Monday, April 29, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 11: Thoughts on Why Malcolm Lost

A crazily hectic schedule and a crushed infatuated heart combined as to putting major delay in this post. It's no secret that I am a big Malcolm fan and that he is my no. 1 favorite this season (pun intended). Thus, it took me nearly a week after his torch was snuffed to finally make sense of what happened. But don't expect me to stoically discuss through this episode without feeling a slight tinge over the fact that he lost a second time when he fought valiantly particularly noting the big idol play last week.

Another reason why I did not want to skip this recap, albeit late, is the fact that Survivor hit it's highest viewer rating ever! It's the closest the viewing rating has gotten to American Idol, which speaks a lot to the longevity of the season and how its fan base has remained solid throughout the years. But with a sweet victory comes bittersweet memories as the majority alliance at the Enil Edam tribe, plus Sherri, finally voted off the game's biggest threat - Malcolm.

The episode started off with the remainder of Phillip's Stealth R' Us alliance making sense of what just happened at tribal. Most of them were giving congratulatory speeches to their nemesis, which I thought was kinda awkward. But Malcolm does this little speech about convincing one or two people to "come over to the dark side", so to speak because he believes he needed to escape one or two votes in order to regain control of this game.

Then comes the classic Survivor auction! This is usually a fun segment in the game wherein the castaways get to unwind and enjoy some food without competing for it in a challenge. But I have to note that there were a few misjudgments along the way. First off, I got quite the scare when Malcolm bid on the beer and nuts at the first chance Jeff revealed the item! Just when he delivered this confessional about keeping his money, even when he might be tempted for some food, in order to get an advantage or information. Thankfully, the other castaways, namely Andrea and Brenda (who had all their $500 at that point) weren't smart enough to outbid him at $480 for the immunity idol clue.

Dawn and Sherri both bid all of their money on food items, then wept annoyingly when they found out that all they needed was $20 in order to get letters from home. Seriously?! 26 seasons in and you still could not have seen that coming! At least for once, though, we get to see a valid reason for Dawn's tears. Ugh.

When Malcolm used up all his money on the idol clue, to which Jeff tried so hard to make it sound enigmatic by claiming "information in the game", it was Cochran who won the bid for the immunity challenge advantage. And he did not even have to spend his full $500 for it! What was Eddie doing? He was clearly on the minority and it did not even cross his mind to outbid Cochran for the advantage! During Malcolm's exit interview, he clearly pointed out how difficult it was to talk strategy with people, er allies, who don't know how to play the game (more insight on this later). But he jokingly said during his interview with Rob Cesternino on his podcast, "with allies like these, who needs enemies?". Well said!

To make a long story short, Cochran ended up winning the immunity, thanks to the advantage he bought at the auction. He used it during the early stage of the competition, which I believe was smart because he ended up not having to exert much effort, especially since he knows he is going up against a lot of brawny men in the likes of Malcolm, Eddie, and Reynold, that could potentially beat him even with the advantage. But producers managed to kill the suspense yet again by showing a confessional of Eddie pre-immunity challenge. He said that he'd have no trouble beating Cochran in any challenge, especially a physical one! But to everyone's surprise, or not, the self-proclaimed challenge beast has done it again. He beat out 8 others to get his second individual immunity win.

The standoff continues between the three amigos and the remaining six from Stealth R' Us. It started with Malcolm digging for the hidden immunity idol, which ironically he had the most difficult time finding even with a clue whereas the previous two he found without a single clue. To make matters worse, Andrea tried to stave off any attempt for Malcolm to dig and look for the idol. Many fans claim this was a fatal flaw in Malcolm's game but I was also partly torn as I felt he did not want to give away the exact location of the idol based on the clue he read, particularly since Andrea has caught up to the possibility that it could be somewhere near the well.

Malcolm came up with a back-up plan to bluff about having the idol. They were courting Sherri and Erik to jumpshift, although I was slightly put off by Reynold's approach while trying to bring Sherri into the fold. He told her, "worst case scenario is you got fourth or fifth". What an arrogant way to put it! And for someone who is trying to get to the finals, I don't think that would be the magic words to use to bring them over to your side. Thus, Malcolm was smart enough to tell Reynold and Eddie that they work on Erik while he talk to Sherri. Going back to what I said earlier, these two seem to bring nothing to their game. It was all Malcolm's work! Sherri sounded convinced but I was also a bit skeptical if she's totally in with the plan, especially since she already backstabbed Malcolm a few episodes ago! But what can Malcolm do? She's his only chance at making it at least past this one vote.

