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Survivor: Philippines – Episode 7 – All Bets Are Off

Well, that sucked. Well, let me explain, it was awesome, but it sucked. That doesn’t make much sense. It was awesome whirlwind Survivor gameplay, leading to a Tribal Council which was uncertain until the last moment. However, it sucks because I lost one player in a leopard print bikini who I love, and I am about to lose one of my favorite players next week…two weeks max.

That’s right, we are not going to have traditional Pagonging this season as not only have alliances shifted substantially but they very possibly have split into three or four factions. This is a good thing. What is a bad thing? The people seemingly in charge are not the people I want to be in charge.

That’s right – 25 seasons and we can still have craziness. We can still have an episode featuring pivotal laundry incidents, two guys moving their way from being atop an alliance of six to being at the bottom of an alliance of eight, and one guy walking around with a clue sticking out of his butt. We have the first tribe to ever face their first tribal council after the merge. We had the first jury member who was eliminated in her first trip to Tribal. We had wheeling. We had dealing. We had a tribe who lost that loving feeling. Heck, we even had a reference to the Church Lady!

We learned that sitcom stars from the early 80s are more recognizable than very successful baseball players. We learned that Denise is a bad ass – oh wait, we knew that. And we learned that it is very likely that the Survivor gods do not want Jonathan Penner to win Survivor. Call it the Curse of the Candice Mutiny.
So, that’s where we are. The tribes merged at 11 members, and boy, isn’t it clear that Kalabaw could really have needed The Tattooed Lady at what should have been a merge at 12. Instead, they merge down 7-4. What Kalabaw has on their side is the fact that RC and Skupin have been treated poorly and are ready to flip. I’ll never know why tribes on this show ever alienate people among their number, even if they hate them. So many times that has resulted in power shifts – Cochran, Shambo, etc. So, Kalabaw should have an easy go at forming a new alliance.

However, what we saw was anything but that. Sure, RC and Skupin were ready to go. However, we got to see Kent reviving his anti-returning player vibe. It seems the five-fingered handshake doesn’t have much of a bond. He was on an anti-Penner witch hunt. And he found some folks very open to his quest in PBP and his alliance. So, Kent and Carter chose to abandon their Kalabaw alliance and throw in with the Tandang power group. Boo!!!

Interesting though, the world of Twitter taught me something after the show aired. Penner tweeted that while Kent and Carter were getting the focus of the attention for flipping, it was the other Kalabaw member who was more at fault. That’s right – badass Denise is the reason we may be forced to have PBP and Abinormal all the way to the end. Denise chose to abandon her Kalabaw folks and link back up with her Matsing ally Malcolm. She didn’t set out to flip him to their side; instead she became absorbed into his Tandang alliance. Once Denise did that, the Kalabaw + RC/Skupin deal was dead. It made no sense for Skupin to flip. It is actually certainly possible that she gave them a heads up that the vote was going to go to Penner/RC split and Penner was able to burn his idol to gain three more days to figure something out.
This means that there are three current factions allied, and two wild cards.

PBP/Abinormal/Artis are the core Tandang alliance. Kent/Carter form the duo from Kalabaw. Skupin and Penner are kind of on their own, with Skupin sticking with the cool kids to save his own skin for a while. Meanwhile, the reformed Matsing alliance of Malcolm/Denise added an interesting ally – Blair. After the merge, Blair decided to do laundry for the new merged tribe. However, she didn’t realize that Malcolm, in his haste to recover his HII in the 10 minutes allotted before leaving the Tandang camp, had the idol stuffed in his clothes. Whoopsie! Now, all of a sudden, Malcolm had to bring Blair in to a Final Three alliance. Her allegiance will be interesting at the PBP trio believes that Blair is their fourth.

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