It's only a week and a half into the competition and because Matsing is the worst, Denise and Malcolm are the only ones left from the original members. They suspect they will be split up and joined with the other two tribes so they set out on a mission to find the hidden immunity idol before they leave camp for a reward challenge.
They look all around camp because that's where they saw Russell looking last week (don't worry, this will probably be the last time I'll mention Russell in these recaps: out of sight out of recaps) and they never saw a clue. The camera has plenty of fun at their expense, showing us how close they are to finding it without actually finding it.
Finally, thank goodness, Malcolm pries off the idol from the top of the rice container. They're both excited but that will be short lived if they are split up. Reward Challenge
Yay it's reward challenge time! And no shock here, Jeff tells Malcolm and Denise to drop their buffs and draw a new one out of a sack. Malcolm goes to Tandang and Denise heads to Kalabaw.
The challenge is for the tribe members to square off one-on-one in a ring to try to knock the other's idol off of handheld platforms.
It's pretty evenly matched and the tribes are tied at three. Michael had a nice move where he threw his idol high in the air and knocked Jonathan's idol before his hit the ground. Then Dawson had a moment where she knocked off Abi's idol with a hair pull which prompted Abi to tell her to "fight like a man, not like a bitch." Abi should probably not be giving anyone any advice on how to not act like a bitch, no matter what the context.
In the end, Malcolm gets to be the hero for his new tribe and wins the cookies, muffins and coffee reward for Tandang.
At Tandang between the challenge win and his immunity idol Malcolm is feeling like he's got his swag back. Everyone in the tribe seems pretty much smitten with him and they're all trying to get him on their side. Pete, who still seems to think he's in control of things, actually tells Malcolm that he and Abi have an idol. That may not end up being the best idea, considering that if Pete still has it at the merge, Malcolm still has an allegiance at the other tribe and that knowledge will be pretty valuable.
On Kalabaw before Denise gets to feel out the dynamic of her new tribe, the one that luckily for her has a female alliance already going, Dana falls ill and the medical staff is called in. The medic examines Dana, who is suffering from extreme stomach pains and nausea and is running a fever. The medic tells her and Jeff Probst that her condition is not life threatening and they are willing to pump her full of fluids and give her another 12 hours before pulling her from the game. But Dana decides that the pain is too extreme and that she wants to remove herself from the competition.
In a moment of true chivalry, we see Jeff Probst remove his jacket and place it on the shaking Dana who is lying sick on the ground. He tells her that he'll bring the tribe over and help break the news of her departure so she can end her game on her own terms. No one understands the grueling nature of this game more than Jeff and while he's always such a keen observer of the game and its players, he's also compassionate and pretty much the best. Immunity Challenge
Now that there are only two tribes competing for immunity, there is obviously going to be only one idol. The challenge is for the tribes to race through a series of obstacles, release puzzle pieces by chopping through a piece of wood, and then be the first tribe to finish the puzzle. Abi sits out for Tandang now that Kalabaw is minus a person and Jeff points out that Abi has played a mere TWO challenges since being out there. Wow Abi, way to contribute.
Tandang is off to a fast start mostly due to Katie slowing down Kalabaw for the first two legs of the obstacle course. Denise is kicking butt on Kalabaw though and Malcolm is a monster chopping through the wood to release the puzzle pieces for Tandang before the other tribe even finishes the course.
By the time Kalabaw gets to the puzzle pieces, Jonathan makes up a lot of ground and they are neck and neck trying to solve the word puzzle. Jeff is unkindly reminding everyone how Katie is the reason Kalabaw is scrambling to stay in the challenge and how Abi is basically a non-existent thing. It comes down to the last letter and Tandang barely gets the win over Kalabaw. Loser Camp
Welcome to the first Loser Camp that isn't Matsing! It's nice for all of us (except Denise) to actually get to know a little more about a different tribe that doesn't have Russell on it (whoops, breaking my own rule already!).
Katie is embarrassed by her performance in the challenge, and I am embarrassed that I didn't even know there was a "Katie" on this show until just this moment.
Denise quickly aligns herself with the Jeff and the Manly Men alliance but he is very clear expressing to her that she has the fourth position in that group. Denise accepts it willingly, being a Survivor
savvy lady, she knows a lot of things can change by the time they get down to those four. The Manly Men agree that it's either Katie or Dawson who is going home.
Dawson makes herself more of a target by taunting Jeff about his baseball career because she is the only one on the tribe who knows who he really is. Jeff is worried that his spot under the radar might be threatened and is tempted to just get rid of Dawson because of it. Tribal Council
They all talk about how sad they are that Dana has left the game and Jonathan even goes as far as to say that he thinks they would have won the challenge today if she was still there. Maybe that's true but probably not.
Katie makes a case for herself, taking responsibility for screwing up in the challenge but makes a promise to herself and her tribe to do better in the future. Dawson asserts that she is an asset to have around camp because of her positive attitude. Annnnd... the eye-rolls from her irritated tribe mates commence.
In the first non-Matsing tribal council, Kalabaw decides to vote off Dawson. Girl did not see it coming. And when she gets her torch snuffed she goes in for a hug and a kiss from Jeff: a woman after my own heart. (Image courtesy of CBS)