November 21, 2012 07:28 PM by Ryan Haidet
Here’s something I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving week: Tonight’s episode of Survivor: Philippines was an all-new hour instead of the traditional holiday
recrap recap episode. And a great one at that. This season continues to impress me with it’s unpredictable nature, exciting challenges and compelling castaways. Abi-Maria Gomes, this season’s major villain, found herself struggling with a series of different options to stay alive in the game before having an emotional breakdown at an intense Tribal Council.
Pedicure… What’s That?
Instead of duplicating challenges we’ve seen in previous editions, this season has really offered up amazing, original concepts. The Reward challenge in this episode had the eight remaining castaways divided up into teams of two competing for a spa day filled with food. The challenge was made up of multiple rounds in which one member from each team took a turn on the course. To score a point for their team, the castaways had to run to three different rings and flip over one of their team’s large discs. The first person to flip all three of their discs over in each round would score a point for their team.
As the competition was underway, Abi proved why nobody has wanted her to compete in any challenges because she screwed up and flipped over the other team’s disc and easily gave the other team a point. Skupin made the same mistake during the final round, which gave Carter, Malcolm, Pete and yes, Abi, victory. Before sending the winners away to their Reward, we also learned that Carter has no idea what a pedicure is. When Probst suggested he try one in their upcoming experience, the lackluster surfer dude stuck out his hands and showed off his dirty fingers. Probst quickly corrected him and explained that a pedicure is for the feet. Duh!
When they returned to camp after getting pampered and filling their bellies, a new castaway was born as Malcolm transformed into a Jesus lookalike. Didn’t he? Meanwhile, Abi excitedly told the non-Reward winners how amazing the experience was, which rubbed some people — especially Mike Skupin — the wrong way. He felt she should have been more gracious and held back on the details since it seemed like she was bragging. I disagree. If she wants to talk about it, she has every right. If you don’t like listening to it, walk away. Everybody gets excited about things they experience in life and that was a taste of something fun for her. Would you shut down a kid’s excitement from explaining the gifts he got for Christmas just because he got more presents than your son?
But then her negativity took over and she protested about the cooking situation, vowing to never prepare food at camp again since she knows she’ll be voted out soon. Then, in true Abi fashion, she tossed out this line: “I don’t want to cook, but I definitely do want to eat. I don’t wanna starve to death.”
Malcolm’s Final Four
Malcolm felt like it was important for him to make a final-four alliance solidified at this point so it would be smooth sailing to the end of the game. His goal was to get Lisa and Skupin to join his side with Denise. When Skupin explained Malcolm’s pitch, Lisa wasn’t totally against the idea but said she trusts Penner more. So, they went to Penner and asked him if he wanted to solidify a three-way pact together. Penner, who I rank as one of the strongest strategists this game has ever seen, made a huge mistake and turned down their offer. He said that it didn’t make sense for him to cut a deal like that so early in the game. Huh? Early in the game? Dude, there’s only eight people left. How long are you going to wait? Whether he wanted to go to the end with them, he should have agreed to their offer immediately. Hell, he could always go back on his word down the road.
Lisa was surprised at Penner’s lack of interest, so she and Skupin moved on and cut their four-way alliance with Malcolm and Denise. But Mike was worried about working with Malcolm because he’s a gamer.
A Simple Plan
After Carter won Immunity, the plan back at camp seemed simple. Penner was totally convinced that his six-way alliance with Malcolm, Carter, Denise, Lisa and Skupin would split the votes between Abi and Pete. If Abi uses the Idol, Pete goes home automatically. If she doesn’t use the Idol and there’s a re-vote, they all throw their votes her way. Done. Solid. Easy. Well, not so fast… Abi and Pete had a plan of their own — to get rid of Malcolm by making the argument that he’s the strongest player left in the game. Nobody really wanted to hear their case — especially Penner who told Abi she was basically toast — except for Skupin. When Pete approached and made his case, Skupin soaked in every word and truly seemed perplexed about what to do. Despite his new four-way alliance with Malcolm, Skupin felt like Pete was making a good point because he believed Malcolm will be tough to beat.
At Tribal Council, Abi said she was fighting back her tears because she was feeling very alone. Amazingly, lack of familiarity with American culture suddenly became the blame for why she is so hated in the game. Even crazier? Abi admitted that she had no idea the tribe thought she has a bad attitude. Huh? Really? When Denise tried to explain her feelings toward Abi, a fight ensued. Naturally, Abi dominated the discussion and wouldn’t let the very-frustrated Denise dish her thoughts openly. So she gave up.
After the vote was held, Abi chose to play her hidden Idol and Pete was eliminated as the six-way alliance voted exactly as they agreed to. The final shot at Tribal Council told the current story better than any words. After Pete’s torch was snuffed, the wide shot of the remaining seven contestants showed the alliance of six grouped together with Abi distanced off all by herself. The imagery powerful. Ultimately, Abi is a villain and I know many of you are anxiously awaiting the moment she’s voted off. But I am rooting for her. I don’t want Abi to win the game, but I do want her to last longer because she is extremely compelling to watch. Her character development and amazing lack of self-awareness has made her one of the deepest castaways we’ve seen in a long time.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? Are you sad Pete was voted off? What are your thoughts on Abi? Who is your favorite castaway? Who do you hope is voted off next? Sound off and leave a comment below!
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Photo Credit: CBS