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Guest Post: Survivor Philippines – Ep 8 What’s The Bet Jeff Voted For Romney?

Another great guest post by JStar, almost as good as how this season is going.

Over to you JStar:

Episode 8:  What’s the bet that Jeff voted for Mitt Romney to be President?

Previously on Survivor: Oktoberfest, the traditional Survivor Pub Crawl kicked off celebrating the merge of the undefeated Tandang Yellow Tribe (with 7 members) and the losing Kalabaw Red Tribe (with 4 members).  Inbetween nudie runs along the beach and vomiting behind bushes, strategy was afoot to rid the tribe of the perceived threats at the upcoming Tribal Council.  Gollum Jeff plotted to rid his world of the stupid, fat hobbit, Penner who had been destined by the prophecies to steal his precious win from him.  In deep consultation with his bestie, Chatty Carter, they agreed to join forces with Malcolm and Team Jacob to blindside Penner and the dangerously under-dressed RC.  At the same time, fed up with being treated like lepers by the Trio of Meanies, Cotton Wool and RC agreed to join forces with the remnants of Kalabaw to take out Team Jacob and his abs.  But with all this strategic talk in full-flight during the last episode, Blair decided to take a different route in order to secure more air time.  Because she spent 9 years at an exclusive all-girls boarding school, Blair graduated with a major in front loader with a minor in tumble dry.  Who would have thought those skills she brought to this game would end up serving her well with a Final Three deal with Malcolm and Denise after she discovered his hidden immunity idol when doing the laundry for the newly merged Dangrayne (black) tribe?  With no one completely sure of how the vote will play out, a crazy Tribal Council occurred with Dimples practically hinting at his man-crush, Penner, to play the damn idol to save himself.  And for Penner fans, yes, he got the hint and played the idol and saved himself as he scored the majority of the votes.  Gollum Jeff was crestfallen as the stupid, fat hobbit lived to fight another day.  However, Malcolm and Team Jacob’s plan came through and the last bikini-wearing hot chick, RC, was cruelly blindsided out of the game on Night 19 and became the first jury member.

Night 19 and back at the Dangrayne camp, Penner confronts his former Kalabaw allies about their attempted Rudd-like knifing he dodged at Tribal Council.  Toothpick Jeff explains that he and Chatty Carter tried to convince people at Tandang to jump ship to take down Team Jacob but the numbers weren’t there [because deep down he doesn’t want a smelly veteran to win].  When confronted, Denise admits that she voted for Penner as she needs to play her own game and she will wear it if it blows up in her face.  [This seemed like a random comment but an explanation will be forthcoming at the end of the recap.]  Penner is not happy that he was targeted by people he thought were his allies, particularly when he thought the defection of RC and Cotton Wool to Kalabaw would have been enough to change the game in his tribe’s favour.  In his confessional, Gollum Jeff is delighted that Penner has no more power to steal his precious game away from him as he no longer has his precious idol anymore to save his fat, hobbit ass.  He states that everyone will prevent Penner from winning immunity next.  Although it looks like Toothpick Jeff gave up a lot of power in voting with Tandang, he boldly predicts he is going to use his underdog status to turn things around in his favour soon.  [I look forward to see how Jeff can convince the audience that voting with Tandang so he will finish no better than 7th is somehow a much better deal than staying loyal with Kalabaw and enticing RC and Cotton Wool over so that he can finish no worse than 4th.]

But creepy music is playing in the background.  Cotton Wool is reassuring an upset Penner that things aren’t over for his fellow veteran.  He tells him to wait for someone to make a monumental stuff-up because Cotton Wool knows that if Penner goes, he will be next – [so Michael, with that logic why did you vote for Penner at Tribal Council?]  Cotton Wool keeps on repeating that he will not leave the game after Penner and he guarantees that – [potential clue?  Seems like much more than a random comment for the editors to leave in this episode.]  Before we head off into the brief intro, we here Penner morph into Ozzy and have a mini-rant about how he is now a free-agent as everyone has betrayed him and he has no allegiances to anyone now.  Everyone can just go and die.  Charming.  What a tantrum.  How many times has Penner played this game before?  Surely he has not forgotten that people lie in this game?

Day 20 and because there are no more hot young chicks to fill-out the sexy-shots quota for the remaining season, the producers finally agree to fulfil their end of the bargain and insert Tourism Philippines advertisements for the worldwide audience to soak up.  We see beautiful images of schools of fish and dolphins swimming in the picturesque waters.  After hearing Penner brag about what a gung-ho fisherman he is during that infamous muddy homo-erotic reward challenge, Blair and Bella-Latina foolishly ask Penner to show them how to catch a fisherman’s basket for dinner tonight.  Although we get more shots of the beautiful coral, it should not be a surprising to learn that the only thing Penner caught today was a case of crabs.  [Or so goes my interpretation of juxtaposed animal imagery.]  We see shots of crabs walking sideways as Blair and Toothpick Jeff are given confessionals which really explains why the vote panned out the way it did at the last Tribal Council.  Blair explains that no one wants a veteran to win and that the next two votes will be for Penner and Cotton Wool.  Blair’s strategy is to vote to keep Tandang intact for the time being but once the veterans are gone, she has an in principle agreement with Denise, Malcolm, Chatty Carter, and Gollum Jeff to take-out the Trio of Meanies.  Toothpick Jeff is looking forward to taking down the Tandang ringleaders once the smelly veterans are gone.  He hopes by aligning with Blair, they can flip their situations so that they can rise from the bottom to the top in one fell swoop.  [Interesting strategy.  I can now see why Gollum Jeff voted to take out Penner.  Problem is that at least one of the Trio of Meanies, Team Jacob, has a strategic mind underneath all his layers of abs.  Will the Trio of Meanies anticipate this move?]

