Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 11 Teaser

It's almost Episode 11 and we got some teasers up online courtesy of CBS! If you haven't seen the last episode yet, make sure to read my recap here. Meanwhile, those who are curious as to what the next episode will bring - Abi vs the alliance of six. Will she survive? Can she pull out some sort of a miracle without the idol in her pocket? 

Here is the promo for Episode 11 courtesy of CBS:

Also, a new promo had been released that shows us there is going to be a Survivor Auction this season. I love it! We haven't had an auction in a while and it is pretty exciting to have it again this season. Also an important thing to note is that in the past wherein there is a Survivor Auction, there is usually one item that is available for the castaways to bid on that will give them an advantage during the next immunity challenge. We can only speculate for now, but here is a teaser to whet your appetite for this new episode.

I'm sure all of us can't wait for the new episode! Be sure to check in again for my recap and insights once the episode airs. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 10: “That’s What Happens When You Fall Asleep at the Wheel”

When Artis was blindsided last week, I applauded Skupin for finally coming to play. In one of his pre-season interviews, I heard him say that playing under the radar just isn’t his thing and that he would never follow that path. This was evidenced by the big move that he made, which also allowed him to control his fate in the game. Another thing of note was that I previously mentioned how the editing is setting up Pete to fail, and it seems that that is precisely what transpired here.

Image: CBS
Abi and Pete returned to camp from the previous tribal council realizing that all of a sudden it’s two versus six. I am appalled at the way Abi looks at things as if she did nothing wrong. Here’s the thing Ms. Abi – if you are rude to people and you treat them with disrespect, you cannot expect them to be nice all the time. Even sweet old Lisa can reach her toll. And while she did clarify that she has forgiven you, there has to be a tipping point somewhere.

The rest of the tribe has laid out their plans saying that it would be them in the Final Six and after that it’s “game on”. I like how that looks like because majority of the people within that six are likable and root-able. But there’s a part of me that is saying that something is up. For now, though, that six will be intact and that means they are one step closer from successfully decimating the Axis of Evil.

Image: CBS

Quickly, we’re headed to the first challenge of the episode. This looks like a fun and simple challenge. And once again, I had to congratulate the challenge producers for coming up with yet another unique concept. It was easy by design yet very challenging to earn a point as you have to be agile and quick witted to succeed in this. The teams looked mismatched as the young and agile castaways were on the Red Team and the old ones were on the Yellow Team. You can watch the entire reward challenge here.

Image: CBS
Eventually, Carter’s track coaching experience helped him here as he dominated this challenge with his speed and quick wittedness. Not saying that the Yellow team were not witty, it’s just that they had it in the bag before it even started. With the exception, of course, of Abi who clearly sucked at the challenge. It seemed like the perfect reward with lots of food, a great scenery, and a relaxing massage. My favorite scene of this episode happened when Carter was feeding Malcolm grapes while he was bathing and getting scrubbed on. Such a comic relief!

Image: CBS

It wasn’t all fun and smiles, though, when the youngsters returned to camp from the reward. Malcom said it best. “Abi has the social grace of a Mac Truck.” After personally attacking Lisa during the last tribal council, Abi continues on her ways after returning from the reward. She couldn’t quit jabbering about how great the reward was. To endlessly talk about how delicious the food was when the rest were eating unflavored beans and rice was a clear indication that she had no social sensitivity and understanding at all.

A funny thing to note, though, was when everybody else was clearly sick of her incessant talk about the food at the reward, they wanted to divert the attention to Carter. When asked to share about his experience, no sooner than Abi chimed in and continued on with her talk. This girl just doesn’t know when to shut up! I mean, c’mon, it’s not like Carter got the chance to talk much and she steals his airtime. How funny and annoying was that?

Carter Dominates the IC

Image: CBS
For the second time, Carter wins the immunity necklace. Again, another impressive challenge concept that looked simple but very challenging in execution, as Jeff noted. 

Right now, Carter is a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t need it yet but it was crucial to keep Pete or Abi from winning – they didn’t even come close! See how the immunity challenge played out here.

Final Four Locked In

This is the first time that an alliance ever locked into a final four agreement. Some might criticize Malcolm’s decision to lock into this alliance this early, but he clearly said it in his confessional that he has to start planning ahead. Both Skupin and Lisa has many options at this point so by securing that, you have at least a shot at making it happen.

