Thursday, December 13, 2012

TV Catch-Up: Survivor Philippines: Fate of the Final Four

image courtesy of survivoroz
ML- We have our final four! I think this is one of the best final fours in recent memory. It's also the final four I predicted back at the merge! Here's a note: If they focus on a final four/three pact positively, they most likely make it to the end (stretching back to Tagi, Colby/Tina/Keith, Boran, V/Neleh/Kathy/Pappy/Sean, Chuay Ghan, Romber, Aitu, Todd/Amanda, Black Widow Brigade, JT/Stephen, Foa Foa Foursome, Boston Rob + The Rob Zombies, Upolu, Kim/Chelsea). Alliances shown negatively can generally be deciphered by their music cues- think about the Four Horsemen of FIji or even Yau/Penner/Ami/Eliza in Micronesia. Flourishing music - endgame, sporadic frumpy tones = bumbling idiots filling up the jury. Anyway, I'd say everyone has a decent shot of swaying enough jurors with the right Final Tribal speech. But what should each person say to make his/her case?

The jury so far consists of RC, Jeff Kent, Artis, Pete, Penner, Carter and now Abi-Maria. That's 4 former Tandang members and 3 former Kalabal, with at least one more to join. According to Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly, there's only one more person joining the jury and a Final 3. That's surprising, as only two seasons out of the past 24 have done that: Australia, which added 3 extra days, and China, for reasons I don't remember. That being said, it's not unprecedented.

One school of thought is that there was too much story to tell that they decided to split things up differently in editing. Or, perhaps something happens at Final 4 that takes a bit of time. It would make sense for there to be a tie vote, seeing as how its 2 Tandang vs. 2 Matsing left, and a fire-making challenge would be an epic precursor to the finale. Please, Survivor gods, let Skupin be subjected to a fire-making challenge AND WIN. That would be such poetic justice, the man finally conquering fire that took him out of the game over 10 years ago.

As a metric for determining who has the best chances, I'll rank the likelihood of each juror voting for each contestant if he/she makes it to the final 3. If its the person a juror is most likely to vote for, that person gets a 4, while least likely gets a 1. Make sense? Let's start with Skupin.

image courtesy of survivor
Mike Skupin is a returning player, and all we've seen this season is animosity towards returning players. On his tribe, he's been regarded most positively by RC, the first juror. He's also gotten positivity from Lisa and Penner, but the favor with the latter man seems to have turned. Contestants in the opposing Tandang faction of Abi-Maria, Artis and Pete have all spoke ill of him, especially Abi last night calling him an idiot and a moron. Survivor doesn't like to show us winners who are stupid, unless it's funny like Fabio. Fabio even got confessionals where he alluded to his goofiness being a ploy to lay low in the game. Skupin is getting a redemption story, but one that seems more personally satisfying than indicative of Survivor glory.

RC: 4 (Loves Skupin)
Jeff Kent: 1 (Hates returning players)
Artis: 1 (Hates Skupin, according to post-show interviews)
Pete: 1 (Bitter against Skupin/Lisa)
Penner: 2 (Betrayed by Skupin, may respect his game)
Carter: 1 (Bitter against Skupin/Lisa)
Abi-Maria: 2 (Called him and idiot and a moron)
Juror Tally: 12

What he needs to stress in his final speech:
-Despite the target on returning players, he made it to the Final 3.
-Survival experience benefitted Tandang tribe, who never went to Tribal pre-merge
-Underdog in his alliance, made moves to better his position

Things he should avoid:
-Holier-than-thou attitude. Don't call Pete, Abi or Artis "bad people", even though they were.
-The reward challenge where he made the rice trade. While arguably a good move, it pissed off all of his tribe mates.
-"Need". Skupin has a big family but is well-off.

