November 9, 2012

Survivor: Philippines, "Dead Man Walking"

That was awesome. After last week’s remarkable Tribal Council, it did not seem possible that the follow-up could be even better. The chaotic build-up to the vote is stunning and ranks among the most unpredictable finishes in Survivor history. This is easily the season’s best episode and the strongest one going back to Heroes vs. Villains, if not farther. There are so many possibilities once Penner wins immunity. It’s his first individual win ever, and he beams with pride while everyone else scrambles. The logical next choice is Mike Skupin since he’s a returning player with few allies. Thankfully, Lisa decides to play and gets the ball rolling towards all-out mayhem. When she tells Pete about Malcolm’s immunity idol, it starts a chain reaction that incites mass confusion. The results are brilliant because no one is blindly going to their defeat. Tribal alliances mean nothing, and there is no such thing as an inevitable exit. There are still many possibilities for where the season will go in the upcoming weeks. 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 needs to stop inserting himself in the game. His comment at Tribal Council after Jeff's vote showed just how subjective he is about certain players. He talks about a wasted opportunity, but that's only really true for the group on the wrong side of the votes. I usually cut him some slack when he takes criticism, but that comment makes little sense. Why didn't he say the same thing when RC was voted out? Obviously, it's because he didn't want Jeff Kent to leave. 
  • Pete has a real blind spot about Malcolm, and it could hurt him going forward. When he confronts Malcolm about the idol, it's clear from the way he reacts that the information is true. Even so, Pete decides that Lisa has false information. This makes little sense and raises serious questions about his intelligence.
  • In the exit interview on Rob Has a Podcast, Jeff Kent gave some interesting thoughts about Lisa, who comes out of nowhere and starts really playing this week. From his comments, it's clear that earlier moves weren't just getting skipped by the editors. Her risky attempts to change the game are surprising to everyone and don't put a target on her back (yet).
  • Much has been made about the angry clip of Jeff after he's voted out, but even his dig at Obama doesn't bother me too much. He played hard and was strong right until the end, and only Penner and Skupin's surprise votes knocked him out.
  • Abi-Maria isn't in danger at this point, but she has a terrible week. First, she reveals their alliance to Carter, then she gives even more information at Tribal Council. Finally, all it takes is a question from Probst about idols to inspire her to tell everyone she has it. Why? There's no logical reason for giving out this information, and it could damage her in the long run. 
  • Finally, Artis has an upbeat confessional where he sounded like the positive guy from his pre-show videos. I'm starting to wonder if he's set for a turnaround away from the duo of Pete and Abi. That might be wishful thinking, but I hope he doesn't just drift to the end with the two nasty players.

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