Of course, as I just tipped off, it does not work out so well for Malcolm. After we learn that the name Michael Skupin apparently dooms all that inhabit it to a life of klutzy injuries, each more painful and embarrassing than the last, we see Lisa and her brother — Whelchel…Justice Whelchel — having a pow-wow. He tells Lisa that not only would Malcolm not be upset if she broke her word and voted him out, but he would think it was pretty gosh darn swell to be backstabbed in such a manner! Ohhhhh you’re good, Sheriff Whelchel. Your down home manner and folksy charm mask a cunning and calculating bastard who takes no guff — be it from either fat cat bureaucrats or the scum of the streets. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW!
Anyhoo, this is music to Lisa’s ears, and soon enough the Whelchels and the Skupins have decided to blindside Malcolm at the next Tribal Council. But almost as exciting in this sudden shift in Survivor strategy is Lisa’s take on prayer in the game. I’ve long lambasted contestants for assuming that God has a rooting interest in the outcome of a reality television program. I’m pretty sure the Big Man (or Woman) has more pressing issues to take care of. (Although rumor has it that He/She HATES the final 3 format. Just sayin’!) But while Lisa is about as religious as it comes, she won’t fall into that same self-righteous trap. “I don’t think God chooses sides,” she says. “I mean, I don’t think you can pray for your football team and because you’re praying, God’s gonna choose that side.” Amen to that.
So after Skupin literally steals the shirt off of his own son’s back, the loved ones are gone and we are off to the Immunity Challenge. The point of this challenge is to race across a balance beam from one floating platform to another and then drop a hook attached to a rope into the water to retrieve three bags of rope and sticks that will then be used to make the aforementioned pole that must hit a target to drop a flag. Beyond Probst’s shocking lack of double entendres, what you need to know is this: Lisa performs one of the most awkward half-jump/half-dives I have ever seen in my entire life; Abi gets yelled at by Probst for basically being Abi and showing about as much urgency as Peekskill, New York residents felt in shopping at the seemingly always deserted Over Our Heads gift shop (Lisa will get that reference); and Malcolm narrowly defeats Carter, thereby winning immunity and guaranteeing himself a place in the final four (thanks to his immunity necklace and immunity idol), and ruining the plan to blindside him.
Good for Malcolm. Other than the fact that until this contest he had been a surprising non-factor in challenges, he has played a strong social and strategic game. If he makes it to the finals, the game should be his. The question before the tribe now is whether to vote out Abi or Carter. Malcolm and Skupin meet to discuss the pros and cons, only to be interrupted by Carter, who starts speaking about how he should stay because they respect the game and the way he has played it. Of course, it takes him approximately 10 minutes to say this because he talks so slooooooooooooooow.
Meanwhile, Abi is busy tripping on the beach — which just goes to show how the editors feel about her seeing as they could have easily picked a clip where she doesn’t almost fall right on her face — and telling people for the 1,735th time that she has a hidden immunity idol and will play it. “If you tell a lie long enough, everybody starts to believe it,’ she says. “And I am convinced in my own lie. Even I am believing myself right now.” She said “even,” but means “only.” Must be one of those “cultural differences” Probst keeps talking about.
NEXT: She Who Must Not be Named