Ponderosa episodes are at the bottom of this double-recap, but before we get into that, I want to thank you for all the kind words & messages regarding my LEGO recap. I usually do the LEGO recap at the Final 7, & thank goodness this year it fell on the Final 8 so I could actually have fun with it. A Final 7 LEGO recap would have looked like this, after several Manhattans (on the rocks with a splash of tears):
|Fucking make it yourself. I'm out.|
Episode 11 begins with everyone hating on Abi-Maria. With Pete now gone, she is feeling alone & attacked. Somewhere, Whitney Duncan is yelling at her screen, "The word you want is 'vilified', like in my new single, Feelin' Vilified, Y'all!" Malcolm & Abi get the Tree Mail & when she sees envelopes with names on them, Abi thinks they're letters from home & starts crying. Malcolm comforts her, calling her "darlin'". Get it, girl.
The envelopes actually contain $500 for a food auction, where Lisa bids against Carter twice: once, right after he gives up a baked "potayta" so Gangrene can go home with rice & beans, & once as she's eating the huge sandwiches she outbid him for. I love the 2 reactions here - an excited Lisa getting her delicious sandwiches, & a devastated Carter, with bags of rice & beans at his feet.
|Jesus wanted me to have this! Just lick your palms, Carter.|
I'd been warming up to Lisa, but she's becoming like Dawn Meehan for me...the nice lady everyone likes but is secretly kind of awful.
Malcolm eats a doughnut better than anyone's ever eaten a doughnut before, & Penner enjoys fried chicken so much that Probst steps back a bit & tells him, "you got a weird look in your eye".
|Penner is seeing Probst as a cartoon piece of fried chicken.|
Abi-Maria buys herself a spot in the final stage of the next Immunity Challenge, but don't worry! She's a horrible competitor. What possible challenge could Abi-Maria win besides a dance-off &/or a bitch-off? And yes, I would watch both.
The Immunity Challenge involves being tethered to a rope, maneuvering through rails & poles. Questions will be asked before each leg, & weights will be added to anyone answering incorrectly. Probst asks Abi-Maria to read her clue & she fakes that there are 2 parts to it but she's only supposed to read the first one to everybody. She rips the clue to shreds so nobody sees it. Her performance is still more believable than Ozzy Christ Superstar.
2 of the 3 questions are edited out, which sucks because the coconut crab question from South Pacific has come in handy at board game night.
|It IS their favourite food.|
At the last stage, it is Penner, Carter & Abi who must untie knots to get through an obstacle course. Unfortunately, Abi spent the first 2 legs of this Challenge filing her nails, so she manages to win Immunity.
Back at Gangrene, the Final Four alliance of Malcolm, Denise, Skupin & Lisa decide that this is their chance to take out Penner. Lisa whines yet again about not being cut out for this game, this game that she's not good at because it's too big for her. Enough. We all know you shouldn't be playing Survivor, Lisa - you don't have to keep telling us. At least Angie...nope, not sure where I was going with that.
I know Lisa loves the game, but it's possible to love this game & not play it. I love Survivor, but I know I would bruise easily & cry & I would leave via drowning or a medical evacuation due to severe sunburn. The only way I could ever win Survivor is if my paleness blinded all other contestants, leaving me the last person standing. As Andy Baker so very painfully pointed out, I am not unlike another contestant this season.
So, if I know why I would suck at Survivor, why doesn't Lisa? She's acting like she had no idea that empty promises & hurting people could be part of the deal. She's forever wringing her hands, praying for guidance or whatever it is people pray for on Survivor.
|In the name of the Burnett, the Probst, & the CBS network, Amen. It has been 10 whole minutes since my last confessional.|
Lisa looks tortured so Penner asks her about her latest troubles & struggles & issues. I wish somebody had asked her what moisturizer she uses, because that lady has beautiful skin.
"Do you want to vote me out?"
|Whaaaat? Noooooo! Of course I don't want to! But I said that I would, so...|
Penner learns that after he turned down the alliance with Skupin & Lisa, she made a different Final alliance. They put their hands in & everything. She tells him she really, really, really, really doesn't want to knock him out of the game, but she's not willing to do anything about it. "Lisa has once again lost her mind....to her credit she's gonna stick by her guns...I think her guns are ridiculous." Her advice to Penner is "go do your magic". Penner swipes his hand along the brim of his hat as he puts it on & Lisa takes that for absolution.
|I am totes still going to heaven.|
Penner, Carter & Abi-Maria will be voting Denise, so it looks like one of my 2 favourites will be going home. Sad face. Penner approaches Skupin, but neglects to use the magic words that swayed Skupin for the Artis vote: "fulcrum character".
At Tribal Council, Penner makes his case, & Probst says, "Lisa, this must be very difficult for you." Thanks, Probst. We're all dying to find out if this has been difficult for Lisa. If only she'd open up & share her feelings more.
