At that point it appeared that the group of six would be able to take out the other four, or at least get down to 7 when there could have been another shift in the game. But then two strange things happened -- Skupin voted for Jeff (I have no idea why, unless he realized he'd be at the bottom of that group of 6 instead of at the bottom of a group of 5 - Pete, Artis, Abi, Lisa and him); and Penner voted for Abi ... right after making the case for the Pete vote.
The only explanation I can think of is that Penner counted on having Skupin's vote - thus a 6-4 split and may have thought he could sacrifice his vote in case Abi gave her idol to Pete. Penner may have thought that if the four votes went for Malcolm, and Malcolm played his idol, and the five votes went for Pete - and Pete played the idol - then the one vote for Abi would have been all that counted.
Again, I really hope he explains this next week. That was a great episode - I think it has been a very good season so far and it could end up being a great finish because with no strong numbers alliances, things could keep shifting dramatically week to week.
Singler is IRON
I STILL GOT IT! -- Ryan Kelly, March 2, 2013
I truly think Skupin's play is to do whatever Lisa asks him to do. She is running him at this point and has probably (off camera) explained to him how the two of them make it to the end. I agree that Skupin would be low man (voted off right after Penner) in an alliance run by Jeff and Carter. Now that I have had some time to reflect on it, it would appear that Skupin had no shot at the Final 3 in an alliance with Jeff, Carter, Malcolm, and Denise. However, he probably does have a shot by sticking with Lisa, Arlis, Pete, and Ami as I suspect Lisa and Skupin would have an easy time flipping on those three once the game gets down to the final 7 players, which would put Skupin and Lisa into the final 4 (probably with Malcolm and Denise)... a pretty good place to be.
-Jason "I am starting to like what Skupin and Lisa are doing... I think" Evans
I don't know.
Let's jump back last week. I was stunned (absolutely stunned) that the tribe voted out RC. She was with Skupin. The could have had her, Skupin, Lisa, Malcom, Denise and Penner. Instead, they stuck with the core of the three. It was, I think, one of the dumbest things I had seen on Survivor. Everyone knows that a core group of 3 gets stronger and stronger as the numbers get smaller and smaller.
I think most people are right that Skupin voted out Jeff because he realized that Jeff was against him as a returning player, and that if he went for Pete it would just be him and Penner next, no questions asked. I don't like his decision (because the 3 some of Pete, Ami and Arlis don't like him at all), but at least I can understand it.
What absolutely blows my mind, however, is the actions of Jeff over the last 2 tribals. He had Penner as an ally. He could have gotten Penner, him, Skupin, his young side kick, RC and his young side kick. Done. Then they could have taken out the returning players. Instead, Jeff put them in his public cross hairs and made it clear he wanted them both out....which cost him the numbers not just once, but twice. It makes no sense. He had played so well, and suddenly just lost it.
This has been a fun season to watch, but also very frustrating.
And here's the thing....Lisa is playing to get as far as she can. Her and Skupin are an alliance. There is NO WAY she's going to turn now - despite what the previews are hinting. No way. No way. No way. Especially now that she's thrown Malcolm under the bus. It is her, Skupin, and the Evil 3 as the remaining 5, with Penner, Malcom, Denise and the young guy left. They'll vote out Penner next, then Denise (after forcing Malcom to play his idol), then Malcom, then the zero guy. No other play makes sense for Lisa, and no alliance works without her. Give me one example in Survivor, over the last 10 seasons, where there were 9 left with a 5 majority when one of the 5 split ranks to turn. It's never happened. I won't this time either.
Sorry, but this show is predictable now. Penner, Malcom and Denise have zero chance of making the final three, unless one of them goes on a major run of immunity idols....and that means that one of the final 3, and/or Lisa is going to win, because now the evil 3 know that the ONLY way one of them wins is if all three of them are at the end.
We'll see, Udaman. I think Lisa is playing a fairly smart game and knows that she (and Skupin) have no shot if they are in a final 5 with Ari, Abi, and Pete. She won't let it come to that because she doesn't have to. It will be so easy to get the last 2 of Malcolm, Denise, Carter, and Penner to side with her and Skupin when the time is right.