Image: CBS
On the other end of the spectrum, Penner did a terrible job at rejecting Lisa’s offer to the Final 3 with her and Skupin. Let’s just say he might not be interested in cementing that yet, he could have easily agreed to it just so he can keep his options open. And when you do as he did, you lost an opportunity. If you are not willing to commit and you get wishy-washy, people will become suspicious and they will look for somewhere else that offers more security.

As for the tribal council, it becomes the climax to what would’ve been a predictable episode. With Abi’s immunity idol still in play, they are trying to cause some chaos to the six-person alliance’s plan to get rid of Pete and flush her idol. Her confrontation with Denise at tribal council was a rude awakening for Abi. I find it surprising that she does not even get that she’s perceived as unlikeable. And while some might think that Denise laying it out for her during tribal council is crossing the line, I think she needed that to put her in her spot. Yes, Abi, karma is a bitch sometimes.

Bye, Pete!
And with that, bye Pete! I heaved a sigh of relief just as Malcolm did. But you gotta put your faith on the people with whom you’ve aligned with. With his idol being the only one left in the game, that is some major leverage for him coming into the next two episodes. It is, therefore, important that he win immunity next so that he can preserve that and deflect votes his way because he is now the number one threat in the game.

Next week, it will be Abi versus the remaining six. Will she survive without the idol? Or is something going to shake up soon? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 9 Power Rankings

It has been two crazy episodes back-to-back for Survivor Philippines and we are down to the Final 8. And hurray, no Thanksgiving recap episode this season! I was dreading that because it would be such a bummer to wait a whole week for a recap episode. But since the CBS web promo clues in on a new episode, I’m pretty sure most of us are excited to watch the final 8 slug it out once more.

Here are my power rankings following episode 9:

8. Pete – Pete narrowly escaped the vote a couple of times in tribal council. With Skupin’s flip last week, it puts him in a highly vulnerable spot. He is left with Abi as his only true ally at this point. But knowing that she has the idol and that she could keep it to herself, Pete is not looking good at this next episode. He has dulled in the past episode and is having less control of the situation, despite what he thinks. That is another thing that could work against Pete’s game right now – he does not know exactly what is going on!

7. Abi – Abi is currently enemy #1 in the world of Survivor: Philippines. However, she still has the idol in her pocket so she's not in as bad a position as Pete is. Her position in the power rankings might improve, though, because she’s everybody’s dream to take to the finals.

6. Jonathan – A couple of episodes ago, Jonathan was on the brink of being sent home. He got saved by his hidden immunity idol the first time, then he won an immunity challenge next. Jonathan is still not off the hook because there are three twosomes in this game (Abi & Pete, Lisa & Skupin, and Denise & Malcolm), which makes him and Carter the odd men out. He has to work doubly hard to improve his placement in the game.

5. Carter – The moment Jeff Kent was voted out, Carter seemed to have lost one of his legs. Him and Kent were a duo. I immediately started to feel panic for Carter – I even thought that he was going to be sent home right after Kent did. I had no faith in Carter’s ability to come up with his own strategy. But he is currently holding up and found a new alliance that he can work with. This should give him a new lease on life in this game but can he take full advantage of it?

4. Lisa – Lisa has been getting the most airtime in recent episodes as the audience got to see her struggle between two alliances. Lisa is likable and charming. And as a fan, you got to appreciate her willingness to play big. But it could be a case of playing it too hard. She is straddling along two alliances and we’ve seen it before – the swing vote ends up getting the axe. And the dangerous thing about Lisa is that she’s too out in the open about it.

3. Mike – Mike flipped his vote last tribal council to get rid of Artis and cripple the Axis of Evil alliance. Some might consider it as a bad move because he went from being possibly 4 or 5 to a 5 or 6 with the former Kalabaw. However, I don’t think Mike is in danger in the next episode because he can still go either way. His choice will determine how far he can go.

2. Malcolm – A couple of episodes ago, Malcolm had to reveal to everyone on the tribe that he has Matsing’s idol. This might be a smart move for him at that time, but it does put everything out in the open that Malcolm is a huge threat in this game. He is already a power player in his own right, but with things out in the open, people are going to start targeting him soon.

1. Denise – She is in the best position in the game right now. She is a strong social player with a strong alliance with Malcolm. She is a tough competitor in challenges, which gives her a good shot at winning immunity (while Malcolm has an idol). And despite of her competitive performance, she manages to fly under the radar. Good formula to go to the end and win!

What did you think of my power rankings? Any violent reactions/comments? I’d love to read them!

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.

Image: TVequals.com

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!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 8: It's Ludicrous!

