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Survivor: Philippines – Episode 7 – All Bets Are Off

One thing is for certain this year – more so than any season in quite a long time – the alliances are very, very fluid. Penner is in a bad place, and probably Skupin too. Barring a power play or immunity runs, the two returning players will likely be the second and third jury members. If so, it will be interesting to see where the Kalabaw duo goes. Personally, I would like to see Malcolm make his power move right there and bring in Kent/Carter to his side. What I fear is that he will see a greater path to victory sitting next to PBP and Abinormal at the end.

Some other things that took place…

Immunity Challenge – It is the traditional post-merge endurance challenge. I have said it before – I LOVE endurance challenges. I especially love them to kick off the second phase of the game, and I love them as the final immunity challenge. It’s a “how much do you want it” kind of challenge. In this one, they had to hold what was essentially a giant fishing line and reel. On the other end was not a marlin, but a bucket of water holding 25% of the contestant’s body weight. One man and one woman would win immunity.

The whole challenge lasted just under 30 minutes. The key moment, as it turns out, was when RC lost. She was rocking it, including an impressive re-twist of her rope (that sounds dirty, but it’s not). But it was just too much – in fact, the challenge seemed rougher for Survivors who had a little bit of size. Denise and Carter wound up winning the necklaces, but not before it seemed Carter wound up promising to owe Kent a favor. But the worst part was the smirk on Abinormal’s face as she quit the challenge after RC lost her grip. Oh, she’s going to be a pill for the rest of this season, isn’t she?

All in all, a wild episode which has left the game in a strange place and full of possibilities. Before I get to the Treemail section, I want to add that RC did not do the usual interviews booted Survivors do all the time because she was busy keeping her home afloat in New York. While we poke fun and tease in columns such as this, we have to always remember that they are all real people, not scripted characters. In a related note, this column went up a couple of days late – not an uncommon occurrence for me with my other columns, but not often for Survivor. I am a Maryland resident, but I will always be a New Yorker at heart and this week has certainly struck close to home. Literally, figuratively and emotionally. If you have the ability to do so – please show some love to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and any of the other states that faced damages from North Carolina all the way up the coast to New England. And maybe, just maybe, when the last body is found, the last neighborhood given power, and the rebuild begins in earnest, maybe we can have a real grown-up national discussion about climate change.

Treemail Top 10
• I don’t get Kent’s logic and how he can go from Night 16 talking about how he and Penner were taking a shot in the dark with each other, to railing against him at the merge on Day 18. There is only one answer I can think of that makes any sense – Denise told them immediately upon the merge that she was in with Malcolm and Tandang. Kent had to scramble and spinning the story about going after Penner was his only play. Otherwise, it is just a terrible strategy.
• All that drama AND the long credit sequence too!
• Loved Skupin telling the tribe that he has now made it further than he did in Australia, and I believe Malcolm cracked, “Dude, you barely made it this time, look at you…just stay away from the fire.” HA! I want it to have been Malcolm who said it because I don’t want to attribute a funny line to PBP.
• Was it me, or did it appear that PBP was drunk during his feast confessional? I just don’t want his faction to do well because I don’t want to see poor strategy rewarded. No reason to alienate Skupin and RC to the point that they are an instantaneous defection upon merge time. The only thing that saved PBP’s crew was that Malcolm and Denise were so tight.
• Blair’s line of the night, and the title of the episode, following Malcolm’s play for her silence on the idol and promise of F3 – “You got to take it with a grain of salt…I’m not the only actor on this island.”
• Only the old guys have identified who Blair is – and amazingly only Dawson has known who Kent was. As a baseball fan, I am very sad that a borderline Hall of Fame player (I’d vote for him) is so anonymous that a bunch of Survivor idiots have no idea who he is. This would never happen to Joe Morgan. What? Yeah, I think I’m speaking to the wrong audience.
• Enjoy these while you can because they are going to be very limited now – Probst/Penner exchanges – Probst – “Penner is in trouble at Tribal Council.” Penner – “Well, thank you.” Probst – “I’m glad you’re on the show, Jon.”
• Based on their incredibly boring and silent edits so far, do any of you see any chance that Carter or Artis will be crowned the winner of this season? Anyone? I can actually see Blair winning more than those guys. Of course, the danger of Blair’s victory would be the inevitable influx of 80s sitcom actors on future seasons – Potsie from Happy Days, Buddy from Charles in Charge, Screech from Saved By The Bell, Skippy from Family Ties…it never ends.
• Love the new tribe title – Dangrayne. Get it. Dang. Rain.
• At Tribal, much went on as Tandang got to air its dirty laundry for Probst finally – but I took away one thing from the discussion and the lead up to it…Jeff Kent is an exceptionally good liar.

Votes – RC 4 (PBP, Artis, Carter, Kent), PBP 2 (Penner, RC), all 5 votes for Penner did not count since he played Kalabaw’s idol (Abinormal, Skupin, Blair, Malcolm, Denise)

Next week – Penner unleashed.

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