Maybe the show is fooling us and the people playing the game (Lisa and Skupin) do not see how much they are on the outside looking in at the Ari, Ami, Pete alliance. But, I give Lisa credit for more brains than that.
The wild card is the old "who do I want to be sitting next to" conundrum. I could see players looking at Abi, Pete, and Ari and seeing all three of those folks as despised dictators. I could also see people looking at Skupin and Penner and seeing resentment toward returning players. I am always bothered when a Survivor player thinks 3 steps down the road at the final jury without considering steps 1 and 2 that get him/her to that final jury situation.
Well, we'll see how it goes. I don't really expect us to see the big move this week. The week after is the time for it.
-Jason "I'd bet that either Penner or Carter go home this week -- and that Malcolm plays his idol" Evans
So I stand corrected. For the first time since I can remember a group with the numbers post merge got hammered when a person on their side flipped.
Only it wasn't Lisa...it was Skupin. This of course begs the question as to why Lisa remained with the terrible 3. She must have known Skupin was going to vote the way he did....though maybe not.
So here's what you have now: a solid 5 versus 3, only one of the 3 members has an immunity idol. So the 5 need to pick a person next week to vote for and hope that Abi doesn't give her idol to that individual....because if she did, then the 3 would vote out one member of the 5. I would guess they'll think that Abi won't give it to someone else....but who knows.
My thinking is that this is what will happen. The 5 will try to convince Lisa to flip. They'll tell her -"You come with us. We'll vote 3 for Pete and 3 for Abi, and whoever she gives the idol to we'll save." Only THEN the 5 will actually vote for Lisa, thinking that she'll tell Abi and Pete of the plan because of her loyalty to them. That's what I would suggest if I were Penner. It's going to suck, though, if the 5 decides to pick a person and Abi correctly give their idol to them, and then Malcolm gets voted off (because that's who they'll go for thinking that he won't need to play his idol).
None of this really matters, though, because the 5 now has the numbers, and regardless of what happens this week, Lisa, Pete and Abi are dead people walking.....and that's a good thing. Because the remaining people on the 5 (with the exception of Carter) are all excellent. We could have a final three of Denise, Malcolm and Penner. Or Penner, Denise and Michael. Or Michael, Malcolm and Penner. Or Malcolm, Denise and Michael. I mean that's great. They all deserve it. I'm guessing it's going to be Penner, Malcolm and Denise, and I have no idea who would win, because all of them have played great, great games.
I think Skupin still feels a lot of loyalty to Lisa. It also appears to me that a lot of people like her. I think it is very possible that she knew Skupin would flip and that she said she wanted to remain loyal to her alliance until they were broken. Anyway, this is my way of saying I won't be at all surprised if Lisa is warmly welcomed into the dominant alliance at this point. Skupin and Penner certainly like her.
We also need to look at the now controlling alliance to find the mini-alliances within it. Clearly, Malcolm and Denise are tight. But I don't get a sense that Carter is very close to anyone. I think Penner probably feels more loyalty to Skupin (fellow old guy, fellow returnee) and to Lisa than he does to anyone else in the alliance. If I was Skupin and Penner, my plan right now would be to bring Lisa in with you to form a 3 person alliance inside of the main alliance. She would appeal to them as an alliance partner more than Carter because she seems far less likely to turn on them than Carter. Then, once you take out Abi and Pete, you join with Carter to vote out the very dangerous Malcolm and Denise. Frankly, Malcolm and Denise are sure to be jury favorites and no one is going to want to sit next to them at the end. The best case scenario for Skupin or Penner to win is sitting next to Lisa, who turned on a lot of folks and who they out as a former child star, perhaps lessening the "need" argument for her as well as putting some serious "trust" questions into play about her.
A Lisa, Skupin, Penner final 3 would be AWESOME!
--Jason "This post is my way of saying 'Don't count Lisa out yet... not by a longshot!'" Evans
Last week was the definition of disappointing. That a lame, do-nothing character like Ami, who has not been a factor in ANY of the challenges gets a challenge gift wrapped for her....well, it just seemed incredibly unfair. I love Survivor, but I've often felt like they sometimes stack the deck for someone (like Ozzie a few years back), and I think they wanted Ami around for one more episode. How else can you explain a reward challenge where everyone knew there would be an advantage item to buy and nobody held their money.....and then the advantage takes her to the end of the challenge, and it's.....untying knots? Are you kidding me? Any other type of challenge and she loses. If it was still where you have to guide your chain around ropes, she loses. Instead it's simply untying knots, and she has small hands. Seemed rigged, and it was no fun to watch.
