Survivor Philippines Finale Recap: Million Dollar Question

(c) CBS

Coming back at camp after voting Abi (YES) out, everyone is in a celebratory mode, especially MIchael and Denise.  Michael thinks that voting out Abi is the best feeling in the world since day one.  On the other hand, Malcolm is worrying about what Abi said in the last tribal council, about him being the person with the most potential to win the entire game.  Malcolm then does a damage control.  He talks to Michael and checks if the earlier pact (of him, Michael, and Lisa in the finals) is still in play.  Michael reassures Malcolm that nothing has changed.

(c) CBS

The next day, the tribe is clueless whether the tree mail is a reward or the final immunity challenge of the season.  The final four arrive at the mat, Jeff explains that it is a Reward Challenge.  One must race to a series of obstacles and collect bags along the way.  Once they retrieved all three bags, one must return and open the bag of puzzle pieces and solve the puzzle.  The reward as what Jeff Probst says is the biggest reward this season.  I thought it’s a car, but it is actually an advantage to the final immunity challenge.  Well, that’s huge!

(c) CBS

Denise, Michael and Malcolm get their bags first and race through the maze while Lisa takes a little longer.  In the end, Malcolm wins reward and takes an advantage to the final Immunity Challenge.  Jeff hands over a note to Malcolm and tells him to not read it just before the start of the immunity challenge.

(c) CBS

Back at camp, Lisa thinks that it is impossible to beat Malcolm at the final challenge because he is physically and mentally strong and to top it off, he has an advantage.  Malcolm is so happy at the outcome and thinks that his alliance of three must vote out Denise next because he thinks that they both have a similar Survivor story line of being in the losing tribe at the beginning who has made it to the end.  Denise talks with Malcolm about being in the finals with her.  Malcolm tells her that he has not thought about it.  Denise feels uncomfortable about Malcolm’s answer.  Denise then scrambles and talks with Lisa about getting rid the most dangerous person in the game, Malcolm.  Lisa is happy that Denise is willing to turn her back on Malcolm.  They hug and agree to vote Malcolm next, but Lisa is a little cautious about everything.  After that, Lisa talks with Michael about her conversation with Denise.  I think the duo are the safest of the four at this point.  Michael thinks he likes to bring Malcolm to the finals because he thinks he can beat him.  On the other hand, Lisa favors taking Denise.

(c) CBS

On day 38,  Michael tells Lisa that they should not let either Malcolm or Denise win immunity, so that they can control who sits with them in the finals.  Afterwards, the final four take the journey of the traditional Fallen Comrades wherein they pay respect to the other castaways who left Survivor Philippines.

(c) CBS

At the Final Immunity Challenge, one must balance a ball onto a wooden cylinder that has been cut into several pieces.  At the start, they will pick up the first piece using two handles.  After every five minutes, they will add more pieces of wood, making it more difficult to balance.  Jeff then asks Malcolm to read the advantage.  Malcolm opens the scroll and reads that he has a second chance of winning immunity, meaning whenever he drops the ball, he has one more opportunity to put it back on the wood and keep going.  Everyone successfully completes the first round.  In the second round, they each add two more pieces of wood on either side, which makes it more difficult to balance the ball.  Malcolm unfortunately drops the ball!  Michael and Lisa look at each other in delight.  As they resume the second round, Malcolm’s hands begin to shake and drops the ball again.  He is the first man out of the challenge, advantage and all.  In the end, Michael wins the final Immunity.

(c) CBS

Back at camp, Malcolm and Denise are both scrambling.  Malcolm hopes that all his past commitments will pay off and keep him safe.  Denise wishes that she is still working with Malcolm and try to split the vote.  Since it’s now impossible to do such thing (because Malcolm does not want to),  Denise is now trying to convince Michael and Lisa to vote Malcolm out.  Michael wants to keep Malcolm to the end and go against the best player and beat him eventually.  Lisa is not happy about Michael’s idea of keeping Malcolm, thinking that they might actually just give Malcolm the title.

At the Tribal Council, Michael is grateful to Malcolm for choosing him (past reward challenge) to be with his son.  Lisa tells that favors have been exchanged in this game that would be worth a million dollars or giving up the title of Sole Survivor.  Malcolm reminds everyone that he may be seen as a threat, but Denise is a bigger threat since she has survived every Tribal Council and has not made as many enemies along the way.

Malcolm Freberg is the fifteenth person to leave Survivor Philippines, eighth and final member of the jury.

Damn Malcolm you have come so close!  Oh well, in this game, anyone can win it.  My besfriend told me that in the final immunity challenge, Michael and Lisa should have given up the challenge for either Malcolm and Denise, so that there was actually a reason to vote the other one out, without breaking any promises.  Very smart move indeed!

