[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Wednesday's episode.]
Et tu, Brute?
After playing his idol and saving his hide last tribal, Penner immediately returns to camp to confront his betrayers. It’s a good thing it’s pitch black outside so none of these evildoers actually has to look him in the eyes and tell the truth, or another big fat lie, for that matter. I feel for JP. He was the first person to betray me in the game of Survivor and I know how badly it stings. It’s a lonely game when you can’t trust a soul. Good thing his BFF, Skupin, was there to let his boy Jonathan cry it out on his sunburned shoulders. Skups was also ready with a nice little pep talk about hanging in there. Penner may be down, but he’s not out.
Naturally, Denise’s team wins the reward challenge. It didn’t hurt that her team happened to be up against Mike Skupin, who, according to my friend and fellow Survivor, Mikey B, “pulled a Chet” out in the water and nearly drowned. Luckily, Jonathan happens to be on Denise’s winning team. The riverboat rib shack reward is the perfect cover for Penner to begin working his way back into the tribe’s good graces. Unfortunately, Jeff Kent will have none of it. This guy just does not let up. He has his sights set on getting rid of Penner, like a bulldog with a bone; and, being a UGA grad, I know a bulldog when I see one. As in life, obsessions are very dangerous in Survivor. The obsessed create a narrow vision in which he is unable to see anything outside the scope of his obsession. Jeff doesn’t even consider the idea that his motley tribe may be threatened by his physical dominance and leadership position. Uh oh. This dogged obsession will turn out to be Mr. Kent’s Achilles heel, mark my words.
Let me be crystal clear. I like Mike Skupin. The guy is a lovable goofball. My favorite moment in the entire episode last night, was not when idols were flying out of bags at the dramatic, breathless tribal council. No it was not. The best moment of the show occurs when Skupin yells out proudly from the ocean to his buddy JP, “Hey, Penner! I got a good clam!” Cut to, Penner shaking his head, “Oh boy. This guy.” Mike clearly looks up to Penner and is relishing in the opportunity to play this game again. It’s pretty adorable.
Alright, enough of this beating around the bush. Let’s cut to Penner’s immunity challenge win. Talk about digging deep! The guy saves himself big time and sets the stage for mass chaos back at camp.
Lisa got game, ya'll. While, I don’t believe it was the right choice for her to spill Malcolm’s idol secret to Pete, I have to give the girl credit for stepping up and attempting to make a power move. This season of Survivor is more like a cliquey high school than any I’ve seen in awhile. Lisa really wants to be in with the cool kids and they just don’t respect or like her very much. Pete, the self-proclaimed mastermind, runs straight to Malcolm to ask about the idol. Once Pete “looks into Malcolm’s soul” to see that his boy would never lie to him, any chance of pulling off a blindside goes bust. Bummer. Now Malcolm can’t trust Lisa and it appears our previously under-the-radar child star may have gotten herself into some hot water. At this time in the game, blindsiding a major physical threat with an immunity idol when he least expects it is a brilliant idea. It’s too bad Lisa has no clout with the crew. While we’re on this subject, I just don’t get Pete and Abi’s strategy of being jerks to people. Now that we have castaways becoming jury members, it’s important to be nice and make friends. Did these guys miss the part of the game where the jury votes for a winner?
If not Penner, then who? JP’s immunity win creates a breeding ground for cracking up alliances. This stuff fires me up! There are two immunity idols in play and Malcolm’s been outed. This is the kind of tribal council Survivor contestants live for. D-R-A-M-A.
Malcolm’s bold move of bringing out his idol and bluffing that he will play it, no matter what, is smart and shows his aptitude for this game. He keeps his name off the block, keeps his idol and he’s a physical threat in challenges. Malcolm’s in a good spot.
Abi, on the other hand, has some strategizing to do moving forward. At tribal, she pulls out her idol as well, for some unknown reason ... maybe because everyone else is doing it and she doesn’t want to be left out. In the end, Penner throws his vote to Abi and it’s down to Jeff Kent and Pete. If only Jeff would have ridden it out with Penner for a little bit longer, but his obsession earns him a trip to Ponderosa. We’ll miss you Jeff, you’ve made for some fun gameplay.
Looking forward to the aftermath, Lisa’s in trouble. Penner has a fighting chance. Malcolm still has his idol, and Skupin found a good clam! Let’s see what these crazy kids have in store for us next week!
Parvati Shallow, three-time Survivor veteran, winner of Survivor: Micronesia and the official reigning Miss Survivor, will share her insight into Survivor: Philippines every week on THR.com. When she's not living on a deserted island, she can be found continent-hopping in search of the hottest spas and vacation destinations around the globe. She sometimes teaches yoga and meditation to an elite, in-the-know group of clients at ESP Wellness Center in Santa Monica. Follow her on Twitter at @parvatishallow. To catch her in Santa Monica, check out www.espwellnesscenter.com.