Finale! Survivor: Philippines
It's finale night and I'm letting out one last OW OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO in celebration. And for the second time, my pre-show winner prediction is heading into the finale but the question is will I have actually predicted right for the first time?
The final four breathe a sigh of relief that camp will be far less annoying these last few days. But the four friends are at the point in the game where they have to turn on each other and inevitably lose. But first, a reward challenge to navigate some obstacles they've encountered before to collect puzzle pieces that fill in the form of a dragon. The reward is the biggest of the game: an advantage in the final immunity challenge. Oooo. Challenge master Malcolm wins, again, and if there's one person you don't want to have a leg up in another challenge, it's the invincible Malcolm. Post-challenge, Denise tries to make a final three deal with Malcolm and begins to pick up the vibe that he's not interested. Denise keeps on playing though and makes her pitch to Lisa to take out Malcolm (and Skupin likes it).
Before the final Immunity Challenge, the four take the fallen comrades walk to remember the fond (and in Abi's case horrendous) memories. The good news is while we forgot people, Denise didn't since she was at every single Tribal Council seeing these torches snuffed. After torching the torches, they arrive at the final Immunity Challenge to balance a ball on wood, adding pieces along the way to make it harder. Yup, recycled challenge that's sorta endurance sorta now. Malcolm's advantage is that he gets a second chance if he ever drops the ball (a fantastic advantage). It's pretty boring to watch people balancing stuff, though Malcolm does drop in the second round and has his second attempt. What I did notice that I didn't before is that the middle piece has a groove in it to keep the ball from immediately slipping off the pole. Malcolm's got the jitters and fails; first out. Oh boy. Denise drops next, leaving Lisa and Skupin to fight. After a few rounds, Lisa drops and Skupin wins immunity and the odd ego he has for being a shitty player grows.
Malcolm is sure he's in trouble, but reaffirms his final three with Skupin and Lisa. Denise does the exact same, so who the hell knows what's happening at Tribal. But Skupin still would love to take Malcolm to the end to beat the best, because he's confident he'd beat him (seriously??) And so heading into Tribal I'm really not sure where the votes will lay but I have a sneaking suspicion I'm going to lose the pre-show winner prediction race... again. Hot topic is friendships having to end as the game draws closer to a final conclusion. Malcolm and Denise pretty openly imply that they used to be besties but also have to betray each other in order to win. Shit gets dirty too when Malcolm points out Denise survived every Tribal Council and floated while others got their hands dirty. Lisa can't even think of a reason to take Malcolm to the end and it hits him hard. Damn Lisa, you cold blooded and I love it. The tribe speaks and Malcolm heads off to join the jury. Before he leaves he whispers a congratulations to Denise on winning the million dollars. Skupin seethes because for some reason he thinks he's done a better job than her. And my pre-show prediction losses rise.
The final three bask in their last day glory with a big breakfast feast awaiting them at tree mail. Lisa accurately points out this jury could go any way and it's so true, but I hope it's any way but Skupin's. Sorry but I don't think Skupin has done anything in this game besides win a few challenges and barely avoid death a few times. But maybe that's his argument.
Final Tribal time! Denise's opening statement is of no apologies and the ability to adapt and assimilate to three different tribes and build many alliances. Lisa's statement is about playing her own game and learning to trust her gut and stop being uber-loyal. Skupin uses the returning player lasting long argument, busting his ass to save himself. It's jury questioning time and first up Artis is still angry about the broken loyalty by his tribemates, which means score one for Denise. Carter starts with "Uhhh" which is no surprise and lazily doles out compliments. Pete says Lisa was sort of a "Judas situation" when people were eliminated but she didn't write their names. Denise points out how she worked her way into the tribe each time she re-merged and adapted, especially considering how Kalabaw should've been picked off immediately not RC by her own original tribe. RC makes a weird nervous laugh. Malcolm rips into former pal Denise. Jeff Kent makes a speech about types of people and Skupin of course claims he makes things happen. Lisa insists she never floated in the middle, referencing her botched plan to take out Malcolm but her plan was always to keep Tandang strong. Abi plays the brokenhearted card for being a dick, then poses why any of them deserve her vote. Denise has no remorse in what she said about Abi, but apologies for perhaps her tact in doing so. Penner wraps it up in the Penner-est of ways, assuring Denise she officially will be seen as a bitch, Skupin has never received a vote and that will probably happen again tonight, and then the big bomb: Lisa was the star of The Facts of Life and they should know that she has kept this secret until now. There's some references about being led to the slaughter while the other two are oxen. It's totally Penner.
And with the bitterness filling their hearts (and the empty void in Carter's head), the jury votes for the person they believe should win the title of Sole Survivor. In case you were wondering, Carter voted for "SKOOPIN." I simply cannot. And so Probst grabs the urn of votes and disappears for a few months only to appear at the reunion special to read the results. The trio hold hands as the votes are read and the winner of Survivor: Philippines is DENISE!!!! It's a 6-1-1 vote which is massively impressive.
Congratulations are given to Denise who is aware at the four she knew she was in trouble. Her biggest move towards victory was eliminating buddy Malcolm. Turns out the jury would've still picked Denise to win over Malcolm, surprising Probst. And after asking the ladies a couple questions, Probst turns to Penner and Jeff Kent's failed alpha male alliance (surprise). Skupin still has these delusions of grandeur that he played hard and deserved to win, honestly thinking he won tonight. Seriously?? They roll some fantastic b-roll footage of all of Skupin's accidents, a true walking disaster. Later Lisa says god doesn't care about Survivor, but then he does care? There's stuff about staying true to Christianity, god's love, internal conflict. I don't know, it's too much. In a Malcolm discussion Probst asks if he'd play again, and Malcolm's like "Yeah." Talk about a heavy-handed hint. Then talk turns to the succubus: Abi. Abi has learned from watching the show that she is in fact abrasive and passive aggressive. Lisa wins the Fan Favorite prize, narrowly defeating Malcolm. Highlight of the night is Dawson racing from her seat to plant a smooch on Probst. The night wraps up with a preview of season 26, Survivor: Caramoan and it's fans vs. favorites, again. Except "favorites" is a loose term of people who were able to not work for 39 days.