This season of Survivor has been consistently exciting, but it’s been incredibly uneven for the tribes. First one tribe of three was absolutely decimated, and now Tandang is creaming Kalabaw! At this rate, one person will completely dominate the challenges post-merge. (Hi, Malcolm!)
The episode kicked off with members of each tribe targeting someone. On Kalabaw, Katie knew she was in hot water and started to target Penner. She told Denise she’s sure he has the idol and tried to make the case that Penner was a threat who should be voted out before the merge. Strategically, maybe, but physically? I think the biggest physical threat on Kalabaw is Denise herself.
Over on Tandang, Peter was practically salivating at the thought of voting out Skupin, who has apparently been depleting the tribe’s rice supply by munching on it uncooked. Skupin! Did you learn nothing from Survivor: Australia? I know you got sent home early but you must have watched. They ran out of rice and it was very, very bad! Rations, man! Rations!
The reward challenge was…interesting. I’d love to know how that challenge played out when the show’s producers did a run through, because for the tribes it was a total deadlock. They were supposed to score on one another with a giant ball, but it ended up coming to a complete halt. Either they were too evenly matched, or no one was creative enough to figure out how to score.
After an hour of just sitting there, Skupin and Penner began to negotiate. Skupin knew his tribe was low on rice and suggested a deal – Tandang would concede if Kalabaw would give them their remaining rice. I thought it was a great deal for Tandang. The reward – a picnic lunch – would be tasty, but leave their system pretty quickly. Rice would sustain them for a couple days and give them much needed energy before the Immunity Challenge. They made the deal, and I thought it was to Tandang’s advantage, not Kalabaw’s.
Kalabaw did get one big benefit from the reward, other than delicious looking sandwiches. (BTW, there was a HAIR in the sandwich I bought at lunch today, and I couldn’t eat it. So those Survivor sandwiches were looking pretty tasty to me.) They also got letters from home, which always seem to give a big emotional boost to players in the game.
Letters and sandwiches only go so far, though. After a while back at camp, people were hungry again and it was up to Penner to make good on his pledge to sustain the tribe with fish. Had Penner been a great fisherman, the move might have been classified as brilliant. Giving away the rice would make him the sole food provider in the tribe, and people would be hesitant to get rid of him. But he only caught a couple of measly fish, so people – mostly Carter -were hungry and angry.
Kalabaw wasn’t the only angry tribe. Over at Tandang, Artis was fuming over Skupin’s decision to make the trade, even though he had ample opportunity to voice his disagreement as the trade was being made. I still think it was a good deal. The rice goes further than the sandwiches. It’s not like they were playing for Immunity.
Slingin’ in the Rain
OK, I know it wasn’t raining. But, seriously, Survivor? It rains for a week straight and then the one time I can make a really good pun the weather is pleasant? Not cool.
The Immunity Challenge was a classic – one person from each tribe slingshotting balls into the air and the rest catching them. Lisa Welchel was very good at launching, as was Denise for the other tribe. It was a tight race. Jeff Kent grabbed some points for Kalabaw, as one would expect from a former professional baseball player. But the real star was Malcolm, who pulled out the victory again for Tandang.
I can’t believe Tandang ever considered not having Malcolm play in that challenge. He and Skupin played rock-paper-scissors for it! If it had gone the other way, I definitely think Kalabaw would have won. If you have Malcolm on your tribe, you should not be sitting him out unless you have to. He’s the strongest person in the game right now.
Once again, Jeff Probst made a point of picking on the girls during the challenge. First Abi, for sitting out yet again. Then Katie, who was again a weak link for Kalabaw. But Carter was just as miserable (more so, considering he was guarding Malcolm) and Probst’s jabs towards him didn’t seem to sting as much. Maybe it’s just because Katie was my player for the office pool.
Tribal Council, Again
Poor Denise. Things just won’t go her way. This is also a testament to what a great social player she is, though. She’s gone to every single Tribal Council so far this season, and she’s still around. Her name was barely thrown around this week. And really, if the rest of Kalabaw was worried about who would be a threat after the merge, their heads should have been turning towards Denise. She’s physically fit, she’s easy to like, and she could potentially have a rock solid alliance with Malcolm to return to. It would have made sense to vote her out, yet they didn’t. She’s playing a strong game, and I’d love to see Denise continue on and win.
Instead, Penner and Katie were on the chopping block. Katie because she’s weak in challenges. Penner because he’s a strategic threat, has an immunity idol, and is a returning player. Jeff Kent was pushing for the tribe to axe Penner, but Carter wasn’t so sure.
I was torn watching the show, because I really like Penner on the show, but Katie was my pick in the pool. (I didn’t get drawn out of the hat very high this year.) So I didn’t know who I wanted to see go.
In the end, the tribe voted out Katie. It’s too bad, really. Katie at least showed some smarts – she immediately knew everyone was lying when they told her they were voting Denise, and she tried to stay in the game. She sucked at challenges, but her strategy went to hell in a handbasket when Dana got sick and unexpectedly exited the game. I’d have much rather seen Katie stay in the game than Carter, who seems to have all the brains and personality of a paint chip.
Next week’s previews appear to indicate a merge. So exciting! Denise and Malcolm will be reunited! I’m hoping that RC can tag along with him into a cool new alliance, because I do not want to see the Grumpy Gang of Abi, Peter and Artis go to the end. What do you guys think?