And then there is Penner, who hilariously yells “Denise!” behind his back while he votes, taking any mystery out of the proceedings. Of course, this tells us that Skupin is not flipping, because if Penner had any indication that he was, he would have kept his vote secret rather than announcing it and giving Malcolm an opportunity to hand his idol over to Denise. (It does not, however, explain why Jonathan opted to spell her name “Denies.” Is that the best that a Sarah Lawrence College education could do for you, JP? Side note: I too graduated from SLC. Which I suppose now explains any and all typos over the past 10 years.) And then the over-the-top voting continues as Skupin milks for camera time by pulling an Eliza Orlins and hemming and hawing over his vote when it seems pretty certain which way he is going.
When all is said and done, Penner is indeed voted out. He hugs the guy whose name I forgot, then denies Abi-Maria a hug, which is downright shocking considering how absolutely cuddly she is. This public dis causes RC to grin from ear to ear. “That sucks, Jeff,” says Penner upon having his torch snuffed, but that does not stop the former actor from mugging for the cameras to the very end as he whistles his way out into the darkness. Then back out again. Then into the darkness again. Yes, that’s right — Jonathan Penner just gave himself an encore. I would not have expected him to go out any other way. What a weird game Penner played. He was on the ropes from day 1, yet did a fantastic job of climbing out of trouble and making it to the merge. But he then he almost seemed to get too confident after Skupin flipped and it all went downhill. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the first rule of Survivor: never get comfortable.
But you should by all means feel free to get comfortable because we are far from done when it comes to Survivor goodies. First, treat yourself to an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode of Skupin and Penner talking strategy in the water, as well as snippets from my pre-game chat with Penner in the video player below. Then get Jeff Probst’s take on Penner’s game and why people don’t save their auction money in this week’s Q&A. And make sure to check back later on Thursday for our InsideTV Podcast interview with Jonathan. Finally, for more Survivor scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Now it’s your turn. What did you think about the food auction, challenge, and Lisa and Mike’s decision to stick with Malcolm and Denise? Hit the message boards, and I’ll be back next week with another Skupin of the crispy!