'Survivor: Philippines' 2012 – Here's Mud In Your Eye!
October 25th, 2012 2:04pm EDT
In the “can’t take your eyes off the crazy” that was Tribal Council last week, I seriously had not noticed that Katie wore a formal red dress to Tribal. I’m trying to picture what goes through your mind when you’re getting ready to go to TC – hmm, not the little black dress … ah yes! This red dress that I wore to pageant, that’s it!
Katie is going to need more than a little color to cheer herself up, because with both Dawson and Dana out of the game, she’s lost her only allies in the Kalabaw tribe. Even newcomer Denise has been accepted into the Boy’s Club of Jeff Kent, Carter and Jonathan Penner, leaving Katie on her own. So far, Katie’s only ploy to stay in the game is to cast doubt on Jonathan. Does he have the idol?
On Tandang, the tribe realizes that they’re running very low on rice. Apparently Mike Skupin has been snacking on the dry rice. Artis and Pete feel that Mike has literally eaten them out of house and home. Abi prefers to whine that they don’t dare even split a cup of rice before the challenge, or there will be nothing for the next day. The situation is dire, indeed.
So the Reward Challenge is a very big deal. Jeff Probst is there to welcome the tribes to a gigantic mud puddle, where teams of three players will try to push an enormous wicker ball into their own goal. Like mud wrestling, only less sexy. The winning tribe will be taken to a dry hut for sandwiches, soup, potato chips, and brownies. Everyone literally salivates at Jeff’s description.
RC and Artis are asked to sit out, to even the teams. In the first round, Lisa, Pete and Mike go against Jonathan, Carter and Denise. It’s no holds barred as Pete takes down Carter, and Lisa wrangles Denise, leaving Mike and Jonathan to try and goal the ball. Everyone is a muddy mess in no time, making it even harder to get a grip on the opponent. But they can’t seem to move the ball – it’s a deadlock.
Lisa shows her strength as she holds Denise back. Probst says, “This is a Survivor challenge – old school!” I’m just waiting for - and there it is. Jonathan Penner reaches under and grabs Mike Skupin’s ‘tackle.’ According to Probst, this is a very intimate way to play the game, but totally legal. Snicker.
Mike sits on Jonathan’s head, forcing him face down in the mud. Lisa has Denise in a wrestling hold, and Pete and Carter are stalled. It’s a full lockdown. No one can move. After an hour where nothing much happens, Probst asks Jonathan and Mike what they plan to do to break the tie. Jonathan wants to make a deal; they’ll concede to Mike if Tandang gives them all of their remaining rice. Kalabaw will get the feast, but have nothing to eat after that.
Jonathan says that they have a boat and a spear, so they’ll take their chances. Probst says they have to wrangle out their own deal, otherwise the game goes on. Abi tells Artis, on the sidelines, that he needs to choose, as it’s his birthday. Artis says he wants to win. He doesn’t want to give up anything. Probst outlines the deal – Kalabaw is asking for the victory and the reward, in exchange for Tandang’s rice. Everyone but Artis seems happy to agree with those terms. The challenge is ended, and Kalabaw are declared the winners.
Probst asks Jeff if he understands what their team has given up, and Jeff admits that the situation may be tricky, with the constant rain. They’ll have one good meal, and then have to depend on what they can bring in through fishing.
But what a meal it is! Everyone drools over the spread. They dig into huge sandwiches. Jonathan notes that they doubly lucked out, as they only have five people sharing the food, rather than Tandang’s group of seven. Jeff enjoys the feast, but is already worried about what they’ll do from them on, without their rice.
Making the victory even sweeter, Jonathan notices a pile of envelopes marked with their names. Denise is in tears as she realizes it’s messages from home. Soon everyone is crying as they read their letters. It’s bittersweet. “Better than food,” note Jeff and Denise. This is the motivation they need to keep on going. They feel they made the right move, and feel they will be strong going into the Immunity Challenge.
At Tandang, things are not nearly as cheerful. Artis is clearly angry. He feels that Jonathan made a brilliant move for his own tribe, while Mike made a decision for their tribe, against the tribe’s wishes. And everyone is even more disappointed when they realize that the rice bag from Kalabaw isn’t much more than what they themselves had left. Lisa chooses to feel that they have at least doubled their rice, which is better than nothing.