It's time to vote & Abi-Maria's Denise vote doesn't fit into the urn on the first try. She has to re-fold it, giving her fierce delivery of "I hope you go home tonight" the same dramatic impact as storming out of a room only to sheepishly return because you forgot your keys.
|Never attempt parchment-folding when blinded by rage.|
Before Penner writes his vote, he yells over his shoulder "Denise." Even Denise laughs at this, & it is definitely the greatest thing Artis has ever heard.
Penner is voted out, & imparts some wisdom on Gangrene: "Keep your sunny side up, & suck eggs!" He leaves whistling what I believe is the Kill Bill whistle, so there are many levels of awesomeness, despite the sadness of the outcome. Penner has long been my favourite Survivor, & it was a joy to have him back on my TV. I <3 Penner.
I usually make it a point to stay away from twitter & other blogs until my recap is up. After this episode, I made an exception as I had 2 weeks before writing. Yes, I finally listened to the Rob Cesternino podcast for the first time. Enough of you go on & on about it, so I downloaded a few episodes for the plane trip. Consider me a convert, even though it kept my mind on this very depressing episode of Survivor while on vacation.
|Forlorn & despondent, I considered buying a fedora.|
Back home, we caught up on episode 12 of Survivor before we even unpacked. Gangrene is decidedly less-witty & entertaining now that Penner's gone & the only real focus is on Lisa's struggle. Still. She basically agrees that Malcolm & Denise will be super hard to beat, & she made the wrong choice for herself keeping with the alliance. Lisa says she couldn't vote any other way because "betraying that trust...opposes who I am." BULLOCKS, I say. How do you decide which trust is OK to break, & the other isn't? Because you shook hands? Jeff Kent needs to teach Lisa a little something we now know as the Four-Finger Handshake. Because if you're going to be childish about it, GO ALL OUT.
The Reward Challenge will be played with loved ones. It's the Family Visit episode, you guys! Something I have very strong feelings about! Skupin has an emotional reunion with his son who not only shares his name, but also the genetic inclination to disaster. Skupin calls Jr "the best human being I know", so I'm guessing his wife & other 6 children are super-happy. Tall Carter & his tiny Mom are really sweet. Denise & her husband make me cry.
Lisa is sobbing when it's her turn. Never fear, Justice is here!
|Cape by Kai.|
Yes, Lisa's younger brother is named Justice. Now, I'm a Lisa, & my brother's name is Matthew ("Matt" when my Mom is feeling really wild). Here we have a Lisa & a Justice. OK.
Justice is so much younger than Lisa he could be her son, but Justice squashes those thoughts as he sprints in, calling "Sister! Sister!" in reassuring warm tones as Lisa falls apart. "I don't think I've ever needed any person more in my life than this moment." Which is why she summoned him with a giant "J" in the sky.
Abi-Maria's Mom runs over & Abi translates for her happy but confused & completely adorable Mom. Probst gets playful & pretends he forgot about Malcolm. Malcolm's brother stops just short of barreling into Malcolm & brotherly hijinks ensue. Looks like Pauly Shore is ba-ack.
|Freberg DNA is 75% hair.|
For the Challenge, Survivors toss a muddy bag to their loved ones, who then have to knock over 5 targets with it. First pair to finish goes back to camp for the night.
Justice goes to town on those targets like he just watched them murder his parents, but Justice is not served. Malcolm & Miles win, & Malcolm is faced with the difficult decision falling on all winners of the family challenge: choosing 2 more Survivors to bring their loved ones back to camp. Malcolm chooses Skupin & Lisa.
My opinion on this has been noted in past seasons, so I'll keep this short. I know there are a lot of variables that have to go into this choice - alliances, strategy, emotions - but to me, if someone has a spouse out there, they should be chosen. It breaks my heart to see Denise have to say goodbye to her husband. You can go 30 days without seeing a sibling or your grown child. A partner in life, someone you normally spend every day with - that's bigger. So even though I understand Malcolm's explanation of rewarding his allies that stuck with him & Denise at the last Tribal, BOO.
|I mean, COME ON.|
Back at Gangrene, Justice is enthusiastic, Miles is trying to get laughs, & Mike Jr is being skinned alive by a tree.
|"That's my boy."|
Justice wants to help Lisa any way that he can. He is there to gather intel, & to remind Lisa of the game. Justice suggests that voting out Malcolm might be a smart thing to do, what with the threat-level, & the Immunity Idol, & the blindsiding possibility. Why, Justice, what a brilliant idea! So NOW, voting out a member of their Final 4 For-Realzies alliance sounds like a good idea to Skupin & Lisa. Are you kidding me? Where was Justice last week?
|(please read in a Batman voice) There was no justice last week.|
Justice, you are wise & your knowledge is infinite. But can Justice justify Sister & Skupin possibly betraying the For-Suresies alliance which up until now could not even be considered for it had been shaken upon?
|I got this one, Justice. It's totally my jam.|
That's right. The silent Survivor known as Buddy Christ has made another appearance, helping Survivors feel justified in their playing of the game. Lisa & Skupin are praying for the Lord's will to be done, whether it benefits them or not. Also, they think Jesus would look like Malcolm, play like Carter & hopefully be nothing like Abi. They're laughing & having a wonderful Christian time, & Malcolm, Denise, Carter & Abi are all Oh shit. Jesus crashed the party.