Michael, Lisa, and Denise arrive back at camp.  They are sad about voting out Malcolm, but still happy because they are the final three!  I’m pretty happy too about this final three, probably one of my favorite final three in Survivor.

On day 39, Michael, Lisa, and Denise climb up the hill to witness the beautiful sunrise and the beautiful Philippines.  Michael assures them that he will never forget this adventure.  When they head back at camp they are greeted with a feast.  Lisa is extremely delighted to be with Michael and Denise in the final, whom she considers real friends.  Michael, Lisa, and Denise gather all the items from camp and set them on fire before they head out to the final Tribal Council.

At the Final Tribal Council,  each castaway is given a privilege to have an opening statement, addressed to the jury.  Denise tells the jury that she will not make any apologies because she thinks that she deserves to be in the final three, even though she went to every tribal council since the beginning of the game.  Lisa admits that her strategy was a bit messy and all over the place, but she managed to regain her path to win when she reconnected with her brother days back.  She tried to create bold moves and tells everyone that Survivor is not a pretty game, but she learned.  Michael reminds everyone that at the beginning of the game, nobody wanted a returning player to win.  He worked hard to stay in the game, which since the beginning he has a target on his back.  He reminds the jury about the principles of Survivor to outwit, outplay, and outlast.  He admits that he loves this game too much, that there are no other ways to play it.

Then it’s time for the jury to speak out.

Artis is bitter and tells that any of three are not worthy of his praise because he feels that they all betrayed their alliances.

Tool Carter remains as blonde-looking as possible (hey Carter is one likable guy!) and congratulates the final three.  He then asks Michael why he was voted out.  Michael explains to Carter that he was too nice of a guy and too much of a threat to keep around.  I think Carter is about to cry at this point.

Pete accuses Lisa of betraying her alliance with the old Tandang tribe when Artis was voted out.  Lisa assures Pete that she did not know that Artis was being voted out and she voted for Penner that night.  I think her answer is pretty accurate.

RC begins laughing like a crazy chick on crack when she congratulates the final three, especially Lisa.

Malcolm goes next.  Malcolm asks Denise why he should give his vote to her.  Denise answers that she is a better strategist than Michael and Lisa.  What Michael and Lisa did not realize that Denise is a really great talker, maybe as good as Penner!

Anyway, Jeff Kent is next and tells everyone that there are three kinds of players–the ones who make things happen, the ones who watch things happen, and the ones who says, “What happened?”  Clever guy.  He then asks Michael to choose which kind of player he is.    Michael answers that he has done things/moves while trying his best to stay in the game as a returning player, something that Lisa nor Denise had to worry about.  Lisa thinks that she did not sit and watch things happen (when she found out about Malcolm hidden immunity idol, she tried to vote him out).

And here comes ABI.  She asks them why they deserve a vote.  Lisa feels she deserves it because she was true to her original Tandang tribe until someone doubts her trust.  Michael feels he has played the best game when it comes to outwitoutplay, and outlast.  Abi then talks with Denise and reminds her about calling her as the most unlikable person (Abi does not seem to get over the fact that she is actually THE most unlikable person around).  Denise apologizes (contradictory to her opening statement) if she traumatized and demoralized Abi.

Jonathan Penner is the last jury to talk.  He still congratulates the final three, though it hurts for him.  He points out that Michael stated that he was always a target, yet he never received a vote at Tribal Council, but Jonathan received a total of fifteen votes at various Tribal Councils!  Penner thinks that up until the finale, Michael will still be clean of votes.  He then exposes Lisa’s true identity (ouch!) of being a child star.  Penner is EVIL.  Lisa reacts that she chose not to reveal her past identity as Penner did not reveal what job he had 25 years ago.  In a Sue Hawk (Survivor Season 1) manner, Penner tells everyone that two of them are like oxen pulling the chariot of the winner.

(c) CBS

The jury starts to vote.  Jeff Probst reads the votes live in Los Angeles.

Denise Stapley is the SOLE SURVIVOR of Survivor: Philippines!

The star of the season is definitely Lisa, hands down.  On the other hand, I feel so good for Skupin for making it this far (from his medical evacuation 23 seasons back to here is golden), it would be so sweet to see him win, but honestly, either way I am so happy with the result because I love the final three (and even the final four with Malcolm).  Denise has one of the most successful Survivor stories ever told — from being in a tribe as bad as Ulong, to be dispersed to Kalabaw that eventually loses every immunity challenge after, to be a part of the minority during the merge, and to stick with her guts and keep her word with her original (and only) Matsing ally Malcolm and be on a four-way alliance with Michael and Lisa in one of the most critical stages of the game–Denise reigns supreme!

I must say this is one amazing season of Survivor!

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