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'Survivor: Philippines' 2012 – The Biggest Blown Opportunity In The History Of The Game?

Roxanne Tellier Roxanne Tellier
November 8th, 2012 12:23pm EST
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Survivor: Philippines

Last week, the tribes merged to form a new tribe, Dangrayne. Jonathan Penner knew he was in trouble. He played his hidden immunity idol, saving him from the vote, but leaving him in danger of the next. RC, with no alliance but Mike Skupin, was voted off.

This week, Penner’s normally relaxed personality is gone, as he struggles to find a place within the new tribe.  The people he trusted – Denise, Jeff Kent, Carter – admit they voted for him, to further their own game. He is furious, and vows that he will win immunity at the next challenge.  Jeff Kent is still determined to get rid of Penner.  Skupin, sure he’ll be gone right after Penner, tells Penner they need to watch carefully for the next person who screws up.

Lisa sees clearly that both Penner and Skupin are ‘walking dead men.’ Everyone is fixated on getting rid of the two returning players. She feels that her alliance with Malcolm, Jeff, Denise and Carter is strong enough to flush out the unpopular players, Peter, Artis and Abi.

Jeff thinks Lisa is “so soft, so naïve, so nice,” that the two of them might be able to pull a “flip scenario.”

So the fragmented tribe enters the Reward Challenge, thoroughly divided. And are split into two teams for a water race, where they will swim out to buoys, release a bag of puzzle pieces, and then solve a flag puzzle to win reward – a river cruise through the jungle while dining on BBQ’ed ribs, potato salad, corn bread, apple pie, and lemonade and ice tea.  

The race is close, but the team of Lisa, Malcolm, Penner, Denise and Jeff wins. Denise does a little wiggle dance of happiness.

Back at camp, Artis confides that the diet of beans and rice may not be the best, but he’s prepared to live on it for the rest of the game. Abi and Peter plot who they’ll get rid of next, but Pete worries that Abi’s big mouth and immaturity will get them in trouble. But Abi would be great to have in the final three, since no one would want her to win the game.

The group enjoying the BBQ lunch are happy not only for the food, but that the people they consider negative were left behind.  Penner finds Abi, Pete and Artis tyrannical bullies. He wants to target Pete next.

Lisa has a revelation – she doesn’t just want to stay in the game, she wants to win. Although she would prefer to get to the final four with three other good players, she knows she has to be with players that will get less jury votes than her. “The same rules don’t apply in Survivor, as they do in real life.” It would make more sense for her and Skupin to go to the end with Abi, Artis or Pete, as they’ve made so many enemies in the tribe.

Lisa tells Skupin that Malcolm has a hidden immunity idol, and that they need to get rid of him right after Penner.  If she and Skupin pull in Pete, Abi and Artis, they will be five against four. Skupin realizes that Lisa has got a plan that works for him. The only flaw will be if Penner wins the Immunity Challenge.

And Penner is determined to win immunity. And immunity is back up for grabs.

Probst greets the players, and tells them they will race over and under a series of obstacles, collecting bags of puzzle pieces as they go. The first three to cross the line will go on to the final round, where they will use those pieces to solve a snake puzzle. For the winner – guaranteed immunity.  

Survivors ready? The race is on, and everyone works their hardest. It’s neck and neck as they vie for the finish line. Pete and Jeff are the first two to cross, with Skupin and Penner close behind. Penner throws himself at the line, and beats Skupin.  In the puzzle solving round, Penner is way behind until suddenly finding his stride, and its nail biting time – but Penner wins by seconds. Penner wins immunity!

Penner is the only one overjoyed by his first ever win. Everyone else is furious that their well-laid plans have just turned to dust.

Logically, that would move Skupin up the ranks as the next to go. But Lisa throws a monkey wrench into the order by telling Pete that Malcolm has a hidden idol, and needs to be blindsided. Pete likes Malcolm, so he asks Malcolm if he does have the idol. Malcolm lies, saying he doesn’t, and Pete believes the lie. They now think that Jeff Kent should be blindsided. But Jeff thinks this would be a good time to vote out Pete. And Malcolm and Denise like the idea of losing Pete. Wait – I’m confused.

Pete now thinks that being a mastermind is harder than it looks, and Carter throws another spoke in the wheel when Jeff tells him Pete’s being voted out, by saying, “wait. I thought it was you being voted out.” Malcolm digs up his hidden idol just in case. Strangely, Lisa’s name is not even mentioned.  Everyone is confused and frightened as they head for Tribal Council.

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Photo Credits: CBS Broadcasting Inc.