December 2, 2012

Survivor: Philippines, "Hell Hath Frozen Over"

It’s been interesting this season to watch how each returning player has approached Survivor differently using his past knowledge. Russell Swan looked at his first appearance and decided to change his style. The problem was that he actually did well the first time as the leader before his exit. Mike Skupin competed during a different era where strategy took a back seat to physical survival. He seemed like a prime contender to leave early, but he’s maneuvered well heading towards the end. The surprise has been Jonathan Penner, who entered with a reputation as a strategist. He clearly understands the show and has studied how things work in the game. Unfortunately, his play hasn’t always reflected that intelligence. After surviving a few close calls after the merge, he got complacent and wasted an opportunity to solidify his place. When Lisa and Skupin approached him last week about an alliance, he dismissed their idea and broke a cardinal rule on this show. Even if the deal is bad, never push aside a chance to set up a concrete route to the end. If he goes to the end with Lisa and Skupin, Penner is the favorite. Penner is certainly kicking himself today for missing the chance. By the time he realizes the mistake, the damage is done and he’s heading to the jury. For more details, check out my review for Sound on Sight.

Here are some other interesting points that I didn't address in my review:
  • I'm starting to get a weird feeling that Skupin and Lisa are going to be the final two. Malcolm or Denise is going to expect a final three and then get burned when it doesn't happen. This isn't the optimal scenario for fans, but it would be interesting to see if Skupin would get the win.
  • Is there any way that Abi-Maria can survive if she doesn't win immunity next week? If Denise had left this week, she might have had a chance by going with the numbers. That isn't the case now, and she's still an easy boot if they aren't looking for a goat to take to the end.
  • Penner was my pick to win the game, though it was mostly sentimental due to his status as a returning player. He survived when the odds were stacked against him, which makes it even more unfortunate that he didn't recognize the danger this week. He was still great television regardless of the final outcome. 

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