Friday, October 26, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 6: "Let's Talk Turkey"

So... my power rankings proved right. Katie went home after the latest episode of Survivor: Philippines, which was long overdue, I believe. She was spared last time out with Dawson leaving due to her knowledge of Jeff Kent's identity and this time out, Katie has got nowhere to hide. As much as I love Katie, I felt like it was the right vote (although one that is questionable in terms of strategy, but more on that later) because she was the weak link. Of course, several different arguments can emerge depending on where you are basing it from.

Image: CBS

But first, we need to talk about THE reward challenge that never were. I watched a clip of the Dream Team doing a practice run at this challenge. It is classic Survivor challenge. Isn't it fun to watch castaways wrestling each other in the mud trying to push a gigantic ball at the same time? Sounds like total chaos, right? Right. Only that that didn't happen. The veterans opted to talk it out instead. Tandang rallies to get Kalabaw's remaining supply of rice while Kalabaw wants to get some sandwiches. Good gamble? This is Survivor for god's sake! Why would you want to trade your only source of sustenance for one meal?! Carter was unhappy with the deal that Penner proposed but the latter got his wish anyway. Good thing they had those love letters at home to appease his decision with the rest of the tribe but that doesn't change the fact that it was a stupid move knowing that he couldn't bring home the food he promised.

Image: CBS
On Tandang's end, it wasn't worth the trade either because 1) Kalabaw did not have much supply of rice left, and 2) they risk themselves of losing momentum. Well, it wasn't technically a win for Kalabaw because Tandang forfeited. But the huge morale boost you can get from just winning can do wonders for a tribe. According to Lisa, it was a double loss because they forfeited!

And you know what's even funnier than the deal made? Artis blowing off steam and badmouthing Skupin thereafter. It was funny clip of him talking to Malcolm about trying to calm down so he can say things in a "calm manner". He is such a transparent person and highly negative, too. I don't think he can last that long with such negativity and his inability to keep the emotions in check. It is also a stark contrast to how well Malcolm is playing this game, socially speaking. He didn't say anything to Artis but just let him release his steam. By doing so, he did not further fuel Artis' animosity towards Skupin and he did not take sides during the process. Well played.

Onto the only real challenge for the night, the immunity challenge. Another classic. One person gets to use a giant catapult to launch a ball towards the air as the rest of the tribe attempt to catch one ball on their basket. Malcolm owned this challenge, no doubt. Three consecutive points. And those points end up being a game winner. Poor Carter. The lack of food at camp must have gotten the best of him. He can do nothing to catch up to Malcolm. Jeff said it best, he was "outmuscled and outmanuevered".

Image: CBS

Another highlight at the immunity challenge was Jeff clearly picking on the two weakest girls from their respective tribes - Abi Maria and Katie. Probst reiterated that Abi only competed in 2 out of 8 challenges so far, and him using the word "ineffective" a gazillion times to describe Katie in the challenge. Wow.

Another favorite Carter moment for the night came down after the immunity challenge. Talking strategy with Jeff Kent with little food in your tummy must be really messing with your head. When Jonathan approached the other two guys at Kalabaw to discuss what their vote for the night was, he went on to throw the question back at Jonathan saying, and let me put the entire phrase here because it is too damn funny", "what do you think... Katie or Penner?" But what's funnier than that is when he retracted and said, "I mean Denise... Katie or Denise?" Well played Carter. The Survivor editors struck gold with this moment. And you, Carter, just earned your spot in the Survivor classic!


As for tribal council, I was expecting a blindside with Jonathan, just for the sake of it. I seriously thought it was going to happen, especially with those meaningful looks exchanged between Jeff Kent and Carter at tribal. But Katie reached the end of her Survivor journey. I am sad to see her go because I was hoping for her to go beyond her beauty queen persona. But in a game that is about survival of the fittest, her pledge of loyalty was not enough.

Next week, merge time! I can't be more excited because that means Malcolm and Denise are back in each other's arms. Ha! These two are going to kill it, hopefully. And if Malcolm can bring in Lisa, they have a solid three and it would be easy to swing votes to their favor. 

What's your take on this episode? Are you looking forward to the big merge next week?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Power Rankings After Episode 5

12. Katie – A lot of things are working against Katie’s game right now. She lost her biggest ally in the game after Dana pulled herself from the game and she sucked at the previous challenge, costing them a trip to tribal council. Numbers are not on her side. If Kalabaw loses another immunity challenge, she is on the chopping block.

11. Mike – Mike went from being in top position to the bottom of the totem pole in his tribe. When Pete and Abi found the idol, Mike was in bad shape. But with Malcolm’s arrival to Tandang camp, things took a turn for the worse because that makes him expendable. Sadly, we haven’t seen him do some scrambling and strategizing so that does not look good.

10. RC – I am disappointed with how badly RC’s game went after just 2 or 3 episodes. She went from being the orchestrator of the majority alliance in Tandang to the minority. Now, she is in danger of going home once they lose an immunity challenge. What is more disappointing thing about RC’s gameplay is that she keeps on reiterating the fact that she needs time. She has to make a stronger move soon, other than flirting, in order to stay in the game.

