‘Survivor: Philippines’ review: One of the best merges yet

There is always something great about a “Survivor” merge episode, especially when you have one as chaotic as we saw this time. The Tandang tribe has been almost like a teenager waiting to get off the house, just so that they can start to drink their faces off. However, about two hours in they realize this is not much fun, and they ultimately want to go home and into their family’s loving arms. With one notable exception, this is exactly what went down this week.

The exit of RC Saint-Amour was in many ways predictable beyond words: even though she actually was not a horrendous player, she just couldn’t manage the social game well enough as she made an alliance with Abi-Mario too early in the game, largely to the point where they were foaming at the mouth to get her out. What was a little more shocking than this, however, was that it was actually Jonathan Penner who would have been leaving the game thanks to Jeff Kent and the ghost known as Carter flipping on Kalabaw and siding with Tandang. You also had fellow returning player Michael Skupin, despite knowing he was the weak link on Tandang, sticking wtih his former tribe.

Just when it comes to the short-term, there were terrible moves all around this week. For one, Jeff and Carter had a final three deal easily with Penner, and he’s the sort of guy who would have taken them and known he would win the end still. Why take away a final three for a group of five people (plus Skupin) who are never going to take any of you that far? Thanks to Malcolm and Denise sticking around together, there is almost nothing Carter and Jeff gained in doing this. As a matter of fact, they proved they cannot be trusted and will probably be targeted pretty soon in this game. So there you have it: a flip that was worse than what Cochran did. We’re not going to blame Skupin as much, mostly since we suspected that he found out about Jeff and Carter’s plan and went with the majority.

As for who were the real winners in all of this, it was really Malcolm, Denise, and Lisa more than anyone. These three formed a solid alliance really by accident thanks to Lisa finding out about Malcolm’s idol, and no one is targeting any of them. The humor here is that eventually, Tandang will likely continue to implode, and they could be left standing. Pete, Abi-Mario, and Artis are thinking smart now in getting rid of Kalabaw, but what do you do when you are down to six or seven? Who is going to want to keep you then? These three need to make it a little less obvious that they are all working together.

There’s really not much else to say about this episode: there was a great immunity challenge, more attention given to all the players, and a brilliant setup for next week with Jenner out for blood over just what happened to him.

Did you enjoy this episode, and how badly do you think Jeff and Carter hurt their game?

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