But Lisa interviews that forfeiting the game has been bad for the morale of the tribe. It’s a ‘giving up,’ a double loss, “if you choose to focus that way.” Whiny sad sack Abi calls the trade “one of the dumbest moments of Survivor.” Big words coming from someone who’s sat out 90% of the challenges! She crabs on about how they only have about two days of rice left, and will have to start taking smaller portions, despite their hunger.
RC warns Mike that Artis is furious about Mike’s decision, and has been cursing him out ever since. She agrees that he asked everyone to weigh in on the decision, but Artis is still pouting, as is Abi. Mike wonders if he’s ever met anyone as negative as Abi.
Okay Kalabaw – let’s get fishing! Jonathan is all gung ho to catch some big fish, but only succeeds in bringing in one tiny specimen. Carter admits that he wasn’t happy with the trade the day before. He consoles himself by moping on the beach with Katie, complaining about being hungry, rather than attempting to fish or forage for edible vegetation. They’re worried about being weak for challenges, and hope that there will soon be a merge.
Why does Abi always get to carry the Immunity Idol into the Immunity Challenge? What would she know about competing? Anyway, it’s that time. This challenge involves one member for each tribe launching a ball from a sling shot that the other members from each tribe try to catch for a point. Anyone can catch any of the balls, regardless of which team launched the ball. First team to five points wins.
Guess who’s sitting out yet another challenge? If you guessed Abi – who claims that her track record of sitting out 6 of the 8 challenges wasn’t her choice – you’d be right. Mike also sits this one out.
Jonathan grabs the first point for Kalabaw, followed by Pete and RC catching one each for Tandang. Probst has a few harsh words for Katie, calling her ‘completely ineffective in this challenge.” Hey, Probst, sling a few insults at Abi for sitting out challenge after challenge instead!
Malcolm scores again and again, winning immunity for Tandang. Probst hands the Idol to Lisa, who immediately hands it to Abi. Probst notes that Malcolm should be the one holding the idol, and he accepts it shyly. Kalabaw’s little tribe gets notice that someone’s going home tonight.
Now, how will the tribe decide who’s going home? Everyone agrees that Denise is an asset. The overwhelming consensus seems to be that either Jonathan or Katie will be voted out. But how to choose … I know! Let’s ask Jonathan! Surprisingly, Jonathan thinks it should be Katie. And Katie gets told that they are all voting for Denise.
Katie thinks it would be crazy to get rid of Denise and her obvious strength. She tells Jeff that it’s time for Jonathan to go. Carter is completely confused, and wanders around, pouting.
They head off to Tribal Council, Katie in her red dress, and Jonathan in his spectacles. Probst welcomes them, and then immediately asks them who feels like they’re in trouble over the vote. Denise and Katie both raise their hands, with Denise admitting that she is still the new kid, and wouldn’t be surprised if they kicked her out.
Jeff Kent says that every vote cast is going to be a blindside, as they all like each other very much. Probst asks Jeff if he plays any game that’s similar to Survivor, in terms of strategy. Jeff gives Probst the evil eye as he answers, “No.” He then says that this game sucks. Probst wonders, does it suck in the greatest way because it’s complicated, or do you wish you weren’t here and you want to go home? Jeff clarifies that it sucks because you have to battle the elements, become friends, and then eventually vote your friends off the game. Probst says that’s the game of Survivor; you have to work together, build a world, and then ultimately vote each other out. So how do you choose your vote? (I, for one, would rather vote Abi out, whether her tribe is there or not! Now that’s a blindside!)
Time to vote – Katie for Penner, everyone else for Katie. Katie’s torch is snuffed, and she sashays down her last runway. Probst reminds the remaining four that they can still triumph if they remain strong and united.
Katie’s exit interview: “I got blindsided, I mean, it’s not a good feeling. But I came in thinking, oh, I’m an athlete, I’m so strong, I can handle whatever, but out here it is nothing like you think it is on TV. It’s so hard. But I mean it’s such an awesome thing.”
Next time on, Survivor: Lisa is no stranger to ‘the facts of life,’ as Malcolm assures her she reminds him of his mama. And a twist in the game forces everyone to scramble. Looks like a merge next week!
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Photo Credits: Monty Brinton/CBS