'Survivor: Philippines': Malcolm In the Middle?
A sizzling 'Survivor' romance polarizes the Matsing tribe
Last week on the "Survivor: Philippines" season premiere, the castaways found out that their would be three tribes – each joined by one returning player. And "Survivor" veteran Russell Swan drove his Matsing tribe crazy with his dictatorial ways. Still, in the end, it was would-be puppet master Zane who was sent packing, as his tribemates pulled a big-time blindside at their very first tribal council.
With 17 players left in the game, who's going home next?
Russell, for one, was worried. "I got into this whole tribal chief thing, and it almost got me voted out," he said. "So my strategy is to step back and let them rise and fall on the decisions they make. That way, if we crash and burn, then they can be on the chopping block as opposed to me."
Malcolm, who may be the real mastermind on the tribe, was getting cozy, quite literally, with cute blonde Angie. "When I first saw Angie, I had to remind myself, don't get booty-blinded," he said. "But I there's no denying that's a good-looking girl." Roxy, though, was pretty annoyed by Angie's "booby trap." She decided that they needed to break that little alliance up, STAT. Roxy thought Malcolm was more useful, so she told Russell it was time to boot Angie. "'Survivor' couples?” Russell noted. "You want to whack that thing down real quick." But Denise wasn't down, since her alliance was with Malcolm. Eventually, Malcolm felt the vibes, and they worried him.
Day four at Tandang, the constant rain was a pain. But things were looking sunnier for RC and Abi, who found a clue to locating the immunity idol. Still, the girls were tentative in their alliance. Abi was especially worried about her pal's connection with Mike Skupin, so she confronted RC about it. RC was a bit surprised – and stressed – about Abi's temper flare-ups. Later, the gang were all talking about food cravings. Lisa Whelchel was stressing the rest of them out, because she was too quiet – and they thought her solo time meant she was idol-hunting. "I think that Lisa is a little bit sneaky," Abi declared. "She isn't trying to connect with the tribe. We created an alliance and she wasn't part of it." Lisa felt really alone. "It's hard being on the outside," she said. "Maybe I'm just not able to play this game."
Want more "Survivor"? Meet the castaways from Season 25.
At Kalabaw, retired baseball champ Jeff Kent was still struggling with his bum knee, especially with the unrelenting rain. So when his tribemates suggested some rainy-day games, he was down. But Jonathan was still stalking the idol, which he presumed was in the camp – full of his tribe mates. When they all retreated to the camp, he found his chance. "This is a key to the game. I've gotta find this thing before they return to camp." But when they got back, he was still hunting. Then, taking a walk in the water, he figured it out. It was right under his nose – literally. It was the bull icon on the rice box. "For the first time in three times, I have the hidden immunity idol," he said. "You have the hidden immunity idol and you feel you can dance forever." But he wouldn't let the idol make him over-confident. He'd seen that happen too many times.
Matsing was still soaked. "It hasn't stopped raining for half-an-hour since we got here," Malcolm lamented. But everyone was holding it together – except for Roxy, who was just folding under the cold and discomfort. She tried to turn to her faith for guidance – and then the sun shined for a moment. Russell and Denise were a bit flummoxed by Roxy's religious bent.
Immunity Challenge Time! Idols up for grabs! Two members of each tribe pull a sled to grab puzzle pieces, then the next batch, then the next, till all the pieces are gathered. First tribe to finish the set of puzzles scored blankets, pillows and a tarp. Second tribe scored just the tarp. Third place would go to tribal council. As Matsing divvied up, Angie and Roxy were wimpy about taking on an extra cycle.
Go! Tandang got an early lead, while Matsing brought up the rear. Malcolm and Roxy made up some time for Matsing, but Skupin and Pete, exhausted, were still ahead. But Talabaw took the lead and got the earliest start on the puzzle, and finished one right quick. Tandang was right behind them, but Matsing caught up, and for a moment the race was neck and neck. Tandang finished first, Talabaw came in second. That meant Matsing was going to tribal council – again!
Russell was, quote, "pissed off! Go hard or go home." He lectured his tribe again, but this week, it seemed, his head wasn't on the chopping board, so he was feeling confident. Back at camp, everyone was pretty down. Russell deliberated his picks – Roxy and Angie. But he deduced that he needed Roxy for her big mouth. And Angie was still busy seducing Malcolm, which had Roxy fuming. "It's like Miss America all day long, and it's annoying," Roxy said. "She's got to go."
Malcolm knew his fondness for Angie was going to "come back to bite me," but he sure liked having a warm body around. Denise felt caught in the middle. "Roxy and Russell are in line, and Malcolm and Angie are in line," she said. "But there's something about Roxy I don't trust. But if somebody's snuggling and I’m the odd one out, then I'm on the bottom." Denise decided she'd just have to do what was best for her.
Tribal Council Time! Jeff Probst began his questioning, and Roxy and Denise got fired up about what they'd change about their tribe. When Angie was asked the same question, she suggested that things would be way better – if they could just have cookies. And then Malcolm tried to defend the answer. "It's not my answer, but it's been harder on the girls, physically and emotionally." Yeah, Malcolm, sure. It was like Angie was BEGGING to be sent packing. Roxy then called Angie and Malcolm out on their apparent romance. And Malcolm looked sheepish. "She's like a little sister to me," he said. Which Roxy called out as "creepy." Then she used the words "booby trap."
Russell pointed out that a romance was the tightest alliance you could have in a tribe. And it seemed Angie was finally getting the picture. Roxy laid it out on the line: "A pair in this game is very dangerous. So if there's even a 60 percent chance that there's more there between Angie and Malcolm, then good luck to the rest of you if you choose her over me."
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No hidden immunity idols played, so Jeff read the votes. One for Roxy. One for Angie. Two for Roxy. And three for Roxy. She's a goner. Looks like Denise has chosen her alliance.
Jeff pointed out that fortunes in this game can change very fast, then sent them back to camp. When the final votes were revealed, it turned out that it was four votes for Roxy, and one for Angie, meaning Russell made a strategic move, too.
Roxy’s parting words: "I think that the relationship between Angie and Malcolm will impact the game of Denise and Russell. At this point, there's no place to hide, and every single one of them better be super-star Olympians. May God be with them."
Check out the MSN reality blog tomorrow for our "Survivor" exit interview with Zane.
"Survivor: Philippines" airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.