Plus it meant Penner was out, and he was definitely one of my favorite players this year.
So now it's down to the final 6, and Penner was right....if either Malcolm or Denise make the final 3, they are going to win. They have dominated the challenges. They survived their tribe getting torn apart. They are hard workers and extremely well liked.
Ami won't win immunity this week, and her play will be to get Skupin, Lisa and Carter to vote with her and turn on Malcolm. It won't work, because Skupin and Lisa are too true to their words....but they will hem and haw about it on screen....and then finally Ami will be gone from this game - at least until the next Heroes versus Villains.
Once it's down to those 5, it's likely going to be whoever wins the last immunity. Skupin and Lisa will fight like mad to take Carter to the Final 3.....because if either Malcom or Denise is there, they win. My bet is that one of them makes it,and the final vote is a rout.
I can't believe Penner was frustrated and upset that he was on the outside looking in at the 4-man Denise, Malcolm, Skupin, and Lisa alliance. He was soooo stupid when Lisa came to him to be a part of an alliance with her and Skupin and he turned it down. This was a suitable fate for him, even though I do really like him, because he had a chance to ensure he would be there at the end and he blew it. I actually think a final of him, Skupin, and Lisa would have been really interesting. Instead, I agree with Udaman that we are going to get either Malcolm or Denise winning it all. At least I would consider either of them to be a deserving winner.
-Jason "after Ami, I bet Carter is ousted... Lisa and Skupin won't break with Malcolm and Denise, they are too loyal" Evans
After that, I think it gets interesting. You will have the four person alliance and Carter. Would either of the two 2-person alliances be willing to gamble with two jury votes by siding with Carter to take out the other two-person alliance? Or do they stick together, vote out Carter fifth and play it out to the end? When does Denise flip on Malcom - because she has to know that she can't beat him if they both make the finals? I actually think Malcolm is in the most danger if it gets down to the final four alliance. He can't use his idol then, and all of the other three will know that he wins if he makes the finals. So unless he wins immunity, he has to hope for a tie vote at best. And I think Denise will have to give serious thought to voting him out. That leaves a final three of Denise, Lisa and Skupin, unless Malcolm wins immunity at the final four. If he does, I think he wins. If he doesn't, I think Skupin will win, unless too many on the jury don't want to reward a returning player. I think Denise may have lost herself some jury votes due to her demeanor in confronting Abi last week. She was right in what she was saying, just not how she was saying it - and I think that could turn some people off. On the other hand, she won some challenges, survived the decimation of her tribe at the beginning and was part of the strategy decisions. I don't think Lisa can win - her best ally and most likely potential jury vote would be Penner, but he'll vote for Skupin. Speaking of Skupin - I think he's in good shape with the jury. I think he'll get Penner (because they clearly formed a bond in this game) and R.C., Artis, Pete, and Abi (they will stay loyal to their tribe I think - and Mike played a better game than Lisa). Even though Mike flipped on Pete, I can't see Pete voting for Denise. Jeff and Carter would probably vote for Denise - and so would Malcolm if he's on the jury. So I think either Malcolm wins easily, or Skupin wins in a 6-3 vote.
Singler is IRON
I STILL GOT IT! -- Ryan Kelly, March 2, 2013
If it's Denise, Skupin and Lisa in the final three.....I can see no way whatsover that Skupin wins. His alliance hated him and he turned on them. He won't get Abi's, Pete's or Aris. None of them can stand the guy.
He would definitely get RC.
That leaves Kent, Penner, and (under your scenario) Malcolm.
Malcolm would definitely vote for Denise. Penner (I think) would vote for Lisa. Jeff Kent was always against the returning players and I think he would have to be impressed with Denise and would vote for her. Pete would almost certainly vote for her (since Lisa and Skupin turned on him). I bet Aris would as well. Abi should....but given her comments at Tribal, she would probably vote for either Lisa or Skupin. Let's say it was Skupin.
