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'Survivor: Philippines' 2012 – 'I Don’t Know Who Told Abi She Knows Everything About Everything'

November 15th, 2012 11:40am EST

Lisa Whelchel, Abi-Maria Gomes and Peter Well, we all knew that it would take a pretty wild episode to beat the insanity and confusion of last week’s incredible Tribal Council. And this episode isn’t it. Sure Abi once again displays her trademark lack of gamesmanship and petty mindedness, but it’ll be a while before we see another episode like the last!

We begin with Lisa desperately trying to smooth over Abi’s anger at Lisa’s big move and attempt to save Mike Skupin and show loyalty to Tandang. Despite Lisa outing Malcolm’s hidden immunity idol. Abi has nothing but contempt for Lisa. But Malcolm understands. Abi assumes that Skupin voted for her, but Jonathan Penner says that it was he that voted for her. Penner says he was “p.o.’d” when the vote went to a Plan B that no one told him about.

When Carter explains who voted for whom, Penner realizes that throwing his vote to Abi messed up a vote that could have potentially knocked Peter out of the game. But he was peeved not to be in the loop, and is still a ‘dead man walking.’

This week, the focus is on breaking up the Tandang alliance of Abi, Pete, Artis, Lisa and Skupin. Penner knows that only Skupin and Lisa are playing a grown up game, and he hopes to appeal to them to join with him. He has a long talk with Lisa, correctly understanding her mixed emotions about the game and about how her childhood fame and internal struggles as a working actor have shaped her feelings. He sees her need to please the other players. (Penner is also an actor, producer and writer.) Lisa is astonished at his grasp of the underlying reasons for her uncertainty.

Lisa feels that the game is upsetting her ‘moral compass,’ and that the game may be beyond her capabilities. Penner reassures her, saying that her bold move may have been unprecedented in Survivor history, but that it was a good move. He ends by saying that he never meant to make her cry, cleverly drawing her to his side, emotionally.

The Reward Challenge is another mud bath. Jeff Probst explains that the players must slide under a mud barrier, climb over an A frame, and then dig into a mud pit for a bag of balls. They will then dive into a trough filled with rice before climbing out and opening their bag of balls, which are to be tossed into a tall structure, until 12 balls have fallen within. The winning team wins an assortment of school supplies and toys, which they will deliver to a nearby village. The grateful villagers will serve the winners a feast. So it’s a win-win situation, a reward in the truest sense. Survivors ready?

The tribe is divided up into two teams through a schoolyard pick. Abi, not surprisingly, is picked by neither team, so she sits out the challenge, ineligible for reward. Skupin, Artis, Lisa and Peter are on one team, while Penner, Denise, Malcolm and Carter are on the other. Both Skupin and Penner are the first to slither through the mud bath, and clamber over the A frame.

The twist that Penner throws is intriguing; when he reaches the mud trough, he searches for and finds all four of the bags of balls, and leaves the bags at the corners so that the rest of his team don’t need to spend time searching. This move leaves him behind Skupin at the onset, but pays huge dividends as the race continues. Sure enough, Penner’s team wins the race portion, and is ahead as they begin pitching the balls into the structure. And it’s Penner’s team for the win!

The winners are happy to head into the nearby village with the goodies for the children. A wonderful time is had by all. The villagers are overjoyed to receive the supplies, and treat the Survivors like royalty. Malcolm remembers his time teaching in Micronesia, and wonders why he ever thought bartending could be fulfilling. Penner accidentally tells the children that his name is “Normal,” and then plays a local piñata-type game that has the kids ecstatic.

But there’s also time for a little strategy. Denise and Carter wonder how Skupin can stay loyal to Tandang when he is constantly being mistreated. They also wonder how the Tandang tribe can be so clueless to Lisa’s loyalty.

Speaking of clueless – at the Dangrayne camp, Pete interviews that Lisa was ‘obliterated’ at Tribal Council, and says that she is clueless about the game. He’s amazed that Skupin and Lisa are key to keeping the Tandang numbers high. Meanwhile, Abi is leading the other losers through a beat down on Lisa, whom she proclaims ‘gullible and naïve.’ But the main target in the Tandang tribe is Penner. They are adamant that Penner will be going home that night at Tribal Council.

Artis realizes that Abi is a loose cannon who thinks she knows what she’s doing, but clearly doesn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. Lisa wonders if her loyalty to Tandang and the vicious Abi makes any sense; it may be time to flip to the other side, where she is accepted and appreciated.

And so, on to the Immunity Challenge. Penner reluctantly gives up the necklace. Probst explains the challenge; they must balance and position six balls onto an oversized paddle by rolling the balls down a long neck. Survivors ready?

