'Survivor: Philippines': The final four -- and Abi?
Malcolm's alliance votes out a good player despite depleting morale
Last week on “Survivor: Philippines,” third time player Jonathan Penner – a marked man from the start of the season – finally got voted off. The deciding vote? That of his pal Lisa, who’d formed an alliance with Denise and Malcolm just a week earlier, because Penner couldn’t commit just yet. Meanwhile, it’s all the castaways versus Abi these days, thanks to her unapologetically abrasive demeanor. She managed to win the immunity challenge last week – thanks to the advantage she bought in the auction – but will she manageto get by another week?
Dangrayne Camp, Night 30: Abi licked her wounds and assessed the damage. With Denise, Malcolm, Lisa and Skupin sitting tight on their alliance, that left her and Carter as sitting ducks. “So I’m going to continue the bluff that I have the fourth immunity idol, that’s all I can do,” she said.
Lisa, meanwhile, was feeling the ache post-tribal. “That was a very tough decision,” she said. “I do think Penner is correct. I think Malcolm is playing a brilliant game, because it’s strategic but likable, underdog, good at challenges, all around really great game. Going with Denise and Malcolm was not a great strategy, but betraying that trust opposes who I am.”
But Denise and Malcolm made sure she felt loved, reminding her that she did the right thing.
Reward Challenge Time! The next morning, bright and early, the remaining six were paired up – with their own family members. Skupin was joined by his oldest son, also named Michael Skupin, Carter by his mom Bianca, Denise by her husband Brad, Lisa by her brother Justice, Abi by her mom Veera, and Malcolm by his brother Miles.
“I don’t think I ever needed any person more than in this moment, and I needed my brother,” Lisa said, breaking down in tears.
This week’s game was a throw-and-toss challenge, where the castaway threw muddied bags to their loved ones, who then used the muddied bags to knock down pegs on a stand. The grand prize: a sleepover with their loved one back at camp. A prize worth fighting for 31 days in. Carter took the lead early on, quickly followed by Lisa, and the Skupins not far behind. It was anyone’s game, but then Malcolm and Miles cleaned it up – and took the reward. But Malcolm had a tough choice to make – he had to pick one other castaway who got to take their loved one with them. “Brother sister love, just because of how the past few days have gone, and how much trouble somebody is having out here – Lisa,” he said. And then Probst told him to ask for another – and he picked Skupin. So Carter, Denise and Abi had to say good-bye.
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“I’m rewarding Lisa and Skupin for sticking with us,” Malcolm said. “Those are my allies – I need to keep them close.”
The gang headed back to camp, and Lisa’s brother was super-proud of her, but Malcolm’s brother Miles wanted to be the center of attention. “His running his mouth could cost me,” Malcolm was realizing. Skupin’s kid, meanwhile managed to get hurt right away. Chip off the old block, huh?
Taking a walk, Lisa and her brother talked strategy – and she told him that as much as she liked Malcolm, she wanted him out, because he could take the title. “I’m not surprised Lisa made it this far – I look up to her for a reason,” Justice said. “She always tends to say the right thing, she always tends to do the right thing. She’s a really good player. She’s super-smart.”
But Lisa told him that she’d made a lot of mistakes there – that she’d been too nice. “I came out here strong, I could have played a great game,” she said. So Justice reminded her to outwit, outplay, outlast – it’s a game. “I do know it’s a game, and I love this game, but I haven’t been able to step outside of this myself to play it.”
The pair then met up with Skupin and son, and Skupin said he was down to ditch Malcolm – and in two days, Malcolm wouldn’t be able to use that immunity idol anymore. If they got Carter on-board, they have a strong three.
But Lisa was holding tight to her word – and then Justice reminded her what Malcolm said last time: that he respected her for playing the game. And it was like a light went off in her head. “I don’t know if I’ll win,” Lisa said. “But I’m going to play the game.”
Day 32: Bright and early, Lisa, Skupin and the family members prayed on it.
Malcolm was quickly realizing his mistake. “One of the biggest fears I have after having the loved ones here is Lisa. She was at rock bottom emotionally, playing with her heart, as she likes to say. And I’m afraid her brother might have snapped her back into her senses.”
Day 33: Immunity Challenge Time! Probst took the necklace back from Abi and this game was on! A water-based obstacle course in which each player had to grab three bags, then use the pieces in the bag to create a pole – and with the pole, hit a target. First person to down the target would have a one in five shot at the title. Carter was the first to make it through the first challenge, followed by Skupin, then Lisa. Then Malcolm made it through, with Denise and Abi falling behind. As the others got to work on the poles, Abi dilly-dallied, as Probst noted “as if there was nothing attached to winning this challenge.”
With their poles erected, Carter, Skupin and Lisa each took a shot, but came up short. So they got back to add more, and meanwhile, Malcolm took a shot – and hit the target. Malcolm won immunity.
And Lisa wondered if that might be a sign from God? “Malcolm wins immunity and Lisa’s plan is shot into smithereens.” She talked to Skupin, and they had to make a decision: Abi and Carter. Carter.
“My mind is free,” Malcolm said. “I’m in the final four on ‘Survivor,’ and it’s only day 33. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Lisa and Skupin talked to Malcolm about it – and then Carter showed up. Carter knew he was a marked man, and they told him to his face. “The only thing against you is that you’re a threat,” Skupin said. Carter understood, but he still felt Abi should be the one to go. As the gang sat together, Abi started on her tactless tactics again, yap, yap, yap, again. And again, she brought up her hidden immunity idol. “She’s like a soul-sucker,” Malcolm said, “nobody can stand having her around.”
“If you tell a lie long enough,” Abi said, “everyone starts to believe it. And I’m starting to believe it.”
But the rest of the players were pondering, as Malcolm put it, “a really bad strategic decision just for my morale. Plain and simple, if Abi goes home tonight, it’s because she’s a bitch.”
Probst’s first question: Did Malcolm really need immunity? Malcolm said no, but he was happy to have it. Then Probst laid it out on the line: that meant Abi or Carter were out. “I don’t understand, especially when there’s been a lot of talk about taking the person that you feel deserves it over the person that you can beat,” Carter said. “I feel like I deserve it.”
The question was clearly directed at wishy-washy Lisa, but she turned around with: “I would like to sit next to somebody I could beat. I’d like to be nobler than that, but why make it harder than you have to.”
Skupin said that yes, Carter and he clicked. “It’s almost like voting off my own kid,” Skupin said.
When Probst asked Abi if she was surprised that she wasn’t the final word, she noted: “I have the fourth hidden immunity idol, and I’m going to play it.”
Denise said: “None of us have seen it, none of us have seen any clues, so we have to go on Abi’s word.”
Which, of course, Malcolm pointed out, wasn’t worth much. “If she actually has it, she should be leveraging it more than it is.”
And Denise said that Abi couldn’t win: “If somebody’s looking in the spirit of ‘Survivor,’ they’re looking for a more balanced game – in the social, the strategic, the physical – and I don’t think Abi’s brought those fully to the table.”
Time to vote! As expected, no immunity idol was played. And then Probst tallied the numbers.
First vote: Carter. Second: Abi. Third: Carter. Fourth: Carter. Fifth: Carter. 13th person out – and the sixth member of the jury: Carter. Sigh.
Probst said: “The final five. But the smaller the numbers get, the more difficult the game becomes.”
Carter’s Final Words: “The realization that my ‘Survivor’ experience is over is weighing heavily on me. It does hurt to know that the four would rather play with someone like Abi, who they feel like they can beat these next few days, as opposed to me. I can understand it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. They’re playing with their heads, not their hearts, at this point.”
"Survivor: Philippines" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.