Survivor: Philippines Review, Season 25, Episode 10
“Whiners are Weiners”
Airs Wednesdays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
There have been plenty of cases on Survivor where interesting characters were lost in the shuffle. If the editors decide they aren’t pivotal to the story, they may provide a limited perspective on them. Artis is a good example of this trend; exit interviews revealed an energetic guy who enjoyed his time on the island. That differs from the grumpy player shown for most of this season. On the other hand, there are nasty individuals who clearly aren’t just victims of the editors. Colton was a good example of this situation last time, and Abi-Maria plays a similar role in the Philippines. She nastily attacks other players and gets personal, which creates an uncomfortable environment. RC was naïve enough to think she could work with Abi, but there’s little room to work with such a volatile person. This week’s Tribal Council is all about her and reveals a serious lack of self-awareness. When Denise and others try to explain why they don’t like Abi, she ends up in tears. Pete exits the game, but that departure feels almost secondary to the intriguing conflict before the vote.
It’s stunning to realize that Abi doesn’t understand the effect her ugly behavior has on other players. People don’t usually like being berated by someone who refuses to let them respond. When Denise calmly lays out specific reasons for why Abi is disliked, she isn’t willing to consider the truth in those words. This surprises Jeff Probst, who understands the value in bringing a goat to the end. Abi could go far by acting like Phillip and going even crazier. Instead, she rejects the idea that anyone would consider her a bad person. Beyond what it says about Abi, this conversation also reveals more about Denise’s approach. She’s a fan of the game and is willing to go with a strong player like Malcolm to the end. While that might not lead to a victory, it’s a positive strategy for fans who don’t want to see an obvious winner strolling to an easy win.
The episode begins with Lisa explaining to Abi why she’s dropping their alliance. This raises the likelihood that she knew about Skupin’s vote last week and only stuck with Pete and Abi to prove her loyalty. The frustrating part is that Lisa still hems and haws when explaining her choice. This inability to commit to playing the game may eventually lead to her demise. It’s going to get frustrating to strategic minds like Penner and Denise when she tries to play so nice. The reward challenge splits the tribe into two random teams to fight for a spa getaway. They compete in one-on-one battles that involve flipping over three large drums. It’s basically a running challenge, but Abi and Skupin manage to involve smarts by making dim-witted moves. His final mistake leads to a victory for the younger group of Malcolm, Pete, Abi, and Carter. They take it easy and enjoy the experience while putting strategy aside. This might not be a wise move for Pete. When Malcolm returns to camp, he pursues a final four deal. Denise is on board, and Skupin will join if he can convince Lisa. She isn’t ready to bail on Penner, but he makes her decision easy by sticking with this free-agent status.
The immunity challenge involves moving a buoy through complicated tasks that culminates in a water battle among the final three competitors. Pete knows that he’s gone if he doesn’t win, but he goes out in the first round. It comes down to Skupin, Denise, and Carter in a close battle with little ramifications. There are a few lead changes near the end, and Carter finally triumphs for his second win. Abi will likely play the idol, so the group of six decides to split the vote. Pete realizes he’s toast if he doesn’t flip someone, and he decides Malcolm is the best target. He’s rejected by pretty much everyone with little fanfare. The one exception is Skupin, who clearly enjoys getting the attention. The editing suggests that he’s ready to flip, but it doesn’t seem likely. Joining them will just ensure his demise in the near future. Pete makes a solid case against Malcolm, but there’s little need to take him out at this point.
Going back to Abi, she spends a really long time raving about the reward after they return. This is never a wise move on Survivor. It’s clear that she doesn’t understand the game and isn’t playing to win. Even so, it wouldn’t be shocking to see her stick around for longer than next week. If Penner and Skupin are concerned about Malcolm and Denise, Abi is a valuable vote to change the game. Carter will likely follow whatever Penner says. This could be their last chance to gain the power in the alliance. It’s tricky because siding with Abi could risk alienating them with the jury. The final image of her sitting by herself apart from the others is accurate and shows the giant rift between them. Will these knowledgeable players take a chance and try to flip the game? If not, several players may seal their fate towards a premature end.