Andrew Osborne Recaps Survivor: Phillippinnes

So, there’s a big twist on this week’s Survivor…and, no, I’m not talking about the inevitable dissolution of Team Suck (or “Matsing” as they say in the Philippines).  In what I believe is a series first, the producers inexplicably decide to add a brand new contestant five weeks into the competition:  this hilarious, charming young lady named Sarah Dawson who…wait, what?  You’re saying she’s been on the show the whole time?  And they’re only just now giving her a decent amount of screen time?  Well, all I can say is she was totally worth the wait, and I look forward to many more weeks of her witty bon mots!

But anyway, yes, the real twist involves Denise and Malcolm dropping their filthy blue buffs, thus transforming the Philippines season back into a regular two-tribe game.

After a random new buff draw, Matsing’s last lady goes to Kalabaw (and, potentially, a power position in Dana’s gyn-alliance) while Malcolm’s musculature receives a welcoming bro hug from Evil Pete’s alliance (after helping Tandang snag a bunch of tasty Reward cookies).

Then, to gain the athletic newcomer’s trust, Polish Pete modestly reveals how he’s got a Hidden Immunity Idol tucked away ’cause, y’know, he’s just awesome like that.  Malcolm nods, pretending to be impressed (despite the fact he managed to snag the Matsing H.I.I. on his way out of camp and actually knows how to keep a secret).

Denise also knows about Malcolm’s H.I.I. (since they more or less found it together), and I’m crossing my fingers that their inter-tribal alliance will somehow manages to survive…

…very much unlike the Kalabaw Ladies Auxiliary, which takes a big hit when tough, tiny Dana comes down with some kind of painful intestinal yuck and self-deports herself out of the game, much to the consternation of Katie and my new favorite castaway, the utterly delightful Sarah Dawson.  (Boy, they sure are giving her a lot of camera time this week!)

Kalabaw says goodbye to Dana and everyone’s sad except Penner (who’s mostly just handsy) and Sarah Dawson, who’s super excited by the bonus up-close-and-personal time with Probst (so close to her frond bed…sooooo close)…but, uh, totally not in a stalkery way…heh…no need for a restraining order or anything, right CBS lawyers?

Anyway, life goes on and soon it’s off to the immunity challenge, where Dana’s departure means one of the Tandangs gets to sit out. Abi volunteers (and not for the first time, as Probst helpfully points out), whereupon the two tribes promptly launch themselves over some big piles of dirt…though “launch” may be too strong a verb when it comes to Katie who, in the immortal words of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, climbs obstacles like old people fuck.

And so, thanks to Katie’s disappointing performance (and, in Penner’s opinion, Dawson’s poor puzzle technique; i.e., not listening to Penner), Kalabaw suffers its second defeat in a row.

On the positive side, Denise is still a monster of grit and sinew in challenges, so her new buffmates don’t finger her as the major jinx she totally seems to be.  Instead, the vote comes down to the tribe’s alleged weak links, Katie and Dawson (who also just happen to be in Kalabaw’s doomed minority alliance).

And since Dawson made the mistake of hinting she knows Jeff Kent’s MLB secret, our bestest new buddy is sadly sent packing…but not before getting her Probst on one last time in a full-on, million dollar farewell hug.

Stray Observations:

* I’m glad the editors left in the clip of that giant bug dive-bombing the immunity challenge.  Here’s hoping it returns in the night to carry Abi away.

* Next week: something terrible happens in the mud.

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