'Survivor: Philippines' 2012 – Going In For The Clinch

October 18th, 2012 11:30am EDT

Malcolm Freberg and Denise Stapley of the Matsing Tribe Is it a tribe or a duet if there are only two of you? Malcolm and Denise are Matsing’s last two members, after Russell’s pouting departure last week.

Day 11 dawns as cold and wet as the others. Malcolm and Denise know that it’s likely they’ll be split up, with their tribe of two pitted against two tribes of six. It’s too early for a merge. They determine to find the tribe’s hidden immunity idol before the next challenge. Malcolm finds the idol, while Denise hopes he’ll stay loyal to her.

Malcolm’s “giddy as a schoolgirl” at the find, and he just gets giddier at the Reward Challenge. Jeff Probst tosses Malcolm and Denise a bag containing two wrapped buffs. Malcolm is reassigned to Tandang, while Denise is now a Kalabaw member. Matsing is no more.

It’s an interesting Reward Challenge. Tandang faces off against Kalabaw, one on one. Each tribe member faces a rival tribe member while balancing an immunity idol on their palms. First to knock the other person’s idol to the ground, wins the point. First team with five points wins reward; coffee, tea, muffins and cookies. (Shout out to Angie, who thought that cookies would make the game so much better!)

It’s a fairly easy game, and it doesn’t take long for Tandang to win. Malcolm gets even giddier at the thought of the sugar rush he’s gonna get. His team already loves him, and he’s getting goodies! What could be better?

RC hopes that she can ally with Malcolm, but she sees him connecting with Peter and the other men, and decides that her chances are already gone. Once again, she feels like an outsider, but she’s determined to fight for her place in the tribe.

Peter is ecstatic to have Malcolm on his team; he’s only kept the ‘annoying’ Mike Skupin on side because of his physical abilities. Now Peter feels he can build a really strong alliance of himself, Malcolm and Abi. AND they have the idol. Malcolm does not let on that he has his own idol.

At Kalabaw, Denise makes the best of her new tribe, although they would have been happier to have Malcolm. Katie, Dana and Dawson are thrilled to have another female to add to their alliance. But before they can start to schmooze Denise, Jeff takes her aside and convinces her to ally with the men. Denise is happy to agree.

There’s trouble brewing – in Dana’s stomach. She’s freezing, nauseous, and burning up with fever. When she starts getting a sharp pain in her stomach, the others try and help. Jonathan thinks she seems to be shutting down from the cold and pain.

Jeff Probst arrives with the Medical Team, who examines Dana. The doctor determines that she’s having pain in the right side and middle of her stomach, but there’s nothing life threatening. She could continue in the game for another twelve hours, when they could reassess her condition. Jeff tells her that they only pull a player from the game if the player’s life is in danger. He asks her what she wants to do – the decision to stay or leave is down to her. Dana decides to leave the game. Jeff removes his rain jacket and covers Dana, leading her gently to the boat. Before she leaves, the tribe comes to say goodbye, telling her that they all understand, love and respect her.

Sure, they’re sad to see her go, but Katie’s also devastated at the loss of her best ally. And Dawson is still hugging herself because her crush Jeff actually set foot on their beach. She’s just barely restrained herself from jumping all over Probst’s rugged male being. Jonathan worries that they’re now at a disadvantage, with one player less than the new and improved Tandang.

What a time to have an Immunity Challenge! And one that is physically and mentally grueling, to boot. The two tribes will race through a difficult and muddy obstacle course, before untying and chopping knots to release a drawbridge full of bamboo pieces. They must then find the lettered pieces to solve a puzzle. First tribe to guess correctly wins immunity. Survivors ready?

Abi opts to sit out the challenge once again, and Jeff Probst immediately calls her out on exactly how many challenges she’s actually participated in. She admits that it’s only two. Jeff seems a little cranky during his play by play, mentioning several times that Katie is holding Kalabaw back with her lack of ability. Malcolm’s a huge asset to Tandang, and helps them through the physical portion of the trial. Jeff notes that the team is working well, except for Abi, who’s sitting out again.

The teams are neck and neck as they solve the puzzle, “Live To Play Another Day.” But Tandang takes it, remaining undefeated in the game. Kalabaw will be Jeff’s guests at Tribal Council. Jonathan notes that they lost due to Katie’s slowness and Dawson’s lack of helpfulness at the puzzle. He’s fuming that they’ll be down two people after Tribal.

On Kalabaw’s beach, Katie apologizes over and over for being the slowest at the challenge. Dawson assures her that she’s not at risk – new tribe member Denise is the obvious person to vote out. Denise, meanwhile, has already proved herself worthy, and Jeff Kent is quick to let her know that she’s valuable in their alliance. The two people on the line are Katie and Dawson.

Jonathan has found Dawson the weakest member of the tribe since the beginning, but Jeff Kent thinks Katie should go. Dawson, the only one to know Jeff Kent’s background as a pro baseball player, opts to use her knowledge to tease Jeff with cracks about baseball, rather than let the others in on Jeff’s history. This only infuriates Jeff, believing that he’ll be an easy target if the others assume he is well off financially.

So it’s the first Tribal Council for Kalabaw. Probst explains the rules, and the meaning of the torches, and then asks them how Dana’s departure has affected the group. Dawson is the first to pipe up, saying that Dana leaving “has hit us harder than the rain ever could.” Jonathan Penner says that he believes they would have won the challenge if they’d had Dana on their side. Losing Dana has been devastating to the tribe. Jeff again notes that Katie got off to a terrible start. She says she’s sorry, but knows she’s capable and worthy of being kept on. Jeff points out that Denise, as the newest member, could be considered expendable, but Dawson says that they need a strong player like Denise to continue competing. Dawson then says that her own strong point is a continuing positive attitude, despite the constant rain.

It’s time to vote. Jeff collects the votes and reads the names; Denise, Dawson, Dawson, Dawson – and Dawson becomes the fifth person to leave the game. But not before she attempts to mesmerize Jeff Probst with a long, silent, and ultimately creepy stare. She then moves forward to kiss him. Jeff deftly dodges her embrace, presenting his cheek, and giving her an awkward, brotherly pat on the back. As she skips off down the path, she breathes …. “Wow.”

Dawson’s exit interview: “Jeff Kent, I mean I could have blown up his spot but maybe he could be one of those, you know, millionaires who actually come on the show and win. If he wins, he owes me so big! I want a motorcycle, and helmet, a sidecar, and a pink gun. That’s what I want from Jeff Kent.”

Next time on, Survivor: In a war between Tandang and Kalabaw, everyone plays dirty. And the game gets personal, as Artis says, “You don’t want to hear what I got to say about it. You can keep all that mess to yourself.” Jeff Probst says, “I’m pretty sure this is unprecedented.”

Related: Jeff Probst, Survivor: Philippines, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, TV Networks, CBS

© 2012

Photo Credits: Monty Brinton/CBS

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