We've made it to the finale already; it seems like the season has gone quickly, but then again, if I have to hear Lisa say "I know what I have to do to win, but it goes against everything I believe in ..." I may stab myself in the ear with an ice pick.
Unsurprisingly, she is my last choice to win. My order of preference is Malcolm, Denise, Mike, and then Lisa. And really, Malcolm and Denise are interchangeable.
First off, we recap the entire season of 'Survivor Philippines,' but since I've already done that, I'm not going to do it again. Suffice it to say it's a miracle that Denise and Malcolm have made it to the end. The recap also serves to remind me that while Lisa may annoy me now out of the four that are left, she's still a much better option than a lot of other people who could have been there (I'm looking at you, Russell, Abi, Pete and RC).
One of Jeff's first voice over questions "Can Skupin keep his game, and Lisa, from falling apart?" Good question Jeff, good question. Jeff continues to point out that Denise has been at every Tribal Council and survived, and that Malcolm has played a near-perfect game, found an Immunity Idol and dominated at challenges. See, even the producers think that either Malcolm or Denise should win.
Back from Tribal Council, the Final Four do a happy dance that Abi is gone. I would too.
Mike is very diplomatic: "I'm not happy for her loss; I'm happy for our peace." Malcolm is having the problem of being too good at things, and is probably the last person you’d want to go to the final with. But he'll probably win immunity, so it won't be an issue.
Reward challenge time! And because it's the last episode, reward is all about an advantage in the last Immunity Challenge. The challenge is an obstacle course, along which you pick up puzzle pieces (of course -- they loved the puzzles this season.) Denise needs to win this, since Malcolm is ambivalent about taking her to the final three.
Starting off, Malcolm and Mike are running full out. I guess there's not really a reason to hold back with so little time left in the game. Denise is holding her own with the guys, but Lisa falls behind. Mike is the first to the puzzle, but he historically hasn't done that well with puzzles. And that holds true again this challenge, as Mike falls behind. Malcolm and Denise are neck and neck, but Malcolm ultimately pulls ahead and wins it.
Lisa points out that Malcolm was the last person who needed an advantage at the Immunity Challenge, which, yup. He thinks that it would be better to take Mike and Lisa, but I think he's not thinking about how many people will view him voting off Denise as a betrayal, and they may vote for someone else because of it.
To his credit, Malcolm is fairly upfront with Denise about possibly not taking her to the end, but all that does is make Denise go straight to Lisa about getting rid of Malcolm if he doesn't win immunity. And really, ain't none of them going to win against Malcolm, so they should get rid of them if they have the chance.
Lisa talks to Mike about it, but he'd rather have Malcolm in the final three than Denise. I think Mike has an inflated sense of how well he's played this game. He thinks that he can stand against Malcolm, but I don't think he realizes that most of the jury was on his tribe, and they watched him injure himself multiple times in the beginning of the game, and screw up a few of the challenges.
Time for the Walk of Fallen Survivors, also known as Hey, I Forgot That Guy (or Girl) Was On This Show. It's really weird how the first four players out were from one tribe. And I forgot about Dawson and her obsession with Jeff Probst and the super-awkward kiss when she left. They all try really hard to be polite about Abi when they get to her torch, and give her credit for getting to fifth place.
Final Immunity Challenge time! It's a weird balance challenge -- you have to balance a fall on a long stick, and you keep adding longer pieces of wood to make it more difficult. Malcolm's advantage is that he gets second chance, which is a pretty darn big advantage. The first round, the stick (without handles) looks to be about six inches long, and everyone does it fairly easily. Next round, they add about eight inches total. Mike starts shaking, but Malcolm is the one who drops his ball. Everybody gets to drop and the round starts again.
Jeff Probst is doing his best to keep this interesting with narrative, but this it like watching paint dry. Malcolm starts shaking like a leaf, and he drops the ball again. Wow, that was unexpected. I wonder if he was pushing the pieces together too hard. And right after that, Denise is out too.
Mike and Lisa are both doing really well, and get through another round. There are now eight pieces of wood to hold together, along with the handles. They both do well, but Lisa drops first. Mike gets the final immunity, and is guaranteed a spot in the final three. Lisa immediately whispers to Mike "We did this together." Gee, Lisa, a little worried, are you?
Back at camp, Mike can't believe that he did it, and, frankly, I can't either. Malcolm is freaking out a little that he's lost control at this point in the game. Lisa and Mike tell both Malcolm and Denise that they are with them, so we’ll have to wait and see what's going to happen at Tribal Council.
Speaking of which, it's Tribal Council time! They bring in the jury, and wow, does Abi look pissed. Malcolm and Denise dance around the idea of loyalty and whether or not they are still loyal to each other or not (hint: they're not.) Jeff talks up Malcolm, and then Malcolm tries to sell Denise as being an even better threat than him.
Lisa flat out states that she has no reason to take Malcolm to the end (implying that the only reason would be because of her alliance with Mike.) Enough; let's get to the voting.