Just when I thought that the merge episode last week was really good, this week's crazy episode topped that. I am going to declare it right now, this is one of the best seasons in a long while. It is very refreshing to see new castaways playing as hard, oftentimes even harder, than the returning players. Coming into this episode, most of us might have thought that Penner was already a goner, but he threw us a curve ball and it sparked chaos in camp and during tribal council. 

Image: CBS

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.

Image: CBS

Reward Challenge

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.

Image: CBS

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.

Image: Survivorfever.net

Penner Does The (Seemingly) Impossible

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.

"It's Ludicrous!"

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. 

Image: CBS

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.

Image: realitynation.com
Like last week, I didn't know for sure until the last parchment paper was revealed as to who was going home. Sadly, it was Jeff Kent... which means that is one person off of my initial bets. He was competitive and a good strategist, although his strategies might not be properly placed in most cases (note: pining so hard to get rid of the vets!). But it seems as though Penner got his sweet revenge as it was quite ironic that the person who was rallying for him to go home was sent packing the day Penner won his first ever individual immunity necklace. And don't even get me started on that exit confessional...

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!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Best and Worst Moves of Survivor Philippines Episod 7

Last week's episode of Survivor Philippines featured the merge. And while castaways are all smiles at the idea of making the merge, it was only a matter of time until the strategizing begin and it's every man for himself.

At this point in the game, players are drawing the line in the sand. And with the conclusion of this episode with three castaways getting a vote and one person forced to play the idol, you know it's a crazy windup. And it can only get crazier with every episode.

Let us look back at the best and worst strategic moves for the merge episode and how it can play out the rest of the game.

Best Strategic Move: Malcolm Brings Lisa Into a 3-Person Alliance

I thought Malcolm handled this situation with tremendous finesse. As devastating as it is for someone to unravel your biggest secret in the game (aka hidden immunity idol), he didn't storm off to confront Lisa. Instead, he told her "you remind me of mama" and he used an approach that Lisa would easily respond to. If he would've threatened her or showed any form of aggression regarding the matter, she would have quickly run off to someone and told everyone about the idol on Malcolm's bag. 

Instead, he promised her a spot in their super tight alliance with Denise. In a game where numbers is power, he has put himself in a much better position because three is always better than two. Lisa did not completely embrace this offer of an alliance, though, and she is eyes and ears about the matter. Thus, Malcolm isn't the only one who made a good strategic move with this particular scenario playing out here.

Worst Strategic Move: Jeff Votes for Penner to Flush His Idol

Jeff Kent might be safe coming into this new episode, but he might not be for long. I believe that Kent made a bad strategic decision during the last episode by opting to flush Jonathan's idol after he rallied to get him out. 

On episode 6, Jeff Kent is torn between the decision to vote out Katie (the easy decision) or to blindside Jonathan (the difficult decision). When he decided to keep Jonathan, I gave him props for his smart decision at that time. Jonathan and his idol can be a powerful tool that Kent can use to his advantage coming into the merge with lesser number of people. His prospects of surviving the merge, and that of his former Kalabaw tribemates, are actually pretty good knowing how broken up Tandang is within their tribe relationships. There's Pete, Artis, and Abi on one side, Mike and RC at the other, then Malcolm and Lisa are right smack in the middle as swing votes. If the Kalabaw four can bring in any of these sub-alliances to work with them, they already have the majority!

But instead of going this route, Jeff opted to go after one of his own. By targeting Jonathan, he went from having a solid four down to three. And as Jonathan was forced to play the idol during the most recent tribal council, he is now without a safety net. 

Jeff could have brought two people in, ideally RC and Skupin, so they have the majority six. Even when they bring in former Tandang tribemates into their alliance, they still hold the power within that alliance. But by working with Abi, Pete, and Artis, they are now at the bottom of the totem pole. Even without Jeff's knowledge, Abi still has the idol so that is another factor working to Kent's disadvantage as of this moment. 

There are so many ways the game could go in Survivor, but by eliminating any variables out of your control from the equation, you have better chances of moving further into the game. It is interesting how this strategic fault, in my opinion, can affect the rest of Kent's gameplay. There is still a lot of game left to be played but any wrong move can have fatal consequences. 

What do you think of Kent's move to try and get rid of Jonathan's idol? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Survivor Philippines Episode 7 Insights: Dang Rain!

Before delving deep into this episode, I have to profess right here, right now that this is probably the best merge episode we've seen in a long time. Blindsides, alliances, strategy, idols... so much to cover! Shall we get started?