Erik, on the other hand, was being brought up by the remaining favorites as the most likely to switch. Cochran pointed out his vote for Phillip during last tribal and Andrea raised his previous season, which might make him skeptical about working with women.

During tribal council, however, it was clear that the two they were banking on (Erik and Sherri) were never really with them. Hence, it was a guessing game at that point as to whether or not Malcolm had in fact found the idol. When the votes were cast and Malcolm didn't play the idol, the remaining favorites gave out a relieved grin. Cochran, in his voting confessional, was relishing the possibility of voting out Malcolm. When they split the votes between Malcolm and Reynold, I knew at that point that Malcolm was done. I could not paint Reynold's face at this point - he was screwed many times over, it has proven to be a tough stretch for him!

During the re-vote, the vote unanimously went Malcolm's way. Even Eddie voted for his amigo. For the sake of those who are left in the game, it was the smartest move to make. With the previous tribal council idol fiasco that was spearheaded by Malcolm and him putting all of his money on the idol clue, he exposed himself as the savvier player than Reynold (and Eddie, duh). If they let him stay after this vote, who knew what he could've done! Plus, it'll only give him the opportunity to continue his dig for the idol. And they can't take that chance, especially if they wanted to keep the numbers and improve their chances at making the finals. But it's going to be a tight race - those 6 are going to turn on each other soon! Not sure if neither Reynold nor Eddie has the gusto to break up that clique, so taking out Malcolm was their best bet.

With the remaining players, here's a quick power ranking:

8. Eddie - Need I explain? The only way I believe for Eddie to survive the next vote is if, and only if, Reynold does not win immunity because the latter will be targeted first by the majority alliance. We're also too deep into the game for flirting to work his way. Sorry bud.

7. Reynold - Only because he is savvier than Eddie. Plus, he is also more competitive in challenges and is more likely to wear that immunity necklace again to save him another round.

6. Andrea - Even though Phillip took on the role of the leader to the Stealth R' Us alliance, Andrea was the secret ring leader. She also played an aggressive game from Day 1. But she's been targeted by her own alliance in the past, with Dawn wanting to vote her off because she felt like she was being too close with Reynold, Eddie and Malcolm. Unless she can win an immunity necklace soon, she might be next in the assembly line.

5. Erik - It's tough to rank Erik because we haven't heard about his strategy and what he plans on doing when it came down to just the six that makes up the majority alliance. His name has been brought up and the majority alliance might get suspicious of him, depending on how the tides turn in the next episode. But if he can prove them that he's worth their trust, he could be a key part of this alliance. The one thing that might work against his game, though, is that he might be perceived as a challenge treat. The majority might vote him off as soon as he doesn't win immunity.

4. Dawn - The crybaby. The only thing that's keeping her in this game is the fact that she has worked with Cochran in making strategic decision and they're part of the majority alliance. To be fair, she has played a better and more strategic game than last time. But she's like a ticking time bomb that's waiting to explode.

3. Sherri - I place her a bit higher in the ranking because she won't be perceived as a threat in the finals. She will be one of those that other castaways will be tagging along to get an easy pass for the mill. Plus, I also see Sherri being smart enough to exploit that. And since she's proven to be good at ass-kissing, she's in a good spot right now.

2. Brenda - If there is one thing I can use to describe Brenda's game, it would be patient. We know she's a power player in her previous season. But since being on the wrong side of the numbers, she's done an excellent job of playing under the radar. She also is likable enough for people to want to have her stick around. But while being invisible meant that she wasn't going home, it also indicated that she won't win as the editing did not build up her strategic game that would merit a win.

1. Cochran - At this stage in the game, I don't think anyone could beat Cochran in any Final 3 scenario. He has played a great strategic game wherein he pulled the strings together while making it seem that others were taking control. Also, he was sociable and lovable enough to be liked by his fellow tribemates. He also surprised many, including himself, at how well he's done with the challenges, managing to win a couple to date.