Prediction: He'll only win if he: stays humble, pledges allegiance to Tandang yellow, owns his moves as self-preservation and is sitting next to both Malcolm and Denise. He needs Lisa on the jury to help garner favor for him, which probably isn't a likely outcome. With so much contempt for him and his gameplay, I don't think he'll be able to persuade any haters.

image courtesy of survivor dean
Malcolm is charismatic, athletic and a fan of the show. Mike and Lisa's decision to keep Denise in an attempt to beat Malcolm was terribly risky. On one hand, she definitely has a better shot of defeating Malcolm. But that also guarantees at least one of the original Matsing members is in the Final 3, if not both of them. Wouldn't you rather take your chances up against Malcolm knowing you'd have a better shot at Final 3 vs. Abi? Everyone is worried about Malcolm, as they should be. His edit has been very positive but not stellar. He comes off as cocky, something very few winners are shown as -- mainly the villainous ones like Hatch and Heidik, and Malcolm is no villain. His decision to turn on Denise could come back to bite him if word gets back to her that he was wishy-washy.

RC: 2 (Would more likely vote Skupin or Lisa, her Tandang brethren)
Kent: 3 (Physical threat, but he spent more time with Denise)
Artis: 4 (Not voting for Skupin, probably respects physicality)
Pete: 4 (More bitter towards Skupin/Lisa, probably respects physicality)
Penner: 1 (Did you see him flip off Malcolm at TC?)
Carter: 4 (Betrayed by Skupin/Lisa)
Abi-Maria:4 (I'd like to put definite, but nobody knows where Abi's head will be at. Her voting Skupin doesn't make sense and she hates Denise. It's either Lisa or Malcolm)
Juror Tally: 22

What he needs to stress in his final speech:
-So far, he's won the most immunities. The past 4 winners have all been the person to go into Final Tribal with the most Immunity Challenges under their belt (overall, the person in the FTC who won the most ICs has won the game 12 times and lost 11. In Panama, Aras and Danielle each had 1 IC win). Skupin/Denise could still possibly tie him. (Another fun fact- the final IC winner has only won the game 10/24 times, 4 of those being the last 4 winners Kim, Sophie, Rob and Fabio).
-Super underdog. He was on a sinking ship at Matsing, made it to Tandang and proved himself physically adept.
-Found HII and never had to play it
-Work his charm

Prediction: If he makes the Final Tribal Council he's a force to be reckoned with. However, he's not getting the hero edit most young male winners get. If he wins, he's being shown more like Aras, which was an anomaly because of bigger characters Cirie and Terry. My guess is Lisa's plan to keep Denise to defeat Malcolm will pay off and he'll head to the jury. If I'm wrong, he wins it all.

image courtesy of
Denise is the biggest underdog in the game. She's been to every Tribal Council of the season, yet she hasn't been edited as a cancer bringing the team down. Instead, her regard has been almost unanimously positive, except from Abi-Maria, the villain. It's unfortunate that her edit has been centered around just Abi bashing the past few weeks, as a well-rounded winner needs more oomph. Then again, Coach had all the oomph and Sophie pulled out the win.

RC: 1 (I don't remember any interaction between the two, she'd vote Mike/Malcolm first)
Kent: 4 (Only member of the Final Four he aligned with & spoke highly of)
Artis: 3 (Bitter against Skupin/Lisa)
Pete: 3 (Bitter against Skupin/Lisa)
Penner: 3 (Aligned with her on Kalabaw)
Carter: 3 (Aligned with her on Kalabaw)
Abi-Maria: 1 (Rivalry with Denise)
Juror Tally: 18

What she needs to stress in her final speech:
-Went to EVERY TRIBAL COUNCIL and emerged unscathed.
-Loves to bring out Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. She's done all 3 very well
-Very articulate and concise when it comes to feelings, can probably use that to sway folks
-Need of the $$

I think Denise has a great shot at winning, even against Malcolm. She is well-spoken and needs to emphasize her story. Play on the bitterness of the Tandang and appeal to the Kalabaw. Her edit, like Malcolm's, leaves me with some concern. They're both being overshadowed by someone, who doesn't deserve the win but may just eek it out.

image courtesy of
Lisa. She's gotten so much focus in this game. Is she merely a great narrator on a personal journey, or can this woman, who has proclaimed over and over again how bad she is at this game, really win?

