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"Survivor: Philippines" Episode 10 Recap

Jeremy Fuster |
November 22, 2012 | 10:56 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

It's the beginning of the end for Abi-Maria (CBS)
It's the beginning of the end for Abi-Maria (CBS)

Last week on "Survivor", we got a glimpse into the psyche of Lisa Whelchel. This week, we saw the collapse of one of the most powerful tribes in the history of the game.

When the game started, Pete was one of the top players of the game. He had worked his way from the outside man of an alliance to the top dog of the Tandang tribe. He created a final three alliance with Abi-Maria and Artis, solidified by the hidden immunity idol Abi found. They thought they had it made, and that they would be able to ride the momentum the Tandang tribe had created all the way to the end. Abi even said in this episode that she thought the members of the Tandang tribe would stay united all the way to the end.

But the truth is, Tandang wasn't united. This was evident when Abi and Pete executed a plan to get rid of RC at the beginning of the merge.  A tribe can't be united if there is a clear and present divide within it that leads to an equally clear power structure. Abi, Pete, and Artis made their disdain for Skupin and RC very clear, so when given the opportunity to sink the trio, Skupin took full advantage of it and eliminated Artis, leaving Pete and Abi in complete shock. They saw Lisa and Skupin as expendable tools they could use to keep the voting majority. Instead, Pete's assumptions and Abi's arrogant idiocy has led to their downfall.

We begin the recap with a discussion on day 26 between Lisa and Abi. Lisa truthfully tells Abi that she did not vote for Artis at the last Tribal Council, but that she can no longer be in an alliance with her because Abi has shown no goodwill in return. She needs to be in an alliance that actually trusts her. Abi, of course, does not get the hint and does not realize how badly she is ruining her own game with her social stupidity, so she simply agrees to disagree and moves on.

At the reward challenge, the castaways are divided into two teams by age: it is Carter, Malcolm, Pete, and Abi vs. Penner, Skupin, Denise, and Lisa. Two players from each team will go head to head, trying to flip over their team's colored drums to reveal an emblem. First player to have all three of their team's drums face up scores a point. Players can also flip their opponent's drums back down. First team to win three rounds gets a feast and a spa treatment. The game is quick and weird, as Abi screws up by accidentally flipping over the wrong drum to give the other team a point, leading to a snarky remark from Jeff Probst. Fortunately for her team, Skupin makes the exact same error, allowing the young team to win the challenge.

The reward is enjoyed by Carter, Abi, Pete, and Malcolm without any incidents, but when they get back to camp, Abi goes back into idiot mode and begins bragging about the reward and rubbing in the faces of the rest of the tribe. She ends with a declaration that she felt like Cinderella and that she is done with cooking food. Her spoiled-brat antics are clearly frustrating the rest of the tribe, especially Denise, who says in a confessional that she can't stand Abi and is waiting for the right moment to tell her exactly what she thinks about her. That moment is coming sooner than she thinks.

Meanwhile, other players who actually know what they are doing are beginning to set up their endgame strategies. Malcolm makes a power move by going to Skupin and proposing a final four alliance with Denise and Lisa. Skupin and Lisa talk it over, and both are open to the idea of working with Denise and Malcolm, but also agree that Malcolm is far too dangerous a threat with his immunity idol. The two then go over to Penner, whom Lisa trusts more, and suggest that Penner and Carter join them in their own final four alliance. Penner says that at the moment, he is focused on getting Abi and Pete out of the game and will think about the endgame when it comes.  

With Penner not making anything official, Skupin and Lisa decide to take the safe route and agree with Malcolm's deal for the moment. This was a great moment of gameplay, as we begin to see the players prepare for the final homestretch of the game as best as they can. Deals are made, but the chances of a blindside are now high. Once Pete and Abi get out of the way, get ready for a fight to the finish between six players that know what it takes to win the game. 

At the immunity challenge, the players are told to navigate a buoy through a winding rope that is wrapped around a variety of objects. There are three rope puzzles, with the first five players to finish the first stage advancing to the second puzzle and the first three to finish the second stage advancing to the final. The first person to complete the final stage wins immunity. Pete and Abi fall behind early on and are eliminated after the first stage. With Pete needing immunity to survive, his elimination makes the rest of the challenge a formality. In the final round, it comes down to a neck-and-neck race between Skupin and Carter, with Carter navigating his buoy through the final knot to win his second individual immunity challenge.  

Back at camp, Penner decides to unleash the same plan against Pete and Abi that they used against him and RC three episodes ago. The six other players will split their votes between Abi and Pete, forcing Abi to use her idol to save herself and sending Pete out of the game. If Abi doesn't play the idol, they will revote and send her packing with the idol unplayed. Pete, recognizing that his back is against the wall, decides to plead his case to the one man he wanted to vote out for so long: Skupin. He asks Skupin to join him and Abi in voting out Malcolm. If Malcolm doesn't suspect that he is being targeted and doesn't play his idol, then he can be voted out instead of Abi. Skupin recognizes that this is a major opportunity to get rid of one of the top players in the game, but also believes that if he turns on the rest of the group now, he might lose all their trust. So once again, the castaways go to Tribal Council with the fate of the vote in the hands of Skupin.

And, once again, we get a barnburner of a Tribal Council, as Denise decides she can no longer take Abi's ridiculous behavior and tells her exactly what the rest of the tribe thinks of her. Abi deals with the brutal honesty the way she always handles adversity: by backpedaling and continuously interrupting other people. Then Jeff Probst decides to make the dumbest observation imaginable and tells Abi that he thinks her lack of social grace is because she is from a different culture and learned English as a second language.

I CALL SHENANIGANS, PROBST. That is a terrible excuse. People from South America aren't raised in a culture without social graces. They don't constantly interrupt people or make selfish declarations because it is a part of their culture. And more importantly, they aren't completely naive about how their actions are perceived by other people. The golden rule does exist in Brazil. Abi-Maria isn't lacking in social awareness because she is Brazilian. She's lacking in it because she is a narcissist.  

The votes are cast, and a tearful Abi plays her idol. Malcolm, who is aware of the danger he is in, decides to take a risk and hold on to his idol. The risk pays off, as Skupin decides to stick to the plan and vote for Abi instead of Malcolm. With three votes against Abi nullified, Pete becomes the tenth player voted out "Survivor: Philippines" by a 3-2 vote. As the episode ends, Abi leaves Tribal Council with no support, no idol, and no control over her emotions. She also almost leaves without her torch, too.   

And as all of this happens, the camera cuts over to the jury bench, where RC, the woman who suffered Abi's antics more than anyone else, has a big smile on her face. No doubt about it, she enjoyed that Tribal Council a lot.

Unless something major happens between the other players, Abi-Maria is screwed, since she has no skill in the challenges and no one wants to deal with her anymore. So tune in next week to see the fall of the woman who is the newest member of the Survivor Hall of Infamy.

…we hope.


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