How would you rate this episode? 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Thoughts on Survivor Caramoan Episode 10

Not since Parvati handed out immunity idols to Jerri and Sandra on Survivor: Heroes vs Villains had I witnessed a more game-shifting, rippling move on Survivor! The most recent tribal council on Survivor Caramoan has totally brought a new dynamic into the game, pushing alliance mates to hysteria. Pardon my bias, but I think I speak for several others when I say that that tribal council was even more celebrated not just for its double immunity idol play, thanks to the three amigos, but also for the opportunity to see Phillip, the mastermind of the joke that is Stealth R' Us alliance, is finally cut off loose.

The theme of this episode has been scathed with double play innuendos. And the producers did an excellent job of not preparing us for what's to come at the latter part of the episode. The preview from last week showed us Dawn crying hysterically and breaking down (hey, what's new?)... I expected it to arise after a confrontation between Malcolm and Reynold to which she gave her word to after they showed her the idol. But apparently, it was only because of a lost retainer. How anticlimactic, right? Brenda ended up saving the day, or else she would've pulled herself from the game. Don't think the latter would be a very bad idea, even Dawn admits she cries more than a baby does. But then again, we get to hear Brenda give out a confessional (albeit a brief one) after a long time. And in her words, she proclaimed that she will never turn her back on Dawn. Hmmm, foreshadowing? That one might have significance in the coming episode, so it'll be a puzzle how that will come into play.

The editing trick here has practically made viewers suspicious if this is setting up to be a Dawn boot, especially as the episode opens with Cochran and Phillip talking about her volatility in terms of the emotional state, with Cochran going as far as comparing it to the instability of Brandon. The paranoia is clearly starting to set into Dawn and it is only a matter of time until that erupts (or will it?). In my case, the significant amount of confessionals sure did make me wonder. But for someone like Phillip calling Dawn crazy, that's got to be serious!

This week's reward challenge is reminiscent of the Episode 9 reward challenge from Survivor Philippines dubbed Muddy Waters. With slight modifications to the obstacle course that castaways had to overcome, it was the same concept wherein they had to dig through a bag in a mud pit and then shoot the balls into a narrow basket. The castaways were split into two teams of five with Malcolm's team looking to have an upper hand. However, even when Malcolm used Penner's strategy of pulling out all of the bags, it didn't produce the results like last time. The winning team went on a resort getaway with a fabulous view and lots of food! As they gorge on the feast, Phillip manages to spoil it with his lack of etiquette as he jumps straight into the pool without taking a shower. How old is he again?

The pivotal point in the game was during the immunity challenge, which by the way is a favorite of mine because it is a re-do of the classic immunity challenge from Pearl Islands. But Phillip decides to sit this one out pointing to an incident during his childhood years that made him uncomfortable about the whole challenge setup. It boiled down to a competition between Malcolm and Reynold, but the latter ended up winning as Malcolm eventually got worn out after five rounds of swimming. This spoiled the plans of the Stealth R' Us alliance because Reynold's idol was played last time, putting him as their number one choice to vote off. With this win, it screws up the plan although their fall back choice was clearly Malcolm.

The three amigos went looking for an idol in the jungle as soon as they got back to camp. Malcolm still has his immunity idol from the former Bikal camp, of which only Corinne knew about. However, he points out that he wanted to preserve that idol for as long as possible, so if he can get through this vote without having to use it, then it's to his advantage. Soon enough, Andrea and Dawn decided to go looking for the idol, too. But it clearly wasn't that easy without clue that Dawn points out it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Dawn joked around with Malcolm about yelling out should he find the idol but there is no need for that as they were right there in front of him as he took it out from one of the rocks. Andrea and Dawn couldn't believe what they just saw so they went rushing to their allies to confide this new information, then quickly concoct a plan for the upcoming tribal council.

I thought for sure that was the crazy part of the episode, but suspense continued to build up as Jeff was probing the Stealth R' Us alliance about the status of their alliance and that of the three guys clearly on the outs, namely Malcolm, Eddie, and Reynold. Eddie was certain that it could be him going home in that tribal council noting how Malcolm found the hidden immunity idol and that Reynold was wearing the immunity necklace. However, Malcolm pulled out another trick off of his bag citing that there was some tension at camp as the other seven were clearly trying to distance themselves in fear of being associated with the minority. But to everyone's surprise, he pulled out his original immunity idol that he found with Corinne and handed it to Eddie. Eddie's face was golden as he registered a goofy yet clearly elated look. On the flip side, most of the people in the front row could only burrow their faces into their palms in disbelief. Of everyone, Andrea seemed to show the surest look of concern. Jeff also pitched the idea that Malcolm declaring their vote for Phillip could be an attempt to double play them as they could blindside any one of the remaining six.

