Exclusive: Malcolm Freberg talks about his time on 'Survivor: Philippines' (Part 2)
By Reality TV World staff, 12/20/2012
Malcolm Freberg was voted off Survivor: Philippines just shy of making it to the Final 3 during Sunday night's finale broadcast of the season on CBS.
Malcolm, a 25-year-old bartender from Hermosa Beach, CA, was eliminated from the game thanks to a plot devised by the Final 3 castaways -- winner Denise Stapley, a 41-year-old sex therapist from Cedar Rapids, IA; Lisa Whelchel, a 49-year-old former actress from Dallas, TX; and former Survivor: Australia castaway Michael Skupin.
During the subsequent live reunion show, Survivor host Jeff Probst revealed Denise had received all but two of the six votes -- which included one from Malcolm -- and therefore claimed the $1 million grand prize. "RC" Roberta Saint-Amour voted for Lisa, while Carter Williams voted for Skupin to win.
Jeff then revealed that Lisa had won $100,000 as the winner of the season's "Player of the Season" home viewer vote. Malcolm came in a very close second for the prize, as only 0.7% percent of a vote separated the two deserving castaways.
In an exclusive interview on Monday, Malcolm talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Philippines experience.
Below is the concluding portion of Malcolm's interview. Click here to read the first half. To read our interview with Denise, click here and here. For Lisa's interview, click here and here. Start reading the initial portion of Skupin's interview here.
Reality TV World: During the live reunion show, Jeff Probst asked the jury for a show of hands of who would have voted for you if you had made it to the end either with or without Denise. And it seemed like you wouldn't have won -- especially if you'd gone up against Denise. Did that surprise you? Were you shocked to find that out?
Malcolm Freberg: Yeah, well the story I keep having to tell -- if you're going to go back and watch the live finale, go watch this one again and just watch what [Pete Yurkowski], Carter and [Jonathan Penner] are doing. Because they're all sitting next to each other and just having a ball, like being goofy in the background.
But they had all -- and I knew they were going to do this. I didn't think they were actually going to do it, but we knew that question was coming. Jeff loves to pick on fourth place and see if they would actually win. So before we go out there, Pete, Penner and Carter told me they weren't going to raise their hands when he asks that question (laughs) when I know they would've absolutely voted for me.
I think if I go with Lisa and Skupin, I think I'd win big. If I go with Denise, it's very close and I would've had to make a really good argument. It probably would come down to the argument.
But Pete and Carter would've absolutely voted for me, but they just didn't raise their hands because they were being silly. Penner probably would have, like Penner probably really would've gone with whomever made the best argument.
Reality TV World: You had seemed willing to vote Denise out at the Final 4 but not at the Final 5. So why was that? Was that just because you had the Final 4 pact with them and didn't want to break your word, or was that more for, again, jury perception?
Malcolm Freberg: Jury perception. Like I knew how I was looking, and I looked like this guy kind of -- when I flipped on Tandang, when I started voting off Pete and all those guys and I went with the new old-person alliance is what it was, I knew that it was perceived as justifiable, if that makes sense.
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I knew that they couldn't be angry at me for that, because they had been plotting behind my back. So there's no way they could be angry at me. Now, if I stick with -- and it's the same thing. I thought I had my three locked so I could do whatever I wanted to control appearances.
I thought, "Absolutely, I'm in the Final 3. So Denise can come to the Final 4 and it doesn't matter. It'll keep her happy with me," because I would have never broken my word to her. I would've just cut her out at the very end, and yeah, it all just comes down to the fact that I thought Lisa and Skupin would take me.
Reality TV World: At that Final 5 Tribal Council where Abi-Maria Gomes ended up being voted off, obviously it seemed like they were considering Denise as well. You just mentioned right now that you had threatened to use the hidden Immunity Idol there. Do you think that is why Lisa and Skupin decided not to vote Denise off at that point and go with Abi instead?
Malcolm Freberg: No, that's absolutely what happened. They'd get rid of Denise right there. They were playing much more cerebrally than I knew until I got to see it on TV. They would've gotten rid of her had I not -- Skupin walks up to me and says, "So what are you going to do with your idol?" And I go, "Oh, I'm giving it to Denise."
And I said it really offhand, like I knew what I was doing but I kind of made this off-the-hand comment that, "Denise is getting it tonight." And it's one of those things that played out the way it did. But if they were -- I honestly believe that if I hadn't said that, they would've gotten rid of Denise right there.
If I didn't have the idol, they would've gotten rid of Denise right there, and then they'd get rid of me on this next one and it'd be Lisa, Skupin and Abi at the end -- and we'd have a very different millionaire right now.