That means: Skupin 2, Lisa 1, Denise 4....at worst, and that's assuming Penner votes for Lisa. I think he could easily vote for Denise given how strong she's played the game.
I think Penner was prescient in his last tribal. If either Malcolm or Denise make the Final 3, they win. I think one of them will. Both (truth be told) are the most deserving. They are tough in the challenges, they survived a brutal first 15 days, they have made few enemies (Abi nonewithstanding, but she hates everyone), and they have impressed pretty much everyone.
I do hope Malcolm can survive to the finals - he would be a very worthy winner.
Singler is IRON
I STILL GOT IT! -- Ryan Kelly, March 2, 2013
Argh!!! Keeping horrible, wretched, waste-of-air Ami around instead of good-guy Carter was brutal...
...and the right thing to do. I don't think anyone will want to take her to the end, though doing so might not be a terrible idea as she is soooo hated. So, this was a way to ensure that the 4-person alliance gets to the final 4.
I agree that this almost certainly means that Denise or Malcolm wins the game. I think Malcolm has a better shot if he makes it to the end, but I think he will have to win the final 4 immunity to do that as everyone knows how popular and deserving he would be. A final of Denise, Skupin, and Lisa would be more interesting, but I think it will take a remarkable jury performance for either Denise or Skupin to muster enough votes to win.
--Jason "been a decent season... Lisa has been the driving force for the past half dozen episodes... I never would have predicted that" Evans
It seems like its Malcolm or Denise's to lose at this point. For anyone trying to say Abi will have any influence, recall that even her "alliance" members had no respect or liking for her, so Artis and Pete won't be following her lead on who to vote for. If Mike and Lisa were smart, they'd get Abi to vote for Denise(presuming she doesn't win immunity), and then stay with her to the end. A Lisa-Mike-Abi vote might be interesting, as I think Lisa is liked but not necessarily all that respected, so Skupin could have a shot at winning that. But if Malcolm or Denise make it to the final, the only way its interesting is if they both make it to the final, because then I think it might be a tougher call between them for who wins. If only one of them is there, it will be at least 6 votes for that person for the victory.
I suspect next week will try to play up the suspense and still have Abi go home, but I can hope for a different result to keep things interesting.
A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat
One point about Skupin, he was really, really disliked by his tribemates from the very start. We have not seen much of it on the show, but there have been a lot of hints left in interviews that Skupin got on people's nerves. Recall that he was one of the ones they wanted to vote out from the start. He is also the person who betrayed the original alliance (Lisa only bailed on them after Skupin had broken them up by taking our Aris) and he was the person Penner seemed to be appealing to the most when Penner was taken out. I don't think there are many, if any, friends of Skupin on the jury. Anyone who would consider him would probably be much more likely to cast a vote for Lisa instead.
But, this is all moot if Denise or especially if Malcolm reach the end. The more I think about it, the more I think those two are unbeatable against everyone else.
My rankings right now:
5. The Evil One
--Jason "by the way, I think the producers force the voters to pick one of two choices and don't let them vote for the person in third... you never see split votes in a 3 way finale" Evans
I don't quite understand why Lisa and Skupin didn't join forces with the Brazilian Narcissist to vote out Denise. It wouldn't have gone against Malcolm's final 3 contract, and it seems to be the only way that either of them could ever win the whole thing. After ditching Denise, I'd have tried to get rid of Malcolm in the next round. That would break their agreement with him, but, it's the only way Lisa or Skupin could win. Of course the entire jury would be enraged that Abi got into the final 3, but I doubt they'd be angry enough at the other 2 to actually vote for her. I also don't know why Lisa keeps blabbing about how she's going to vote for the weak survivors in her self interest (thus alienating Malcolm and Denise) without actually voting that way. It's the worst of the two worlds: she's now set herself to annoy Malcolm and Denise as well as the stronger survivors who were already voted off and are now judges resentful that they're having to watch Skupin and Lisa proceed into the finals...
I'll tell you what mystified me last night -- why Malcolm didn't use his hidden idol to protect anyone. He had immunity himself, he could have ensured one more person would stick around by giving his idol to that person. I don't know why he kept that power to himself.
