‘Survivor: Philippines’ castaway spotlight: Michael Skupin

Now that we have gone through the full cast announcement for “Survivor: Philippines,” we’re going to kick off what is a tradition for the site here — previewing all of the individual castaways.

This time around, we’re kicking things off with a man who we have come to know rather well on the show, and someone who has been waiting a long time to play this game again — Michael Skupin. He’s clearly still in great shape at age 50, and he is poised for another shot at this game.

Name – Michael Skupin

Age – 50

Location – White Lake, Michigan

Past “Survivor” experience – Leaving just before the jury in Australia all the way back in season 2, when he fell into a fire and his fingers literally started to melt. It was among the most horrifying injuries in the history of the show, and it’s a moment people still talk about. This is the longest span between seasons for a castaway in the show’s history.

Strategy – We expect Michael to be someone who mostly plays with honor, because that is he kind of guy that he is and he will want to represent himself well. However, he’s also smart enough to know that there may be times when he has to break his honor a little bit to get even further in the game. We really expect his game to be somewhat similar to Tom Westman’s in Palau as a strong player and father figure.

Strengths – The guy is obvious a huge fan of the show, and he’s hungry. We know from talking to Mike over the years that he has been on the cusp of returning to the show a few times, but producers ultimately went in a different direction. This is finally his shot at redemption, and we know he’s prepared for it. He’s a natural leader he’s in great shape, and he knows how to survive.

Weaknesses – While Skupin obviously knows tha the game has changed since he was last on the show, it’s still a tough adjustment — Colby struggled with it on “Heroes vs. Villains,” and it even took Boston Rob two cracks at it before he really started to figure it out. Back in Australia his leadership rubbed some people the wrong way, and it’s possible it could again here.

Prediction – While Skupin is an easy guy to like, he will be entering this season with a massive target on his back. He should make it through the first few tribal councils easily as he is an asset to the tribe, but we think he is going have some issues once he gets to the merge. Everyone will know that he is a major threat to win, and it will take a game full of crazy people (see “Redemption Island” or “South Pacific”) to actually have him make it to the end. We think Mike’s in the best position out of any of the returning players, and our pick for him is to go out at around the final five … with a slight chance to make it all the way given on how naive the other contestants are.

How far do you think that Mike is going to go this season? We want to hear some of your thoughts in the poll below! To check out more of our “Survivor” season preview you can either click here or on the image below.

Photo: CBS


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