The chaos that ensued was a pure joy to watch. CBS was right - after 400+ tribal councils, nothing crazier like this had transpired. Subdued whispers were going on as everyone scrambled for a spontaneous second plan. The chaos worsened with Malcolm declaring, "clearly, not one of us is going home!". We hear a couple of names being tossed around - Andrea and Phillip. At this point, I thought Andrea was done. Then, Phillip delivered a speech addressing his allies that they should stick with their initial plan. The success of this plan hinged on the fact that neither Eddie nor Malcolm are going to play their idol. This is a critical point that Erik also raised earlier that this could be a mere ploy on their part and they do not really intend to play it. This showed us the game-savvy Erik who we haven't seen in two seasons up to this point.

When Cochran cast his vote, he confessed this is the reason why he still loves Survivor after 13 years. I couldn't agree more! I held my breathe as Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play their idol. Eddie stood up first and everybody else was looking at Malcolm to see if he would follow Eddie's lead. Eventually, he gave up his idol, too, and we saw Phillip go home. The Specialist, as he self-proclaimed, is gone - thankfully and finally!

To see just how crazy this tribal was, re-live it here:

I've heard a lot of opinions from fans about the success of this move, with some claiming that Malcolm was unable to maximize the moves to his advantage. Personally, I thought revealing the second idol at tribal council was a brilliant move because he kept the Stealth R' Us alliance from devising a fall back plan. I think Malcolm has learned his lesson in the past two tribal councils that they could sneak back to their alliance mates and reveal their plans. By not letting that happen, the majority alliance was caught off-guard, even to a point on insisting on their original plan which got Phillip voted off. The key change here that might've benefited Malcolm's alliance was the fact that Phillip is gone. He was the one commanding the other six and lining them up like ducks. Without him, it would be easier to infiltrate into that alliance, especially with one or two people on the perimeters of that alliance. In fact, we saw Erik vote for Phillip at this tribal council!

The preview for the next episode wasn't as intriguing but things are going to shift soon. For weeks, I was hoping for things to change and with Phillip gone, I think one or two people are going to feel threatened about their security within the majority alliance. What did you think of this episode? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!

Image credit: CBS and Survivor Seasons

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 9: Cut Off The Head of the Snake

From one blindside to another. With Corinne going, I knew there were going to be consequential fallbacks to it. To whom? We have yet to see.

The new episode opens with Reynold proclaiming that despite Corinne's blindside, he's still victorious. Corinne is the first Favorite, since Francesca was voted off and with the exception of Brandon, to go home before a Fan. And he claims that he still has an idol that he can use for future votes. He then laughed it off with Eddie saying that any woman who associates with them are going home. Then, one quipped jokingly, "Who's the next victim?"

That is an interesting point to make given that Andrea has a budding relationship, or showmance if you may say, with Eddie. Andrea claimed the flirtation was a strategy on her part to win Eddie's vote in the end or to gather information about the other alliance. This relationship with turn out to play a critical role in this episode's vote.

After using her vote during last episode to blindside Corinne, Sherri has officially been inducted to the Stealth R' Us alliance. Her nickname is Tenacity. But even when she's all kiss-ass in front of Phillip's face about it, she tells us that she is planning to use Phillip in exchange of Shamar's stead. After all, she previously claimed that she wanted to make Shamar as her 'Phillip', but what better way than to work with Phillip himself? For now, she thinks she's in a good spot and need only a couple more votes so she can start calling the shots again. We did not see much strategy from Sherri since Shamar got medevac'd and I was starting to think that she had no game left in her. But we see her getting a second wind here, but for how long she is going to stay on top of things is still a question - these Favorites are clearly more savvy than the Fans who she played with last time.

