I have to say, I find myself looking forward to new episodes this season more than any season that I've recapped. I honestly have no idea what will happen, and that's pretty rare, at least until the finals. And there are people I still care about and want to win in the game, which is also rare. So good job, Survivor producers.
Abi and Lisa have a heart-to-heart where Lisa says that she'd rather come in sixth and be happy with the people she played with than make it further with a bunch of assholes. She's a little nicer than that, but not much.
Reward Challenge involves working to flip over three drums to your side, while the opposing team works to flip three drums to their side. But you can unflip your opponents' drums too, so it seems to come down to who's faster. The reward is a spa day and a catered lunch. Except for Abi's heat, where she wins it for the other team because she's a dummy. And then Skupin does the same thing for the other team, because he's also a dummy. The winning team is Abi, Carter, Malcolm, and Pete. Hmm, all the younger players. They enjoy their reward, but when they return, Abi makes the rookie mistake of going on and on and FREAKING ON about how great the reward was to the people who didn't get to go. Then Abi announces that she's not cooking for anyone anymore, but she does plan to continue to eat, since she's going home soon. Penner points out that she has an Idol, so she's staying for at least five more days, and Abi says she'll enjoy those final days then. She is made of garbage.
Meanwhile, Malcolm and Skupin are busy making a final four deal with Denise and Lisa. At first, Lisa wants to deal with Penner instead of Malcolm, but Penner puts them off and says he doesn't want to think that far ahead, but Malcolm and Denise are willing to make a deal today. The four of them shake on it in the jungle.
Immunity Challenge. Round one is maneuvering a buoy along a tangled rope. Malcolm, Penner, Denise, Skupin, and Carter move on to round two, where they move the buoy over a balance beam. Skupin, Carter, and Denise move on to round three, where they move the buoy through water obstacles. In a very close race, Carter ends up winning immunity, but honestly none of these three needed it to stay this week.
Pete knows this is his last chance, so he tries to get a movement going to blindside Malcolm. Meanwhile, everyone except Pete and Abi makes a plan to split their vote between Pete and Abi so that if one of them plays the Idol, the other will go home.
At Tribal Council, Probst weirdly takes Abi's side and helps make her into the victim, even though Denise provides a perfect example of why Abi is a dipshit when she tries to be kind and Abi interrupts everything she says. Boo hoo, poor little Abi. In the end, Abi plays her Idol and Pete goes home.
When the Dangrayne tribe (it feels weird to refer to them as one tribe when they are so clearly divided) returns from voting out Artis, Abi and Pete are sad, and while they claim it's because they miss Artis, it's also because they've just realized that they're screwed now. Abi interviews that she doesn't understand what happened and she thought Tandang was going to stick together. Yeah, maybe you shouldn't treat people like shit if you want them to be on your side. Just saying.
Meanwhile, Skupin, Penner and Denise are having a whispered conversation about how voting out Artis was the only way for any of them to have a chance at winning. Penner is kind of creepily leaning over Skupin -- it looks like he wants to make out. Anyway, Skupin and Denise agree that they should stick with their alliance until they are six and then shake hands and fight it out. Skupin interviews that he made a big move tonight, but he thinks more will be needed to make it to the end, but he's happy that he's taken control of his game instead of just riding coattails.
Lisa and Abi have a heart-to-heart on the beach the next morning. I find it disconcerting that Abi uses an empty wine bottle for her water; I always think she's just downing some Pinot Grigio around the campsite. At least that might explain her awful behavior. Anyway, Lisa assures Abi that she never betrayed their alliance, but that she will not be working with Abi and Pete anymore. Lisa interviews that she's terrible at break-ups and she has continued in some relationships well past a reasonable point just to avoid hurting the other person. And let's be honest here -- also to avoid being the bad guy and the one "at fault." That's got to be part of it, especially given what we know about Lisa's people-pleasing ways.
Lisa adds that she can't be in an alliance with someone who doesn't trust her. Abi says that it bothered her when Lisa claimed the other side was so gracious to her after her big attempt at ousting Malcolm, and Lisa says that they were really encouraging. So Abi says that they were being nice because they wanted her vote, and that Lisa is dumb to join an alliance where she'll be on the bottom. Unlike Abi's alliance, where Lisa will be... on the bottom? Abi is grasping at straws. Her argument seems to be, "We weren't nice to you, but they were only fake nice to you and now that Artis is gone, you would be in our final three, but only by default and also we still won't be nice to you?" How can Lisa turn that down? Lisa finally says that she'd rather be sixth in a group that she feels good about. Keep this in mind later when Abi claims that she didn't know that people don't like her; Lisa basically just told her she's not a nice person, but she did it in a nice Lisa way. Most people would be able to read between the lines. Abi wishes her luck and they part ways. Lisa interviews that she's taking control of her own destiny for the game and for her life.