Anyway, Blair and Toothpick Jeff have been forced by the producers to look like they are randomly walking towards the Treemail Letterbox so that they can “stumble” onto Dimples’s latest poem.  Unfortunately for the viewers, the look of the letterbox proved to be a major disappointment.  Last season, the producers tried to scare the contestants by adorning the letterbox with scary cobwebs and scary twine.  This year, the letterbox looks like a Year 9 student submitted it in as his end of semester showpiece.  Very disappointing.  Some pre-whittled bamboo propping up a letterbox sans any form of decoration.  Bland, bland, bland.  But at least what was in the letterbox was another pot-shot towards Penner’s lack of fishing abilities.  (Mark Burnett really has a cruel sense of humour).  Inside, Blair finds some (wooden) fish and immediately all the tribemates get excited about the upcoming challenge.  Perhaps fish fingers, flake, and minimum chips are on the cards?

Reward Challenge time and Dimples greet the contestants in his favourite light-blue cargo shirt and white cargo shorts combo complete with his green and white cap emblazoned with the word, “Survivor” in front (in case he lost his bearings and needed directions back to his five-star suite).  Today is a water challenge and unfortunately for the cameramen, there will be no pervy camera shots of hot chicks parading around in skimpy bikinis.  R.I.P. Cookies Angie.  R.I.P. Katie.  R.I.P. RC.  Today’s challenge will see the contestants compete in two teams of five.  The first four contestants on each team will race into the water with a rope to connect to a submerged fish trap.  [Dimples stresses to Penner that the fish traps are not for sale and a stocktake of the inventory will be taken immediately post-challenge].  After connecting the fish traps, the contestant is then pulled back towards the beach by his/her teammates with the fish trap in tow.  Once all four fish traps have been retrieved, the fifth member of the team will dig into a sandbox to find a key which will unlock a frame where two other members will need to solve the puzzle with scrolls of patterns.  The winning team will be rewarded by being taken on a river cruise on a boat made up entirely of material recycled from the shoes that former first lady, Imelda Marcos, once wore.  Whilst enjoying the cruise, the winners will be allowed to gorge themselves stupid with barbequed ribs, potato salad, apple pie, and soft drinks.  [Unfortunately there will be no repeat appearance of the 7-Up Oasis from last season that was proudly brought to you by 7-Up: Always Refreshing].  Also, there will be no alcohol served as the Merge Pub Crawl depleted stocks to dangerously low levels.  We aren’t shown how the teams are divided but it is safe to assume that Bella-Latina probably kicked up a stink that she is now being forced to compete in her second-consecutive challenge.  The blue team consists of Cotton Wool, Team Jacob, Team Edward, Angry Bird Artis, and Bella-Latina.  The yellow team consists of Penner, Denise, Malcolm, Blair, and Toothpick Jeff.

Challenge starts and it is interesting how the teams have strategised.  The yellow team sends out Toothpick Jeff to swim to the first (and nearest) buoy and to dive down to hook the rope to his fish trap.  The blue team is forced to send out its perennial challenge-avoider, Bella-Latina, to doggy-paddle her way to the buoy (as Angry Bird Artis clearly must embody the African-American stereotype of being unable to swim).  Jeff takes a sizeable lead over Abi-Maria and quickly hooks his fish trap and is pulled back towards the beach.  To her credit, Bella-Latina doesn’t panic and manages to hook her fish trap shortly afterwards so she can be pulled back in.  Being the smallest, the big men on her team have no issues making up some time as they easily drag her back through the water.  But the yellow team still has the lead and Penner heads off to connect the rope to his fish trap.  Team Jacob is a strong swimmer and he takes off for the blue team.  Penner maintains his team’s lead but unfortunately those spare tyres he packed on before competing for his third time on Survivor meant it was difficult for Denise and Blair to pull him through the water.  Although Penner gets back first, Pete isn’t too far behind.  Blair heads off for the yellow team and she must have been schooled in the finer points of swimming by the Australian Olympic swim team as she takes a leisurely paddle towards the third buoy.  Team Edward proves that he is not just a land-based challenge monster as he smashes through his leg and easily catches up and surpasses Lisa.  The blue team’s strategy of getting its strong competitors to retrieve the furthest buoys is now paying big dividends.  Carter hooks his fish trap and is dragged back to the beach.  As Skupin heads off for the final fish trap, Lisa has only just managed to dive down and hook her own fish trap.  The yellow team lost so much time during her leg.  They desperately give it their all to pull Blair back through the water.  It is now up to their strongest swimmer, Denise, to hopefully save the day for the yellow team.  Skupin struggles when diving down to try and hook his trap.  His team mates try and encourage him by shooting death stares at him (courtesy of Artis, who else?) and yelling out in exasperation (Bella-Latina, who else?).  Denise has no trouble hooking her trap and regains the lead for the yellow team.  Finally, Skupin manages to hook his fish trap and he too is dragged back to the beach.  At this point, it is still any team’s game.

It is Malcolm who begins the search for the key in the sandbox first.  Artis, however, isn’t too far behind.  Sand is thrown everywhere and the battle is still pretty much neck-and-neck but somehow Artis manages to find the key first and unlock his frame.  It is up to Team Jacob and Cotton Wool to bring the win home for the blue team.  Malcolm finally finds his key and unlocks the frame and it is revealed that Toothpick Jeff and Puzzle King Penner will try and solve it for the yellow team.  And this final part of the challenge proves to be no contest.  Penner and Jeff work like a well-oiled machine and they smash through the scrolls and win reward for the yellow team.  Whilst at the blue team, Bella-Latina and Angry Bird Artis show great sportsmanship by continuing to shoot death-like daggers towards Cotton Wool.  [If looks could kill].  The yellow team are ecstatic to go on a riverboat cruise through the jungle whilst snacking on ribs and apple pie.  It was a well-deserved win for them because on paper, they weren’t favoured to pull it off.

We see the dejected blue team return back at camp and the emotional downer of not winning the challenge has had a negative effect on Artis’s usual disposition.  In what will go down as one of the most defining moments of Artis’s screen time on Survivor, he is afforded a confessional where he does not rant and rave about Skupin or act like a perpetually angry sook.  In his confessional, Artis was circumspect about not winning the reward.  However, we did learn another interesting fact about him.  Artis cannot count.  He says he has been eating beans and rice for 21 days and he is prepared to eat the same food for another 19 days despite the game finishing on Day 39.

