“I’m not the only actor on this island”: Survivor Philippines Episode 7

31 Oct

The tribes merge and both groups chow down on a large feast. However, Lisa Whelchel turns into a typical mother in no time: given the choice between filling up on food after subsisting on rice for days, or hanging up some wet clothes, she hangs up the clothes and stumbles upon Malcolm’s immunity idol. Malcolm, doing damage control, suddenly finds himself adding Lisa to his alliance with Denise, and soon realizes he’s allied himself with “the two people I’m not confident I can beat.” Lisa takes the final-three promise with a grain of salt, leading to her quote mentioned above.

While Malcolm’s secret is safe with Lisa, Malcolm doesn’t know Lisa’s secret (that she’s a celebrity). Penner has recognized her, however, and tells her so when they’re alone (who wouldn’t want to be alone with Blair from Facts of Life?) but seems in no rush to tell anyone else. He and Lisa have a nice long talk, obviously partly owing to the fact (which has never been mentioned on the show, I believe) that Penner is in the acting business as well.

Penner tells the camera that he could see Lisa in the final three, and I do think I put her on my “no-chance” list too soon. Not having any tribal councils early on let her stick around (Jeff Probst later says that this is the first time in Survivor history that one tribe has made it to the merge intact).

Penner also tries to bond with Skupin, but it doesn’t do much good as we soon find out.

Meanwhile, Jeff’s identity as a wealthy former baseball player seems to be something nobody has caught onto — we see Artis glaring at him, but Artis seems to glare at a lot of people.

Now we get to a really dumb move by Jeff. It soon becomes apparent that RC and Skupin are more than willing to break ranks with their yellow-tribe mates who have ostracized them. So in the new 11-person merged tribe he has a chance to add RC and Skupin to the alliance of himself, Carter, Penner, and Denise, making a 6-5 majority. What could possibly stand in the way of this? Oh, his strange obsession with not wanting a returning player, namely Penner, to win (which I would understand if all other things were equal, but they’re not). So Jeff goes along with the plan of splitting the vote between Penner and RC. At tribal council, Penner plays his idol, and he’s wise to do so as he would have had the most votes if he hadn’t, so RC with the second-most votes becomes the first member of the jury.

So instead of being part of a 6-man majority group with a 2-person lead in which he calls the shots, Jeff is now at best in a 5-5 group, but it’s really less because Penner now knows Jeff tried to get him out,  and Denise has more loyalty to Malcolm than anyone. So really he’s in a 3-person alliance rather than having a commanding position in a 6-person alliance. Foolish.

All in all this was the best episode of the season so far since there’s so much going on and several people with secrets. The show was so action-packed that they dispensed with showing the new tribe decide on the name “Dangrayne.” As far as I’m concerned they can continue dispensing with this for every future season.

Dumb move: After the merge Jeff agrees to vote out Penner, a member of his own alliance.

Contender rankings: 1. Malcolm, 2. Denise, 3. Carter, 4. Artis, 5.  Jeff, 6. Skupin, 7. Penner

No-chance list: Abi-Maria, Lisa, Pete

Jury and who I think they’ll vote for: R.C. (Skupin)

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