Before we get into last night's episode, voting for The Player of the Season is upon us. You can vote here until Sunday afternoon. While I have had several favourites this season, I think you all know who I cast my 10 votes for.
|Penner is the reason for the season.|
No, it's not just because of The Eyes, which could very well be a result of post-production CGI, or a run-in with Loki's staff.
-He was targeted by his tribe on the first day.
-He found the first Hidden Immunity Idol, & played it at the right time, saving himself.
-He gained his arch-nemesis' allegiance by entrusting him with information.
-He avoided the vote 3 times after he played the Idol (by winning Immunity, & general awesomeness).
-He introduced the term "fulcrum character" into the lexicon of Survivor.
-He *almost* convinced Lisa (who cannot make a decision to save her life) to join him, by brilliantly appealing to her emotions only to then appeal to the performer in her.
Yes, he turned down a Final Alliance & it was a mistake, but after being burned by the Clam Alliance, he vowed there would be no more allegiances.
|Vote Penner. Buy a fedora. Use the word "Bullocks" more often. Keep the spirit of Penner alive.|
The episode entitled Gouge My Eyes Out begins with everyone returning to Gangrene after voting Carter out. Abi feels something she's never felt before. It's an odd feeling, with the urge to smile & cry at the same time. She is told she feels grateful, relieved, & possibly even happy(?). Her eyes widen as she thanks people for the first time in her life. Lisa & Skupin talk about how great Carter was - we see more footage of this than we ever saw of Carter. Lisa says it doesn't seem fair & it's hard for her & my husband is taking a spoon away from my shaking hands, so this must be where they got the title of the episode, right?
Everyone takes note of Abi as "she announces, with trumpets, I'm going into the woods for awhile." While Skupin says this sans accent, Malcolm jumps in with an accent & we get subtitles in case we can't understand him.
|We're good, CBS. Thanks.|
Nobody is buying her Idol fantasy, though. They know that if she'd had one, she would have played it last night. Abi-Maria gets a few moments alone with Lisa, & tells her she's on the bottom & needs to make a move.
Lisa says "I don't believe Abi for a second, but I need Abi close whether we keep her, or she goes to the jury. If we keep her, I need her close to just kind of, maybe take to the end? And that feels really yucky inside, but I'm not gonna lie, that is the relationship I have with Abi. It's one to use her for my best game-plan." And that is what's so frustrating about Lisa - she keeps showing us that she knows how to play this game, but she won't let herself play it.
The Reward Challenge involves racing over slides, grabbing bundles of rings. Once they have all their rings, they must throw them onto pegs. First to get all 5 rings wins a helicopter ride to a boat, where they will have pizza & pop, & look for whale sharks. Skupin wins & gets to choose 2 other people to come along with him. Denise & Malcolm put their heads down & mumble to each other. Abi looks at the clouds, whistles, & kicks at the sand. Lisa pretends to take a phone call with her hand. They know that putting Skupin in a helicopter greatly increases the chance of it going down. And stop calling it a chopper, Probst - you're giving him ideas! Malcolm can't hide from Skupin as he chose Skupin for the family visit, & Lisa has been Skupin's ally since the beginning of the demise of the Sexy Alliance, so she takes the third spot. Skupin bounds to the helicopter, & thankfully Malcolm & Lisa stop him before he runs straight into the spinning blades.
So the same 3 who spent time hanging (& in some cases, praying) with their loved ones get this awesome reward. Abi seems genuinely surprised that she wasn't chosen, which, like, really? I know she's hasn't been very self-aware, but that's nuts.
Denise & Abi go back to Gangrene together. Yikes. Abi calls Denise a horrible person, so that's hilarious. Denise does a lot of smiling & nodding as Abi talks strategy all day. They both talk smack about the other in confessionals, but it's Denise who gives us the title. "I want to hang myself, gouge my eyes out...if I could have, like, needles that could just go right into my eardrums, I'd be good for the afternoon."
The 3 are feasting on the boat & Skupin says, "I'm drinking pop. I haven't had pop in 30 years." Aw, yeah. It's about to get crazy up in here.
Malcolm bears witness to it all. "Michael Skupin doesn't eat sugar in real life. And he overate on sugar, & he acted like a drunk chick at a bar...He's laughing & rolling around in his seat, he's trying on clothes...All of a sudden, Michael Skupin's fun to be around. Who knew he had that side of him?" The man got Lisa to do cookie body shots off a flipper.
A whale shark is spotted, & the 3 grab masks & flippers. Suddenly they're swimming with the largest fish in the world. Lisa says "Out of the blue, I mean, literally, poof! This humongous whale shark appears." This must have been a spectacular experience, & there are some beautiful shots of the moment.
The whale shark sees Skupin & tries to get away, but not before Skupin bumps into it.
You guys, I swear I didn't know how truthful the imagined scenario from my LEGO recap would prove. It's, like, 60% accurate, which I'm pretty sure makes me a prophet.
Malcolm still has his head in the game & if he can just get Skupin to sit still for 2 minutes, he can solidify this threesome. You know, the way Malcolm deals with all the drunk chicks doing body shots in his bar. "Me, you, & Skupin are in the same boat. The only way any of us has a shot at winning is if Denise isn't sitting there." First of all, why is nobody giggling? They are in the same boat! At that very moment! The metaphoric boat has manifested into a real, physical boat! Come on!
Well, I find it amusing.