RC: 3 (Close with Skupin/Lisa)
Kent: 2 (She didn't flip on him but they weren't allies)
Artis: 2 (Tandang loyalty but in opposite alliances)
Pete: 2 (Tandang loyalty but in opposite alliances)
Penner: 4 (Shown connecting with her the most. I think he will win this or lose this for her, like Erik did to Natalie in Samoa)
Carter: 2 (Still betrayed)
Abi-Maria: 3 (Always placated by Lisa)
Juror Tally: 18

She's tied with Denise, making the ranking:
Malcolm 22
Denise/Lisa 18
Skupin 12

Which seems about right. Malcolm should win, but his edit isn't a runaway so I don't think he will. Skupin won't win, and we know that because everyone keeps saying that. So Denise and Lisa are evenly matched. Lisa has the editors on her side. She's been shown coming around to the game, especially with the help of her brother, Justice, who needs to be on my dream Family season (the cast of which I'll post below, for those interested).

As bitter as people are, I think Lisa will sway them. She did a great job of mentioning Tandang's winning streak, pleasing Pete and Artis. Previously, I thought she'd get 4th place with a Holly Hoffman redemption edit, but this seems bigger than that.

My biggest problem is that she hasn't made any moves. She's talked a big game but done nothing. She never had to vote until the merge. It was Michael who jumped at the opportunity to drop Artis, not her. She's screwed up with Malcolm's idol and shouldn't have told Penner he was going. Her post-Justice plan to axe Malcolm also didn't pan out over the course of two weeks. She should be getting torn apart by the jury, but the edit is treating her as if simply trying is good enough in Survivor. Its not.

My gut tells me Denise will win. The editing points to Lisa. The stats at this point say Malcolm has the best chance, but it's not a runaway and he needs that Immunity. I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see how this all shakes out. Who do you think will score the most jury votes and enter the Survivor winner's circle? Who will win Fan Favorite? My guess -- Malcolm. And how many people will get asked 0 questions at the finale? I'm thinking Roxy, Katie, Artis and Carter are all getting the shaft.

Leave some love below! Follow me on Twitter @miketvladue where I'll be live-tweeting the finale this Sunday at 8:00 EST! Check back next week, where I'll probably be trying to rationalize a Mike Skupin win. I'll also give an updated ranking of the winners and probably make a bunch of references to seasons you don't remember. It'll be a blast! Thanks for reading, happy finale!!

12/12/12 Episode grade: B+
Episode MVP: Malcolm

~Survivor: Family Edition Dream Cast~
1. Greg Buis' Sister, who left the creepy video message
2. Colby's Mom Gaye, who slept in the Aztek with him
3. Big Tom's son Bucky Bo, the craziest kid around
4. Kathy's son Patrick, who was just so apathetic about everything Survivor
5. Brian's stripper wife, because why not
6. Fairplay's friend Thunder D, because "she died, dude"
7. Rupert's wife Laura, because she got slobbery kisses all over her
8. Jenn's sister, because it would mean something
9. Shane's son Boston Powers, because he's probably old enough
10. Cirie's husband Honey Bunny, because she wouldn't marry a dud, right?
11. Terry's wife, because she seemed like a gamebot
12. Russell's wife Melanie, because who could marry him?
13. Amanda's sister, because she made all the bird calls
14. Matty's girlfriend, because she got proposed to
15. Taj's husband Eddie George, because famous
16. Colby's brother Reid, because COME ON, REID!!!
17. Fabio's mom, because Dayum
18. Kat's cousin Robby, because he was super weird
19. Lisa's brother Justice, because he rocked
20. Coach's assistant Coach, because WTF

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