And wow! It's Malcolm. I guess Mike decided that, while it would feel good to win against the best, he had to consider that he might not win at all. And I agree with what they did -- it's not the Olympics; it's a game show for a million dollars. Malcolm is understandably disappointed, but not bitter.
Back at camp after Malcolm's ousting, Denise is almost sad that Malcolm is gone, but knows that this is the game, and she outwitted him in the end. Malcolm certainly thinks she’ll win it; apparently he congratulated her on her million dollars as he left Tribal Council.
Mike thinks he'll have to something to say about that, but he obviously hasn't realized what a talented and convincing talker she is. When Jonathan talked to you, you realized you were being worked over, but you didn't mind because he was so charming, With Denise, you don't even realize that she's changed your mind with subtle suggestions.
The Final Three get a smorgasbord of a breakfast, which gives them the strength to dismantle camp. And then we have to listen to Lisa talk about how "Survivor" is different from the "Facts of Life," and how grateful she is to have gotten this far. She does like to hear herself talk, that one.
Thankfully, we go straight into Tribal Council. Everyone on the jury is so much cleaner than Mike, Lisa, and Denise. And I think that Abi looks better without makeup.
Opening statements start, and Denise is good. She is unapologetic, and points out that she's survived being on three different tribes, and survived every single tribal council. Lisa is next, and is almost defending herself against how much better Denise played. She does get better in the end when she talks about how she changed her game after her brother reminded her that it is, after all, just a game. Mike immediately talks about being a returning player. He says he "played his guts out" so I don't think he knows how inept he looked at the beginning (although he certainly pulled it out in the end.)
Now it's time for the jury to speak, and we start out with Artis. He is bitter, bitter, bitter, and refuses to congratulate them because they weren't loyal? Is he only talking to Mike and Lisa? Or just Lisa? No one answers him, I guess because he didn't really ask a question.
Carter is up next, and is an all-around nice guy like he usually is. He asks Mike about how he felt when he (Mike) knew that Carter was going to go home. Mike tells him that they had to get rid of him essentially because he was a threat and Abi wasn't.
Pete is also bitter, and wants to know why she betrayed him and Artis. Lisa gets a chance to clear the air, and states that she did not vote for Artis, and had no idea he was going home. I love how they made sure that Lisa knew she was at the bottom of the alliance, and they would get rid of her at the first opportunity, but they (Pete, Artis, and Abi) are bitter that she "betrayed" them. Pete then asks Denise why she's a better player than the rest, and Denise awesomely points out that they never should have gotten rid of RC, because it gave non-Tangdang players a chance to pick them off one by one.
Now it's RC's turn; she starts by over-complimenting Lisa, and asks Mike if he should have told her something the day she went home. Mike emphatically states that he did not vote for RC, which is important to her because she was pretty loyal to him. I think she'll vote for him.
Malcolm is up, and he liked Lisa's speech, but he calls out Denise at her appeasing, placating, therapist thing she has going on. She admits to it, and puts value on listening to people and appeasing and reacting to them, and tell Malcolm that she's better because he's sitting there and he's not. He doesn't seem to like the answer. Oh Malcolm, you were going to do the exact same thing to her, and you would have expected her to take it better.
Jeff really could have done better in this game, and he knows it too. But he's agreeable about his sour grapes, probably because he's already made millions and just wanted to win for the sake of winning. Mike thinks that he made things happen, but it didn't really look that way to the rest of us.
Lisa thinks she made a major move, and talks about betraying her knowledge of Malcolm's idol, which is probably not the best answer. Jeff also argues with Lisa's answer, which tells me that he'll be voting for Denise.
Ah. Now it's Abi's turn. She immediately starts talking about herself, and how her heart is broken that they didn't like her. I believe her that she doesn't know who she's voting for, because she hates all of them. Denise does the best at answering her, perhaps because she's used to dealing with the crazy.
Jonathan is next, and pontificates for a while about how it sucks for him not to be sitting on the other time, but congratulates them nonetheless. And then he calls Denise a b----. No, really, he does. Then he brings up that Mike, who claims to have had a target on his back the whole time, but he never had his name written down.
For Lisa, his friend, he outs her past on the "Facts of Life," in case that affects someone else's decision. Wow, he's much more bitter than he seemed to be when he left. Maybe he's just trying to be memorable.
Finally, it's voting time! Although we won't see it until everyone is all clean and non-emaciated (it always amuses me to see how different they look at the beginning of the reunion juxtaposed against their grody 39-day selves.) We see RC vote for Lisa, Jonathan vote for Denise, and Carter vote for Mike.
Jeff starts out the live portion of the show taking a moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook School Shooting, which makes the results of this show seem even more trivial than they usually do.
Once he starts counting votes, things start going Denise's way very quickly. We only see six votes, but four of them were for Denise, which is enough, and she wins the million dollars.
Well, I can't say she doesn't deserve it. She did it so quietly that most people didn't realize how seamlessly she blended into three different tribes and flew under the radar until it was too late.
See you next season!
'Survivor Philippines' finale recap, Million Dollar Question
Who will be the last man or woman standing? (CBS)
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