Penner then hits up Skupin, who is less conflicted about flipping and tries to talk Lisa into it as well. She doesn’t want to betray her original tribe “but if Tandang is no longer loyal to me, am I being exactly what Abi accuses me of being — gullible and naïve?” Let’s head to Tribal Council and find out. There’s more talk about people being upset at Lisa for the last Tribal which, as we’ve spelled out, makes absolutely zero sense because all she did was make her tribe aware of a potential threat (which the tribe “mastermind” then chose not to believe anyway). Lisa then tells Probst that she received more grace from the people she was against than the people she was trying to protect. This seems to infuriate Abi, who considered her treatment of Lisa as graceful as a figure skater…if that figure skater is Tanya Harding wielding a police baton and going for the knees.
After Artis informs us that, “Tandang had one of the most powerful tribes put together in Survivor history. It is playing out the way it is supposed to play out” — Survivor sense tingling! — Abi goes back to saying how she feels Lisa is not loyal. It’s as if the woman is begging Lisa to rethink her drink and flip against her. The whole scene is so amazing is causes RC to start cuddling a man with a mustache, something that should only be done in extreme circumstances. In the end, Lisa does not flip — take that, Abi! — but Skupin does — take that, Abi! — so Artis is voted out. And I have to say, Artis’ final words were pretty damn classy. We didn’t hear much from Artis this season outside of his random Skupin-bashing, but he took his ouster in stride. Something I do not expect from his female alliance-mate.
As for the Skupin flip, it makes total sense strategically and is at worst a lateral move. He was in the fifth spot on the Tandang alliance and now moves to fifth in his new group. However, the pecking order in that new group is very unstable, and he can easily slide into a number three slot to side with either Malcolm and Denise or Penner and Carter. So beyond sticking it to Pete, Maria, and Artis, he put himself in a better position to go farther. And if Lisa flips as well, then who knows what will happen.
So, another immensely satisfying episode in an immensely satisfying season. As I’ve said before, the best seasons of Survivor have people you can both root for and root against. And they also feature a mix of smart and stupid gameplay. Survivor: Philippines has all of these things, and Lord knows it needed them after the disaster that was One World. And I expect you to be immensely satisfied with this week’s Q&A with Jeff Probst, in which I ask the host whether he has any worries about the fairness of bringing back returning players when so many of them continue to make it so far in the game. Check out his response! Also check out an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well as my pre-game interview with Artis in the video player below. And for more Survivor news and views, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
Now, it’s your turn. Do you agree that Skupin made the right move? Should Lisa join him? And did you enjoy seeing Pete’s balls drop? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Hit the message boards and let us know and I’ll be back next week with another Skupin of the crispy!