Well this episode was another bust proudly brought to us by the Matsing tribe. I was really rooting for them during the Immunity Challenge, and it seemed like they really were about to pull off their first win, but then Denise really slowed them down when it was her turn to carry the jars. I know Malcolm volunteered openly to take the heat for losing since he was tossing the ball at the end, but from watching, it looked like the loss fell mainly on Denise's slowness during the obstacle course.
Sending Russell home wasn't a surprise, but I feel that it was the wrong decision for Malcolm. Yes, Denise and he are tight, but where else would Russell have to go other than to Malcolm's side? Plus, even though he's not up to Malcolm's caliber in challenges, Russell (I feel) can outperform Denise in challenges (unless there's swimming involved, lol). I like all three of them, but with Russell gone, if Denise and Malcolm make it to a merge, Malcolm will be the first target for the other tribes to take out if they choose to go after the Matsing members. If he had kept Russell around, the other people would have likely taken out Russell first cause he LOOKS like he's a better competitor than Malcom, and he's more annoying than Malcolm. Denise will be seen as a non-threat, so they won't waste a vote on her as long as Malcolm is still in the ring. Plus, she's a psychologist, so she'll have a better chance at getting people to like her if she needs to, which Russell wouldn't have had a shot to do since he has diarrhea of the mouth sometimes. Perhaps Denise's skills can be used to preserve both herself and Malcolm in a social game, but if not, Malcolm is toast for sure.
Pete's come out of nowhere to be a really sneaky player and may be a great manipulator by season's end. Of course it helps that the person he was manipulating (Abi-Marie) is a complete idiot. This girl doesn't think at all before opening her mouth and doesn't realize that down the road she may need to cross some of these bridges she's burning down so quickly. RC was a great ally to her, and Abi-Marie hasn't even considered for a second that there was one other person whom knew about the location of the idol clue. Now, while I don't like RC much, cause she seemed like a snake waiting to strike when given the chance, I do feel bad for her that she's being ostracized now by her tribe, and especially by someone she had made her closest ally. I am happy, though, that this is giving Lisa a great chance to get into an alliance with Mike, but I do hope she manages to dump Abi-Marie and Pete (and Artis) for some more likable allies at merge.
Kalabaw is just a snooze fest for me. I want to see Jonathan do his smarty-pants work that he's known for, but really, there's just nothing I care about in that camp. I thought I'd enjoy Jeff, but he's just kind of a bore for some reason. I'm glad that he's at least bright enough to see that it may benefit him to align with Jonathan, but they need to craft a bond with the women in the tribe if they hope to survive. Bringing Carter into their group is going to do nothing, cause he just seems to be a wasted space right now (no offense to him personally). However, if the previews for next week are right in indicating someone may be evacuated from this tribe soon, then all of this is about to change.
I'm curious if they're going to allow Matsing to completely disintigrate, or if they're going to split up Malcolm and Denise by putting one of them on each of the two tribes. That could be an interesting move if they can both survive to the merge. It would also be cool to see them do the Stephanie thing again where they let the tribe get down to one player and then bring them into a majority tribe again. I kinda hope they don't do that, though, cause that didn't really work out so well for Stephanie last time, and I doubt it would go any better if done again.
Regardless, I do think the producers probably had planned to merge a third tribe into the other two tribes more evenly at some point in the game (like in the first All-Stars season), but Matsing completely screwed that up along with everything else they've been involved in. It will be interesting to see where this season goes - we have one pathetically under-performing tribe, one tribe that has a ton of scheming/deception going on in it even though they've never even been to tribal counsel, and another tribe that just needs some kind of spark added to them to make them a little more interesting. At merge, things will definitely go full throttle, cause unlike last season, we don't have a single tribe that appears to want to stay unified since there seems to be some kind of rift in each of them . . . well, aside from the Masting tribe, but that'd be hilarious if the members of a two person tribe absolutely hated each other, lol.
Anyway, looking forward to the rest of this season.
Edit: I mixed up Dawson's name for Abi-Marie - corrected now.