Like the Medallion of Power or a nasty food-taste challenge, Jonathan Penner is now a Survivor thing of the past (that is, until he is asked to play for a fourth time at some point). Had he been able to navigate through that last Tribal Council, he would have made it to one of the few lasting Survivor traditions: The “family visit” episode.
There are few episodes as emotional as the “family visit” episode on Survivor. Beginning really with the classic “grandma died” ploy by Jonny Fairplay on Survivor: Pearl Islands, the episode has also become an integral strategic turning point for some. It can re-motivate and re-inspire a down-and-out contestant or it could work to clear the head of someone who is lost in the game. It also gives the contestants and us viewers a glimpse into the real lives of these “characters” inhabiting our favorite reality competition show.
From the looks of the preview, this “family visit” may end up being another pivotal one. Malcolm, in a great position in the game and still with an Immunity Idol, looks to be jeopardized somehow by his “knucklehead” brother. Lisa on the other hand, may be about to get a boost from her brother – a much-needed jolt to remind her that this is a game…one that she can win if she plays her cards right.
Here is the CBS synopsis of tonight’s episode:
Episode 12 – “Shot into Smithereens” – DURING AN EMOTIONAL FAMILY REUNION, AN EXCITING REWARD CHALLENGE ENABLES CASTAWAYS TO JOIN FORCES WITH THEIR LOVED ONES, ON “SURVIVOR: PHILIPPINES,” WEDNESDAY, DEC. 5. Meanwhile, at a secret meeting, an alliance devises a plan to get rid of their biggest threat, on SURVIVOR: PHILIPPINES, Wednesday, Dec. 5 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Analysis. With six left in the game, there is no question that the “biggest threat” remaining in the game is Malcolm. The main question remaining this season centers around Lisa Welchel: Will her morals dictate her actions within the game? Or will she be able to make a big move to give herself a better shot at winning the million?
In other words, will Lisa stick to her alliance with Malcolm and Denise or will she flip on them?
Skupin has played a great game in my opinion, however socially he doesn’t seem well-liked enough to actually win. Add to that, he is the only returning player remaining in the game and we know that some jury members (like Jeff Kent) were very vocal about not letting a returnee win the game. But one thing – to this point – has been consistent regarding Skupin: His loyalty to Lisa. Often times, we see him asking Lisa which way she wants to swing and then follows her lead. Yes Lisa will most definitely be the most important vote moving forward.
If they did decide to try to get rid of Malcolm, now would be the time. Currently, if Lisa, Skupin, Denise and Malcolm did stick together, they would simply vote out Abi or Carter, perhaps Carter first since he is the bigger physical threat of the two. If he were to win Immunity, Abi would be the next to go.
But if Lisa and Skupin did decide to flip on Malcolm, they would have to do so very tactfully, also needing to pull in Abi and Carter’s votes. In that scenario, Malcolm would also need to not play his Idol, or the plan would backfire. Even if they succeeded in voting him out with the Idol in his possession, they would likely lose Malcolm’s vote and Denise’s should she reach the jury. A risky proposition, but well worth it if they feel they cannot beat Malcolm or Denise in the end.
Another strategy could be to simply try to split votes, two for Malcolm (say, Lisa and Carter) and two for Denise (say, Skupin and Abi). Let’s also assume that Denise and Malcolm vote for Abi (with Carter winning Immunity). This would create a 2-2-2 vote between Denise, Malcolm and Abi if Malcolm doesn’t use the Idol, or a 2-2 vote between Denise and Abi if he does. In the first three-way tie scenario, a re-vote would happen but Malcolm, Denise and Abi would not be able to vote. Then Lisa, Skupin and Carter could send home whoever they chose to, probably Malcolm and his Idol. If Malcolm does play the Idol, they would still re-vote and Skupin, Lisa and Carter would still have the majority to eliminate Denise. Malcolm’s Idol would be gone either way.
That, my friends, is their best play tonight in my opinion. Unless they really think they can win against Malcolm or Denise in the end (no chance). This of course, all goes out the window if Malcolm or Denise wins individual Immunity.
Either way, we are in for a dramatic “family visit” episode, but let’s hope it’s not a predictable one. After tonight, there is only one more episode remaining before the 2-hour Finale on Sunday, Dec. 16th. It truly is anyone’s game (except Abi…or Carter).
Be sure to check back tonight for my full recap and analysis of tonight’s episode!
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