Lisa doesn't believe God chooses sides, instead asking for guidance & says its easy to pray. "We got a plan, we'd love it if you bless it, but if you don't, & you have a bigger plan, we totally trust that. He's a win-win God." Wow, that really does sound easy...almost as if whatever happens, you can still maintain your faith & not take responsibility for anything...biting my tongue now...
The Immunity Challenge involves racing on beams over water to a platform. Using a hook on a rope, they fish for bags. Once they have all their bags, they use ropes & sticks to make a pole long enough to push a target, releasing a flag. First one wins Immunity.
Abi takes her time & Probst is enraged. "Let's go, Abi! What are you doing?!?"
|"PICK IT UP!"|
He continues, "Abi, taking as much time as she can to get in the water. As if there was nothing attached to this challenge." Probst calms himself down with an innuendo - they're his favourite. "Lisa's already started working on her pole." It's for naught, however, as Abi infuriates him once more - this time to tween levels of annoyance. "Abi finally joins the group. That took for-e-ver." Malcolm wins Immunity despite a valiant effort from Carter, whose pole just wasn't quite as long or strong as Malcolm's. (What? It's true. Probst would concur.)
Lisa says she's bummed because she was so ready to play the game (this week) & make a big move (this week). Ugh.
Malcolm is ecstatic, as the Immunity necklace & his Hidden Immunity Idol assure him a spot in the Final 4. Lisa is OK with how things turned out - after all, it's what God wanted. She's having a serious discussion with Skupin about God closing this door, so perhaps there's a bigger picture, &...
|"Look at the size of the ant on that tree.|
|LOOK AT IT!|
Snapped back into reality, Skupin agrees that Malcolm must have won Immunity because God has something for them with this Final 4. Decision made. Sticking with the 4. Instead of gunning for Denise (who I think would be just as hard to beat as Malcolm against the jury), they abandon the big move completely. Because Jesus. And divine insect intervention.
The decision is now between Abi & Carter, & nobody wants to get rid of Carter. Remember, he's playing the game like Jesus, who totally had killer abs. But sexy Abi-Maria reminds them of a certain sexy lady who became Jesus' BFF, so Carter must go.
Carter is WTF? Abi over me? What happened to my house of prayer? You've made it a den of thieves! And then he smashes a marketplace in the middle of a temple. "I know this game is about strategy & this game is about winning, ultimately...but everyone at our camp this whole time has been talking about keeping people in this game who deserve to be in this game."
Too bad, Carter. It looks like they've decided it's you, unless Abi-Maria reminds them about Abi-Maria. She really can't read a room, & she whines & complains & remains in her own bubble of self-righteousness. Malcolm says: "Abi is so detrimental to morale, & just, people's smiles in general - she's like a soul-sucker around camp - she's like the dementors from Harry Potter."
You guys. I nailed it in the LEGO recap.
Malcolm wants Abi gone, but Carter is the better strategic move. "I'm considering making a really bad strategic decision just for my, like, morale. That's how terrible of a human being Abi is...if Abi goes home tonight, it's because she's a bitch."
At Tribal, Probst asks Lisa who she wants to sit with in the finals, & Lisa says, "I would sit next to somebody I think I can beat. Yes, I would like to be nobler than that, but why make it harder than you have to." Penner, sitting in the jury, hears Lisa say exactly what he was trying to get across to her at the last Tribal Council. He begins muttering expletives under his breath & is forced to shield the lasers that his dreamy eyes have become, lest they smote his enemies.
Denise tells Probst the tension with Abi has improved slightly. Probst jumps in with a question designed to get a smack-down: "So you think she deserves to go to the end?" Well, that's just baiting, Probst. That's like asking Grumpy Cat to sing a Christmas song.
Abi, who truly believes her only fault is being too honest, doesn't like the honesty coming from Denise. "I don't think she can win this game. If somebody's looking in the spirit of Survivor, they're looking for more of a balanced game, between the social, the strategic, the physical...& I don't think that Abi's brought those fully to the table." Abi rolls her eyes, but you can't really argue with that.
Time to vote, & Carter is voted out. I feel like he got a raw deal in the editing this season, but Ponderosa does nothing to help prove that. Watch the Ponderosa videos because more Penner is good Penner. He makes drinks & plays board games. Clearly, we should be BFFs.
As always, if you live in the US, watch them at cbs.com.