[Warning: Spoilers ahead if you haven't seen Wednesday's episode.]
This season is fast becoming a favorite of mine. The intensity of a game like Survivor truly brings out the complexities and subtleties of human relationships, while putting on display a person’s internal battle between his light and dark side. It’s fascinating and, this season, with our players’ willingness to go all in emotionally and physically, I’m riveted.
With that being said, let’s get this show on the road. Watching the look of total shock on her face when Artis is voted out at the last tribal council, it’s clear as day that Abi is completely blindsided by her alliance mate’s ouster. She’s lost control. Watch out kids, hell hath no fury like a scorned Latina. Welcome to your nightmare ... bwuahahahaha!!
Before Abi becomes a total tyrant, she must first see if there is any damage control to be done and fences to be mended. She’s felt comfortable to call the shots and bark orders up to now and I’m not sure she realizes the animosity and resentment that has been building up in the other castaways toward her. Calling Lisa out as untrustworthy at the last tribal council alienated Abi’s alliance mate and cost her her position of power. Now that she has people treating her like a human being, Lisa wants nothing to do with the bullies she started the game with. Despite a past of staying in unhealthy relationships too long, we see Lisa reclaim her power, turn down Abi’s proposal to stay aligned with them and bounce over to Skupin’s six. Lisa has experienced a major shift out here. She’s finally learning to own her power and developing the strength to stand up for herself. Survivor has a way of teaching huge life lessons in a short amount of time. Lisa is really taking this game on and playing with her whole heart. It’s a beautiful thing.
Speaking of playing with heart, Skupin’s showing up ready to take control. He’s had plenty of time to dink around catching clams and taking coconut hits to the face, so it’s about time he starts talking about making moves. I haven’t been counting him in as a strategic player, but, after watching him form and alliance of six and talk to Malcolm about solidifying a final four, I am now opening up to the possibility that Skupin could make a power play and really rock this boat.
Chasing each other around a sand track flipping over giant wooden platforms: torture. Spending the afternoon on a private beach getting fed, bathed and massaged: heaven.
Abi, Pete, Malcolm and Carter are the lucky winners this time. Strategically, Malcolm clips any talk of strategy and insists they all relax and enjoy the reward. *Note to others sharing reward: Any time a person says, “Let’s just enjoy this day to take a break from the game,” they mean: “You are not in my alliance and I will be formulating a silent plan in my mind to vote you out while I’m enjoying my cucumber facial.” Although they are knowingly in the danger zone, Pete and Abi seem unnaturally at ease with this deal. I suppose sometimes an afternoon of blissful denial is far more tempting than painfully embracing the truth.
Oooh, is that a mani/pedi station?! Life is good.
It’s fine to live it up, stuff your face and all around enjoy your well-deserved reward, but upon returning to camp, lock it up and slap on your best poker face. It’s a cardinal rule of Survivor: Always downplay the amazing time you had on your sick reward.
“How was the reward?” politely asks the disgruntled loser.
“Eh, the sandwiches were dry,” winner responds vaguely.
Abi’s freshly washed hair and glowing skin speak volumes and she should have left it at that, but true to form, our sassy Brazilian holds nothing back in giving her detailed account of her glorious island spa day. She cluelessly continues to dig her own grave deeper and deeper. If it’s not enough that everyone’s irritated with her gloating, she then goes on to proclaim her retirement from cooking.
Abi’s on the outs and is feeling lonely and uncomfortable around these people. Having experienced such a loss of power in the game, she is grasping at any way to reclaim her significance in the tribe. Not helping out and forcing them to take care of her is the only way she sees to empower herself. Her behavior is short sighted and shows a lack of maturity, but it also sets her up nicely as a scapegoat for any one who decides to drag her to the end.
And, now is the time to set up a strategy to get to the end. For Skupin, that means a final four alliance. He has his sights set on Lisa who has her sights set on Penner. When Skupin and Lisa approach Penner with the final four offer, he politely declines, claiming it’s too soon to make that kind of a deal. What?! Penner, what island have you been living on for the past 27 days? You’ve been the target of many votes and you no longer have your idol. You’ve worked so hard to earn Lisa’s trust and Skupin is the only other returning player left. This is your best deal. Poor strategy turning down this offer. Disappointing. I thought you were better than that.
After being rejected by Penner, with nowhere left to go, Skupin and Lisa return to Malcolm and Denise and make an agreement to take each other to the final four. Skupin’s not thrilled with this deal, as he sees Malcolm as a huge threat, rightfully so. Malcolm has proven himself to be a gamer. He works hard around camp, has lots of friends, is competitive in challenges and has an immunity idol. Now that Skupin’s gotten himself into a final four with Malcolm, if he decides to pull a blindside, he’s going to lose Malcolm’s jury vote and alienate Denise. If he decides to move forward with this four, he’s going to have to resign himself to the fact that he may not win the game. After hearing him talk of bold moves, I’m not so sure that Skupin’s ready to sit back and coast, meaning we have some exciting things to look forward to in the next episode.
Carter, the silent assassin, wins the immunity challenge and is safe from the vote. He’s such an interesting character -- no one really even acknowledges his existence, yet he continues to slide by day after day. Carter’s like that guy in Office Space that gets moved to the basement with his stapler and keeps his job because the boss doesn’t even realize he’s still there. Later on, we find out that the guy in the basement was the man responsible for blowing up the whole office building. I guess I’m waiting for Carter to go postal and blow something up. Wishful thinking, I know.
Abi is the most desired candidate to vote out at this time, but she has an immunity idol to keep her safe, thus making Pete the target. Scramble city. He approaches everyone he sees with the idea to vote out the biggest threat, Malcolm. We see him get turned down by Lisa and Carter, who are both in a safe spot with the six. All hope seems lost, until he talks to Skupin. Skupin is already toying with the idea of ditching Malcolm and Pete’s offer is tempting. After a brutal tribal council, with Abi on the losing end of the tribe’s disdain, she plays her idol, the six stay strong and Pete is voted out.
Now Abi is all alone, a rogue agent that anyone looking to gain power could use to his advantage. If Penner gets wind of the final four deal he’s been left out of, things could get pretty hairy. Looking forward to blindsides and power plays.
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.
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