Reward Challenge

This challenge is a redux of the same challenge in Survivor: Nicaragua, although this one is set in a swamp rather than a manmade swimming platform like they did last time. Hence, Brenda competed in this challenge before, which is why she easily managed to score against Mike, who is defending the basket for the Purple team. The two teams were split based on a schoolyard pick, with Sherri being the only one not picked and therefore has no chance for reward. Both teams are playing to rappel down a waterfall with a picnic lunch waiting for them below.

It was a close match for the most part with the Orange team leading during the first round. However, the all-guys team at Purple managed to score consecutive points at the second round, thus giving them the reward! With his first reward in the game, Michael screams, "I'm on a winning team!" at the water.

During the reward, the guys subtly talked about strategy with Reynold and Eddie doing most of the talking. They presented the plan to work together in an all-guys alliance and tried to "bro it down" like the masculine men they are. But it ended up being a comical scene of sorts with Erik more interested about chowing down as much sandwich as he can and with Cochran doing his best to look as if he's down with the plan. And then he had his golden moment, once again, in his confessional when he dubbed the guys he was with as numbskulls for trying to bro it up with him! After all, Cochran isn't the most masculine of men and even struggled with the mere act of taking off his shirt. But despite of his soliloquy about not being down with the "bro alliance", he lets loose for a little bit and it was great to see a different side to Cochran - it's almost like he is coming out of his shell. 

Last Gasp

A classic Survivor challenge. The past few episodes had been a revamping of old challenges that were so-called classics and this one is no different. This was first done in Palau and then the first Fans vs Favorites. This is a great challenge in various aspects because it acts like an equalizer with both men and women having an equal shot of winning. It requires no brawn but more of a mental toughness.

Phillip became the challenge's first casualty, then followed by Sherri and Erik. Cochran was the biggest surprise in this game because I seriously expected him to have given up in Erik's place, maybe even Sherri's. But he lasted as long as Eddie and Reynold, which was undoubtedly fairly impressive! Brenda ended up taking home the immunity necklace after she beat out Andrea. Seriously, it looked like she could hang in there for another hour! Aside from a shy "thank you", that's about all we heard from Brenda this episode.

Scramble Time!

At this point, I felt deeply worried for Malcolm because all signs lead to another blindside. Dawn continues to play up with their plans to make it seem as though he is playing with Malcolm and his crew, when in fact all along she is being a double agent for the Favorites + Sherri. She even goes as far as to ask Malcolm and Reynold to show her the idol to convince her to vote with them. But even though she was happy to see the idol, that definitely did not sway Dawn over. In fact, she found it appalling the approach that Reynold used to discuss the plans with using the idol saying that they were trying to intimidate her. Once again, Dawn was their kiss of death. It was the case with Corinne and it's happening all over again. Damn you, Dawn.

They lead on Malcolm to the plan of splitting the votes between Reynold and Eddie. And when the latter attempted to get some intel from the majority alliance through Andrea, he spilled the beans about the possibility of an idol being played and her being voted off, if things worked out. Of course, this caused panic for Andrea who, apparently, wasn't planning on going home that night. Hence, she suggested that they throw the vote towards Michael instead, because it was the safest vote. Everybody else (and by everybody else, I mean Phillip and Cochran, because Brenda, Erik, and Sherri have little to do with how the votes are going) agreed to the switching of votes but Dawn. She felt like all of the hard work they've put into sealing the vote for Malcolm would be for naught if they changed it to Michael at the last minute. She tried to appease Andrea from her hysteria claiming that Eddie was just trying to plant seeds of doubt into her mind. Leading up to tribal council, it was clearly a tossup at how the votes are going to fall out. Malcolm or Michael?

Heated Tribal Council

This is one of the best tribal councils since Malcolm revealed his idol on Episode 8 of Survivor Philippines to try and stave off votes for him following Lisa's plan for a blindside. Ironically, it involved Malcolm and an idol again! While Erik was busy taking out bugs off of Andrea's hair, Michael appealed to the remaining castaways that his vote is out there for them to use, especially since he believes that the Stealth R' Us alliance are starting to break down.

However, Sherri has completely hitched the wagon with the Favorites and abandoned her former Fans tribe mates, even her former ally Michael. She confidently sniped at them, "Payback's a bitch". After all, she's Tenacity and Phillip has tucked her into his wings so she's feeling all good right now. Eddie isn't bothered by it in the least bit claiming that he doesn't want to end up being someone else's puppet, and I sensed he wanted to add, especially Phillip's. But that doesn't change the fact that it could be either him, Reynold or Eddie are going home.