Image: CBS
The episode opens with both tribes reading a note from their treemail announcing that they have made the merge and they need 10 minutes to gather as many supplies as they can and bring it to their boat, wherein they will be taken to a new beach. Mad chaos ensued as castaways gather their personal belongings, carry all essential survival supplies, and in the case of Malcolm, dig his buried immunity idol. Both tribes seem to be pretty excited about making the merge, and most especially the Kalabaw tribe who are looking to get a new lease of life at the game in the hopes of seeping through the cracks of the dysfunctional family that is Tandang.

Everyone seems to be playing nice as both tribes make it to the new beach at the same time. Of course, the casual introduction and the merge feast were enough to keep everyone in a festive mood, but it is only a matter of time until the backstabbing ensues. 

Everyone seemed to break up in pairs or groups, some in the water discussing strategies, while others were walking off to the forest to seemingly collect firewood and water. But we know it too well. Malcolm and Denise, thankfully, solidified their alliance and I was ecstatic that Denise brought up the idea of working together with Malcolm. Of course, it was a smart decision for her knowing that his biggest ally in the game has Matsing's immunity idol so that will be their ace in the game. 

Involuntary Alliance

Image: Survivorfever.net
For a while there, Malcolm did a great job at keeping his hidden immunity idol a secret from everybody else, except for Denise. But Lisa, being the motherly figure that she is, was at the right place at the right moment when she started hanging everybody's clothes and stumbled into Malcolm's idol. 

Smart move for Malcolm to pin her down. I saw Denise's confessional video, though, and she described it in the best way noting that it was the "best worst case scenario" for them. I think that Lisa would be a great addition to their alliance, although Malcolm is very much aware that he'd have to work doubly hard to ensure that they don't beat him in the end, if they make it to a final 3. But that is a solid number for now, and with a merged tribe that's got a lot of loose ends and cracks, the 3 could be a magical number, especially if they remain solid.

The Drama Continues

The drama between RC and Abi-Maria won't let up. And I think the former members of the Kalabaw tribe are smiling at the idea. It is fairly easy to pit them against each other with that level of animosity. I have never seen anyone in the game of Survivor with such personal vendetta against the other person. Abi is just a loose canon, as she's always been, and the fact that she got more people on her side only makes her all the more confident without thinking about the backlash of her action. Is she playing to win? Or is she simply cool with outlasting RC? Don't know her real plan is at this point.

Double Immunity

Image: CBS
I had to give the challenge production team props for their idea at the challenge this week. It was original and fun to watch! I also liked the idea of having two immunity necklaces - one for the women and one for the men - because it is difficult for women to outlast men with this kind of challenge. Although by looking at how well Denise held up, I think she might've given Jeff and Carter some good competition. So, let me just take this opportunity to congratulate Denise for winning individual immunity. That was her first ever win in the game so far! And what a time to come? Maybe she can get her momentum going and I do think she has a sure shot of winning individual challenges because she is extremely athletic for her age.

One funny note about the challenge though: Probst's comments after Penner let go of the rope during the immunity challenge. Anyone whose seen Penner play before is aware that he and Probst can butt heads. Penner isn't one to be shy about letting others know what he thinks. So, when that exchange happened, I thought it was pretty funny. 

Also, Malcolm did a good job at letting go of the rope, too. He has been doing well in the past few challenges so it was a smart move to let go of the rope right after Pete and Penner did. Trying to fight for that immunity necklace will put a much bigger target on his back. Another brilliant move to let go knowing that he is temporarily safe and not needing the immunity necklace just yet. And with more men left than women, there will be several others like him that might be perceived as a challenge threat.

First Juror

I won't lie about it - I am bummed that RC got voted off. I hate seeing super competitive players get voted off but it was a smart move for the sake of the others left. I did not feel like she did enough scrambling to save herself, though. She could have built friendships and social connections, or at least try to get people to think about strategy from her standpoint. It was simply her or Penner and as the latter had the idol, it was over for her. 

It was an interesting move for Jeff Kent, though. I did not think he would go after Penner right after the merge happens. If he would've done that, he might be better of keeping Katie than Penner, then. Why not vote him off sooner when he was going to get him out the next time? I, for a while there, though he was going to use Penner's idol to his advantage. But now, he simply flushed it out and unless Penner can work his magic, his days are numbered.

Next week should be exciting. Penner has got no more idol on his pocket. And with no alliances left, he is on his own and that immunity necklace is the most valuable thing he could possess right now. What would happen to Skupin now that his closest ally is gone? Will he be the next target once the dust settles on Penner? I know - it's interesting! 

Check this space again to read about my new power rankings. It'll be interesting to assess how the remaining castaways fair in the competition.