'Survivor: Philippines' 2012 – The Name Of The Game Is BlindSide

November 1st, 2012 11:24am EDT

 Abi-Maria Gomes and Peter Kalabaw, now minus Katie, regroup back at camp. Jonathan Penner notes that Denise has been at every Tribal Council this season, and says she needs a break. Jonathan was surprised that Katie wrote his name down at TC, but understands that it’s a warning that he needs to keep his eyes wide open at all times.

At Tandang, Mike Skupin mentions that it’s the anniversary of the day he fell in the fire, 24 series before, when he last played Survivor. His current tribe thinks it’s a miracle he’s made it this far in this series.

Off in the distance, a boat appears, and the Tandang members are first to find out that the tribes are merging. They are given ten minutes to collect whatever they need from their current camp, and everyone scrambles madly to get their possessions together. Especially Malcolm, as he has to retrieve the Hidden Immunity Idol he’s hidden in the bush.

Kalabaw gets the same message, and are overjoyed. Their little tribe of 4 is no match for the larger tribe of 7. Penner hopes that the merge will allow them to swing a few people on to their side.

Everyone’s cheerful, with renewed energy, as they converge on their new beachfront home. Jeff Kent, however, has developed a real itch to get rid of Jonathan Penner. Jeff believes that no returning player should win at Survivor, and he’s making it a priority to ensure it won’t happen.

The two tribes merge over a feast of grapes, salami, bread and cheese, and wine, introducing themselves. Some, like Jeff Kent, can’t tell the truth about their background, so they make up a new life on the spot.

Skupin is giddy – this is the first merge he’s been part of. But he sees that the ‘power group in his tribe are pretty quiet at the feast, and decides he’s a free agent from now on, willing to work with whomever he feels trustworthy. Lisa, RC and Abi wonder if Denise will come over to the women’s side.

The men drag out bamboo poles to build a new shelter. With the sun shining, Lisa decides to spread out everyone’s clothing for drying. She finds the Hidden Immunity Idol in Malcolm’s bag. In the bush, Malcolm and Denise spot Lisa hanging out the clothes, and realize that she knows about the Idol. Malcolm rushes to get Lisa alone. She tells him she honestly didn’t mean to find the idol, and apologizes. He reassures her that he trusts her, as she reminds him of his mother, and that she, he and Denise will go to the end together.

Malcolm interviews that he’s glad the “Church Lady” found the idol, but now feels locked into an involuntary alliance with the two people he’s not confident he can beat. Lisa interviews that she’s not the only actor out there, and she’ll take his promise with a grain of salt.

As a new morning dawns, Penner asks Lisa if anyone else has recognized her yet. She says they haven’t so far. And she’s having a great time, just being herself. She’s finding it very healing to develop friendships without anyone knowing that she was a child star on TV’s “The Facts of Life.” Generally, she doesn’t know if people like her for herself, or for her past fame.

Penner later tells Skupin that they need to be careful of the others. As returning players, their foremost need is just to survive each day. Penner wants Skupin to feel comfortable about turning against the people he’s spent the last 17 days with.

RC and Skupin have felt ostracized from the rest of the Tandang tribe from the beginning. Meanwhile, Jeff Kent is ready to throw his lot in with Pete, Malcolm and Artis, as long as they commit to getting rid of Penner. They plan to throw 4 votes at RC, and 4 votes to Penner. If Penner has the idol, and plays it, they win either way. As long as neither wins immunity, they’ve got a perfect plan.

At the Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst announces that there are two Immunity Necklaces available – one for a man, and one for a woman. They will hold on to a rope handle, attached to a bucket. Each bucket is filled with 25 percent of each person's body weight. As time goes on, the weight will become too much to bear, and the bucket will drop onto a clay pane. When the bucket drops, you're out of the challenge. The last man and woman left standing will receive immunity. Survivors ready?

Right from the beginning, everyone struggles with the challenge, and after 5 minutes, Skupin is the first out of the challenge, followed by Pete. Penner’s next, then Lisa, Malcolm, RC, and Abi, leaving Denise the winner of immunity for the women.