Given that all the great orators of the game are on the Yellow Team, the editors are forced to throw a few bones towards Chatty Carter and let him have some sound bites for today’s episode.  [Desperate times call for desperate measures].  Carter questions Bella-Latina regarding her current alliance.  Now, a person with any reasonable shred of intelligence would never confirm alliances and pecking orders with individuals you have no intentions of keeping around for long.  But Bella-Latina is not a reasonable person full stop.  She tells Carter that yes; she has a final-four alliance with Pete, Artis, and Lisa.  All of this is said within ear shot of Cotton Wool.  [Way to give Michael more food for thought about flipping].  Zombie Carter sleepily points out the obvious to Abi-Maria; that he and Toothpick Jeff are not part of this final-four alliance and they are at the bottom of the pecking order despite what had been promised to them in order to secure their votes at the last Tribal Council.  Upon realising her mistake, Bella-Latina unconvincingly backtracks and tells Team Edward that there has been no discussions of pecking orders within her alliance of four six.

Team Jacob is not happy that his gameplay is being sabotaged by Bella-Latina’s big mouth.  He is forced to take her aside to try and impart upon her the art of silence.  No such luck.  Even amongst her allies, Bella-Latina insists on having the last say on everything and accusing people of twisting her words.  Pete is forced to read her the riot act and give her a chill pill to munch on.  He confesses that it is tiring to play the game with such a volatile individual that shoots from her lip but he knows that taking her to the end will mean she will get zero votes from the jury.  After Bella-Latina calms down, Pete suggests to her about changing the votes because, like Blair, he is leaning towards keeping Tandang strong.  He suggests that after Penner is voted out, they should keep Cotton Wool around longer and use his vote to take out Toothpick Jeff, Denise, Malcolm, and Carter.  The hope would be that Skupin would not realise, until it was too late, that his options within the game would be curtailed.  Bella-Latina is in agreeance with this new course of action and she wants to take Toothpick Jeff out right after Penner as he is trying to create an alternative alliance with Blair and this makes her more paranoid and obnoxious.

Over at the winning yellow team, the positive and triumphant music in the background is laid on like a trowel and smeared across the audience’s faces like the make-up worn by the girls on Jersey Shore.  Everyone is eating like a pig and we hear Denise confess that she is glad that she won reward with these group of individuals as they are the positive people she likes to surround herself with when at camp.  Both Malcolm and Blair confirm to the old Kalabaw members that after every challenge, many of the people at Tandang (i.e. Artis and Abi-Maria) would whinge and complain despite them never having lost a challenge prior to the merge.  Blair admits that the Axis of Evil (Team Jacob, Angry Bird Artis, Bella-Latina) controlled Tandang and if you crossed one of them, you were targeted for extermination as RC found out.  That’s the hint of blood that Penner needs and he swoops down like a vulture-to-a-carcass to work his magic.  He tells the others that he hates that sort of “tyrannical bullying” and they should not put up with it during their remaining time in the game.  He tells them that he knows he cannot win this game but he would love anyone of them (and Stoner Carter) to be there at the end.  Penner knows that he is next in line to go home and his only option in the game is to aggressively spell things out to people in black and white.  He says that if he is voted out next, Cotton Wool, and Toothpick Jeff are the next in line to go home.

Penner lays it on thick but he has to.  Unfortunately for him, it is so transparent with what he is doing and how he is trying to manipulate the others.  Malcolm sniffs it out immediately.  He knows that Penner is trying to tug at the heartstrings and instil the romantic notion of the betrodden rising up to take down one of the evil bullies.  Fighting against her Christian indoctrination, Blair admits that she too has allowed herself to be momentarily seduced by the notion of playing the game with five noble and worthy adversaries towards the end.  But Blair knows that the game of Survivor is not always compatible with her beliefs.  Now that the merge has happened and the target has been taken off her as a challenge liability, Lisa declares that she wants to win rather than just be happy with a fifth-place finish.  [So apparently for 19 days, Lisa was happy to starve and sacrifice the comforts of indoor plumbing so that she could have a non-podium finish?  Thank goodness she woke up to her senses!]  Lisa continues with her confessional and in what I believe is an extremely telling editing shot, we hear her admit that she wants to sit in the final three with people who would not get more votes than her.  The camera pans around to Denise’s, Malcolm’s, Penner’s, and Jeff’s face.  Blair knows that in order to win this game, she has to be in the Final Three with members of the Axis of Evil.  Penner was dead right in the last episode.  Blair is a person who no one has rated as a gamer and she is slipping and sliding her way to the Final Three.

Day 21 and apparently nothing of value was worth showing as the editors completely exorcised an entire day’s footage.  Well given that Angie, Katie, and RC are no longer in the game and allowed to frolic aimlessly about in the water, I can completely understand why there was no footage deemed acceptable to be screened.  We are now at Day 22 and Blair is continuing her march to make a strategic impact on this game.  She anticipates that after Penner is voted off, someone may try and shake things up and secure a 5-4 majority and potentially game-changing move.  And Lisa wants to make sure that the instigator of that move is her.  She wants to play this game with Cotton Wool and she knows her best shot at winning is to stay with Tandang and the Trio of Meanies.  She pulls Cotton Wool aside and tells him that he will be voted out next after Penner.  However, Lisa says she will not let that happen.  What they need to do is to convince Team Jacob of Cotton Wool’s worth and to keep themselves five-strong and blindside Malcolm next.  Blair tells Cotton Wool that Malcolm has the hidden immunity idol and that only she and Denise know about that.  Cotton Wool knows Blair is not lying to him because she placed her right hand over her heart – [which all hardcore Christians know is the international symbol of truth and honesty amongst the bible bashers].  Cotton Wool dares ask Blair what would happen if Penner somehow won immunity today.  Penner, who had been observing how these two ran off into the jungles like guilty adolescents, enter the frame and interrupts the moment.  Blair tells Penner that they are obviously talking about him and Cotton Wool regarding the upcoming vote.  What is extremely telling with the body language is that all three genuinely like one another yet, for some reason, none of them are aligned together.  Despite that, they tell each other what is happening and Penner knows that if he doesn’t win immunity today, he is toast as Michael and Lisa don’t want to flip allegiances towards him.  So he tells them that he might just win immunity today to throw everyone’s plan off course.  Skupin confesses that it is going to be a major battle today for immunity but the most telling clue about what will happen is Penner’s confessional.  He says he never won individual immunity before and he so desperately needs to win it now so he can rub it in the other people’s faces like Troyzan last season or Shi-Anh during All Stars.  [If you recall back in Episode 2 when Penner found the idol, he said two things.  One, he did not want to be one of those schmucks that ended up going home at Tribal Council with the idol in his/her pocket.  He played the idol last time and saved himself.  Two, he said he never won individual immunity idol before.  For the Penner fans out there, just pray that he might just pull off a miracle today].

