‘Survivor: Philippines’ Recap: Lisa Whelchel, Master Manipulator?!


'Survivor: Philippines' (CBS)

XFinityTV is blowing up their coverage of “Survivor: Philippines.” Every Monday Jeff Probst and I will tackle a wide variety of topics with the “Survivor” Question of the Week. Every Tuesday I’ll be squaring off against “Survivor: One World” favorite Kat Edorsson in this season’s Power Rankings challenge. Every Wednesday briefly after the show we’ll have a full episode recap and every Thursday we’ll have an interview with the latest eliminated player.  Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for all the updates!

Set Your DVR to Record “Survivor: Philippines”

Last Week: Denise and Malcolm remained BFFs, Penner trusted Kent, but was SOL, and the merged tribe got rid of RC ASAP…

39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…

The Dangrayne Tribe (wearing black)

Abi-Maria – Business Student, 32
Artis – Computer Engineer, 53

Carter – Track Coach, 24
Denise – Sex Therapist, 41
Jeff Kent – Former MLB Player, 44
Lisa – Former ‘Facts of Life’ Star, 49
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Michael – Professional Speaker, Author, and Coach, 50
Penner – Writer, 50
Pete – Engineering Graduate, 24

The festivities kick off with Penner trying to make sense out of what happened at Tribal Council. Denise owns up to voting for Penner, saying that she has her own strategy.

Kent tries to play it off that he thought the numbers were going to be against them.

Skup tries to make Penner feel better by telling him how many cracks there are in the majority alliance. Penner thinks he could lay back and wait for an opening or he could set the world on fire.

(This is where Gordon crosses his fingers hoping for Penner to set the world on fire.)

The next morning, Lisa fills us in on the pecking order. Penner’s set to go first, with Skupin’s ready to go second. Apparently the anti-returnee sentiment isn’t exclusive to Jeff Kent. And honestly, with the frequency they’ve been bringing back players and the track record of those players, it was just a matter of time. The last complete season this cast saw had Ozzy Lusth finishing fourth and Coach Wade finishing second. The season before that saw “Boston” Rob Mariano steamrolling everyone on his way to the big check.

Lisa’s plan has them bumping off the returnees, then her, Denise, Malcolm, Carter, and Kent booting the other Tandangers. Look at Blair Warner the power player!

Reward Challenge Time: Players will be split into two teams. One person from each team will race into the water holding a rope. They’ll attach the rope to a fish trap and their teammates will pull it back. Once a team has four traps they’ll dig for a key. They’ll use that key to unlock a puzzle. First tribe to complete their puzzle wins a river cruise through the jungle. There they’ll enjoy ribs, potato salad, and other goodies.

The blue team is Skup, Pete, Artis, Carter, and Abi. The yellow team is Kent, Malcolm, Penner, Lisa, and Denise.

Not much to describe early on except for runnin’, swimmin’, hookin’ and rope pullin’.

Skup doesn’t wear the fishing mask because surely it would have burst into flames on his face. While this keeps him in one piece, it makes it hard for him to find the fish trap.

The yellow team completes the first part with a slight lead. Malcolm starts digging. Artis is right behind him and manages to find the key super quickly. Malcolm finds his shortly after.

Penner and Kent are working on the puzzle for the yellow team. Pete and Skup go for the blue team.

The yellow team flies through the puzzle and wins reward.

Back at camp, Abi is spilling the strategic beans while sharing some actual beans with Carter. This annoys Pete. Later, Pete tries pitching alternate strategies to Abi and she cuts him off. He admits that he’d like to vote her off, but he knows she can’t win at a final Tribal. This is true. In fact, the only way Pete’s winning this season is if he gets to the end with Abi and Artis. Even then it’s not a slam dunk.

At the reward, everyone’s bashing Artis, Pete, and Abi. Penner pitches the idea of them keeping him around longer to help get rid of one of them. Lisa likes the idea of five likable people battling it out at the end, but she likes the idea of getting to the end with a couple of hated people better.

Later, Lisa approaches Skup with the idea of aligning with Artis, Pete, and Abi and eliminating the remnants of Matsing and Kalabaw. She even tells him that Malcolm has Matsing’s immunity idol. She’s like Russell Hantz with a SAG card.

Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race over and under a series of obstacles while collecting puzzle pieces. First three players to cross the finish line will advance. First person to complete the puzzle wins immunity.

Again, not much to describe except for puzzle-piece gatherin’ and obstacle navigatin’.

Pete, Kent, and Penner advance with Penner diving over the finish line in dramatic fashion.

The puzzle is a very cool snake-shaped piece of business. Kent and Pete jump out to a lead, but Penner makes a comeback and wins it! Gah…that can’t be good for Skup.

Apparently Penner had never won individual immunity before, and boy did he need it.

Sure enough, politicking in the Penner-safe world seems to put a target on Skupin’s head. Sorry, if there’s anything this show has taught me, it’s that you can’t bring Skupin down without a silver bullet dipped in holy water.

Lisa, however, has other plans. She takes Pete aside and tells him about Malcolm’s idol. Her plan is to blindside Malcolm. Booo…

Pete asks Malcolm if he has the idol. Malcolm denies it. Pete then admits that Lisa told him about it. Oh snap… Later we learn that Pete totally buys into Malcolm’s lie. Now he’s left wondering what Lisa’s motive was.

Pete and Malcolm decide to target Jeff Kent instead and keep Skup as a swing vote.

Then at the last minute, they all start talking about voting for Pete! This is getting hard to keep track of. This is all Penner’s fault…

That night at Tribal Council, RC becomes the first member of the jury. Thanks for the heads up last week, Probst.

Penner shows appreciation for RC’s new cleaned-up look.

Skup thought he was the main target, but was psyched when other names came up.

Malcolm calls Lisa out for throwing him under the bus.

Lisa owns up to it, saying she wanted to keep Michael around and wanted to get rid of Malcolm and his idol. I’m loving the honesty from Lisa and Denise this episode.

Abi then slips up and admits that Malcolm is an expendable part of their alliance.

Malcolm’s had enough of this nonsense. He whips out the Matsing idol and announces that he’ll be playing it. Nice. I love that kid.

Probst asks if anyone else has an idol they’d like to reveal. Abi makes my night by fessing up to owning one.

This Tribal Council rules, by the way.

Penner then makes the play that he, Kent, Carter, Denise, Skup, and Malcolm can take the game into their hands. And all five of them seem on board with it. Whoa!

Lisa says that the people in her alliance can keep the numbers if they go with “Plan B.” She’s calling Tribal audibles like she’s Brett Favre!

Pete thinks he’s in serious trouble.

Kent thinks his name has been “thrown under the hat.” I don’t know what that means.

Probst thinks this is the most entertaining Tribal Council he’s ever been to. As someone who’s in the middle of a “Heroes vs. Villains” rewatch, I’m going to disagree. It’s probably the most frank Tribal ever.

Voting Time: Lisa votes for Jeff, Denise votes for Pete, and the rest of the votes are secret.

The polls close, and Probst starts a-tallyin’.

Nobody plays their idols. Ooo…

We’ve got one vote for Abi, one vote for Kent, one vote for Pete, one vote for Kent…

And with 40% of the votes in, we’re prepared to project a winner. We’re calling this Tribal Council for Jeff Kent.

One more for Pete, one for Kent, one for Pete, one for Kent, one for Pete, and the ninth person to leave “Survivor: Philippines” and the second member of the jury is…Jeff Kent.

So, it looks like Tandang stuck together. And wait, why did Penner vote for Abi instead of Pete? It would’ve been a tie.

Verdict: Seriously, what just happened?!

And, Probst referred to it as being the “biggest missed opportunity” ever. But I’m not sure what he was talking about. An opportunity to get rid of Pete? For Penner to tie the vote? To flush Abi or Malcolm’s idols?

Either way, fun episode. This season is getting tougher and tougher to call.

Who’s Going to Win: Lisa and Skup are the most likable people in the now dominant alliance. If we end up with an Artis/Pete/Abi final three, the jurors might have to pull a Monty Brewster and vote “None of the Above.”

Power Rankings Results: Kat’s streak continues! She had Jeff Kent in spot ten while I had him in spot nine. So, the current score is Team Kat: 101, Team Awesome Thunder: 104.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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