After 15 long minutes, and after kissing his own biceps, Artis is out of the challenge, leaving Jeff and Carter. Jeff whispers to Carter that whoever drops first, owes the other. Carter tells Probst he just wants to wear the necklace, and Jeff drops his bucket, leaving Carter as the winner of the male Immunity Necklace.

For the first time, Denise is safe from that evening’s Tribal Council, and she’s very relieved. Carter rocks his own necklace, understanding that he now owes Jeff Kent a favor.

They all return to the new beach camp, where a newly erected sign displays the new tribe name, Dangrayne.

RC feels very confident that she is safe, but Skupin feels threatened, as a returning player. He approaches Jeff Kent, saying that he and RC would like to align with Jeff, Malcolm and Jonathan. Skupin feels that Artis, Abi and Pete are very rude, and have snubbed him and RC since the merge. Jeff admits that he won’t let Penner beat him at the game, fearing that Skupin and Penner will ally, and try to get to the end together. Skupin says he doesn’t have a problem with Jeff’s plan, choosing safety over Penner.

Jeff meets with Carter, and they decide that with Denise, Penner, Skupin and RC, they have six votes, and Jeff agrees that that should be enough. What? I thought they were voting out Penner or RC? Jeff says that if he and Carter jump to the other tribe, they may lose whatever loyalty they’ve built within their original alliances. And Skupin has promised to vote against Penner, when the time comes.

Penner wanders by, and assures Jeff and Carter that he’s on their team, whatever they decide. Privately, Penner interviews that he still feels safe within his faction, and that if he’s wrong, he’s a terrible judge of character, who doesn’t deserve to stay in the game. He thinks they should try and take Pete out of the game, and take control. Carter sits open-mouthed, completely confused.

Jeff goes back to Pete and Abi, and tells them that they’re still good to vote together. Jeff’s playing both sides, and understands that it could really come back to bite him in the end. Whatever move he makes, it won’t sit well with either tribe.

So, off they go to Tribal Council. It’s the first time that any of the former Tandang tribe has been to TC, so it’s all new to them, as they grab a torch and get fire. Probst reminds them that fire represents life; when your fire’s gone – so are you.

Everyone admits that things are very different and unsettled at camp. Denise seems to be getting a cold, as she croaks about how happy she is to be safe from the vote for once. Abi brings up her battle with RC, finally explaining to RC and the rest what her anger is about. She insists that RC betrayed her by digging up the clue after they’d buried it together. RC says she didn’t. Abi says she trusts herself over RC. Yawn.

Probst asks Pete if there is any animosity toward the two returning players, and he admits that people feel the returnees have had their shot. Lisa notes that Malcolm and Denise, former tribe mates, are back together, and could be realigning. But she feels that anyone who leaves their previous tribe to form a new alliance will be distrusted by both of the tribes for showing disloyalty.

Jeff Kent admits that it’s very likely there will be a blindside that evening, as it’s clear that everyone is still scrambling to find their place within the new tribe. And it’s time to vote.

Penner plays his Hidden Immunity Idol, saving himself for the night. Although there are 5 votes for Jonathan Penner, which don’t count, Pete has 2 votes, and RC has 4. So it’s RC’s turn to have her torch snuffed. Abi looks delighted to see RC go. Abi and Pete share a big smile. RC quietly hugs Skupin goodbye, and leaves Tribal Council.

RC’s exit interview: “That’s the name of the game. The name of the game is “BlindSide.” And, you know, it was such an amazing, wonderful experience. I can’t believe I actually got to do this. I lasted rain, and no food, and all these things. It was difficult, but I got to play Survivor. How many people actually get to do this? I made it pretty far, so I'm very proud of myself.”

Next time on, Survivor: After being betrayed, Penner’s got nothing left to lose. “I have no alliances, they are all ready to die,” he says. He wages war on everyone, telling Skupin that he intends to win immunity at the next challenge.

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

© 2012

Photo Credits: Monty Brinton/CBS

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