The episode starts off with Penner confronting his former allies at Kalabaw about the vote. He knows that he has to win the next immunity challenge, or else his idol only bought him three more days in the island. Pretty much the first few minutes of this episode focused on how the rest of the merged tribe were re-affirming their decision of voting off Penner next time now that he doesn't have an idol in his pocket. But in order to do that, he must not win the next immunity challenge. They even showed Jeff's confessional with him calling Penner a 'dead man walking' after he survived the previous vote. Clearly, it was a foreshadowing of some sort.
I was excited to see this reward challenge because we haven't had a water challenge in a while. And it proved to be an exciting one with several exchanges of leads throughout the duration of the challenge. First, it was Lisa who messed up the yellow team's lead after being slow at the swimming leg of the challenge. Then, Skupin blew up the lead for the blue tribe when he was unable to untie the buoy. And of course, Denise being the beast in the water, she made up lots of time and gave the yellow team a slight advantage going into the digging part. But Jeff and Jonathan showed great teamwork at the puzzle portion of this challenge to give them the win. Jonathan's impeccable puzzle solving ability served him well at the most important immunity challenge of the game for him so far.
Lisa Spills the Beans
Last week, I made a bad call. I said adding Lisa into the solid twosome of Malcolm and Denise is going to be a good thing for them because they now have a solid three, instead of two. But the sweet Lisa didn't turn out to be as loyal as she seems, as she turned on Malcolm and told Skupin about his idol. And the worst part of all? She even wants to blindside Malcolm! Uh-oh. I was sick to my stomach watching this scene play out.
Survivor tricked me yet again. For so long, I refused to be led on by the "Next time on..." previews because they either 1) show you the opposite of what is actually going to happen or 2) they are completely unrelated to what is actually going to happen. With his torch so close to being snuffed, Penner rallied his way to victory. I don't personally root for Penner, but you have to applaud his ability to dig deep. With his back against the wall, he came from behind to beat out Jeff and Pete at the immunity challenge - his first ever in the game. What a time to come!
This throws some chaos to their plan of voting off Penner. And this is where all hell breaks loose.
Lisa is finally showing us some game. This week, she orchestrated this major plan of blindsiding Malcolm. He pulls Pete aside to discuss how they are going to vote Malcolm off and also reveal the fact that he has Matsing's idol. But it seems that Pete is infatuated with Malcolm that he went rushing to him to confront him if he has Matsing's idol. This particular scene right here is very telling about both guy's aptitude in this game.
On one side, there is Pete who declared himself as the "mastermind" within the Tandang alliance (who has the majority). He confronts Malcolm about the idol and when the latter didn't give him a direct answer, he sensed some nervousness and agitation. But oddly enough, he translated that agitation to confirm that Malcolm does not have the idol. Bravo! Great use of psychology right there, Peter!
On the other hand, there is Malcolm whose exemplified smart gameplay up to this point. He does not directly deny that he has the idol nor does he confirm it. Instead, he answers the question with a question! Malcolm has done an excellent job of keeping information to himself while absorbing information from others in this game so far. And this ability can be very crucial with so many cracks within this merged tribe. After realizing that it was Lisa who spilled the beans, Malcolm confronts Skupin and Penner about the idol and the rumors that is being spread around camp. Good thing that Pete was keen on voting off Jeff, which Malcolm agrees to right off the bat so it could take the heat off of him.
During tribal council, the issue about Lisa running around spreading information about Malcolm's idol was brought up. To clear the air of confusion, Malcolm shocks everyone at tribal (except Denise and Lisa, of course) when he showed everyone he has the idol. The reaction on Jeff's face was priceless. Thanks for making up for Eliza's crazed reactions at the jury section! But going back to the idol, Malcolm let it all out that he has the idol. He addressed the fact that his name had been brought up at camp and that the idol is definitely going to be played so anyone who might want to waste their vote should think twice. I do think that revealing Malcolm's idol at tribal was the best move for him at that time. He showed some major balls for revealing that and deciding not to play it anyway. It turned out to be a smart move because we didn't see Malcolm's name in any of the parchment papers, which means he keeps the idol for when it is most useful to him. However, he now has to play doubly hard if he wants to shift the numbers back to his side.
Lo and behold, Abi flushes her own idol at tribal, too. Malcolm's decision to do it might have made more sense... but this one? I don't know what got into Abi's head. By revealing her idol, it puts a target on her back. And now, after I had time to absorb all of that chaos that happened at tribal, Penner's vote for Abi made more sense to me. So, yes, I don't think it was a blind vote. Definitely, not Penner. We'd see more clarity about the reasoning behind this vote in the coming week/s.
This is clearly the best episode of the season so far. Doesn't this pump you up for next week? I'm tired of making predictions anymore. This game (this season, rather) has thrown in one surprise after another. The only thing I am sure of is that the next one's going to be good. I can't wait for it to happen!