But the look on Malcolm's face is very revealing in this tribal council, despite the fact that we did not get to hear him speak at all. He quickly caught on to the revelations made by Phillip when asked about the possibility of someone from the bottom of the alliance trying to make a move. Phillip pointed out that making the move now is an errant judgment because there are enough numbers and "smart people" on their side to go after the one who is trying to stir the pot.

When the votes were cast and Jeff asked about anyone playing their hidden immunity idol, Reynold stood up but Malcolm quickly caught his attention. Instead of playing it for himself, Malcolm told him that they voted for him, referring to the majority alliance of Phillip, saying that he should give him the idol instead. He even quipped, "we're in good shape." Bold move! I seriously had flashbacks of the 8th episode of Survivor Philippines wherein he showed off his idol to the entire tribe when Lisa tried to blow his cover. But unlike that one wherein he ended up unscathed and ended up sparing his idol, this time around the idol was a waste because he ended up not needing it as the Favorites' plan to blindside Michael pulled through. And with that, another disappointing episode for me as far as who was voted off! I was pulling for Michael on the Fans' side and now that list is starting to dwindle. The biggest loser for the night, though, would have to be Reynold because he not only lost his idol, he did not gain anything from it at all!

Next week, another breakdown? Please Dawn, get over it or go home!

What are your thoughts about this episode? Don't forget to share your thoughts below.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Survivor Caramoan Episode 8: It's Blindside Time!

THIS is what fans came to watch Survivor for! I can't believe it took us 8 episodes to finally get down to the nitty-gritty of strategy, plotting, scheming, and blindsides. With 8 favorites and 4 fans heading into the merge, it's not all one happy bunch - and with a majority alliance consisting of two strong personalities in Corinne and Phillip, you know something's gotta give. And soon.

Tonight's episode of Survivor more than makes up for the boring, uneventful, and predictable episode last week that sent Julia packing. No matter how hard the producers tried, they couldn't have done any more tweaking to make that episode more interesting than it turned out to be. But little do I know that it was the proverbial calm before the storm. And boy do we have a mighty storm on our hands this week!

As many fans predicted, I also sensed that a favorite was going home tonight. But who? It was unclear until Corinne's confessional mentioning this week's title episode that I cringed a little. More on that later...

Within the first few minutes of the episode, we see a clearly relieved Michael thanking the favorites at Bikal for deciding to keep him. Then, Phillip quickly pulled the two girls aside to confess about his decision to throw the immunity challenge. Like most of us, they didn't buy it. When they probed, he told them that he decided to do it during the challenge itself. Corinne laughed it off and dubbed it "the biggest joke of the year" because it was clearly not lost on purpose and Phillip's ego just could not handle the fact that he failed at the challenge.

Moving on, another breakdown - featuring none other than Dawn. She walks to the well by herself and reflects on her time in the game now and that of her previous season. She reaffirmed the importance of making decisions for herself because those are people that end up winning the game. According to Dawn, you cannot let the game come to you. She should know better - her fate in South Pacific game turned on its head when Cochran betrayed their alliance. Dawn is clearly feeling a tinge of that.

Merge Time

Over at Gota, excitement filled up the camp when they saw this large boat heading to their island. Of course, with such an unlikely visit, everyone is anticipating a merge. When they read the note and it clearly indicated a merge, everyone went rejoicing but at the same time started thinking about strategy and numbers game in the back of their minds. Bikal welcomed the former Gota members to their camp and everyone was in temporary elation as they shared the feast! And as quickly as they consumed the food on the crate, they also went into game mode in a snap!

Malcolm had this ridiculous idea for the tribe name - Enil Edam - which according to him was his mother's name in reverse. Malcolm burst out laughing telling this story while Corinne is beyond herself as to how ridiculous the tribe name is. My only qualm is... why did everyone go with it? I kinda feel like Dangrayne sounds way cooler now. Sorry Malcolm, I'm with Corinne on this one. That officially takes the crown for the WORST tribe name in Survivor history! I'm sure your mom is a sweet lady but allow me to repeat - the WORST merged tribe name EVER! Okay, that feels better.