Malcolm maintains that no one beats Denise. He distracts Skupin & Lisa with sugar to keep them from realizing that this logic also applies to him.
Skupin actually wants to align with Malcolm, as opposed to the last Tribal when they almost took Justice's advice & voted him out. Now Skupin sees Malcolm as the best shot at winning the last Immunity. "So if he wins, he has more power in who gets to come to the Final 3." Lisa doesn't feel the same way. "If it's the best way for me to go? Great. I've made a deal. And if it's not, then I can make another deal."
We don't see the return to Gangrene, which is disappointing. I really wanted to see Lisa describing every piece of food, & Skupin boasting about his intimate moment with a whale shark, & I really, really wanted to see Malcolm chase Abi around camp, telling her how much he felt like a princess.
Instead, we go straight to the morning, where Denise wakes up with a sore neck. First I think it must be from all the smiling & nodding at Abi the day before, but then we see fang marks (!!!) in her neck. Denise is prayed over by Lisa & Skupin, while Malcolm sits to the side & Abi slips the vial of poison back into her bikini top. We see a horrifying montage of all the dangerous animals around that could have bit Denise, & I'll just add those to the long list of why I'd never do Survivor. Also, we know the bitter snake who probably did this.
|How far away issss Ponderosssssa, again?|
Off to the Immunity Challenge, where it looks like Denise is feeling good enough to compete. There isn't another mention of the bite, so I guess it turned out OK. Using planks, Survivors must build a bridge across ropes, picking up bags along the way. The bags contain pieces which make a ball maze, & the first to finish wins Immunity.
Malcolm is almost at the end of the bridge when he falls & has to go back to the beginning. Everyone else is already working on their puzzles while he's making his second trip across the bridge. When he finally gets to the maze portion, he completes it in a very short time. Yes, he wins an Immunity Necklace he doesn't even need. Now, I'm not saying The Hair won this challenge for Malcolm, but it did fall down when he fell off the bridge. And it was in his way while he worked on the maze, yet it didn't hurt him at all.
|The Hair. Trust it.|
Meanwhile, Denise approaches the magical cave where Malcolm has made himself home. He sits on a throne he fashioned out of hairbands & clam shells.
Denise petitions The Hair: Hey, you! Remember when we searched for the Hidden Immunity Idol together? Back when it was just the 2 of us, the lone Survivors of Matsing? And even though you were the one who actually found it, it kind of belongs to both of us? Since tonight's the last night you can play it, & you have that shiny necklace which, truly, only compliments your magnificent hair, maybe you want me to hold on to that Idol for you?
Malcolm says he'd give it to Denise if she needed it, but he's confident that everyone will vote for Abi. And he wants his Mom to have the Idol as a souvenir. Whatever - we all know he's totally using it to bring chicks back to his place.
Skupin & Lisa still want to vote Denise out, but they know if they keep Abi, & Malcolm ends up winning that final immunity, they wouldn't be guaranteed Final 3.
At Tribal Council, Probst continues his streak of trying to make Abi cry. "With respect, which probably means, without any, you've been detested, laughed at, & then to be told you're not likeable, not a good person, it has nothing to do with your culture, you're just not nice. No one here wants you around. That's what you've been told." Would you like me to repeat that list again?
Denise says there's been luck to Abi lasting this long because Tandang didn't have to go to early Tribal Councils. Lisa gets her back up, & I'm not sure if she's misinterpreting what Denise said, or if she's just pandering to RC, Pete & Artis on the jury. "My Tandang colours are just about to burst. I have to say, I don't think it was all luck that we never went to Tribal Council. We had some strong players, we made some good showings in the challenges, & we avoided Tribal Council, not because of luck, but because of the strength of Tandang."
Now, I thought it was obvious that Denise meant that if Tandang had gone to a Tribal Council early on, Abi would have been voted off with as much ceremony as Angie or Katie. She didn't say the tribe was lucky - she said Abi was lucky. Was that not clear?
Abi hasn't had attention for 5 minutes, so she just starts talking. "They cannot beat Denise." "Lisa & Skupin are not winning this game." Probst asks Skupin for his reaction. "Jeff, it's so many things, because..."
|"Because you're an idiot....You're a moron."|
Girl, you are lucky. You're lucky that Skupin has come down from his sugar high. Shit could have gotten REAL. Does anyone know if Skupin had to enter a sugar rehab after filming was over? Those are harsh words...harsh enough to drive any person down a dark spiral of binge-eating cookies & knocking back pop. Tell me you're still sugar sober, Skupin!
Malcolm points out that Abi's strategy of being the worst person ever has worked for other people "straight to a million dollars."
|Not if Penner can help it.|
No idols are played, Probst reads the votes, & Abi is unanimously voted out. The mood changes instantly, as Skupin does a little dance on his way to Gangrene.
Sunday is the 2 hour finale & live reunion, & like past seasons, I'll be live-tweeting it. Follow me - @MomofKai - & join in the conversation. We can start a prayer circle of our own if we spot Joey Lawrence in the audience.
Abi's Ponderosa videos are remarkable...they managed to make me sympathize with her. Yes, she was a horrible human being in the game, but these videos make me consider *gasp* team Abi. Also, WTF with Pete not taking any of the heat here? Anyway, watch them & tell me if it's just the Mom in me that wants to give her a hug, or if my judgement has been affected by the number of cookies I've eaten while writing this recap.