‘Survivor: Philippines’ review: Two great alliances, one predictable exit

When it comes to its pre-merge game, “Survivor: Philippines” has been at times almost a chore. We’ve seen the same result every week, and even though we have a feeling that some sort of merge has to be coming up soon, we’re also not quite sure that it is going to be coming up soon enough to really give anyone on Matsing much of a fighting chance.

We’re not going to waste much time talking about the end result, mostly because it’s obvious: Russell Swan was eliminated, and he was just as mad as he has been all season. (Sadly, he has some other commitments tomorrow, so there will be no interview for the time being.) Are we bummed to see him go? Definitely. We’ve said this for a while, but we do think he’d be a great guy to hang out with at a bar somewhere. (Maybe the one Malcolm works at!) However, we’re not sure he would be the sort of guy we would want on our tribe, mostly because his post-tribe rants tend to set off such a negative vibe that it is really hard for anyone to bounce back from it.

So now, the Matsing tribe is really just left with a pair of players who we do actually think are supremely capable of going far in this game given that they are spared next week: Malcolm and Denise. Both are incredibly smart players, can hold their own in challenges, and they really just seem to have a fascinating bond. This is what we love about this game: seeing people you would never picture together in real life working with a common goal to get far. Easily, this is our favorite alliance in quite some time, possibly even since JT and Stephen back in Tocantins.

Speaking of alliances, we might as well give a brief shout-out to another we really like: Jonathan Penner and Jeff Kent. It’s a new strategy for Penner to try and go deliberately to a leader to take some of the target off himself, and we’re surprised that the two guys really get along. The unfortunate thing is that Jeff’s knee could take him out of the game next week, and then we’d be robbed of seeing just how far he could have otherwise gone. The only other alliance is that between Pete and Abi-Maria, and it’s really just awful. We don’t really know that there is more trust here than arrogance, and both of them are in danger of being sent out the door in a merge situation, even with an idol.

What alliance at the moment is your favorite, and what did you think about this episode?

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