October 27, 2012

Survivor: Philippines, "Down and Dirty"

It’s a testament to Survivor‘s staying power when moments that haven’t been seen in the past still happen. Few shows make it to 25 seasons, so this is already unprecedented territory. This week’s reward challenge is a strange affair where the action reaches a total standstill. The exhausted competitors are literally stuck in the mud but refuse to give up the prize of a giant meal. It’s up to Penner to recognize the futility (or boredom) and work out a deal with Skupin. Kalabaw gives up the remainder of their rice, and Tandang gives up the reward of giant sandwiches. Does Penner make a wise choice? It’s always dangerous for anyone to stick their neck out on this show. Plus, there isn’t a great benefit to make this deal once the reward is over. He’s just giving his tribe mates another reason to take him out. The editing suggests that Penner is going home with the idol in his pocket, and Tribal Council is all about blindsides. It’s all a smokescreen, however. This is a relief for Penner fans, but it may have been a strategic error from Jeff Kent. Only time will tell if it comes back to haunt him. For more details, check out my full review for Sound on Sight.

Here are some other interesting points that I didn't address in my review:

  • Jeff Probst spent most of Tribal Council trying to alert Penner that he's in trouble. It didn't matter in the end, but he had an agenda to save a popular player.
  • Another silly Probst question asked Jeff Kent if he plays any other strategic game like Survivor. Does he really expect him to reveal his baseball past? Kent said little, but his eyes gave the appropriate "nice try, jerk" response from the smart player. 
  • RC finally seems to realize that maybe Abi-Maria is just a crazy person. I can't imagine it took this long after spending every day with her since the beginning. If she gets wise and flips to Kalabaw, it could mean curtains for Pete and Abi.
  • The three-tribe format was awkward, but it's set up the game for a great finish. Tandang isn't united and might be relieved to finally vote out one of their own. 

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