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Survivor: Philippines Episode 3: In it to win it

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Written by : published Thursday 4th October 2012

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You can tell that the other two tribes – the red and the yellow – are just chomping at the bit, waiting for their chance to play the game of Survivor.  Too bad that they may have to wait for Russell’s blue tribe to completely implode first.

In case you missed the episode, be sure to get caught up by watching Episode 3 of Survivor: Philippines, and then be sure to read my weekly Episode Recap before continuing on to this “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

So thank you Jonathan Penner for finally showing some signs of life!  After finding the Idol, it appeared as if he would desperately need it as he clearly seems to be on the outside of his tribe.  Penner has always been one of my favorite game strategists, and it was good to see him do the exact opposite of what one might expect.  Clearly outcast, what does Penner do?  He approaches the #1 guy who has been gunning for him thus far, Jeff Kent.  This relationship will surely be one of the more interesting over the next several episodes.

Jeff Kent couldn’t possibly be serious about aligning with Penner right?  I think that was made clear with his “four-finger handshake.”  It would be very wise to get close to Penner though, to get him to a point where he won’t use his Idol whenever their tribe does go to Tribal.  Penner on the other hand, would be a fool not to play it regardless of what kind of deal he thinks he may have forged with Jeff.  We could see the two try to backstab each other, but ultimately Penner will come out on top, at least for the short-term.  But Penner has no choice but to play the game with the cards he was dealt, so kudos to him for making what may be his smartest maneuver.

But what if these two actually aligned?  Penner clearly should be open to it, because he currently has no other discernible options.  Jeff Kent seems like a good-minded, well-liked player who may have what it takes to go far, but will his fear of Penner be his undoing?  If he would open himself up to an alliance with Penner, no one would suspect it.  They would surely be a very strong strategic duo moving forward.

Speaking of duos, kiss the Abi/RC duo good-bye and say hello to Abi/Peter.  Abi though is already showing weakness as far as the social game goes, and her abrasive attitude may get her far in the game as one of those players that the others love to keep around, but that have no chance of actually winning.  Peter on the other hand, was finally revealed tonight, if briefly.  He seems to be just as much in control of Skupin’s tribe as Malcolm is of Russell’s.  With an Idol, Abi, Lisa and Artis at his side, he is clearly the brains of the operation one would think.  That’s not to slight the other three, but strategically speaking, he seems the best equipped to lead and call the shots.

Skupin alternatively, looks to be in serious danger, both physically and game-wise.  What’s the deal with this guy?  He can’t help but hurt himself, and here’s a guy who early on looked to be in complete control at camp.  Now, nobody seems to want to be on his side.  It’ll be interesting to see how Lisa Welchel plays the game when the time comes, because don’t forget that Skupin was looking out for her early on.  She may want to return the favor.  And with RC at odds with Abi, they just might have enough clout to swing things against Peter.

One thing is for certain following this episode:  Russell, Denise and Malcolm are in serious trouble.  With no merge or tribe switch in the foreseeable future, they simply have to start winning, or even if they do survive, they will never have the numbers needed to make a long-term run.  Malcolm and Denise definitely appear smart enough to pull something off, but it would still be an uphill battle.  Don’t forget that their tribe is the only one who has yet to find the hidden Idol and Russell is the one with the clue.  Could finding that Idol be Russell’s ticket to stay alive?  If he does find it and they do lose again, Malcolm will be in the middle all right:  In the middle of Denise and Russell who just may vote his butt out.

So what do you think will happen?  Will Skupin survive Survivor?  Is the Penner/Kent alliance for real and what would be their best moves strategically?  Will Russell find the last hidden Idol?  Post your comments below!!

Join me each week right here for my insight and analysis of every episode of Survivor!  See you next week!


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About the author SurvivorTom


Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Detroit Film Critics Society.  He writes several on-line columns, most notably as the Detroit Movie Examiner and the Survivor Examiner for Examiner.com.  He also is a contributor as a Survivor-Insider to TVGeekArmy.com and writes exclusive Survivor in-depth episode analysis for TheTVKing.com. He has been featured on Rob Cesternino's "Rob Has a Podcast" and most recently landed the only exclusive Richard Hatch interview given since his latest legal trouble has surfaced. All of Tom's Survivor coverage as well as movie reviews can be found on his blog the "FilmSurvivor", at FilmSurvivor.com

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