9. Artis – Artis is right smack in the middle of the alliance over at Tandang. He can choose to go on either sides: Pete and Abi or Mike and RC. His choice will significantly impact his chances further down the road.

8. Lisa – Lisa is in the same spot as Artis at Tandang. However, she has a slight edge over Artis because she is perceived as less of a threat and her motherly figure might work to her advantage. If she can find a good alliance to side on, she could go deep.

7. Carter – Carter is like Jeff’s right hand. He is perceived as an asset to the tribe with his performance in challenges. On the other hand, he does not stir the pot and cause drama, so he might go deep unnoticed.

6. Jeff – He is a strong physical competitor, which makes him valuable for his tribe. He might even be the strongest member in their tribe so they can keep him around longer to help win challenges; that is, if merge won’t be around soon. The only thing that could work against him at this point is if someone from his tribe, or the other, that could reveal his identity. If he can keep that a secret, he is safe for now.

5. Denise – She is the strongest woman this season, probably in the same vein as RC is. Denise also got a tight allegiance with Malcolm. If a merge happens soon, then this would give her the opportunity to reunite with Malcolm and they can go deep together, with the help of the immunity idol.

4. Abi-Maria – The queen of one-liners this season. Abi is clearly a fun character to watch, although at times she can be annoying. But Abi is safe going into Episode 6 because she has the idol in her pocket and she is allied with Pete who is making all the strategic moves for their duo.

3. Jonathan – He has the idol on his pocket. He also formed a strong alliance with the men in Kalabaw. Therefore, he is safe even if they make a return trip to tribal council.

2. Pete – Pete is in a good spot. He is allied with Abi Maria, who has Tandang’s hidden immunity idol. And even when the idol is in Abi’s pockets, Pete holds the power position because he is the one commanding this alliance.

1. Malcolm – Everybody loves Malcolm! All things went to Malcolm’s favor in Episode 5 and I think he is in the best spot in the game right now. This luck started to turn around when he found the hidden immunity idol, and because of the idol he has further secured his allegiance to Denise as she is likely to become more loyal to her. Then, he was sent to Tandang and they begin to dominate the challenges. And everyone in Tandang is trying to win him over with Pete telling him all the intel on the camp while he keeps his strategy on the down low. 

What's your take on my power rankings this week? Share your thoughts and comments below.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Episode 5: "Got My Swag Back"

“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.

Idol Hunt

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!

Poor Katie

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.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Survivor: Philippines Episode 5 Preview

If you have already seen the episode 5 web promo released by CBS, then you know that things will become more intense and interesting for Survivor: Philippines this coming new episode. Die-hard fans can't help but speculate as to what the new twists will be, if any, and how it will affect the rest of the game. 

Join me as we break them down:

1. The fate of Malcolm and Denise. So, it turns out most of our suspicions proved right - Matsing will be no more and the remaining two tribes from the epic failure tribe, aka Matsing, will be joining either one of the two other tribes. For those of you who have seen the promo videos, I'll leave that knowledge up to you as to who went to what tribe. It will be interesting to see how they split up, although I am counting on the old school technique of pulling out buffs from a bag.

2. Tribe dynamics will change. With one new castaway joining each tribe, it will be interesting to see how that will change dynamics within the camp, during challenges, and in terms of determining who goes home. Personally, I think Malcolm and Denise are both in a good spot; that is, if they can assess the situation pretty well (and I'm confident they could) and see where they can position themselves within the tribe that guarantee their safety until the merge arrives. This particular twist alone has opened a pandora's box of moves and possibilities for the game - and I love it!

3. Medevac. I always hate it when a player gets medevac'd from the game, regardless of whoever it is. For the sake of competition, you would want to fight it out to the end and it would be unfortunate to have someone pulled out from the game due to illness or injury. It is even more ironic for it to happen in a season that features returning players who were once pulled out from the game for medical reasons. If in case the person ends up being taken out from the game, it will have a significant impact for the people on their alliance moving forward, which is why one person's arrival could mean big, whichever way this plays out.

4. The only hidden immunity idol that hasn't been found yet is over at Matsing. On last week's episode, we saw how Russell scrambled to find it - and failed big time, once again. It is a mad dash for both Denise and Malcolm to find it before they are distributed to Tandang and Kalabaw. With an uncertain fate waiting ahead of them, having the idol on their pocket can make a huge difference and could be their only lifeline.

5. The real battle begins. With the tribe number down to two, this is where the real competition begins in Survivor: Philippines. No more second place. You either win or lose. As the number of castaways on the island start to dwindle, big plays are coming. And most especially, no more sit-outs at immunity challenges. I'm sick of having to see the same people sit out of the challenges on every single episode (the only time Dawson and Abi Maria competed in a challenge to date was during the first ever IC). 

Episode 4 set the stage for what is going to be an exciting fifth episode from this season. It has been good so far and it can only get better from here. What are your thoughts for Wednesday's episode? Don't forget to share them below.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 4: And Then There Were Two…

Image: CBS

The fourth episode of Survivor: Philippines is over and done with but one thing remains the same: Matsing can’t get a freaking win! This was a loaded episode and I was somewhat hopeful that this is the best opportunity for the blue tribe to finally get one on the win column, but it seems as though their underdog story will continue for at least one more week.

