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Survivor: Philippines – Episode 13 – Cookies and Flippers and the Final Four

So, this Wednesday’s final episode before Sunday’s finale was typical of these last regular episodes – pretty non-eventful and kind of boring. You can tell that they had less to work with by the inclusion of the full opening credits. I mean, we all knew who was on the outs, so that elimination was not surprising. What was surprising is that the Final Four never really seemed to entertain the possibility of mixing things up with that fifth vote just sitting there.

Spoiler alert – Abinormal is gone. Sent off to Ponderosa for her Trial By RC. The bigger story is – why is Abinormal gone? With two factions of two surviving with her, she becomes that all-too-important third vote. For Scoopin’ and Blair, that third vote could have been the ticket to a million bucks. With Abinormal, they could have voted out Denise this week and held the hammer over Malcolm in the next vote. It seems super simple – keep the wacko, take out the popular, skilled players and battle for the big prize.

But, looking behind the numbers, maybe it wasn’t so simple. Turning on Denise/Malcolm in this vote, following Malcolm’s immunity win, means keeping your plans really, really quiet. They had to be incredibly confident that the former Matsing duo would get no whiff of the plans, because if they did, Malcolm could easily slip that hidden idol over to Denise for the vote. There was really no indication that they brought this into their thinking – but I would be stunned if it wasn’t part of the decision making. Plus, if they backed out on their deal, it would put Malcolm and Denise on the jury and their votes in serious jeopardy. There would be quite the dilemma on the jury between voting for Abinormal or one of the folks who literally betrayed everyone on the jury.

What we did see though was Malcolm looking at his end game – he sees the mistake of sitting next to Denise at the end. So, on the reward he cuts a deal with Scoopin’ and Blair to become the Final 3. Smart move from him. Unless…

…my theory about the Finals is correct. One thing has to give – either it is a Final Two, or the formula for the Finals has to change. Normally, for a Final Three, we have two hours – Final Five challenge, Tribal, March of the Dead Survivors, Final Four challenge, Tribal, free breakfast, Final Tribal. As we head into the two-hour finale – we have four left and if the formula holds, that leaves us with a Final Two. If the formula doesn’t hold – then we have a lot of time to fill. It means we either get a final Reward challenge or something is going down that requires attention. Or we will have a very boring finale.

If the Final Two happens it will be a surprise to the Survivors, and would be the absolute best thing for Scoopin’ and Blair. Right now, I think the only way either one wins – barring an error, or a Todd-like Final Tribal performance – is if they are the only choices. Based on what we have seen all season long, the Tandang tribe does not very much care for Scoopin’ very much. Couple this with Kent’s obsession with not having a returning player win, which leaves Penner and RC as his only likely votes. Maybe Carter. Blair has begun to play for the jury – as seen with her response to Denise’s comments about the greatness of Tandang – and may emerge as a threat. The question is – how many of them will respect her game? Will the former Tandang see her as worthy – or will they see her as the reason they are sitting in Ponderosa?

However, it seems as if I am just shouting in the dark here. Probst has seemed to imply publicly that it is a Final Three, and in Ponderosa, they said the last jury member will be coming soon. I get that – but Survivor is always full of surprises and my theory makes sense. If wrong, I am very curious to see how they fill the time on Sunday.

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