It’s a land-based challenge today and Dimples greet his favourite castaways in his dark navy blue cargo shirt.  [Someone needs to pull Dimples aside regarding his wardrobe.  Fluoros and neons are so in at the moment].  Anyway, if Penner is going to win immunity today, this is the challenge (that is so rigged in his favour) to do so, provided that he can navigate himself through the first stage which is a series of obstacles to untie three bags of puzzle pieces.  The first three to finish will move on to the second stage.  This stage will see the lucky three use the puzzle pieces in the bags to solve a snake puzzle.  The Puzzle King better pull off this miracle or the rest of the season is going to be one big snooze fest.  Can you imagine confessionals from perpetually stoned Carter every few minutes?  Yuck!

Before the challenge starts, Dimples hands Bella-Latina a cake to congratulate her for now competing in three challenges, one more than she has competed in the entire game up to this point.  The challenge starts and initially everyone is neck-in-neck with no-one really falling behind after untying the first bag of puzzle pieces.  Upon reaching the second bag of puzzle pieces, Team Jacob and Toothpick Jeff take a slight lead over the others with Penner and Cotton Wool right behind them.  Everyone else is struggling to untie the second bag.  Onto the final bag and Pete unties his first and crosses the line.  Jeff is not too far behind.  It is a race between the two most vulnerable contestants.  Cotton Wool actually unties his third bag first just ahead of Penner.  However, Penner has spent his entire time on the island with Track Coach Carter and he obviously learnt a thing or two about lunging towards the finish line.  Penner dives and crosses the line by a mere second ahead of Cotton Wool.  Skupin is worried now.  Denise and Artis do not look happy to see that Penner now has a one in three shot of winning immunity today.

Second part of the challenge begins and the bags reveal similarly-cut puzzle pieces that form a pattern of a snake.  This challenge is a lot harder than it looks.  Team Jacob and Toothpick Jeff take an early lead, seemly finding all the correct pieces to place in the pattern at ease.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, are hoping that one of these two win.  With the exception of Angry Bird Artis, no one is yelling out words of encouragement for the other two (which confirms what all the girls on Kalabaw and RC have said in their exit interviews that Penner was very much liked in the game on a personal level).  Penner is struggling to fit the correct pieces in his snake pattern given that many of the shapes are of a similar length with the difference being a slight angle-variation in the cuts on the edges).  And that proves to be Team Jacob’s undoing as he suddenly realises that his puzzle pieces aren’t aligning properly.  Penner’s slow and steady course is now paying dividends as the lightbulb goes on and he begins shoving his pieces into the pattern.  From the sidelines, Chatty Carter and Angry Bird Artis are having a major D&M with Team Edward wondering out loud if Penner is about to do the “crazy” and impossible.  Sure enough, it is neck and neck between Toothpick Jeff and Penner but Penner has the momentum.  And like the first part of the challenge, Penner edges out his nearest competitor by a puzzle piece and wins his first ever individual immunity.  To say he is relieved is an understatement.  Everyone else is not happy and no one now knows what to do for the upcoming vote.  Gollum Jeff mutters “what a joke” under his breath when Dimples puts the individual immunity necklace around Penner.  There is stunned silence that Penner just pulled a Troyzan that he does not even get a round of applause.  That is how much his win has just screwed things up for everyone else.  No one had a Plan B.  Cotton Wool, in particular, knows he is in serious trouble.  Oh Tribal Council is going to be crazy again tonight.

Winners are grinners and Penner’s beam is a mile wide.  He can’t believe that he just saved himself from extermination by winning.  Everyone back at camp are “congratulating” Penner through gritted teeth.  Malcolm, in his confessional, laughs at the situation everyone now finds him/herself in as he knows that major scrambling is now about to happen.  Gollum Jeff snarks out a “congratulations” in his confessional when he says that Penner “just bought himself another three more days of a dead man walking.”  Gollum Jeff is not going to let that stupid, fat hobbit steal his precious win in the long run.

The scrambling begins and we see the return of the yellow snake rising up, getting ready to strike.  Team Jacob is chatting with Blair about who the vote is.  They are joined by Angry Bird Artis, Gollum Jeff, and Team Edward.  Gollum Jeff says that after Penner’s win, the only thing changed is the order of the vote and that means Cotton Wool is the one to go home tonight.  Blair asks for assurances from Team Jacob that if the vote changes, he will let her know and he agrees.  So the vote is settled, Michael will be joining his number one fan, RC, on the jury bleachers tonight.  Malcolm and Pete discuss whether to tell Cotton Wool that it is him tonight but they both agree that Skupin knows that he is the next to go.  And they are right as we see Cotton Wool sitting down cleaning the clam meat he caught this morning and trying his best not to injure himself one last time before he is voted out.  Gollum Jeff tries to console Skupin and tell him that it sucks but he really wanted to play the game with this veteran – (yeah right).  With the vote set for tonight, Jeff pulls out another toothpick from his stash and chews on it.

