This is the night that Survivor fans have been waiting for. We are down to the last individual immunity challenge, the last two tribal councils, as well as the final four of Denise, Lisa, Malcolm, and Skupin. Who has outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted all of the rest to take home the million dollar prize as well as the title of “Sole Survivor?”
Upon returning to camp, the final four is discussing how huge of a parasite Abi was. She literally sucked the life out of everyone she surrounded herself with. It was evident how disliked she was by the fact that everyone did a dance of joy after returning without her.
In what is arguably the most important reward challenge we have ever seen, Probst announces to the remaining castaways that the winner of the challenge will receive an advantage in the final individual immunity challenge. He explains that each must race through a series of obstacles collecting bags along the way. Once you have all three bags, you will use the enclosed pieces to construct a puzzle. The challenge was entitled “The Dragon Slayer,” which may be a homage to fan favorite, Benjamin “Coach” Wade, who has the same nickname.
The challenge resulted in all four members of Dangrayne making it to the puzzle at almost the same time. Skupin and Lisa fell out of the final leg of the challenge relatively early, leaving Denise and Malcolm to battle it out. Despite the fact that I voted for Lisa to win the “Player of the Season,” and yes I did vote ten times, I found myself rooting for Denise to win the advantage. However, she ended up losing to Malcolm by about three pieces.
Denise knows that it is going to be her or Malcolm in the final three with Lisa and Skupin. She convinced Lisa that she would be the wiser choice to take to the finals with them, which I definitely agree. I’m not sure that Penner or Abi would give Denise their votes, while Malcolm really has not done anything to make people mad. He had very polarizing physical and social games. Despite the fact that Lisa is on board, Skupin truly believes that it might be a wiser decision to take Malcolm to the end. I suppose it will really depend on who wins individual immunity. It would not surprise me if Malcolm ends up winning immunity, anyway, making the final vote an easy one.
The “Fallen Comrades” portion of the show is one that I am generally not anxious about. It just seems to drag the final episode out. The only reason why I am interested in watching it this time is to see Angie. I truly wish that she could have stayed in the game longer. I couldn’t help but notice how Denise was the one who talked the most during this section of the episode. She had a unique opportunity to get to know so many different people considering she went to every single tribal council.
We are down to the final individual immunity challenge of Survivor: Philippines. This final challenge is almost always a test of endurance. The object of tonight’s challenge is to balance a metal ball on a wooden plank. After a certain amount of time, each person must add additional length to their planks, making it much more difficult to keep the ball in balance. The advantage that Malcolm has is that he has two chances at this challenge. If his ball drops at any point, he gets a second try. This advantage came into play early because Malcolm was the first one to drop his ball, thus restarting the challenge. Not much longer after he dropped the ball the first time, Malcolm ended up dropping his ball a second time, becoming the first person out of the challenge. I am going to make a bold prediction tonight that Lisa and Skupin will decide to send Malcolm home tonight. Seemingly out of nowhere, Denise ended up dropping her ball and became the second person out of the challenge. Skupin ended up outlasting Lisa in the challenge and became the winner of the final immunity challenge.
At this point, Skupin is still unsure how he wants to vote. In his opinion, he would much rather take Malcolm to the finals because it is the more honorable thing to do, and he would prefer to beat someone that way. On the other hand, Denise would probably be an easier win, and he does not want to go out that way. I find it extremely ironic that he is playing the same kind of game that Colby played. This is ironic because they participated on the same season together, the Australian Outback. Colby chose Tina over Keith because it was the more honorable thing to do, and it cost him a million dollars. I really hope Skupin does not make the same mistake.
The final-four tribal council was not as heated this time around, mostly because Abi was not allowed to express herself, at least not vocally, as she sat with the other jury members. However, I could feel Malcolm’s pain when Probst asked Lisa if there was any reason why she should take Malcolm to the end. Her response was “there’s no reason that I should take him to the end.” You could see the utter shock, heartbreak, and defeat on his face, and it made me feel like I got punched in the stomach. I cannot even begin to imagine how Malcolm was feeling after hearing that. Ultimately, Skupin made the right decision to not pull a Colby. In a 3-1 vote, Malcolm became the fifteenth person voted out and became the eighth and final member of the jury.
Eliminated: Malcolm Freberg, the 25-year-old Bartender from Hermosa Beach, California
It has been a long time since a final tribal council has given me knots like this. It seemed to me that Denise had the most compelling opening statement. The way she articulated her reasoning for why she believes she should be the sole survivor was simple, yet effective. Lisa seemed to be a bit more scatter-brained, and the jury did not seem to buy it. Skupin mentioned how he felt like he was the biggest target there because of the fact that he was a returning player.
Overall, that will go down as one of the most memorable final tribal councils of all-time, all because of Jonathan Penner. Of course they reserved the best for last. Penner made a possible million dollar decision by revealing Lisa Whelchel’s past. I am in complete shock right now that Penner exposed Lisa’s previous acting experience as a character on The Facts of Life. Initially, even I did not want her to be in the game because of her colorful past. However, she did deserve a final three spot. She played a good game. Despite her past, I would not mind seeing her win this game.
We were only able to see how three people voted. RC voted for Lisa. Penner voted for Denise. Carter voted for the father-like figure of Skupin. Live at the reunion show in Los Angeles, Probst reveals the same three votes that we already saw, followed by three consecutive votes for Denise. Since it only takes four votes to win, Denise became the winner of Survivor: Philippines. I am perfectly content with Denise being the season’s winner. She had to fight the entire way. She is undoubtedly one of the strongest female competitors the show has ever seen.
As aforementioned, I voted ten times for Lisa to win the “Sprint Player of the Season” and the $100,000 that comes with it. She narrowly beat out Malcolm for the title. There was a 0.7% difference in votes. I believe Jeff Probst said that there were as few as 200 votes that separated the two fan favorites. This was the closest race of any season.
Survivor: Philippines is easily the best season since Heroes vs. Villains. Due to its memorable characters, the underdog stories, and unpredictability, it will go down as one of the most intriguing seasons in recent years, and possibly of all-time.
I hope that all of you have enjoyed my episode recaps this season. I look forward to coming back next season, so I can talk about the game that I love so very much. I hear rumors that Caramoan is going to be an even more captivating season than this one was! I will post my pre-season cast assessment when CBS officially releases the names of the new castaways.
Winner: Denise Stapley, the 41-year-old Sex Therapist from Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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