Phillip quickly pulled Andrea aside to re-confirm their alliance. Andrea was up for it and they even talked as far as Final 4 with Cochran and Dawn into the mix. Meanwhile, in another part of the island, Corinne is thrilled to be with Malcolm and vented about her frustrations with Phillip. They quickly concocted the plan to shift things up by working with Eddie and Reynold to vote off Phillip. But they agree to target Sherri first because she appears to be an easy vote until they can take down the Special Agent next. Malcolm has been itching to take over as he is clearly not happy with just playing along.

Immunity Challenge

It's immunity challenge time! And we have a gross food challenge again... quite excited for this as we haven't had one in a long while. As Cochran read the treemail to the entire tribe, there was a mixed reaction of excitement, fear, and agitation as most are surely not excited to be eating anything gross. What's more interesting, though, are the reactions that came after. Reynold admits to eating gross stuff as his weak link, while Eddie can only worry about what girls would think after eating something funky. Meanwhile, Cochran took on a comical approach at it saying this might be what he needed for his love life. That guy. Lovably hilarious.

The immunity challenge went through four different stages of elimination until there were two - Malcolm and Cochran. Even Jeff couldn't hide his surprise that Cochran was up at the finals with a shot for individual immunity, calling this match up as David vs Goliath. He ended up beating Malcolm at swallowing pig brain and got his first ever immunity challenge win. Cochran had his momentary high and relished the moment of victory. In his confessional, he admitted there was no regard for sportsmanship at that point, but no one really bothered. Everyone seemed to be in congratulatory mood but then he was quick to revert back to his self-deprecating comments claiming that he enjoyed the moment as it may never happen again.

Chaos at Camp

Corinne and Malcolm tried to play their efforts to flip things in the down low - they worked on bringing together their respective sub-alliances to form a majority. However, when Corinne proposed the idea to get rid of Sherri before Phillip, he was not on board as he feels like they should split the vote between Eddie and Reynold to flush an idol. And that is when things became really shaky. Corinne went back to Eddie and Reynold about them having enough numbers to flip and turn things in their favor.

However, Corinne makes the mistake of talking to Dawn about her plan to blindside Phillip because she goes on to tell everybody else in their alliance about the supposed plan. And now, they are suspicious of Corinne! Andrea is in on the plan to vote off Corinne because even before the tribal shuffle, she already felt threatened. Also, if they wanted to get rid of Phillip, then she is next on the line. They brought in Brenda, Sherri, and Erik into the plan.. but we also see Malcolm talking to Erik. Which side will he go with? Cochran quips, right before heading to tribal council, that leaving the fate of their plan to Erik is a scary thought given how (in Cochran's words) he has proven before that he is incapable of playing this game and playing it well. Ouch.

Tribal council was straightforward and at times indicatory as to how the vote will go and that of the succeeding votes. I suspected that at some point, Corinne's mouth is going to come back to haunt her. She exposed herself by claiming that she was willing to listen to those who would approach her. And Erik gets to speak for the first time tonight, although we got nothing more insightful from him except for a safe answer. Reynold, on the other hand, sounds psyched and enthusiastic about where things are going for him. He, too, hinted that there are going to be a few shocks in the coming votes - not tonight, but in the coming votes. Apparently, he was referring to the Sherri vote for tonight and then Phillip next. But the question there is, if the people with whom they thought was with them are going to stick to their votes tonight.

But Sherri, Brenda, and Erik ended up voting with Phillip and co. Corinne could not believe what she's hearing as Jeff read her name out loud as one parchment paper was revealed after another. Soon enough, she outnumbered Sherri's four votes that Jeff had read first. Predictable. Somehow, I knew that Sherri wouldn't be voted off tonight because she was practically invisible this episode.

Malcolm's jaw nearly dropped to the ground. Reynold was in total disbelief and felt like deja vu of the first few days at the old Fans tribe - just when he thinks he had the numbers on his side, he got a big punch to the face instead. The only thing more surprising than Corinne getting blindsided is the fact that she's not on the jury.

The moral of this episode (and note to future players): be careful who you spill your plans to. If you should talk, know how much to say and how to say it. Complicated, I know. But Corinne mismanaged the whole thing. Probably out of her excitement at how she would be in a good spot should the plan work out. But getting there is still a lot of work. 

What did you think of this episode? Do you think Corinne deserved to go? Sound off below in the comments section.