Just when you thought the vote was settled, we see the return of the yellow and black spider.  Someone is about to devour an unsuspecting victim.  Not happy that her secret ally in Cotton Wool is being targeted, we see Black Widow Blair do a Sandra-like move and start chatting with people to shake things up.  She finds Pete and tells him that Malcolm has a hidden immunity idol and that he needs to be blindsided tonight.  She explains that she inadvertently found out that Malcolm had an idol when she found it amongst his discarded belongings when he was doing one of his nudie runs during the Merge Pub Crawl.  Blair says that because Malcolm had no intentions of sharing this information with anyone but Denise, his loyalty is with others.  She warns Pete that Malcolm is playing both sides.  They need to keep him feeling safe tonight so that they can blindside him with the idol in his pocket.  Pete is shocked to learn that his fellow abs warrior did not trust him enough to share this information about the idol.  Pete actually thinks Blair has made an excellent point about blindsiding Malcolm but he isn’t sure what he would do now as he is still getting over the fact that his BFF failed to share that information with him.  He actually gets a bit depressed about things and mopes on the beach.  Go figure!

Concerned about his BFF, Malcolm checks up on Team Jacob.  Pete asks Malcolm to tell him if he has the Matsing hidden immunity idol.  Ofcourse Malcolm flat out lies and tries to play it cool.  He denies that he had it as he would not have been on edge so much at Tandang when he joined them after Matsing was disbanded.  Malcolm’s freak-out was enough to convince Pete that “he just looked into his soul” and that it proved his BFF does NOT have the idol because why would Malcolm lie to him.  [You sometimes wonder if Penner and Team Jacob have ever watched an episode of Survivor.  People lie in this game dummies!]  Malcolm asks him who told him this lie and he confesses that it was Blair.  [Seriously Pete, who else do you have to sell out?!]  Malcolm is freaking out as he thinks because the rumour is out there that he has the idol, although true, it puts a target on him and that means people are actively thinking of voting him out tonight.  He asks his Bosom Buddy Pete if he should be worried tonight.  Pete reassures his Bosom Buddy Malcolm that he will ensure that no votes are cast towards him tonight.  Pete suggests that maybe instead of Skupin tonight (as he might need his vote later down the track); they should take out Gollum Jeff.  Malcolm is down with that vote.  We see Pete and Malcolm rejoining the others and discussing with Penner, Denise, Chatty Carter, Angry Bird Artis, and Cotton Wool if Blair had told them that Malcolm had the idol.  Ofcourse Cotton Wool and Denise denies that Blair ever mentioned Malcolm’s “supposed” idol.  Malcolm is freaking out particularly when Chatty Carter tells Malcolm that he should probably play the idol tonight if he had it.  But Pete is so blind he cannot see that Malcolm’s attempts to play it cool, despite freaking out, as a hint that he actually has the idol.  Everyone talks and it is agreed that Gollum Jeff will be the new target tonight.

Later we see Blair and Team Jacob talking.  After witnessing Malcolm acting a bit jittery back at camp, she asks Team Jacob if he confronted Malcolm about the idol.  He confesses that he did.  Blair asks him if he told Malcolm that the information about the idol came from her.  Team Jacob denies that but Blair isn’t stupid.  She was a former teen actress and she knows when people are lying.  In her confessional, she sighs that it looks like her big move to take out Malcolm is not going to work now as Malcolm caught Team Jacob off-guard and found out that he was being targeted.  Therefore, she cannot blindside him tonight with the idol in his pocket.  Blair is concerned now that people will target her for stirring up trouble but Pete reassures her that he won’t let the votes target her because he is “the mastermind.”

We see some of the tribemates begin to gather their belongings to do the walk to Tribal Council.  The rules in this game are that during the walk to and from Tribal Council, no one is allowed to converse with one another.  So any last minute scrambling has to be either done now or during Tribal Council.  Gollum Jeff gathers his belongings and interrupts the others and senses that something is not quite right.  Malcolm tells him that his and Jeff’s names have been openly floated tonight.  Alarm bells start ringing.  Gollum Jeff thought that it was Cotton Wool going home tonight and now ten or so minutes before they have to do the walk to Tribal, he has just been told that the vote has changed and his name has been throw in the mix.  Gollum Jeff has to quickly cobble together a majority alliance to save his hide tonight.  Malcolm and Jeff whisper to each other that they need to cut the head off the snake.  Malcolm says that the vote has to be for Team Jacob tonight.  Toothpick Jeff says they have to scramble now to find another four votes.  Under the guise of getting ready to leave and ensuring the camp is safe from the elements when they return, Malcolm approaches Denise and later Cotton Wool to tell them that the vote is for Pete tonight.  They need to do this now to send him home and break up the power centred within the Trio of Meanies.  Gollum Jeff approaches his frenemy Penner and whispers that Pete has to go home tonight if they both are to get any further in this game.  Penner agrees.  Jeff tells Team Edward to vote for Team Jacob and Carter blurts out that he thought Toothpick Jeff was going home tonight.  Jeff is stunned to hear that the votes were in place to get rid of him tonight over that smelly veteran Skupin.  It is chaos right now and Malcolm runs off to dig up his idol.  He says if he smells something fishy tonight, he is going to use it.  Everyone now has to walk to Tribal Council so all forms of strategising is halted…..temporarily.  It is going to be a rollercoaster-ride tonight.

Tribal Council time and what unfolds has been generally acknowledged to be one of the best Tribal Councils in a long, long, long time.  Dimples greets everyone with his dark deep-ocean blue cargo shirt with white details to bring out the colour in his matching baby-blue eyes.  He matches this combination with some sand-coloured cargo pants.  RC is introduced as the first member of the jury and she struts in wearing heals, a short dress, and is all dolled-up.  Penner and Pete openly drool whilst Bella-Latina shoot jealous daggers towards her.  RC’s mission for tonight was to give Abi-Maria a big F U by reminding her how she is enjoying living in luxury at Ponderosa.  I think she succeeded in that tonight.

