Friday, November 16, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 9: “Good vs Evil”

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.

Image: CBS

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

Image: CBS
Why does the show not have a reward like this every season? Being a Filipino, it was great to see that the reward involved the castaways visiting a local fishing village in the island of Caramoan. I haven’t been to this part of the country, nor have I experienced this kind of community before, so it was just as new of an experience for me as these castaways have. What is even better is the group of people that went to the reward.

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.

Image: CBS
That did not seem too difficult, though. Abi was being her usual rude self to Lisa. I mean, really rude. And consistently. I don’t know why Lisa is letting them walk all over her. Just allow me a few moment to talk about Abi, even though we all despise her gameplay and her attitude in general. Neither Pete nor Artis are pleased about Abi’s behavior, but she’s a loose canon. When she gets emotional or angry, her mouth runs off without pre-determination or accountability for what she says or do. The truest example of this would be what she said to Lisa during tribal council, which got Penner to smile mischievously and Pete rubbing his fingers on his forehead. Unbelievable! This girl does not have a freaking clue how to play this game!

Image: CBS
Artis becomes the sacrificial lamb this episode. Watching the videos of Artis at Ponderosa and his exit interview, though, helped regain my respect for him. I was close to picking him as my pre-show bet but good thing I didn’t because he got dragged into the villainous alliance at Tandang. However, it is still a breath of fresh air to have someone get voted off and just be completely thankful of the time they spent in the game, instead of being bitter about a blindside.

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!


  1. Great recap, Abi!
    I loved the Reward, too. Every season should have a moment like that...we always see how gorgeous the landscape is, it's nice to see how gracious the people are, as well. :)

    1. Hi Lisa,

      Totally agreed. It's a very touching reward and I was glad that Malcolm and Denise's group got to go. That was the highlight of the episode for me :)

  2. This is the second time that a strategy I called out before the challenge started, actually got used. Penner was brilliant. If you noticed that Lisa was next for the other team. You'd probably assume your team had the advantage already. Why not sacrifice some time to do some of the heavy lifting ?

    The reward was awesome. Not many people even get to visit other countries, and other cities. It awesome to see how other countries celebrate, live their lives and such. Even for RC on ponderosa. She got to visit the city. It was an awesome reward challenge. I liked that when Jeff told them about the reward, they were excited prior to knowing about the feast that was going to be provided. That shows the character of the people who won.

    That immunity challenge looked like it had potential to go on forever. But Skupin was the only one not trying to speed through it and got the necklace.

    The thing I don't get about Lisa, is that she ended up still voting with Tandang. She is constantly talked to like an idiot. Abi always questions her loyalty. But she keeps voting with her. Im not sure if she is intimidated by Abi, or scared of her idol.

    As far as Artis goes. I liked his story before the season started. I was never really against him at any point in this season. He got labelled a bad guy. But I don't recall him being that evil or anything. He really shined tho at Ponderosa. I have so much more respect for that guy.

    Future episodes? Who ever wises up and carries Abi to the final 3 will have a 50% chance at the million. Denise and Carter are in great positions. No one is targeting them. It looks like Pete/Abi and Penner will have the bigger targets next week. But I feel like Penner will carry his tribe into the finals. I dunno tho. Eventually you have to start picking away at your alliance. The best final 3, for me. Would be Penner, Denise, and Malcolm. I think all of them would have a shot at winning. All 3 for different reasons. I guess we will have to wait and see.

  3. It's quite funny we wrote the same title for this episode. The first time I saw this post, I was asking myself if we planned for this, lol

    With all the "counseling-like" airtime with Lisa, Penner looked like a smart businessman who's trying to make a sell or else Donald Trump would fire him. His game was too aggressively strategic and unfortunately, Lisa did not vote along him. Thanks to Mike Skupin and all JP's efforts went in the right direction!

    To me, Penner wasn't the best strategic player for this episode. He's without a doubt so good in talking with people yet sometimes, I appreciate a game with less aggressive strategy.

    An example of this is Mike Skupin. He got the best strategy in the group by winning the immunity necklace and by choosing to eliminate an original Tandang.

    With this type of move, he took two big steps forward without making much efforts.

  4. Nice blog as usual

    Abi is like the perfect choice to take to the end. She will never get a single vote!


Thanks for your comment. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say! :)