Massive, massive props to Joe for his recap of the last episode. He rules.
Malcolm realizes that he lost an ally in Corinne but he thinks he's still got a strong position because no one knows he has an Idol, and he has both the Fans and the Favorites thinking he's with them.
Phillip inducts Sherri into Stealth R Us, so she's in with the Favorites: Phillip, Andrea, Dawn, Brenda, and Cochran. They think Malcolm and Erik are with them, but we've seen that Malcolm and Erik are actually allied with Reynold and Eddie.
Reward Challenge. They have to divide into two teams of five and take turns throwing a ball into a goal, past a defender from the other team. The winning team gets to rappel down a waterfall and have a picnic lunch. The defenders are fairly pointless; it's mostly about whether or not someone can launch the ball into the goal while jumping off a platform. It's a close game, but the team of Eddie, Reynold, Erik, Cochran, and Michael ends up winning. On the reward, Eddie and Reynold are all "Guy Power" and Cochran is rightfully like, "Gross, you guys."
Malcolm approaches Sherri and Dawn about flipping and taking out another Favorite. Dawn goes straight to her alliance and reports what happened, and they decide to blindside Malcolm. Meanwhile, Andrea and Eddie have a flirtation but they also both wonder who is using whom in this scenario.
Immunity Challenge. Hang from a grid in the water as the tide rises up over your head. It comes down to Andrea and Brenda, and Andrea struggles valiantly but ultimately Brenda wins. She's so Zen, she doesn't even know she won at first.
Dawn and Andrea try to play Malcolm and convince him that the Favorites are splitting their vote between Reynold and Eddie. Malcolm decides to target Andrea, and then Eddie tells her about it, and she flips out and decides that the Favorite should vote out Michael instead of Malcolm, because she's worried that Malcolm might have an Idol. Dawn hates this plan and assures Andrea that Malcolm doesn't have an idol. So now I have no idea what's going on. I don't know why they don't vote out Eddie; they know he doesn't have an Idol and I really doubt Reynold would give his up.
At Tribal Council, Phillip gives a big speech about how anyone who has an Idol should expect votes against him or her. After the votes are cast, Reynold stands up to play his Idol and Malcolm tells him to hold on. Malcolm says that everyone voted for him and Reynold should give up his Idol so they can be in good shape. Reynold AGREES! And gives Malcolm his Idol!! Meanwhile, the Favorites all voted for Michael, and the only vote against Reynold was Malcolm's own. Oops. Anyway, Michael goes home. It remains to be seen if Reynold is pissed that Malcolm did that, although I guess Reynold was going to play it anyway, so the Idol would have been gone either way. And now Reynold's Idol is gone and no one knows about Malcolm's Idol. You may not agree with his gameplay, but at least Malcolm is making this season a little more interesting.
The editors have a lot of fun juxtaposing shots of monkeys waking up in the morning and looking for food with our Survivors waking up in the morning and... looking for food, mostly. Phillip, Andrea, Dawn, Malcolm -- and maybe Brenda and Cochran though I'm not sure on those last two -- sit around and talk about how they are in great shape by the numbers.
Meanwhile, Reynold, Eddie and Erik are trying to start a fire. Reynold interviews that even though Corinne was the head of his counter-alliance and she's gone, he considers it a win because a Favorite went home. But... she wasn't part of their alliance. I mean, they thought she was, but she wasn't. Reynold points out to Eddie that any women who hang out with them end up going home. I don't know why the newly-merged tribe didn't get rid of Reynold and Eddie first. I still don't get that. Reynold is super-psyched about his alliance with Eddie and Malcolm (he doesn't mention Erik, who I thought was in their Alpha Male alliance too?). Anyway, Reynold thinks it's time for him to start (?) playing the game, so he asks Andrea what her plans are going forward. Andrea doesn't tell him a thing, because she's not as dumb as he is. Then again, Reynold is plenty dumb.
So what's Malcolm up to? He interviews that Corinne is out and she was his closest ally. Then again, now there's no one left who knows he has the Idol. And he thinks he has all of the Fans on his side. (Well, not Sherri, but she's a lady so Malcolm doesn't need to bother with her, I guess?). Anyway, Malcolm points out that the Favorites think they cut off the head of the Rebel Alliance, but they missed.
The animal commentary before this scene is a giant snake stalking a baby monkey, who scampers away. I'm still not sure which animal represents Phillip and which one represents Sherri. Anyway, Phillip is buttering Sherri up as they relax in the lounge chairs. Phillip interviews that the Fans haven't quite figured out that if they don't join up, they'll go home. Sherri is on board and Mike isn't. Anyway, Phillip inducts Sherri into Stealth "R" Us and his fellow alliance members seem as tired of Phillip's shtick as I am. Anyway, Sherri interviews that she'll do whatever it takes to manage Phillip's lunacy and stay in the game. She managed Shemar and she thinks she can manage Phillip, and predicts that she'll be calling the shots in two more votes. We shall see. I actually wouldn't doubt it.
Reward Challenge. They will be divided into two groups via schoolyard pick. Four members of each team will take turns jumping off a platform into the water while trying to throw a ball into a goal, while one member of the opposing team plays goalie. The reward is rappelling down a waterfall and having a picnic. That's a reward? That kind of sounds like a punishment. Like how about you just fly me in a helicopter, Probst? Why do I have to do all the work? I'm starving and bug-ridden and filthy. PAMPER ME.