Here were his options --
1) Give the idol to Denise - She has been his partner throughout the game and it would be the ultimate statement of loyalty, something the jury admires. What's more, it would cement his relationship with her, perhaps ensuring that she would stick with him in the even that he loses the next immunity challenge and the others want to vote him out (as he is probably the most likely winner if he reaches the final 3). On the other hand, Denise is his biggest threat to win the game. If he makes it to the end, the one person most likely to beat him is Denise. By not giving the idol to her, he opens the possibility for others to vote her out, eliminating his biggest competitor.
2) Give the idol to Lisa or Skupin - He clearly knew there was no secret plan to take either of these folks out because he wasn't involved in such a plan and without him, no plan could work. So, if he passes his idol to one of them, he gains loyalty from that person -- perhaps even from both Lisa and Skupin. He knows Lisa is talking a lot about "being here to win" and "wanting to take the least deserving person to the finals." He needs to be worried about her turning on him. What better way to ensure she would not turn than to hand off the idol to her in the ultimate act of friendship and loyalty.
3) Give the idol to Abi - Had Malcolm done this, and then voted out someone else it would have been the ultimate "I am taking the least deserving person to the end to sit next to me" move. But, I don't think Malcolm needs to play it this way as he is likely to beat Lisa, Skupin, and perhaps even Denise in a final vote anyway. He doesn't really care if Abi is around for the jury to hate.
But, he chose none of the above. He just chose to hang onto the idol. Why? It did not help him in the game to hang onto it, unless he thought passing it to someone would anger the others. I don't really see that as all the final players (except Abi) like each other and seemed to be content keeping each other around. I just don't get it.
I really think this could come back to bite Malcolm in the butt. If he fails to win the next immunity challenge, I think he has to be the main target of the other three players. They just have to know that he is the most popular guy with the jury. He got closer to everyone else than Denise did and he has been strong in challenges lately. Plus, Abi hates Denise and is probably poisoning the jury pool against Denise. Clearly, Malcolm is going to beat Lisa and Skupin, both of whom are seen as backstabbers. So, Malcolm had a chance to win some loyalty from someone and he passed it up. I won't be mildly surprised if it is his downfall.
-Jason "I wanna talk about Abi for a second... next post" Evans
Why did Abi turn into a giant !#^!#^ at last night's tribal council?
I know she has been an awful person in the past -- and it ain't a culture thing, it is an Abi thing -- but she wnt above and beyond in her insults last night. She was just hammering Lisa and especially Skupin, calling them idiots and morons. Did she know they would be voting to take her out and she just wanted to vent? I think her argument to them -- about Malcolm and Denise being unbeatable -- was a good one but she made herself so unbearable, I think she eliminated any chance that Lisa and Skupin would even consider taking out sweet Denise to keep horrible Abi around.
There have been villains on the show before, people who plotted and schemed and manipulated, but rarely have there been characters who were just plain mean. When Russell burned his tribe-mates socks and hid stuff to cause chaos at camp, it was calculated to foster an atmosphere where he could control everyone. Abi was a villain of a different sort. She was dismissive of others and talked down to them. Her treatment of other people was just plain mean. It was hard to watch at times. This was not strategic, it was her nature and reflected a belief that she was better than everyone else. I really wonder if she will look back on the season, as she watches it broadcast, and shudder at how she is portrayed. I would be embarrassed to be her friend or family at this point.
-Jason "by the way, Malcolm's comments during the reward about Skupin being fun once he got some soda in him was a giveaway -- Skupin has not been a pleasant fellow and is not well-liked by the jury... he won't win" Evans
At this point, I'm assuming he did it because he likes to be liked rather than because he had a good plan. Giving it to Denise might hurt Lisa's and Skupin's feelings, and he doesn't like to do that AND he's counting on their support to get him to the final 3. If he were to give it to, say, Lisa, and they vote out Abi, then perhaps he was worried that Skupin and Denise--being left out of the protection--could collude with Lisa-who's said she wants to get rid of the strongest people--and dump him on the next round. The passivity was odd, but he's so friendly that I bet he can explain it to each of them while on the beach...