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In last week’s shocking tribal council, Skupin flipped the script and voted out Artis. Lisa, obviously teetering between flipping herself, stayed true to her alliance despite the mountains of suspicion and anger directed towards her from Abi-Maria. Abi-Maria has been tagged as the “villain” of Survivor: Philippines, and it’s really not true. Abi is not a villain — she’s just a complete nut-job. Pete, the self-proclaimed “mastermind,” is the real villain of the season, and even though tonight centered around Abi-Maria and her obnoxiousness, the episode is really about Pete Yurkowski, and how he let the game get away from him.
Pete let the game slip through his fingers multiple times this season. Obviously intelligent and strikingly handsome, Pete had the right idea all along — drag two unlikable people with you to the final three (in this case, Artis and Abi). Pete, however, made several critical errors over the course of the season. Way back in the first few episodes, Pete had forged an alliance with RC, Skupin, and Abi. At this point in the game, Abi and RC were a tight two-person alliance. Pete, however, saw fit to destroy this, and did so through a clever use of the immunity idol clue. RC and Abi’s relationship shattered, irreparably separating the two. This was Pete’s first and second mistake; he never should have fractured his tight alliance of four so early, and setting RC apart from the rest of the tribe was a critical mistake. Pete’s second mistake was allying himself with Artis and Abi in a three-person alliance — all this did was place Pete squarely in the “unlikable” camp. No one wanted any of those three around, especially after acting so condescending and arrogant among the rest of the group. Pete’s most egregious mistake in the game, however, was not flipping the game on Malcolm when he had the opportunity. Approached by Lisa a few episodes ago, Pete didn’t believe her when she told him Malcolm had the hidden immunity idol. This led Pete to call out Malcolm, and believe him when Malcolm lied. Had Pete trusted Lisa, Malcolm would have been blindsided and a significant alpha male threat would have been eliminated from the game.
Tonight’s episode also served as yet another showcase for Abi-Maria’s delusion. Without much power left in the game (except for her idol), Abi becomes completely insufferable. She interrupts Carter, refuses to do any cooking at the camp (in an unnecessarily obnoxious way), and continues to belittle and berate Lisa, who once again was her ally — I can’t remember another season where a castaway treated her ally in this manner. At the reward challenge, a clueless Abi-Maria singlehandedly scores a point for her opposer, but it’s ultimately meaningless as her tribe-mates pick up her slack and she’s able to attend reward (her first as a member of the merged tribe). The anti-Abi sentiment continues after the immunity challenge (which unlikely challenge beast Carter wins), where Denise rather respetively lays into what exactly is wrong with Abi, with others nodding on in approval as Abi interrupts Denise, rudely refusing to let her continue and basically solidifying everything Denise had been saying. Abi plays her immunity idol, which sends Pete home. The Pete/Artis/Abi alliance is now down to its last member.
Tribal Council was not as intense as it had been in the last few episodes. It’s disappointing, but expected — one can’t expect Survivor to continue to be as compelling as it has been in the past few episodes. There is never really any doubt that Pete is going home, though editing tricks try to suggest that Mike may have flipped again (against Malcolm this time). Pete had tried to get a few to blindside Malcolm, but it was pretty clear this wasn’t happening tonight. Though he could have avoided some unnecessary angst in his tribe, Pete played a particularly strong game all season long, and his dismissal from the season during a not-so-tense tribal council (when compared to the last few anyway) ended up being a bit sad for me. He had the brains and the wit to play an all-time great villainous game, but he went out with more of a whimper, and it was really no one’s fault but his own.