Wow. Just ... wow.
The last couple of episodes have been shocking, but this one is [bleeping] mindblowing. This might be the best Tribal Council ever!
After Corinne and then Michael were voted out, it seemed that Reynold, Eddie, and Malcolm (REM) were doomed. But in a head-spinning turn of events, Malcolm finds another immunity idol (does he have some gene that lets him sniff them out?) and uses it and the one he already had to save himself and Eddie.
With Reynold already holding the immunity challenge necklace, the three boys are all safe. That means, someone from Stealth R Us has to go -- and REM goes for the jugular. The head of the stealthy snake. The godfather of the favorites.
They go for Phillip.
Yes, despite his plan to mimic Boston Rob's march to victory, the Secret Agent is voted out. Goodbye, weird nicknames. Arrivederci, made-up excuses. Farewell, pink underpants. May it be a long time ere we see you again.
Back from Tribal Council, Stealth R Us meet (excluding REM) to reaffirm their commitment to each other. They vow to search for an immunity idol the next day and chant their group name as Cochran makes the head-twirly universal sign for "crazycakes."
It ends up being prescient, since the very next day, as Cochran and Phillip talk about whether Dawn could win the whole game, she yowls like an injured animal. "Brenda! I need you quick!" she sobs. We've seen Dawn cry plenty of times, but this is full-on weeping.
Then it turns out that she lost her retainer, which contains replacements for some of her front teeth. And if she can't retrieve it from the bottom of the lake, she's going to quit. Um ... what? Ms. "I'm Doing This to Win $1 Million for My Two Dozen Kids" is so vain that she's willing to leave the game over a few missing teeth?
Brenda calmly puts on a snorkeling mask, dives down, and retrieves the stupid thing. Oh, Dawn -- whatever shred of respect we had for you is now gone.
Time for the reward challenge, which splits the 10 players into two teams of 5. It's one of those obstacle courses that involves digging in a mud pit for hidden bags. Well, Team Orange, led by Malcolm, decide to search for all the bags in the first leg. It puts them well behind Team Purple, who pull out the win. So, Reynold, Erik, Dawn, Cochran, and Phillip get to enjoy a beautiful pool and luxurious lunch.
When they return to camp, Dawn is freaking out. She can't go to sleep, so she's exhausted, which makes her incredibly paranoid. She's worried about Andrea talking to Eddie, she's worried about her position among the remaining seven Stealth R Us members, she's convinced she's at the bottom. In fact, it's her crazy talk that's making this happen. "She's totally a lunatic," Phillip says. PHILLIP! Of all people! Calls Dawn a lunatic!
Even Cochran, her sort-of-closest ally, thinks she's becoming unhinged. "I cry more than a baby. Literally," Dawn says in the most obvious statement in "Survivor" history.
Just when we think Dawn might pull a Brandon, she gets a good night's sleep. And it's like night and Dawn ... seriously, she is a different person. "I woke up today feeling like myself," she says with a spring in her step and a lilt to her voice. Now that she's gotten herself together, Stealth R Us decide to split the votes between Reynold and Malcolm. Considering those are the two strongest challenge competitors, let's see how that holds up!
For the immunity challenge, Jeff Probst gives them a physically punishing one that involves swimming under platforms. Phillip decides to sit this one out, due to some sort of childhood trauma. It ends up coming down to Reynold and Malcolm, with the former edging ahead.
This doesn't change much for Stealth R Us; they decide to just change the split between Malcolm and Eddie. Of course, what they don't know is that Malcolm has an idol. But just in case, maybe they should go look for one anyway.
REM are already looking, and Dawn and Andrea join them to comb a rock wall area. And wouldn't you know -- Malcolm finds an idol! He can't hide it, of course, but he does pretend like it's the only one he's found.
Stealth R Us reconvene. Well, one idol doesn't really change anything. They'll still split between Malcolm and Eddie, Malcolm will play his idol, and Eddie will go home. As they say, best laid plans...
At Tribal Council, Andrea quickly outs Malcolm as having an idol. Everyone agrees that Eddie is going home, when Malcolm pulls out his other idol and gives it to Eddie! And as Jeff notes, the looks on everybody else's faces -- a mix of panic, shock, confusion -- is priceless. The members of Stealth R Us try to confer quietly in groups of two and three. Cochran and Erik whisper. Brenda mouths "Andrea" to Dawn. Phillip and Andrea look meaningfully at each other. Dawn looks over at Cochran, but he's too far away to talk to.
Malcolm announces that REM are voting for Phillip. But are they, really? Erik points out that one of them might not play their idol to save it for later. Phillip agrees and declares they should all vote the way they planned to. Cochran looks uncertain.
Everyone votes, and Jeff asks if anybody wants to play an idol. At first, Malcolm seems to hesitate, but then he and Eddie get up and give their idols to Jeff. Then, he reads out the votes -- Stealth R Us did stick to their original plan. But their votes for Malcolm and Eddie are useless, while the guys carried out their threat to take out Phillip.
And with that stunning turn of events, Secret Agent Phillip is exposed, disavowed, and voted out.
Guess the Boston Rob Rules only really work for Boston Rob.
Check out Twitter reactions to the episode, then sound off in the comments below!
#Survivor Phillip is calling Dawn crazy and unstable.Pot meet kettle.— Brad Linden (@BradLindenSoCal) April 18, 2013
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"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on CBS.