Dimples remind everyone that at the last Tribal Council, there was a lot of talk about resentment towards returning players.  Cotton Wool confesses that he felt extremely vulnerable the moment Penner won immunity tonight but after a while, back at camp, the talk turned and he feels less edgy tonight.  Malcolm just laughs and Dimples asks him to explain.  Malcolm points at Blair and says he was thrown under the bus today by a little Texan girl.  Dimples is surprise to find out that Blair has game as he probably pre-judged her to be yet another celebrity sheep on this show.  Blair is given an opportunity to set the record straight but instead, decides to use this forum as her own little confessional.  Once Penner ruined the pre-determined vote for tonight by winning immunity, Cotton Wool was obviously the next target.  But because Blair has felt that Cotton Wool has always been loyal to Tandang, she wanted to take out the true threat in the game tonight which was Malcolm.  Perfectly logical.  But Lisa, why would you want to give so much information to everyone at Tribal Council.  It’s not a confessional booth!  I know you’re missing church but your tribemates can and will use what you say against you!

Dimples points out the obvious.  There is the original Tandang five plus the remaining Kalabaw four and Malcolm in the middle.  Denise says that after the merge, they were hoping for some cracks and just maybe, Kalabaw has found it.  Suspecting (correctly) that Bella-Latina is the gift that won’t stop giving, Dimples asks Abi-Maria for her take on Lisa’s move to take out Malcolm.  Ofcourse Bella-Latina is not happy that Blair would want to screw up the alliance as she always felt Malcolm was part of their Tandang alliance.  But Blair questions her on why then was Bella-Latina willing to vote out Cotton Wool tonight if the thought was to keep Tandang strong?  Continuing to use her “inside voice” Bella-Latina explains to everyone that RC and Cotton Wool were always on the outside of the alliance – (RC just pulls a face upon hearing that titbit) – but the core alliance was always, Abi-Maria, Lisa, Pete, and Artis.  Oh, and Malcolm too.  Major Freudian slip!  The cameras are temporarily halted as the non-qualified medics are called in to retrieve Pete’s jaw from the floor.  Abi-Maria tries to backtrack but Dimples tells her that it may be a bit too late for that.  Bella-Latina looks at Malcolm and apologises and says that he was always part of the alliance, more so than Cotton Wool ever was.  But the damage has been done.  Malcolm knows where he now stands and Skupin is shaking his head furiously.

Blair tries to do some emergency surgical repair over Bella-Latina’s verbal bloodbath in outing the pecking order of Tandang by saying the only reason why she was targeting Malcolm was because he had the hidden immunity idol.  Blair says that yes, she was playing both sides, but her allegiance has always been towards the original Tandang members and that is why she brought that information about a hidden immunity idol over to Pete.  Everyone knows that someone with a hidden immunity idol has way too much power in the game and you need to flush it out.  Upon hearing those words, Malcolm reaches into his bag and pulls out the idol and waves it at his Tandang colleagues.  Pete looks like a jilted lover upon seeing the idol as he goes through the seven stages of grief.  Penner is cracking up in hysterics whilst Gollum Jeff, RC, Team Edward, and Cotton Wool are floored to see that Malcolm indeed has an idol.  Malcolm warns Tandang that if anyone is thinking of jumping aboard Blair’s plan to vote him out tonight, he/she will get a nasty surprise once the eligible votes are tallied.  Big, brave move from Malcolm.  Didn’t I say that Tribal Council was going to be good?  But wait, it gets better.  Much better.

Dimples casually suggests if anyone else wants to reveal another hidden immunity idol, thinking that no one would be that stupid to do so.  Both Penner and Malcolm are laughing as they think they are the only ones who were smart enough to find their respective idol.  Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, Bella-Latina reaches into her bag and pulls out her idol and waves it in front of Kalabaw.  Once again, the non-qualified medics had to be brought in and this time they had to retrieve from the floor the jaws belonging to Blair, Cotton Wool, and Gollum Jeff.  Bella-Latina waves the idol around and pointedly says she has been saving the idol to protect people in her alliance.  Penner is in stitches and he and Team Jacob crack up about what a crazy turn of events tonight Tribal Council has been.  Dimples is speechless and confesses he doesn’t know what else to say before sending people off to vote.  But wait, there is more.  Tribal Council tonight comes with an extra serving of a free pair of steak knives.

Just like he did on the riverboat, Penner senses his opportunity and swoops in.  He says there are six people in this game that can march forward and that means keeping him and Cotton Wool in the game for the time being.  Penner looks pointedly at Toothpick Jeff and asks him if he is ready to vote like they said they would vote tonight.  Trying not to let the cat out of the bag on who he wants to target, Jeff diplomatically agrees that many options were canvassed prior to coming tonight and that Penner knows how Jeff is going to vote.  So Penner asks and receive nodded assurances from Malcolm, Denise, Stoner Carter, and Skupin that they are going to vote as planned.  Such an openly bold move to do at Tribal Council.  Pete is freaking out as he suspects he is the target of these six.  But wait, there’s more.

Blair is not going to let Penner outdo her tonight and try and break up her alliance and gameplay.  Blair turns to look at all of the original Tandang members and tells them those that she has given her word in this game that if they stayed true to one another, if they trust her enough and vote according to Plan B, then they would have the controlling numbers after this vote.  They need to trust that Blair is true to her core alliance and follow her in voting as planned.

Uncomfortable silence at Tribal Council which is not helped by Dimples summarising the fact that there are two competing pitches to gather a six-strong voting block for tonight, assuming that everyone knows who exactly to target.  Team Jacob speaks up and says he knows that some people are targeting him tonight as his name has been thrown around in discussions back at camp since the merge.  Gollum Jeff pipes up that he has heard his name and Malcolm’s tossed around as threats to eliminate back at camp just as much as Cotton Wool’s and Penner’s.  And now after this Tribal Council, who is to say that Blair or Bella-Latina are safe now as they have just outed themselves as threats.  After the zany antics tonight as well as the fact that no one really feels safe tonight because the vote is still up in the air, Dimples tells everyone that this is the most complicated and entertaining Tribal Council he has ever been in attendance.  Here, here.  And we haven’t even got to the voting stage.  And with that, it is time to vote.

