Matsing sadly returns to their camp. They're all really down in the dumps and sadly trying to wash the mud off their exhausted bodies. When he gets a second, Malcolm tells Russell to vote Denise out and keep the two athletes. Malcolm interviews that he's close with Denise, but when he made the alliance he didn't think he'd have to make these tough decisions so early in the game.
While Russell is out pacing on the beach, Malcolm and Denise quickly discuss their strategy. Malcolm says that Russell thinks Denise is going home, but obviously she's not and they need to make him comfortable so he doesn't play the Idol if he has it.
We've seen the other two combinations of people having a strategy talk, so now it's time for Denise and Russell to discuss what's going to happen. Denise goes into counselor mode and Russell opens up to her and says that he always expects the best from himself. Then he tells a story about how he got jumped by two kids when he was eight years old and he later caught one of his attackers and punched him and decided not to live in fear ever again. Wow, good story. Denise brings things back around to talking strategy and makes her case why Russell should vote out Malcolm. Russell tries to get Denise to admit that she has an alliance with Malcolm, and Denise cleverly doesn't lie but also doesn't admit anything. She's good. Russell now has hopes that he could stay. Malcolm interviews that with three people, the vote could really go any way, which is scary. So they all head to Tribal Council without a hundred percent confidence that they are staying. Denise has the greatest confessional. She says that she trusts people, but if she finds out that the guys teamed up to vote her out, she won't be mad. She'll just know that she screwed up and the guys played the game better than her. I mean, it would probably be a boring show if everyone had that attitude, but it would be a better world.
Matsing arrives at Tribal Council. Probst asks Malcolm if things were interesting at camp today. Malcolm says that there's no telling what's going to happen and Denise agrees. At first, I thought Russell was shaking from nerves, but I think it's just that cold. They're all shivering. Except Probst, who probably has a space heater. Probst asks Russell about his outburst after the challenge, and Russell explains his counseling session with Denise, and that he concluded that he always expects the best from himself and he doesn't see that as a problem. Malcolm admits that he nominated himself to be the rice-pot destroyer, and he's willing to take the heat for losing.