The opening scene of Survivor Philippine showed us a pretty melodramatic shot at camp life in Matsing. For one thing, the miserable living conditions is only a pint-size glimpse into the miserable life they had to live out there, and that does not even take into account the frustration of losing four challenges in a row. I know – it’s already sparking debates as to whether or not Matsing is the worst tribe in Survivor history. But we’re only four episodes in. I still think Ulong earns the crown for that. It only looks worse because the 3-tribe format means there are only six people in the tribe. Or it could be that I am just hopeful that the Matsing duo (my favorite!) can stage the biggest comeback in the show’s history.

As mentioned above, this was a packed episode. Let us breakdown just what went down for the night…

1. Pete causes chaos. Who would’ve thought? Last week, Abi surprised us by finding the hidden immunity idol. This week, it’s the Pete show over at Tandang. He planted some chaos over at camp causing RC and Abi to turn on each other once again. This was actually a smart move on the part of Pete. By fueling the fire on that animosity going on between the two girls, it further breaks up that alliance causing Abi to trust Pete as her number one ally at this point. Smart move, especially when you’re aligning with the girl that has the hidden immunity idol. But as much as I’m impressed with Pete’s gameplay this week, he wasn’t the only one that impressed me over at Tandang….

2. Lisa starts playing. Finally! For a while there, I thought that Lisa had already mentally checked out of this game. But it seems like she has gotten over that breakdown stage and able to get her head fully into the game. I like how she plans on exploiting this rift between Abi and RC as something that she can use to take the heat off of her. We know it’s no secret her name initially came up as the first person on the chopping block in their tribe. It’s exciting to see that play out.

3. Men vs Women at Kalabaw. I don’t know how Jonathan pulled it off, but he has done a magnificent job of being the initial target on his tribe to being in the power alliance at Kalabaw. And thank you, for finally allowing us to hear Carter’s voice (and some of the women, after a long time). The gender split on this tribe is amusing to watch. It is always dangerous when the members of the same tribe are already thinking of turning against each other. If there is a merge soon, this is total chaos waiting to happen.

4. Idol hunt at Matsing. This scene involving Russell looking for the idol is humorous at best. His inability to find the idol, even with the clue in hand, is only representative of his poor gameplay this season. It meant survival for him and yet he could not figure out a clue. In his confessional, he even laughed off the fact that the clue was so vague. Of course, this is a game for a million dollars! Did he think that the producers will simply point him to the direction of the idol?! Here’s to hoping that either Denise or Malcolm find it next week, even with the clue going home with Russell.

5. Denise holds her own in the challenge. With only 3 castaways competing for the immunity challenge this week, basically all the females on both Tandang and Kalabaw had to sit out for the competition. Denise was the only female to compete in this challenge. Although editing might have downplayed the fact that she lost their lead in the final run, it is still a pretty decent performance for Denise knowing that she went up against two male powerhouses in Pete and Jeff. Okay, just one more reason to love Denise!

Image: CBS

6. Russell tantrum at end of IC. I get it. It’s frustrating. But to blame or question God for your inability to win? I refuse to comment further though because I don’t know what it is like to be miserable, wet, hungry, and then having to deal with the fourth loss in a row. I just felt like by throwing another tantrum that he did not give himself the credit that he and his tribe mates deserved.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 4 Predictions

It's one more day (here in the Philippines) until the next episode of Survivor Philippines. I know... I'm nervously excited. What's the fate of Matsing? Are we looking at a possible turnaround? Or things will finally start to shake up with either Tandang or Kalabaw?


I've also seen a preview of the challenge by the challenge producer of the show himself, John Kirkhoffer, and the rest of the dream team. All I can say is it's going to be a good one, for sure. I like the concept - original - and how they incorporate the Philippine culture into these challenges. As a Filipino, it does make me proud. It seems that Matsing made the right decision to keep Russell because with this kind of a challenge, they seem to have a better shot with him over Angie. 

Let's play out the scenario here for a bit to determine who are likely to be voted out, in case any the three tribes head to tribal.

For Matsing, the vote is clear: if Matsing don't win another immunity challenge, Russell is going home. No question about it.

image: CBS
For Tandang, it's a tossup because there are way too many directions things can go. If you have the likes of Pete and Abi on the power side of the tribe, anything goes! But I feel like Pete comes in to this with more of a plan than Abi does. If their plan does not work out, we might see Lisa go. But if they can come up with something, either RC and Mike are in trouble.

For Kalabaw, it's a tough call. I don't think Jeff Kent will attempt a blindside with Penner just yet because he can use him in the game later on. It might be one of the weaker girls, such as Katie or Dawson. But it's difficult to tell what the tribe dynamics would be when it comes to voting off their tribe members given that some of them barely get airtime. 

What's your bold prediction coming into episode 4 of Survivor: Philippines? Don't forget to share them in the comments section below.