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2012-10-31 10:03 PM
One Big Happy Family
The big question on tonight's episode of Survivor: Philippines was, Who's flipping? And if you figured it out, you're better at this than I am. Once the two remaining tribes merged into one, it seemed to be all up to Jeff. He had his recent alliance with fellow Kalabaw Penner and a whole lot of new friends coming over from the fractured Tandang tribe. The outcasts were ripe for the picking, but they had ideas of their own.
Just to get this straight in my own mind, let's break this down. Four people came from Kalabaw -- Penner, Carter, Jeff and Denise. Of the seven who came from Tandang, one was Denise's former Matsing ally Malcolm. The six original Tandang members were split into two groups: Skupin and RC against Abi and Pete, with Lisa and Artis loosely aligned with the latter duo. Skupin thought he and RC were the free agents.
Then, immediately after the merge, Lisa accidentally found Malcolm's hidden Idol, and Malcolm had to bring her into his alliance with Denise. Jeff was the only one who knew Penner had an Idol, which was the basis for the deal they made with each other. The other Idol was in Pete's hands, but at least Abi and RC knew about it.
Penner went out of his way to forge bonds with his new tribe mates. He approached Lisa because he recognized her from her days on The Facts of Life. He and Skupin discussed their "bullseye connection" as returning players. (In the end, both Lisa and Skupin would cast their votes against Penner. So much for the power of his social game.)
Jeff went to work to get Penner out. Since the beginning he has had a strong feeling that a returning player shouldn't win, and he badly wanted to outlast Penner. He knew that most people believed Penner had an Idol. (He knew this was in fact the case but didn't share that knowledge.) The plan, advanced during this conference by Malcolm, was to split the votes between Penner and RC, whom nobody much likes or trusts or would miss if she were sent off simply because Penner played his Idol.
As they left for Tribal Council, Jeff thought he had the power to control the votes, and he was torn between going after Pete or sticking with the plan to vote out either Penner or RC.
At Tribal, both the baseball player and the child star showed that they understood how the game works. Jeff said that the weaker tribe (in this case his own Kalabaw group) had something to offer to lower ranked players from the stronger tribe. Lisa said that anyone who flipped based on that principle would actually weaken their position, because they would be seen as untrustworthy. She then advanced the theory that a player from the weaker tribe would actually survive longer by flipping, because they could be further under the radar as a member of a larger group.
The vote was indeed split, and Penner did play his Idol, and RC was sent home. Penner got five votes that didn't count, and four votes went against RC. The other two votes, by Penner and RC, were for Pete. So now RC is gone, and Penner knows he is the biggest outcast and the next target. The only way to turn that around, short of winning immunity ten times in a row, would be to create a new alliance by convincing enough people that there's a better target. I think the new players are too suspicious of the returnees to fall for that, but some of them might be just naive enough to go along with it, or just wary enough to pretend to.
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