“We’re about as down and out as you could possibly get at this point…”
Malcolm said it best during the opening scenes of this episode. I don’t know if you can still legitimately call them a tribe, but Matsing is slowly but surely being decimated. In another one of Malcolm’s witty confessional, he pointed out that they are getting closer to complete annihilation. But with the strongest tandem this season, there is no way to go but up.
The last strike of hope came after Denise read the tree mail to Malcolm the morning after Russell was voted out. It signaled that with a possible tribal shake-up that they need to find the hidden immunity idol fast, or it will be for naught. Some intense moments followed as we saw the twosome searching and digging their way around camp. Denise looked at the rice barrel many times only to have Malcolm rip off the idol from the top of the rice bin. I did let out a huge scream to celebrate this moment. For the first time ever, a favorite castaway of mine held the immunity idol! And it will be interesting how this duo is going to use the idol to both their benefit knowing that a twist is about to happen…
I am happy that Malcolm had the idol in his possession rather than Denise for two reasons: 1) Malcolm is obviously perceived as a bigger threat, especially coming into the merge, than Denise is so he will need that protection more than she does (although she might be perceived as a possible jury threat though if she manages to get that deep), and 2) With the idol in Malcolm’s pocket, it will further cement loyalty between the twosome and compel Denise to work with him post-merge if these two survive at that point.
Drop Your Buffs!
I was right in my prediction about this episode that they are going to do the traditional pulling out of buff from a bag to determine who goes to which tribe. It was a surreal moment as I watched both Denise and Malcolm dip their hands into the bag and got their respective new buffs. The camera even caught Malcolm spit onto his old Matsing buff before throwing it to the ground, like he was so over being part of the Matsing tribe. And so am I. It was a bittersweet moment right there seeing these two part ways after surviving four tribal councils together. But I’ll take that over a fire building challenge any day.
The New Tribes
Well, we didn’t literally have new tribes but it felt like it with one new castaway joining each one. I had to note the completely different reception that was given by the original tribes and their members. Tandang was clearly happy to have had Malcolm on their tribe. Lisa is singing him praises for his positive energy. RC is already planning to win him over. And in Skupin’s confessional at this week’s deleted scene, he was happy they had Malcolm over Denise and felt it tipped the scale over towards their favor.
But I won’t count Denise out yet. She has two options on her hand: to go with the women or the men. And if it were any indication of what is to be expected moving forward, it seems like she is on the men’s side. And I believe that is a logical move (as I will explain a bit later). And no, that was a full handshake Jeff gave Denise. Beat that, Penner!
For weeks, we haven’t seen much of the Kalabaw tribe except for Penner and Kent. This week, we got more airtime on their side of the camp now that Matsing had been dissolved. But for Katie’s sake, she got the air time for all the wrong reasons. There are no questions about Katie’s performance on this episode, she was horrible. She was already seen struggling after the first obstacle.
I think that it was part of her tribe’s fault, too. They should have kept some strong ones behind, like what Malcolm did for Tandang, so that the stronger tribe members can help out the weaker ones and not totally lag them behind. This was a team challenge so you are only as strong as your weakest member. But it did cost them major time, especially seeing how the immunity challenge went down very close!
The Sit-out Rule & Abi-Maria
Abi Maria also got the heat from Jeff Probst this week for sitting out most of the challenges. As Abi herself said, she only competed twice in all of the challenges so far. I do think they need to change up the rules a bit. It is unfair for her to get a free ride. Of course, nothing is ever fair on Survivor, but everyone should have a shot at competing. It also takes a bit of strategy for the tribe to determine who sits out at a specific challenge noting that there is another one coming up. Maybe things will change a bit now that we have two challenges per episode.
The Case of Double D
A series of misfortune plagued the Kalabaw camp this week. The first one involved a medical evacuation by Dana, the strongest of the three original Kalabaw females. The conditions out there in the camp got the better of her and her frail body had too much of it. It creates a significant impact within the tribe dynamics, especially since the men vs women alliance was brewing at their camp since last week. That would have been fun to see play out but obviously, that’s not going to happen. I also understand Denise’s move to join in with the guys. She is a strong and competitive woman and I don’t see her aligning with Dawson and Katie. There is zero chance that she will work with them and I think Katie’s days are numbered now that her strongest allies are out.
Dawson was… I don’t know how to describe Dawson. She had valuable information with her. She knew who Jeff Kent was but did NOTHING to use it and save herself in the game. That bit she was doing in the camp with all her other tribe mates? That was a lousy approach. It was the perfect time for her to pull Jeff aside and let him know that she holds valuable information about his identity, and then maybe get him to use his power position to buy her more time in the game.
Instead, she gave Jeff one more reason to get rid of her while he still can so he can continue keeping his identity from all the others. She is quite a character, no doubt. We haven’t seen anything like her before in the show. But her idiosyncrasy does not make for a good player and I’ve seen enough of her. That kiss for Jeff after he snuffed her torch at tribal? Spell AWKWARD.
Next episode looks like another tough one. Things get dirty. That’s all I know for now but I can’t wait for another physical challenge – my kind of thing.
What are your thoughts about this episode? Share them in the comments and we’ll discuss.