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‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode 10 – Malcolm’s fatal flaw

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Written by : published Thursday 18th April 2013

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To paraphrase The Godfather II:  “Malcolm, you broka-my-heart.”  Sure, Survivor was designed to be played for 39 days, not nearly 39 days back-to-back seasons as Malcolm undertook.  His poor head has got to be in some deep case of Survivor dementia having lived and breathed the game for that long, right in a row.  And the fact that he is one of the most likeable players in recent year makes this all the harder to say:  Malcolm, you douche-bag.

In case you missed the episode, be sure to get caught up by watching Episode 10 of Survivor: Caramoan, and then be sure to read my weekly Episode Recap before continuing on to this “Bonus Analysis” coverage.

Now, I don’t use the term “douche-bag” lightly.  In this case, it’s a term of endearment, born out of my bent up frustration in watching Malcolm squander a golden opportunity to shift the game.  I could have said “imbecile,” “dolt,” or the tried-and-true “idiot.”  But douche-bag is a term I reserve for when smart people do dumb things.  You are free to disagree with my definition of the word, but it is spoken (or written) from my heart.

Surely, he is the rare muscle-bound male Survivor to be a bona fide Favorite, amongst most if not all women (who find him hot and charming) and most men (who see him as funny, smart and non-threatening, like a guy we could all see ourselves hanging out with).  Think about it, of all of the born athletes to compete on Survivor, there is only a handful – Boston Rob, maybe Colby, J.T. - that appealed to both genders as someone that you find yourself rooting for, regardless of his status within the game.

To paraphrase On the Waterfront, “Malcolm, you could-a been-a contendah!”  So here is what went wrong and why Malcolm is the craziest of all of the insane inmates inhabiting Survivor Island.  Yes, he is down in the game, clearly on the outs.  I understand the idea that he would want to save his alliance-mate Eddie.  But in giving away both Idols this week, his chances go from slim to non-existent in the game.

Suppose this:  Had Malcolm just kept that third Idol a secret, he could have still sprung it on the others right before the votes.  It wouldn’t have changed much, but it would have given the alliance of seven ZERO time to think things through…their votes would have already been cast.

Or better yet, had Malcolm been thinking more long-term, let Eddie burn!  He definitely had to play one of his Idols tonight to save himself, but had he just let Eddie get voted off, he would now be in the game with one more Idol that nobody knows anything about.  He still is one of the better physical threats to win Immunity Challenges and as the numbers dwindle, those on the bottom of the alliance of seven would at some point need a potential vote.  He could have simply waited this out and at the very least, he was guaranteed Final 8 had he used Idols back-to-back.  He still would have had the element of surprise next week with his last remaining Idol, one in which nobody knew he even had.

Even how things played out, his thinking was totally ludicrous, and in that thinking you have to include Reynold and Eddie as well.  They all seemed so happy just to be staying in the game, they forgot how to play.  So by using both Idols and making all Three Amigos immune, they could have taken this opportunity to vote out whomever they want.  Rarely is such power wielded at Tribal.  So who do they choose to gun for?  Phillip Sheppard?  Are you frickin’ kidding me?  The guy whom everyone on island knows has absolutely no chance of winning the game?  Whom everyone has been making fun of? 

Malcolm showed how bad his in-game perception was getting when he viewed Dawn as being at the bottom of the power alliance.  But to think that Phillip was really at the top shows that more than one screw has been wiggled completely loose from Malcolm’s brain.

Now, a calculated risk would have been to use both Idols (I still think Malcolm’s best chance of turning the game around would have been to play one Idol and keep the other for himself, letting Eddie go home), but had Malcolm used his head, he could have taken this opportunity to vote out not Phillip, but one of those truly in power.  Imagine this move taking out Cochran?  Now that would be an all-time brilliant Tribal Council.  Or how about Dawn, who had just betrayed Malcolm’s trust at the previous Tribal?  He even said it himself:  Dawn clearly wasn’t at the bottom of her alliance…so could one then assume that she is either at the top or somewhere in the middle?  Why not take her out and break things up?

There was an entire spectrum of mistakes made tonight by a player who everyone keeps waiting on to be great.  By Malcolm now being Idol-less, still being in the minority and with the real power-players still in the game, good-byes are in order.  To paraphrase Casablanca:  “He’ll regret it.  Maybe not today.  Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of his life.”

Malcolm, here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

Follow me on Twitter!  @tomsantilli, and check out my website at tomsantilli.com for more Survivor coverage and my full database of current and archived movie reviews.

Watch Episode 10 - Zipping Over the Cuckoo’s Nest online

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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