When everyone returns from Tribal Council, it's still pretty chaotic. Penner wasn't making any big move by voting for Abi; he just really didn't know what was going on. It's hard to remember that these people are working with imperfect information, since we see so much more than they do. Meanwhile, Malcolm tells Lisa that there are no hard feelings on his end, and Lisa is incredibly touched that Malcolm doesn't hate her personally and understands that she was just playing the game.
Penner has a heart-to-heart with Lisa about how he understands her background, and the struggles she's faced, and how she was brought up to be a pleaser and how she's only now learning who she is. Lisa sobs and really seems to appreciate his understanding.
Reward Challenge. The group is split into two teams again, with Abi left out because no one picked her, ha ha. The teams compete in an obstacle course with a lot of mud. Penner goes first for his team and digs all four bags out of a mud pit so that those coming behind him don't have to search. Once all four team members are through the obstacles, the teams have to get twelve balls into a high basket. Penner's gambit gives his team a huge lead; they get ten balls into the basket before the other team even starts shooting, and they end up winning. That team consists of Penner, Carter, Denise and Malcolm. Their reward is taking school supplies to a nearby village and enjoying a feast with the villagers.
While half the tribe is being rewarded, Abi gives Lisa a super condescending lecture about how they have to vote out Penner next and why, and how Lisa should act. I don't know Lisa keeps from smacking her.
The immunity challenge involves balancing balls on an oversized paddle. Pete and Skupin take an early lead, but Pete has a disaster where he knocks off most of his own balls (metaphor?) and Skupin wins handily.
Penner has another heart-to-heart with Lisa where he goes all meta and tells her to think about the story that will be told about this season, and her role in it, and whether she wants to be seen as the loyal soldier who helped a bunch of assholes make the finals or not. It's probably the best argument he could make to Lisa. Anyway, Tandang is voting out Penner and Kalabaw is voting out Artis because they figure Abi and Pete won't give him the Idol.
At Tribal Council, Kalabaw basically says that they hope Lisa and Skupin will jump ship, and Tandang says that they hope that doesn’t happen. Except Abi, who says that Lisa sucks and is probably jumping ship. When the votes are read, it turns out that someone did jump ship, because Artis is voted out 5-4. And that person was Skupin. Nice misdirection, editors. I never really considered Skupin would jump ship, but it totally makes sense, since he's even lower in the Tandang alliance than Lisa is.
The tribe returns to camp after the craziest Tribal Council ever. Skupin interviews that he's so happy that Lisa stood up for him and tried to make a move, and Pete and Jeff Kent were the most outspoken about getting rid of returning players, so either of them leaving was a win for him. Abi snipes at Skupin for voting for her and he says that he didn't. Penner's right there and he speaks up and says that he did, because he was pissed off that people were talking about a Plan B and he didn't know what any plans were. Penner interviews that he still doesn't know what happened at Tribal.
So I thought Penner's vote last week was part of some considered revenge plot against Jeff or at least had a lot of thought and strategy behind it. Turns out Penner was just confused or out of the loop or something. Carter (CARTER! Of all people) has to explain to Penner that there were four votes for Pete, five for Jeff Kent and one for Abi. Penner realizes that he blew it. Well, it would have been a tie at best, but... yeah. Penner interviews what I just said about it being a tie at best and adds that he's a "dead man walking" no matter what, so it's not like his vote matters.
Lisa and Malcolm meet up to talk about their battle at Tribal Council. Lisa doesn't know what to say, and Malcolm says they were both just playing the game. Lisa is so relieved to hear that Malcolm didn't take it personally and she thanks him profusely. So profusely that I think he gets uncomfortable because she hugs him and tells him that he's filled with grace and mercy and he just keeps repeating that it's no big deal. Lisa interviews that she tried to play the game like a real Survivor by betraying and breaking promises, but it's just not her. Look, I get that she's having trouble reconciling the person she is with the person she has to be in the game, but unless she wants to go home really soon, she needs to get comfortable with white lies and half-truths.
The next morning is Day 23. Penner interviews that there are five original Tandang left and if they continue voting together, Penner's done. However, Penner thinks he might be able to exploit the cracks, especially between the two Christian parents (Lisa and Skupin) and the three bullies. Penner hopes to appeal to Skupin and Lisa's hearts.
Lisa and Penner talk on the beach. Lisa confesses that she thought people would be angry with her this morning and Penner points out that she's a pleaser, but she was honest at Tribal Council about her actions and her motives and, ultimately, she was working to help her original alliance. He adds that everyone there likes and admires her and he knows that, due to her past, she wants to please everyone and make everyone happy.