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Survivor: Philippines' Kalabaw tribe votes off Sarah Dawson and loses Dana Lambert to illness

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/18/2012 

Survivor: Philippines' Kalabaw tribe eliminated "Dawson" Sarah Dawson from their tribe and also lost Dana Lambert due to a medical departure during Wednesday night's fifth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.

Dawson, a 28-year-old insurance saleswoman from Silver Spring, MD, was voted out of her tribe at the season's fifth Tribal Council, which was also the first elimination vote for Kalabaw.

"Jeff Kent, I mean, I could've blown up his spot. But maybe he could be one of those millionaires who could actually come on the show and win. If he wins, he owes me so big! I want a motorcycle, a helmet, a sidecar, and a pink gun. That's what I want from Jeff Kent," Dawson said following her ouster from the game, referencing how she had kept the fact Jeff was a former professional baseball player a secret for him.

In addition, Dana, a 32-year-old cosmetologist from Winston-Salem, NC, got evacuated from the island -- although she had been medically cleared to stay in the game -- after she determined she was too sick to continue competing and therefore opted to leave.

Survivor: Philippines' fifth episode began following the Tribal Council session in which former Survivor: Samoa castaway Russell Swan got voted off his Matsing tribe -- which then only consisted of Malcolm Freberg, a 25-year-old bartender from Hermosa Beach, CA, and Denise Stapley, a 41-year-old sex therapist from Cedar Rapids, IA -- on Night 10.

Malcolm said he and Denise were living out a true underdog story, and although the odds were against them, they weren't ready to give up.

On Day 11, Malcolm said he was hoping for a tribe mix-up, a merge or just to be absorbed into another tribe at the upcoming Reward Challenge. Likewise, Denise also wondered if a tribal swap was coming. The two players realized one of them had to find the hidden Immunity Idol, and since they were an alliance working together, they helped each other look and dug up their entire camp.

Malcolm said he felt like a "f-cking idiot" because he couldn't find it, but he eventually discovered his tribe's hidden Immunity Idol onto the bowl of rice. At that point, he became "giddy like a school girl." Denise knew if she and Malcolm ended up on the same tribe, they could share the power. However, she feared if they got split up, Malcolm would have the idol and she'd be left with nothing.

The Matsing, Kalabaw and Tandang tribes then met with Survivor host Jeff Probst for their first Reward Challenge of the season. Before explaining the rules, Jeff announced Malcolm and Denise were each going to join one of the two other existing tribes. Malcolm then learned he'd be part of the Tandang tribe going forward, while Denise was placed with Kalabaw. Jeff noted it was as if the game was starting over with two tribes.

For the Reward Challenge, each tribe had to choose one member to square off against an opposing tribe member in a ring. In each faceoff, each person was holding an idol. Their job was to knock off the other castaway's idol before losing grip of his or her own. Every time a player won a battle, his or her tribe would receive one point. The first tribe to earn five points would win reward in the form of coffee, tea, biscuits, and cookies.

In the end, Tandang won reward. Malcolm was thrilled to have earned his first challenge win and grateful to have become part of a strong, united tribe. Although Denise faced yet another gut-wrenching loss, she was at least happy to have joined a tribe which gave her "an awesome vibe" and felt like a brand new "family."

Former Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia castaway Jonathan Penner thought Denise was a very nice woman, but he admitted he would've preferred to have Malcolm on his tribe since he was a strong physical player.

After the challenge, Malcolm felt like he got his "swag back," but he needed to find an "in" so he wouldn't be the odd guy out who would just pose as their next target. Lisa Whelchel, a 49-year-old former actress from Dallas, TX, said Malcolm brought a great energy to the tribe and would also bring physical strength, a good attitude and good looks.

However, "RC" Roberta Saint-Amour, a 27-year-old investment banker from New York, NY, wanted Denise instead. She wanted Malcolm on her side but saw him talking to "Pete" Peter Yurkowski, a 24-year-old engineering graduate from Holmdel, NJ, right away -- which meant her chances of that happening were slim at that point. She felt like an outcast but wasn't going to let people walk all over her, and she decided she'd fight and flirt with Malcolm to better her own position in the game.

