as she was.

The loss of Dana means that Tandang gets to sit out Abinormal from the challenge. Again, while Dawson and Katie have to compete. And the two Kalabaw ladies each contribute poorly to the team. Katie has serious trouble getting over the first two obstacles – so much so that Tandang manages to get a decent lead on them all through the challenge. And she wants to be a cop?!? However, Penner’s puzzle know-how comes into play again. He’s no Boston Rob, but Penner is a solid puzzle guy. He and Dawson catch up to Blair and PBP and it is neck and neck as they figure out the puzzle simultaneously. Now it’s time to find the pieces. There seems to be a weird communication moment between Penner and Dawson, which is just enough for Tandang to bang the last letter into place maybe two beats or so before Penner. A tiny bit better performance from either Dawson or Katie and Kalabaw wins and this thing is tied up 6-6. Instead, all of a sudden, Tandang has a two-person advantage.

The loss of Dana made the Tribal scramble a bit less dramatic – Denise wasn’t going to join the women to make it 3-3. It made no sense for her. Clearly, she was joining the guys, which made the choice between Katie and Dawson. In fact, we knew Denise was in with the guys because she got the five-finger shake from Kent. Katie’s challenge performance was more egregious, but Dawson brings less physically to the table overall. Strangely, she chose to tweak Kent by mocking baseball (come on, Dawson, we were getting a long so well, why’d you have to go and insult baseball?) rather than using her baseball knowledge to turn the tribe against him. Her silence on this matter to all but Kent may have sealed her deal. He was able to discern that she knew who he was, and thus she became Public Enemy Number One.

And so Dawson got the boot and left Tribal quietly. Well, quietly, but not without awesomeness. As Probst snuffed her torch, Dawson stood there, staring at him. Then suddenly she went in for the smooch – and got the cheek and a hug. Hysterical. I’m actually partially surprised that hasn’t happened before.

There will be no Finals party in Silver Spring. Oh well.

Before the Treemail, just some speculatin’ for a minute. Kalabaw is likely going to need some help. The show has merged at 12 every season since HvV, which would imply a merge at the Reward Challenge next week. If that happens, Kalabaw needs to figure out that RC and Skupin are on the outs. Penner and Kent would be wise to gather them up and offer the Final Four. Or, they need Denise to talk Malcolm into coming back and linking up. Both scenarios will be tough sells.

One twist could be using Penner’s idol to good use. Flip Malcolm and then figure out a way to convince Tandang to go after Penner first. The idol gets played, Malcolm flips and it is 6-5 going the other way.

If there is no merge, Kalabaw has to win challenges. If they fail, then things are really bad. But if they win, keep in mind the Tandang targets for votes are going to be people most susceptible to flipping (RC, Skupin, maybe Malcolm).

Unless something else totally unexpected happens – or as they say in Survivor, something completely expected and random. That’s the beauty of Survivor – there is no shortage of unexpected occurrences.

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