The players will need a steady hand, and solid concentration to position even one ball. From the beginning, only Skupin and Pete master the moves. The other players can’t even get one ball to stay on the paddles. Skupin and Peter are neck and neck until suddenly Pete has a run of misfortune, with each new attempt knocking a previously placed ball off the paddle. Skupin wins immunity!

Artis says, “At tonight’s Tribal Council, unless something goes wrong, we can get Penner out and we can actually for the first time in a long time, come back to camp, take a deep breath and we can relax for a while.” Oh dear. Why can’t anyone leave poor Penner alone? The unrelenting push to get rid of Penner is getting annoying.

Abi interviews that she wishes she could vote off Skupin, but they need him for the numbers. Penner is the bigger threat, but Skupin is really annoying, she says. Later, while trying to break open a coconut against a tree, Abi ‘accidentally’ sends the coconut flying towards Skupin’s head as he relaxes.

Later, Abi tells Pete that it feels kind of good to know that Penner is going home, but then says she’s worried that Lisa or Skupin might turn on them. She seems unconcerned that her rude treatment to them could have any effect on their loyalty.

Penner knows he needs five votes to stay in the game. His only hope is to get either Lisa or Skupin to vote with him. Denise, Malcolm and Carter gather to discuss possible strategy. Abi will likely be selfish and hold on to her own idol, but she could also pass it off to Pete. It’s highly unlikely that she’d give it to Artis, so they decide to target Artis. They just need to get either Skupin or Lisa on their side. Otherwise, Penner is going home.

Penner and Lisa spend some time sitting in a cove, discussing the game. Penner asks Lisa “what will the audience at home be saying? Who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys?” He asks her to do the right thing and vote out the bad guys.

Lisa’s head is spinning. She really likes Penner, and sees his point, but still wants to be loyal. But is that the old Lisa, who’s always worried about what other people think? Penner’s earlier discussion with Lisa pays dividends as she contemplates what to do.

Skupin is next up for a watery confab with Lisa. He has no problem with flipping against Tandang, but needs Lisa to be on his side. She is eager to hear what he has to say, but that ‘loyalty’ thing is really conflicting. Finally, though, she has to admit, “if Tandang is no longer loyal to me, am I being exactly what Abi accuses me of being — gullible and naïve?”

Off we go to Tribal Council. RC and Jeff Kent are brought in as the Jury members. Jeff Probst begins by immediately saying that the last Tribal Council was one of the craziest he’d ever seen. (True dat.) He asks Lisa if there was much fallout from her behavior. She says that the fallout was internal for her, but she was welcomed back to camp with such grace. She was told that her big move wasn’t played all that well, but was respected for playing it. Abi is surprised to hear that Lisa felt she experienced more grace from the people she was against than from her own tribe. Lisa tells Probst that she can only attribute that to a maturity and experience on the Survivor fans on the other alliance who want to play the game.

Probst mentions that Abi’s face is so tense, it looks like venom is ready to come out. Abi blows off Lisa’s words as ‘interesting.’ She feels like she’s shown grace to Lisa, but “apparently not.”

Artis says he’s not surprised that the merged tribe is still so divided. “Tandang had one of the most powerful tribes put together in Survivor history, and it’s playing out like it’s supposed to play out.” Denise disagrees, saying that thinking that things will continue on as they have is risky.

Artis wants to clear the air. He’s not saying he’s completely safe and comfortable; he’s aware that he could be blindsided at any moment.

Despite everything that has been said at Tribal, Abi tells Probst that she’s still not very sure about Lisa at this point. Everyone swivels to give Abi a look of complete disbelief, while Lisa just smiles and shrugs at the immense stupidity of Abi’s words. Even RC, on the jury, can do nothing but laugh at Abi’s statement, cuddling up to Jeff Kent as he shakes his head. Lisa says it’s what she’s heard from Abi all along, despite her actions speaking louder than words.

And so, on to the vote. In the end, Lisa stays loyal, but Skupin moves to the good side, and the votes fall five to four, with Artis becoming the 10th person voted out, and the third member of the jury. He is remarkably calm, despite being blindsided.

Probst tells the tribe members that once again, this game has just turned, and shoos them off into the night. On the jury, RC looks ecstatic.

Artis’ exit interview: “Well played to Penner. He managed to pull off the improbable. Well played. All I can do is applaud him. I have no ill will towards anybody in the game because when it’s all said and done, it is a game. I could not have been more happy. I take that back, yes I could have, if I had won the million dollars.”

Next time on, Survivor: Skupin has a plan to steal Lisa from her alliance, but breaking up with Abi is hard to do. As Lisa says, “I can’t be in an alliance with someone who really doesn’t trust me,” Abi says, “But you started the game with us!”

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

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Photo Credits: CBS Broadcasting Inc.

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