'Survivor Philippines' Recap: Conundrum Island
'Survivor Philippines' Recap: Conundrum Island
Gina Pusateri
Gina Pusateri
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
It's day 31 which means we are in the home stretch of this delightful season, Survivor lovers! I'd have to say that this is one of the more interesting and engaging seasons there has been in awhile, and mostly that's due to the solid collection of people who have made up the season. Even the bad ones. And I think you all know who I'm referring to. It's Abi. I'm referring to Abi. She's the worst.

Speak of the devil, after tribal council, Abi comes to the brilliant realization that Malcolm, Michael, Denise and Lisa are in an alliance of four. Shrewd powers of deduction that one has.

Lisa is still in turmoil that she had to vote her friend Jonathan off. And she has a realization of her own that she probably can't win against Malcolm and Denise. However she's got herself one big conundrum, because she gave her word to them and betraying them would mean betraying herself.

Reward Challenge

Get your tissues out everybody because it's time for a visit from the loved ones. Michael's son Michael (why am I not surprised) is there for him. Lisa breaks down when she sees her brother Justice. Denise jumps like a little tree frog onto her husband, Brad, who is twice her size. Carter (the tall blond one who looks like a Muppet) "breaks down" and cries a single tear when he sees his mother. Abi welcomes her mother who is adorable and a little confused because she doesn't speak English. And Malcolm's younger, goofy, curly-haired brother, Miles, is there for a visit.

The challenge is for the survivor to toss their loved one a bag of mud and then the loved one has to knock a bamboo pole off of a target. The first team to knock all of their bamboo down wins a chance to visit at camp.

Oh do those producers love to get the loved ones nice and dirty whenever they make the trip for a visit. It doesn't take long for the mud bags to get everybody good and filthy, except Abi's mom, who can't catch a bag let alone knock any of her targets down. Carter's mom, who is way buff, gets off to a strong start and so does Miles. Lisa's brother Justice and the Michaels also put up a good fight, but Malcolm and Miles pull out the win in the end.

Of course Malcolm has to choose someone else to bring their loved one back to camp. He chooses Lisa, because she's been having such a tough go of things emotionally. He asks Jeff if he can pick another pair, and his wish is Jeff's command. So he picks the Michaels and disses his girl Denise. Rude.

Back at camp Lisa unloads all of the problems she's been having on her little bro. He suggests to her and Michael that they vote Malcolm off at this tribal council. He even manages to convince Lisa that Malcolm would respect her more for a blindside, even if it meant she betrayed her. Now Malcolm does seem to have a sensible approach to the game, but a move like that would probably cost Lisa Malcolm's jury vote.

Lisa, Justice and the Michaels have a little prayer circle that, if it is God's will, their plan to vote off Malcolm would work. But we all know that if God had anything invested in this game, he probably would have already struck Abi down where she stood.

Immunity Challenge

The challenge is for the survivors to race across a bamboo balance beam to a platform and then use a grappling hook to retrieve three bags. Then they are to race to shore, untie the bags and assemble a long stick to reach a target to press a button and lower the flag. First one to lower their flag wins immunity.

Everyone starts off pretty even besides Denise, who has some trouble with the balance beam, but she makes up lost time with the grappling hook. Carter is the first one to start the swim to shore followed by Michael and Lisa. Malcolm and Denise are next and Abi takes her sweet time getting her bags together and then into the water, but don't worry, Jeff called her out for being slow and basically giving up.

Lisa has her pole assembled first but it is not strong enough to press the target button. Michael and Carter both make an attempt next, and neither of their sticks are strong enough either. Malcolm takes a little extra time making his pole but then he and Carter are neck-and-neck trying to reach their target and Malcolm gets there first. Yay for Malcolm and his sweep of this week's challenges!

Malcolm revels in his awesomeness (and so do I) at his individual immunity back at camp. Not to mention, he still has the hidden immunity idol which he plans on playing next week (the last week he is able to use it) so he is guaranteed a spot in the final four. But it turns out he's not quite perfect: he shows his tribe mates that he has a couple of webbed toes... ew... But wait, he makes a Harry Potter reference by comparing Abi to a dementor, so it looks like he is back to perfect again. Phew, I'm relieved.

The plan is to vote for Carter at the evening's tribal council, even though it is killing everyone because the all hate Abi. Carter tries to mumble something to Michael and Malcolm about having respect for the game by keeping him, but as usual, he is barely coherent.

Tribal Council

Of course Carter tries to make an argument for himself at tribal by saying that everyone has been preaching about letting people who deserve to play the game keep playing the game and how he deserves it more than Abi. Although no one likes Abi, Lisa still says she would rather sit next to someone she can beat, and since she made no promises to Carter, he is the one they have to vote off. Malcolm also says he is more of a threat to win challenges, which makes him more of a threat to keep one of their four out of the finals.

Abi keeps trying to make people believe that she has a hidden immunity idol and no one is buying it. Denise outright says that Abi cannot win this game no matter what. That she has had zero balance of decent social, strategic or physical game. Abi's response? An eye-roll of course!

The tribe decides in a unanimous vote that Carter is the one going home. It looks like the decision Jonathan made a couple of episodes ago not to align himself and Carter with Lisa and Michael has now unjustly caught up with Carter. But it's hard to tell which is more annoying: a player making it to the finals merely because he rode the right coattails (and sometimes this player even ends up winning) or a player making it to the finals just because she is a horrible human being? Just another Survivor conundrum I guess.

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

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