While the boys lugged bamboo stalks from the forest and envisioned a new shelter, the old Tandang girls got together for a little chit chat. "We're not one big happy family," RC sniped at Abi-Maria and Lisa. "We can pretend all we want, but we haven't [been] for 17 days." Girl was ready to grab Skupin and jump on the Kalabaw bandwagon right away. Apparently feeling uncomfortable with the conversation, Lisa decided to take on a new task — making sure everyone's clothes would dry in the sun, since the rain had finally subsided for the day. It was a genuinely kind gesture.
But then it happened -- my favorite moment of this whole season. As Lisa shuffled through everyone's gear and hung their shirts and pants across the tribe sign, she came across Malcolm's immunity idol, hidden beneath his flannel. "I thought an hour would be a safe amount of time to assume people would be eating and drinking and getting to know each other," said a frustrated Malcolm, who saw Lisa going through everyone's gear. "Apparently estrogen kicked in and we had to get our freakin' clothes hung." Zing!
After consulting with his old Matsing ally, Denise, Malcolm realized he had some major damage control to do. He pulled Lisa aside for a romantic stroll on the beach. (Or at least it looked like it would be romantic judging from the way he held her hand and guided her out of the jungle.) Lisa, being the sweet "new Momma" figure for Malcolm that she is (I take back that romantic stuff!), instantly apologized to her adopted son. "I'm sorry," she said repeatedly, though I didn't sense too much remorse in her facial expression. Lisa had inadvertently locked herself into a mandatory truce with Denise and Malcolm, two of the strongest players in the game, and she knew she instantly had a secret that they needed kept under wraps. That's power. Malcolm was a bit concerned, since he thinks that Lisa and Denise, with their kind demeanors, could beat him in a final tribal council, but for the time being, he felt relatively calm about the whole thing. "Hallelujah. The church lady found it," he said in his second zinger of the night. I can't wait to see how Lisa's discovery plays out over the next few weeks.
Later on in the day, everyone went into full on strategy mode, which is why this season of Survivor has been such a pleasure to watch. These people love playing the game! RC and Skupin discussed the possibility of aligning with Kalabaw. Pete and Malcolm, meanwhile, wondered how the old Tandang alliance could flush out an immunity idol by splitting votes between Penner (who they correctly guessed had an idol) and potential flip-flopper, RC. Jeff, of course, whined some more about Skupin and Penner's existence in the game. And Lisa built her relationship with Penner, thanking him for keeping her The Facts of Life past a secret.
But those conversations had to be cut short because it was time for the immunity challenge. As Jeff Probst explained to the tribe, two immunity necklaces were up for grabs -- one for a man, one for a woman. The challenge involved keeping a bucket, which weighed 25 percent of each cast member's body weight, elevated above (what else?) a clay shard. The heavy buckets were attached to ropes that were wound around a spool that each competitor had to grip for as long as possible. When the bucket falls, you're out. Basically, it was a really intense forearm workout.
NEXT: What's with Malcolm's hair? Plus: Tribal Council