There are few players, whether it be on “Survivor: Game Changers” or any other season, who are as perfect to win the game on paper as Malcolm Freberg is. He’s physically gifted, he loves the show, he has a great social game, and he understands strategy. On “Survivor: Philippines,” he was arguably one challenge win away from the time; he was a little further out on “Caramoan,” a season that went off the rails for him.
Now, “Game Changers” is his time to regroup. He had some time off between seasons to hone his game and figure out better who he is as a person, and that should prove to be a rather big asset to him out in the game. Also, he’s got some bigger targets he can hide behind. Whether or not any of this works remains to be seen, but given how great we find Malcolm as entertainment, it’s a thrill to have him back for one more go.
Past performance – 4th place (“Survivor: Philippines”), 9th place (“Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites”)
Historical perspective – He’s one of the most likable players in the history of the game, a Joe Anglim before such a thing existed in the game. (Actually, Malcolm’s probably worse in challenges but is a much better strategic player). He and Denise Stapley in the first season managed to survive a terrible start to go all the way to the final four, an incredible feat given the odds. From there, he also delivered one of the most epic tribal-council performances ever with the “Three Amigos,” as he made sure that he, Eddie, and Reynold were all safe so that Phillip could be voted out instead.
Strengths – As we noted, Malcolm is a “Survivor” god on paper. The guy can do it all, and there are so few people who are genuinely true social, strategic, and physical threats. Also, did we mention that he is great at finding immunity idols? Tony has a rival on this season in that department. Oh, and they’re on the same tribe! The idea of that alone is going to be incredible.
Weaknesses – Hubris. Malcolm gets caught up sometimes in either his own ego or narrative, and he doesn’t allow himself the ability to get further in the game. In his first season, there was a chance he could’ve at least had a tie vote at the final four if he’d had a conversation with Denise that was a little more in-depth. Meanwhile, in “Caramoan” he let his desire to make a huge move against Phillip override logic. Had he allowed one of his amigos to go home that night instead of Phillip, he would have another immunity idol, and could’ve tried to keep himself going with either that or an immunity win. Sometimes, he needs to take a step back and think more long-term rather than just how he is doing and feeling in the moment.
Prediction – Malcolm is a tough guy to project. What we would assume is that he’s too big of an asset to want out of the game early, but with Tony on his tribe, it’s possible that he’ll be seen as an idol threat. (Still, we think Malcolm is probably a more consistent player than Tony, so he may have a chance to get him out first.) Malcolm is a pick to win this game that makes a whole lot of sense, but at this point we’re just not sure if he’s got everything he would need to pull it off. He see him doing fairly well, but maybe getting antsy at around final six and being targeted after he makes a move that he’ll come to regret.
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