We see Blair’s vote (Jeff) and she reveals how chaotic the minutes leading to the walk to tribal council with the self-imposed communication block-out must have been.  She says that although she told her alliance to vote for Plan B – meaning Toothpick Jeff – she admits it was probably Plan D or E.  Denise’s vote (Pete) is revealed and she admits that she enjoyed watching his alliance self-implode at Tribal Council tonight.  [You’re not the only one Denise.]  No other votes are revealed.  When the voting finished, no one seems completely sure of who will be eliminated tonight.  Jeff is so nervous; he begins chewing on his toothpick.  Before revealing the vote, Dimples tells the contestants that if someone wants to use the immunity idol tonight, it may definitely be the time to do so now after what just happened.  Everyone looks at Bella-Latina and Malcolm in particular.  Both of them decide not to play the idol which shocks Blair.

It is time to reveal the votes.  First vote is for….Abi (and the smile is wiped from her face.  She wasn’t expecting to get a vote).  Next vote is for….Jeff (with a sad face drawn next to it).  Next vote is for….Pete.  Fourth vote is for….Jeff.  Pete (Denise’s vote) is revealed next.  Next vote is for….Jeff and he, Penner, and Malcolm are stunned to see that Jeff just got three votes.  Next vote is for Peter and he too is starting to feel a bit hot under the collar.  Three more votes to go.  Next vote is for….Jeff and he almost chokes on his toothpick.  Next vote is for…..Peter and he is starting to freak out for the second consecutive Tribal Council.  Last vote is revealed and it belongs to…..Jeff (Blair’s vote).  Jeff gives a wry grin and quickly stands up to grab his torch.  Pete exhales in relief.  Malcolm and Penner are shocked at how the vote turned out.  However, the reaction shot on Cotton Wool’s face is very telling.  Looks like Cotton Wool wants to keep Tandang strong despite Bella-Latina revealing that Cotton Wool was never part of the core alliance.  And when the votes are revealed to the audience, Michael did in fact vote for Jeff whilst Penner voted for Abi-Maria for some reason.  Was that because he was thinking about voting according to Plan F U?

Jeff doesn’t say anything when he gets his torch snuffed and he silently takes his walk of shame and tosses away the toothpick.  However that stroll down Losers Path made him realised that he just got blindsided and voted out of his precious game before the two veterans!  In his Final Words, Jeff is mega-pissed off and he says being voted out like this sucked big time.  Jeff said that although he probably earned $60 million during his two decades as a professional baseball player, this $1 million win was what he coveted.  “But it isn’t even one million bucks – it is 600 grand by the time Obama takes it.”  The most hilarious part of that statement was that Jeff was voted out of the game probably some time in late April or early May of this year during the filming of the show.  However, this episode aired in America one day after the U.S. Presidential Elections declared Obama as the winner.  Talk about irony.  Dimples tells the remaining contestants that tonight’s vote may go down as the biggest blown opportunity in the history of this game.  [Really?  Come on now Dimples.  I would have thought it would have been during that rigged season with redemption island when everyone was too stupid to vote out Boston Rob at every single Tribal Council].

Anyway, in Jeff’s Ponderosa videos, he sure is pissed that he got voted out and can’t wait for more people to join him later so he slap them around.  But he does regain some composure and apologises to RC for making the bad decision in not trusting her and Skupin in flipping and therefore allowing Kalabaw to have the numbers in the first vote after the merge.  Much to RC’s surprise, she found out that Cotton Wool did not vote with her last time to target Pete.  Only Penner had agreed to vote with RC.  Jeff lost more than 10 kilos and the doctor confirmed he did damage his knee during the first 5 minutes of the game.  Nothing too revealing in Jeff’s Ponderosa videos except it is clear is he looking for a guy to join him soon before he throttles RC to death due to her annoying giggle.  I fear for Jeff’s sanity as he has another 17 days to deal with that giggle.  And interestingly enough, in one of his exit interviews, Jeff confirms that although editing made him look like Gollum about his obsession to get rid of a veteran, the main reason why he and Carter chose to flip over to Tandang after the merge was because Denise did not feel Kalabaw could get the numbers and therefore needed to show Malcolm that she was loyal to him by voting with him.

So who will be voted out next week?  Well you all know now that I’m a week behind so let me gather my thoughts and work on this week’s recap over the weekend.  But there are so many unanswered questions like, will Cotton Wool break his current personal best and go three consecutive episodes without injuring himself?  What other big mouth antics will Bella-Latina get herself and her alliance into trouble next with?  But most importantly, will the broken bromance between Peter and Malcolm ever repair itself after having such a devastating betrayal occur on national television?  Find out more on the next exciting episode of Survivor: Brokeback Mountain.



1 daisy { 12.13.12 at 10:40 pm }

Gelignite Latina ….boom. Because she is soooo unstable.
Or poo face Latina because of her angry scowl.
I hope Malcom wins but he’ll have the biggest target on his back.
Don’t mind if Penner wins for his sheer determination.
Don’t have to worry about Abi winning.

2 A.P { 12.13.12 at 11:18 pm }

I think Pete might get voted out next after who we saw go on Tuesday last. ( Won’t say who in case not everyone has caught up )
Jeff was really bitter about being voted out and the comment about Obama I thought they may have cut out in the editing.
Blair is proving to be a very smart player and could just end up being the winner, although how she will put up with Bella Latina that long I don’t know!
Carter, Carter, is he still alive? He is like the walking dead, no personality whatsoever!

3 daisy { 12.14.12 at 2:52 am }

I agree AP but there’s still the necklace that might save him. When they get desperate, I think they get an extra adrenaline rush. Look at how Penner won immunity when he knew his neck was on the block. The difference being, I’ll be happy to see Pete go. I thought his tactics pretty dirty.

4 Calliegirl { 12.14.12 at 11:11 am }

Another great one JStar….keep up the good work.
Favourite line (and very hard to pick there were so many):
That’s the hint of blood that Penner needs and he swoops down like a vulture-to-a-carcass to work his magic.

