One day, you're top dog; the next, you're scrambling for scraps.
That's "Survivor." Loyalties change, alliances morph, the power balance shifts.
Skupin's big move to vote out a fellow former Tandang member, Artis, continues to reverberate this week. Now, Pete and Abi, who thought they were invincible, are suddenly extremely vulnerable.
Even Lisa sees that the tides are changing. Last week, she was all about maintaining loyalty to Tandang, but now, she's thinking about jumping ship. Well, maybe, kind of, if nobody hates her too much for doing it.
"A big part of who am I am and who I have been is someone who's comfortable being used," she admits.
Sigh ... Lisa, Lisa, Lisa. We can't decide if someone should take her to the final three (since she's been a mindless follower most of the time) or absolutely shouldn't (since her "aw shucks, I'm so nice" attitude could net her the million).
In any case, Skupin's move away from Tandang seems permanent. Everyone bands together to outmaneuver Pete and Abi; she ends up sacrificing her Immunity Idol, while he's voted out.
After coming into the merge with numbers, Tandang is nearly extinct.
The reward challenge pits two sides against each other in a race to flip over three colored drums. No surprise, the team with young bucks Malcolm, Carter, and Pete wins (oh, and Abi, though she totally botched her turn).
They get a spa day, with baths, massages, and a big feast. There's no strategizing, though, since Malcolm is solidly with the people back at their camp (really Denise), while Pete is too lazy to take advantage of the opportunity.
"I'm smart and I'm fit," he brags. With food, he's unbeatable, right?
Dear Abi ...
Abi's behavior after the reward challenge illustrates exactly why she's in the position she's in now. She returns boasting about her full, bloated belly and declaring, "It was pretty amazing, I felt like a princess."
Abi, Abi, Abi ... First rule of "Survivor": You do NOT gloat about your reward.
Not only that, after taunting the others with the awesomeness of spa day, she abdicates any responsibility in camp.
"We'll feed you in your final days," a wry Penner tells her as she lounges on the bed, nearly oblivious to their trash talk about her.
"Whiners are wieners, you need to go home," Denise declares to the camera.
Another day, another obstacle course, and Carter wins the Immunity Necklace.
At the least, it's not a shocking turn of events, so Pete just continues his scrambling effort. "I went from the top of the pecking order to the bottom," he moans.
He and Abi scheme to vote Malcolm out, as they see him as the power broker, and pitch the idea to Lisa.
"That sounds like a great plan, and if we were still in an alliance, I would totally be on board with this," she says, which for Lisa is a total "Oh snap!"
Pete next goes after Skupin, who seems more malleable. Skupin admits that he's "not totally comfortable" going to the final four with Malcolm, "because he's a gamer."
"I'm not saying no," he tells Pete. Malcolm begins to wonder if he should play his Idol.
Tribal Council soon morphs into "Let's bag on Abi" time.
"My attitude may be perceived as not the most gentle," she grudgingly admits.
Probst, being Probst, won't let it go. He wonders if her cluelessness is a cultural thing and points out her defensiveness is making everyone else smile. (And not with her ... at her.)
"I don't know how to explain myself any longer," an emotional Abi replies. "I'm holding back my tears, tears of feeling alone."
And when Denise tries to explain why someone might want to take a widely-disliked player to the end, Abi breaks down. She had no idea everyone hated her. (Really?!)
"It's not hatred, it's frustration," an exasperated Denise says.
After everyone votes, Abi plays her Idol, as expected. Malcolm doesn't, but he doesn't get blindsided.
Instead, Pete gets voted out to be the fourth member of the jury. And his departure cements the downfall of Tandang.
Now, Abi truly is alone, with no Idol to keep her safe. Maybe she'll let Denise finish her sentences from now own.
Are you happy to see Pete go? Should Abi be next? Read reactions from fellow "Survivor" fans, then sound off in the comments!
"Survivor: Philippines" airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on CBS.
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