Reality TV World: Playing up there on the whole Final 3 thing, if Skupin and Lisa had gone to the end with Abi instead, there's been a lot of speculation that Lisa or Skupin definitely would have won the jury vote. Do you agree with that, and if so, who do you think would've won the vote in that scenario?
Malcolm Freberg: It goes Lisa, Skupin, Abi. I mean, Abi doesn't have a chance. She was just too despised while we were out there, really. She was not a tolerable human being. So we would've had to be forced to vote for somebody. We can't write "none of the above," this isn't [the movie] Brewster's Millions.
It would've had -- you know, I would've voted for Lisa. I can't speak for everybody else. Skupin was more liked. It would've been very, very close between Lisa and Skupin had they done that. I would've voted for Lisa though.
Reality TV World: Had you actually voted with Denise to create a 2-2 tie, would you have attempted to vote off Skupin or Lisa, who did you consider the bigger threat?
Malcolm Freberg: We would've done -- if we had done that, and obviously this scenario played out in my head out there -- we would've gone with Lisa. Because if I'm going to stick with Denise and vote with Denise, I need to look loyal to Denise. If you vote 2-2 at the Final 4, [it'll result in] fire-making.
And Skupin was like my pupil for making fire, but Lisa hadn't made a fire in 38 days at that point. So we would've gone Lisa. We would've had Denise and Lisa in the fire-starting challenge.
I would've been coaching Denise in the back, because if I'm going to do that, I was going to help Denise all I can. We would've gone with Lisa because she can't make fire and I don't think Denise ever really made fire either, but I could coach her up and she'd probably have the best chance that way.
Reality TV World: How do you think the game would've played out differently if Skupin and Lisa had ended up going with Penner there instead of going with yourself and Denise to the Final 4?
Malcolm Freberg: It didn't make the show at all, but no matter what, it's the Final 8 and we know that the next vote is so telegraphed that it should be possible to make a Final 4 deal. And the very first people that were willing to were Skupin, Lisa and Denise. And that really is who I thought, and I played out the entire endgame in my head.
I'm like, "That's who I want to do this with." Not to toot my own horn, that was the driving force behind that whole thing. But if they say, "No," I put a deadline on it. They showed on the show very briefly, like I said, "Before the next Immunity Challenge, we need to all go and shake hands."
I put a deadline on it, and if they didn't do it, I absolutely would've gone to Pete and Abi and brought in Denise, and we would've voted off Penner that night. That was the episode Pete went home.
I absolutely just would've gone the other way. I was getting a Final 4 done. That wasn't ideal, but if Lisa and Skupin weren't onboard -- and clearly they weren't because they were running around and I didn't know that happened -- we absolutely would've dragged in Pete and Abi. It would've been me, Pete, Abi, and Denise.
Reality TV World: While you were out there, did you sense that Skupin wanted to take you to the Final 3 but Lisa did not and that Skupin thought he could beat you because he had a better story than yours?
Malcolm Freberg: Yeah, I absolutely knew that was happening. I mean, like what I keep saying is that I didn't have a good read on Lisa at all, but I knew that she wasn't my biggest fan to go to the end with. I didn't know she was so adamant about it, but I knew that Skupin was seriously considering it.
And my understanding of their relationship was that I thought Skupin was the one calling the shots, but the reality is, it was clearly Lisa. But yeah, I knew that Skupin was more in favor of the idea of keeping me. But Lisa wasn't. I really spent 90% percent of my negotiating with Skupin, thinking that he was the driving force behind their alliance, when in fact, it was Lisa.
Reality TV World: Do you have any regrets about the game, anything you would change or do differently if you got to play the game a second time?
Malcolm Freberg: You've talked to some of these other guys, who were voted out early, and they talk about losing sleep. I don't really lose sleep over what happened. I don't really -- I don't doubt my logic while I was out there. Given the information I had and what I was seeing, I would still probably make the same decisions at every stage in the game.
My only -- I just had a horrible, horrible read on Lisa. Good for her, that's the game. She just absolutely outplayed me there at the end. So yeah, if I could do something different, I wouldn't trust older women. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor: Philippines? How did you end up on the show?
Malcolm Freberg: I applied multiple times. Didn't get it the first time. The second time, I was lucky enough to go through this whole crazy process and managed to pull it off!
Above is the concluding portion of Malcolm's interview. Click here to read the first half. To read our interview with Denise, click here and here. For Lisa's interview, click here and here. Start reading the initial portion of Skupin's interview here.