5 Sioux Denim { 12.14.12 at 3:19 pm }

Damn, wish Penner had voted for Pete – that would have been very interesting indeed.

OMG who could NOT take Wiggle Hips now to the final 3 – what a loose cannon she is – that scowl!!!

As mentioned before I am on the Malcolm/Denise wagon……even wouldn’t mind a Penner win now……..

6 daisy { 12.14.12 at 4:03 pm }

In this order I think Malcom, Denise, then Penner (for effort against the odds).
Sioux : I think you could bottle that scowl ..and use it to scare children. Imagine if a guy hit on her and she wasn’t interested….SCOWL!

7 JStar { 12.15.12 at 8:02 pm }

@daisy – If not bottling that scowl, maybe printing it on the packages of contraception. That would scare people celibate.

@Sioux Denim – I’ll join you on the Malnise bandwagon. I’ve set aside time tomorrow for this week’s recap. Slowly getting there! Again, we have been spoilt with a third consecutive tribal council showdown and blindside. Fantastic!

@Calliegirl – I think Penner’s vulture attack was put too great use on Blair for this week’s episode (which I’m going to start recapping tomorrow). I’ll now use that vulture metaphor in his dealings with Blair. Thanks for the tip! :)

@Izobel2 – All quiet on the western front? 😛

@A.P. – Carter talks like he is perpetually stoned. I’m thinking of giving him a new nickname for the rest of this season. Geez. Dude, where’s your personality?

8 Carole { 12.15.12 at 10:01 pm }

Thanks JStar, another great recap. I agree, they will definitely want to take Abi to the final 3 as no one will vote for her. I must say I was really glad for Denise to finally be on a winning team and win a reward. The poor bugger has been stuck on losing teams from the beginning, I think she definitely deserved a reward for a change. She is a very strong player. Yeah, Penner definitely needed that immunity idol. I do love it when someone they want to vote out wins immunity and it screws up all their planning and they all start scrambling to decide who to vote out now. When they went to Tribal Council I was so confused and had no idea who they were all going to vote for, they had been throwing so many names around.

9 JStar { 12.15.12 at 11:27 pm }

@Carole – Denise better hope the curse has been lifted forever so she can win some things in the game on a consistent basis. How demoralising it is to be on the losing side for three straight weeks!

What I find funny is that after 24 seasons, contestants never seem to have a back-up plan on who to vote off should the unthinkable happen when someone they are targeting wins immunity. Like Lisa said when voting, “it was actually Plan D or E” to vote off Gollum Jeff. The fact that the vote kept on changing that whole afternoon and at Tribal Council showed how unprepared everyone was for Penner to win immunity (given that he has never come close to winning individual immunity the last two times he played).

10 Carole { 12.17.12 at 9:18 am }

Yeah, you think they would have learned by now, from watching previous seasons. I had thought it was a given that Skupin would be voted off when Penner won immunity, since they seemed obsessed with voting out the returning players.

The finale airs in a few hours in the US. Here we go again, I’m going to have to be careful on Twitter not to accidentally find out the winner. We’re about 3 or 4 weeks behind.

11 Carole { 12.18.12 at 8:46 am }

Fuuuuuck, I just saw the winner of Survivor. Was reading an article on Homeland and there at the bottom of the page was the winner saying winning Survivor was surreal. I was being so careful to avert my eyes on Twitter when I saw anything Survivor related, so am really pissed off!!!!!!!!

12 JStar { 12.18.12 at 12:28 pm }

@Carole – That will teach you to hunt for links to the finale of Homeland before it airs here! LOL!! It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the winner is NOT Abi-Maria!

13 Carole { 12.18.12 at 12:49 pm }

Just read next week’s TV Week, and being Christmas Day, Survivor isn’t on next week, so assume will be the same for the following week, being New Years Day. I checked the rest of the week in case it was on a different night but it isn’t. Channel 9’s a pain in the arse, they should have been showing double episodes for the last few weeks so we could finish it before Christmas.

14 A.P { 12.18.12 at 12:51 pm }

Oh no Carole!!!!!!
I made that mistake last year and vowed that I wouldn’t look at anything else on line apart from Jstar’s recaps.
It does spoil it but on the upside you can follow that winner more carefully and see just how they did it!

15 A.P { 12.18.12 at 1:03 pm }

Also Carole, I totally agree with you, Channel 9 could have shown double eps, especially since there is nothing much on tv at the moment.
They don’t care about their loyal viewers, I like The View and Days of Our Lives and they take these off every year when CRICKET starts and we get further and further behind the USA eps.
I rang them once and asked why they couldn’t put these shows on GEM but they don’t seem to have an answer.
I never watch channel 9 when crickets on.

16 Carole { 12.18.12 at 9:44 pm }

Yeah, I found out with the last season too AP. But I can’t go weeks without going on Twitter, and can’t be bothered unfollowing and then following again so usually just try to be careful. One of the losers is blaming Ponderosa and saying someone blackmailed him and turned the other jurors against him. And I’ve lost count of the amount of shows I love that they take off because of the cricket. I HATE cricket!!!!!

17 Daisy { 12.19.12 at 1:53 pm }

No spoiler but fun, fun, fun. Watch this week to see Gelignite. She needs a big spoon for dishing it out but “Boo Hoo’ She sure can’t take it. She has a sensitive side …when it’s her OWN ego. Poor thing really doesn’t get. So stubborn. Love to see her in Celebrity anything with Deni Hines. Kaboom!!!!! Oh and kissy, kissy, and an angelic smile to the jury.

18 Daisy { 12.19.12 at 1:58 pm }

Carole@16 At home I am the remote control Nazi. I OWN that controller.
I will hang my head in shame while I admit it, but Rolf even has to watch the Bold and Beautiful …although we both groan at how dreadful it is.

19 Carole { 12.19.12 at 10:59 pm }

Ha ha Daisy, good for you. I live by myself so I control everything I watch.