'Survivor: Philippines' recap: Abi exacts revenge, and we all suffer
The Brazilian babe's cunning machinations have officially upgraded her from annoying bigmouth to full-fledged "Survivor" villain. And she's even more hateable because she's still in the game while Jonathan Penner -- the very best part of this great season -- is gone.
After getting a taste of her own medicine at the last Tribal Council, Abi berates her tribemates for their "brutal" treatment of her. "It wasn't cute," she complains. (What does that even mean? Should they have hurled Beanie Babies at her instead?)
Unlike Denise, Malcolm feels sorry for the "unself-aware" outcast and gives her a big hug. But he regrets it later, saying, "Abi's a bit like having a girlfriend who won't leave after you've broken up with her." Hopefully, he has more bon mots in his arsenal, because Penner's wit will be sorely missed.
It's "Survivor" auction time again, and each Castaway receives $500 to bid on food and mystery items. After explaining that the players cannot share either their money or their food, Jeff starts the auction with a breakfast plate. Denise immediately blows her entire wad for pancakes and bacon, and Skupin does the same for a cheese and wine platter (nearly giving bartender Malcolm a seizure by admitting he doesn't drink).
In the first blind bid, Penner wins a fried chicken plate, while Carter follows with a baked potato (or "potata," as pronounced by Wichita Jeff). His status is elevated to "living legend" when Carter forgoes the potata for hefty bags of beans and rice for his tribe -- and he does it again when he wins veal shanks that he and the whole tribe can devour on the spot. And after holding out most of the auction, Lisa finally bids on a covered dish that contains a giant sub sandwich.
But Abi is the biggest winner. Although she told Jeff she was going to keep the cash since she was going home anyway, she threw down the minute he announced the next item contained an advantage. In fact, it was a scroll revealing that she automatically advances to the final round in the Immunity Challenge.
Later, instead of trying to bond with the satiated and joyful Castaways, Abi confronts them all again about "destroying" her at Tribal Council. Penner says she's off-putting and Lisa calls her a pig. (She didn't really, but we wish she had.)
The next morning, Abi awakens early feeling "ambitious" and concocts an Immunity Idol "fantasy." She tells a skeptical Malcolm that the advantage led her to discover the Immunity Idol -- a story that backs up with a brilliant bluff before the challenge.
Jeff calls on Abi to read aloud the contents of her scroll. She gives the performance of a lifetime, saying the note contains two messages -- and she's only obligated to read the portion pertaining to the challenge. Jeff doesn't interrupt her, and she rips up the paper as soon as she's done. Abi, take a bow. We underestimated you.
While Abi chills, the contestants are affixed to ropes to navigate yet another obstacle course. It's even more difficult for those who can't correctly answer Jeff's pop quiz questions between each stage: They are burdened with a bundle containing 5 percent of their body weight.
Abi joins Carter and Penner in the final round, and easily beats the exhausted men to claim the Immunity Idol -- and a spot in the final six.
Penner's a dead man walking, although he doesn't seem to know it until Lisa has another "this game is too big for me" breakdown. After barking at her to "cut the crap," Penner invites Lisa for a walk and learns that she allied with Skupin, Malcolm and Denise when he refused to commit.
He desperately tries to make "magic" by trying to sway Skupin -- his "brilliant wise old chum" -- to vote for Denise instead. The guy who tried to put out a fire with his face preens at the idea of being the swing vote again, so maybe all hope is not lost?
Penner is not going out without a fight, insisting to Lisa that she "cannot win" with Malcolm and Denise. Malcolm fires back, pointing out that Penner didn't trust her enough to accept her alliance invitation. Probst makes Lisa cry (we suspect her divorce is a factor), and the vote commences.
Penner doesn't bother with niceties, yelling out Denise's name as he writes it down.
At least we could laugh through our tears, which started flowing when Jeff revealed the deciding vote was cast for Penner. The frontrunner for fan favorite (CBS, just let him cash that check now, OK?) hugs Carter, but snubs Abi when she stands up and asks for one too.
"No, I'm not gonna hug anybody else," he declares.
"That sucks, Jeff," he adds, when the host snuffs his torch once again.
Penner's one-man comedy show continued as he yelled back at the group, "Keep it sunny side up and suck eggs!" Whistling merrily down the path leading away from Tribal Council, he dashes back in frame for one final vaudevillian farewell.
We can't wait for his encore next week -- from the jury.