Here we are in the home stretch of this season, with our top five players: Abi, Lisa, Malcolm, Michael and Denise.

When they get back to camp, Abi starts giving this grand acceptance speech thanking the academy for not voting her off. Little does she know, her surprise at not being voted off is contradicting her whole “I have another hidden immunity idol” strategy, because her tribe mates know that if she was really that worried, she would have played it.

After the last tribal council, Malcolm is worried that Lisa is going to want to take someone she can beat (aka Abi) instead of one of their four persona alliance to the finals.

Abi continues her charade about having an idol, and tries to convince Lisa that she is in the bottom of her alliance. Because Lisa is an intelligent person, she dismisses basically everything Abi says, but plays along to keep her close in case she needs her jury vote.

Reward Challenge

The challenge is for the survivors to go up and over a slide and collect rings from buoys in the water. They have to make the trip twice and then throw their rings onto some pegs. The winner gets pizza and soda on a boat where they will go whale shark watching.

The men start off strong while Lisa quickly falls behind because she is struggling to run through the sand. Denise is right behind the boys and Abi decides she’ll actually try at this challenge. Malcolm and Michael are the first to start throwing their rings. The ladies catch up and start tossing their rings. But Michael built himself a solid enough lead to win the challenge.

For his reward he decides to bring Malcolm, because Malcolm picked him to visit with his son last week. This still seems like a questionable choice, considering he is basically giving Malcolm the fuel to beat him at the next challenge. He also picks his girl Lisa, which means it’s the same three on the reward challenge again, and Denise gets left out in the cold. Rude. Again.

Of course Abi is bitter about not being picked to go to on the reward. She says as everyone is walking away, “I guess my vote doesn’t count.” At least we know Abi is good at one thing, and that’s pushing people’s’ buttons.

On the reward, Michael gets a sugar high, which is pretty endearing. And then they swim with polka-dot whale sharks. It’s all pretty monumental.

After the life-changing experiences of whale-watching and getting high on sugar, the three of them discuss strategy. They all happily toast their soda-pops to them being the final three, which again, excludes Denise. Why are we all hating on Densie all of a sudden?! Lisa does admit though, that if a more suitable opportunity arises in the future where she feels she has a better chance of winning, she won’t hesitate to do whatever gives her a leg up.

Denise is obviously a better person than I am, and probably most of us, for putting up with Abi’s whining back at camp. She is unjustly rewarded for her good deeds by being bitten by some icky creature of the Philippines that has left her with pain in her neck and all the way down her left side. Lisa and Michael organize a prayer for her, but Abi is secretly reveling in her pain. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Abi is the absolute worst.

Immunity Challenge

The contestants have to use two planks to build on a rope bridge to cross to the other side of the platform, picking up puzzle pieces on the way. Then they have to assemble a maze from the puzzle pieces and move the platform to get a ball through the maze to win immunity.

Everyone is pretty much even, and despite not feeling well, Denise is staying competitive. Michael is the first person back to the platform and then Malcolm takes a spill and unfortunately has to go back to the start while everyone else gets to start on their puzzles.

Denise is motoring on the puzzle part and Michael, Abi and Lisa all fall quickly behind. Then out of nowhere, just when Denise thinks she might have it, Malcolm comes back and puts the puzzle together like he’s done it a million times. Denise barely has time to look up before Malcolm comes from behind and wins the whole thing. Poor Denise hasn’t gotten a single lucky break since this game began.

Because she is a petulant child, Abi starts crying about losing immunity when she gets back to camp. But once she is done having a tantrum, she tries to talk to Michael about bringing her to the final four instead of Denise, because no one can beat her. Michael sums Abi up perfectly saying that she “hasn’t done anything likable in a game where everyone is trying to be liked.”

Lisa admits to Michael that she would consider bringing Abi to the end with them and getting rid of Denise now. So now all of a sudden, she doesn’t have a “moral dilemma” betraying someone she made an alliance with? She was willing to be loyal to Abi and the original Tandang earlier in the game, but she is not willing to do so with the pact she made with Denise and Malcolm? Doesn’t make much sense, but okay Lisa.

Denise asks Malcolm if there would be any way that he would give her his hidden immunity idol. He says no, that he is 100 percent sure that she is safe. He says he plans on keeping his idol as a souvenir for his mom. While that’s real sweet, Malcolm, if Denise gets voted off tonight because you still have that thing in your pocket, I will take back all of the wonderful things I ever said about you (but I will still accept a marriage proposal).

Tribal Council

Abi starts things off by making the valid argument that she is the best person to bring to the end because there is no way she can win. Jeff says that if she did make it to the finals, she could make an argument to the jury that she has outwitted, outlasted and outplayed the 13 other people on the jury.

Denise insists that most of the reason that Abi is here now is because she’s had a lot of luck. Lisa interjects, saying that luck had nothing to do with the strength of Tandang and blah blah blah. But Lisa, how many of those challenges did Abi even participate in to keep Tandang from having to go to tribal council. Yeah… not so many.

Then Abi goes on a desperate rant aimed at Lisa and Michael, telling them that they absolutely cannot win against Malcolm and Denise. She then calls Michael an idiot and a moron for not agreeing with her. Insulting people is really a great way to get people to see your point of view in both Survivor and the real world. Oh wait, no it isn’t.

In the end, the tribe decides to send the right person packing. And that person is FINALLY Abi. Ding dong the witch is dead! How’s that imaginary hidden immunity idol working out for you now, huh? While she is probably one of the more insufferable people to play this game, I’m convinced that she will make a wonderfully bitter jury member, which always makes the finale more interesting.

Speaking of the finale, it’s this Sunday, December 16! Who do you think will win the million dollars?

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Gina Pusateri

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV