Wow. This week’s episode of Survivor took the season from good to fantastic. So much crazy happened, I’m still not sure what to make of it – but I know I love it!
At the beginning of the episode, Jeff Kent explained his move from the previous Tribal Council by saying that he’d given up a position of power and authority, but would try to work his way back up there within the Tandang alliance. Huh. Huh. Even before I knew the outcome of the episode, I’d made a note of how moronic this idea was. Jeff was in a very good position to go to the finals, and he sacrificed that to try and work with a powerful alliance that most likely wouldn’t let him crack the top five. It was stupid, and he paid for it even more quickly than I’d expected.
Ribs on a River Cruise
On top of the excellent strategic drama, both challenges this week were thrilling. For the Reward Challenge, the players broke up into two teams and had to retrieve puzzle pieces from underwater, then put the puzzle together.
The challenge was suspenseful, and went back and forth. I was surprised the Yellow team had Lisa swim instead of Malcolm, because the task of digging up the key didn’t seem that difficult. But Skupin struggled a little and Denise is a machine, so she regained the lead that Lisa had lost. It really came down to the puzzle – the Yellow team started a little bit later, but Penner really can’t be beat when it comes to puzzles this season. Again, I’d like to submit my official request for a Penner vs. Mariano Puzzle-Off. The Yellow team won, which meant Penner, Denise, Malcolm, Lisa and Jeff got to enjoy BBQ ribs & sides on a river boat cruise. Hey – four people I like won the reward! And one I hate. Them’s the breaks.
On the reward, Penner got to capitalize on the group’s discussion about how negative Abi, Artis and Pete are. I don’t know if that helped him much this week, but it never hurts to have something to bond over – especially if it’s disliking other players.
I’ve got to say, I’m surprised at how strategic Lisa Welchel is being – I didn’t know she had it in her. Unlike Jeff Kent, she actually has an end-game strategy, realizing that she might be better off choosing to sit next to some combination of Artis, Abi and/or Pete in the finals because they’re unlikable, even if she hates playing with them. It sounds simple, but it’s something so few players actually recognize.
In Your Face!
OK, let’s move straight into the Immunity Challenge. I hate these two-parters – why not just have everyone complete the puzzle? Instead, the first three people to complete an obstacle course would move on to the puzzle round. When Probst explained that, my heart broke a little. Penner knew he HAD to win Immunity, and even though I knew he’d be money in the puzzle round I wasn’t convinced he had the speed to get there. But I was wrong! What an exciting challenge.
Pete and Kent made it through first, and it looked like the third spot came down to Penner and Skupin – so, either the guy who was supposed to go home, or the other guy who was supposed to go home. Penner literally threw himself over the finish line and made it into the second round. I literally screamed “YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH” like that rapper in that Usher song, and scared the crap out of my cat.
It looked like Penner was struggling with the puzzle, but I’m pretty sure there was a method to his madness. The dude is super smart, and ended up pulling way into the lead. That wasn’t luck. We’re all crazy happy that Penner won, right? I just think he’s such a likable guy, and he’s such an underdog in this game now. I’m rooting for him so hard it hurts.
Back at camp, it seemed like things should have been easy. Everyone was pretty much in agreement that Skupin would go. But then things got nuts – it was amazing.
Lisa, to her credit, decided to make a power play. And I think if she’d gone to someone else with this information, the whole game would be different right now. She went to Pete and told him that Malcolm has a Hidden Immunity Idol, and this was the opportunity to blindside him, this eliminating a dangerous Idol and a physical and social threat in the game. Smart, very smart. I like Malcolm and didn’t want to see him voted off, but it was a strong, savvy move on Lisa’s part.
…except that she told Pete, who is an idiot. He went to Malcolm with that information, and then believed Malcolm when he lied and said he didn’t have an Idol. What? Why? Why would Pete do that? It was such a dumb move. Does he have a crush on Malcolm? Is he blinded by love? That’s the only excuse.
Malcolm, naturally, panicked. So he dug up his Idol to bring to Tribal Council, knowing he’d play it if it seemed like votes might go his way.
Then, before everyone headed to Tribal Council, the new decision was to vote out Jeff Kent instead. It all happened so fast that I’m not even really sure why they switched from Skupin to Kent. But it meant Tribal Council would be even more exciting than Tuesday night’s election.
Tribal Council started out normal, but quickly evolved into madness. I think Malcolm’s decision to reveal his Immunity Idol was smart. The information was out there, and declaring his intention to play it pretty much insured that no one would vote for him. But why did Abi show hers, other than just to respond honestly to Probst’s question? It was so stupid! Honestly, Abi is a terrible Survivor player. But the worst part is I’m pretty sure she thinks she’s great.
Let’s talk about what happened next. Penner took advantage of the mania and said that this was a good opportunity for the six people who know who they are to do that thing they talked about. I assume the six was Penner, Denise, Malcolm, Skupin, Carter and…Jeff? Then Lisa was like, well hey guys, we still have Plan B. Or Plan D or K or X, or whatever plan they were on. So when everyone went to vote, I had no idea what the hell would happen.
In fact, I’m still not sure what the hell happened. Why did Penner vote Abi? He was the only one – did he think others would also vote Abi? Did he do it to avoid a tie, or to insure that Jeff, a player who absolutely wanted him out, would be eliminated? The rest of his peeps – Denise, Malcolm, Jeff and Carter – voted Pete. Everyone else voted Jeff, but the surprise vote there was Skupin’s. Why did Skupin vote for Jeff Kent? Abi, Pete and Artis have been awful to him, and they don’t want to work with him, so why give them his vote?
The good news is, it was a win-win situation for me as a viewer – I hated Jeff Kent with a passion, and I also would have liked to see Pete go home and that alliance get broken up. I would have preferred the latter, but after hearing Kent’s completely jackassy final statement, I’m just over the moon that he was voted out before Penner. I mean, bragging about the money you made playing baseball and dissing Obama in your final comments on a reality show, Kent? You’re a loser. Four more years, that’s all I’ve got to say to you!
What a show guys, right? I’m sure y’all have a lot to say, so head down to the comments and tell me what you think – and a reminder, please do not post any spoilers.