Malcolm quickly became the popular guy in the tribe, and Pete told him that he had the hidden Immunity Idol. Malcolm was glad to receive information and felt as if everyone wanted him on their side.

Meanwhile, Denise was ready to blend in with her new family and figure out what her new role could be. She wanted to bring value to her tribe. Katie wanted Denise to join her alliance of all the females, but her hopes were soon destroyed. Dana came down with a sickness and it was clear to her tribemates she was "shutting down."

Dana was throwing up, had the chills and felt pain in her stomach as if a knife was going through it. While her tribemates were attempting to take care of her, medics traveled to their camp via boat and immediately gave Dana medical attention.

The doctor announced her "tummy was irritated" and that Dana possibly had an infection. However, the doctor said she could continue on in the game, as long as she got checked out 12 hours later once she got a good amount of fluids into her. 

Jeff Probst noted Dana was not in a "life threatening" situation and could resume competing, but Dana decided she had to go home. Dana said she just "couldn't stay here." She wished she wasn't sick and announced she was pulling herself out of the game by choice.

Dana apologized to her tribe and said she "tried to hang" but was struggling too much and couldn't go on anymore. Jonathan related to her since he had once been medically evacuated from the game and felt sorry for her. He told her everyone loved and respected her and that it was great getting to know her.

On Day 13, the two tribes met with Jeff Probst again, who then explained the rules to what would be their fifth Immunity Challenge.

The tribe members learned that each tribe must race through a series of obstacles, untie knots releasing a drawbridge, and then one person had to chop a rope -- ultimately releasing numerous bamboo puzzle pieces. They tribes would then be required to race to find pieces with letters on them, and use those pieces to solve a word phrase. The first tribe to get it right would win immunity and be safe from the vote, while the losing tribe would be sent to Tribal Council that night to vote one of its own members out of the game.

Kalabaw, who had an extra player after Dana was evacuated, sat out Abi-Maria Gomes, a 32-year-old business student from Los Angeles, CA, to even up the numbers.

After an extremely tight race, Tandang won immunity by only a matter of seconds, and the tribe remained undefeated in both Immunity and Reward Challenges. Jonathan thought if Dawson had been a little more helpful with the puzzle, they would've won.

Following the challenge, Katie admitted she "sucked" in the challenge and thought she'd be the one to go next. Dawson acknowledged Katie sucked in the challenge without taking any responsibility for doing poorly in the challenge herself. Dawson noted that while Katie was weak in the physical challenges, Denise had only been in the tribe for two days. Denise, aware of her tribemates options, wondered whether they'd go for "loyalty or logic."

Jeff Kent, a 44-year-old retired baseball player from Austin, TX, then asked Denise if she wanted to be the guys' fourth in their alliance, and she agreed -- joining Jonathan and Carter Williams, a 24-year-old track coach from Shawnee, KS, as well.

As a result, the vote seemed to come down to either Katie or Dawson in the tribe's eyes. Carter wanted Katie to go, but Jeff said Dawson was the weaker link in the challenge. Jonathan knew Katie performed poorly in the challenge as well but believed Dawson was the weakest member of the tribe overall.

Dawson then began playing mind games with Jeff, because she was well aware he was a former professional baseball player. Jeff was determined to keep his identity a secret, so he noted he was "walking on egg shells" around her and worried his tribemates would put two and two together.

Before heading to Tribal Council, Jeff told the cameras he figured his best bet would be to vote Dawson out considering she knew his secret and might reveal it.

That night, Survivor: Philippines' Kalabaw tribe arrived for their first Tribal Council session -- the fifth session of the season overall.

The tribe admitted losing Dana was "devastating" because she had served as a strong social, strategic and athletic player. Dawson told Jeff Probst her tribe should keep her around because she brought a "good spirit" and positive attitude.

Jeff Probst then revealed the votes. Dawson had voted for Denise, but all her fellow tribemates had voted to oust her from Survivor: Philippines. Dawson left completely blindsided and Katie was very relieved.

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