Last week’s episode had one of the craziest tribal councils we’ve seen in a long time. Two idols being flushed out, none of them getting played, and a blindside that went into a screeching halt. The story continues this week with the axis of evil trying to re-establish their empire against the minority, that is the former Kalabaw alliance and Malcolm.
The episode opens up with Lisa taking us through a lot of her internal conflicts coming into the game. As a fan, she has set her sights on how she wants to play and what she needs to do to win. But as a Christian woman with strong beliefs, this approach at the game is driving her mad on the inside. Jonathan Penner comes to her rescue to help her get a grip on what is it about her personality that is tearing her apart, as far as gameplay is concerned. It is a conflict that has plagued lots of castaways in the past, but not as profoundly as Lisa is displaying here – the tug of war between perception and reality.
Penner does a fantastic job of getting through inside her, as far as making her feel understood. Being one of only two other castaways to know Lisa’s identity as a former child star, he was able to make that connection of her need to stay loyal as a struggle to be likeable and to please other people, which in this case is her original Tandang tribemates who are ironically kind of rude to her and has succeeded in making her feel alienated.
This is a very excellently played approach by Penner – hitting her on the weak spot and trying to plant seeds into her head about possibly shifting to the other side. It is no secret how the Evil 3 of Abi, Pete, and Artis had been ostracizing her, like they did Skupin and RC. The entire theme of the episode is therefore focused on whether the powers will finally shift, especially considering that this seems to be the perfect time to make the flip as the alliance of Malcolm, Denise, Carter, and Penner need just one vote to gain the majority.
At the reward challenge, Penner once again displayed his brilliant strategy by digging up the bags from the mud at once. I can remember a similar strategy used by Ozzy during Survivor Micronesia: Fans vs Favorites’ episode 4 reward challenge. He sacrificed time during his leg so that it will be much easier for the rest of the tribe to complete their own leg. It turned out to be a very good strategy, giving them a huge advantage at the shooting part of the challenge. Penner’s team was nearly done shooting their 12th ball by the time Artis completed his leg of the reward challenge.
Best Reward of the Season
I cannot imagine if it were Abi sent there, it would have been a spoiled opportunity because she seems to always find something to complain about. Who knows really? But I am genuinely very happy for the group of Malcolm, Denise, Carter, and Penner to have won that reward. It is always the reward wherein you get a taste of the culture, literally and figuratively speaking, that is most rewarding and ends up being an unforgettable experience.
From this point, you can sense that the editing is playing it up to be whether or not the underdogs can pull off something. There is always that discussion of whether or not the numbers will actually shift. It is nerve-wracking that these four had no control about how things would turn out – they simply had to put their faith on either Lisa or Skupin (or both, as they seem to be really tight) to turn the game on its heel.
However, Penner clearly knows his head is still in the chopping block. It’s been three tribal councils in a row (fourth, if you count the day Katie got voted out) when his name was an option at tribal. With Skupin winning an immunity necklace, the Kalabaw alliance had to do some digging in order to have this pan out the way they wanted to.
Looking forward to next episode to see what would be the aftermath of the first big flip this season. Will Abi continue on her stupid ways? Seriously, that clip of her talking to Lisa saying, “but you started the game with us!” made me want to puke. Now that she’s outnumbered, she had the guts to play nice? Will Lisa continue to be gullible? Ahh, more questions to be answered. See you next week!