'Survivor: Philippines' Matsing tribe votes off returning castaway Russell Swan
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/11/2012
Survivor: Philippines' Matsing tribe eliminated formerSurvivor: Samoa castaway Russell Swan from their tribe during Wednesday night's fourth episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Russell was voted out of his tribe at the season's fourth Tribal Council, which was also the fourth elimination vote for Matsing.
"Right now, it's just utter shock. I'm just completely blindsided. It's been a rough 10 days weather-wise, dealing with my tribe -- which was definitely dysfunctional in so many different ways -- and so, this is just the straw that breaks the camel's back. Obviously, me andSurvivor don't get along, so I think I'm done with this," Russell said following his ouster.
Survivor: Philippines' fourth episode began following the Tribal Council session in which Angie Layton got voted off her Matsing tribe -- which then only consisted of Russell; 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 8.
On Day 9, Malcolm said they were putting on good faces for each other despite their unfortunate circumstances. However, he was convinced it would only take one Immunity Challenge win to turn everything around for them and prove they weren't "destined for annihilation."
Malcolm, Russell and Denise all wondered how to stay in the game, especially Denise since she was the only physically small female remaining in the tribe. Malcolm noted his plan going forward was to help his tribe make a "huge comeback," because none of the three tribe members were willing to -- or would even consider -- quitting.
Meanwhile, the "chaos" was stirring up within the Tandang tribe -- which featured former Survivor: Australia castaway Michael Skupin; "RC" Roberta Saint-Amour, a 27-year-old investment banker from New York, NY; Abi-Maria Gomes, a 32-year-old business student from Los Angeles, CA; Artis Silvester, a 53-year-old computer engineer from Terry Town, LA; Lisa Whelchel, a 49-year-old former actress from Dallas, TX; and "Pete" Peter Yurkowski, a 24-year-old engineering graduate from Holmdel, NJ.
Pete planned to create chaos by strategically placing RC's hidden Immunity Idol clue so that it was sticking out of her bag inside the shelter. Abi seemed to notice the paper immediately and was unpleasantly surprised.
"It's the clue that RC and I have safely been guarding. I think she went, got the clue out of where we had buried it, put it in her bag, and I think it fell. She has no idea that I found the hidden Immunity Idol, but I don't feel bad, because me finding that clue proved to me that she wasn't 100% percent honest with me at all," Abi said.
"I have no idea what happened with the clue. I certainly didn't put it there, but because this popped out, I'm a little wary of my place right now in the tribe," RC explained.
While Abi immediately blamed RC for making a mistake, Pete admitted to cameras he set RC up and planted the clue in her bag so that his fellow castaways would point their fingers at RC for possibly being untrustworthy. Pete explained his chaos theory by insisting he wanted to keep his tribemates on their toes and also keep them from playing their own individual game.
In the meantime, the Kalabaw tribe -- which consisted of former Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia castaway Jonathan Penner; Jeff Kent, a 44-year-old retired baseball player from Austin, TX; Sarah Dawson, a 28-year-old insurance saleswoman from Silver Spring, MD; Katie Hanson, a 22-year-old former Miss Delaware from Newark, NJ; Dana Lambert, a 32-year-old cosmetologist from Winston-Salem, NC; and Carter Williams, a 24-year-old track coach from Shawnee, KS -- members were beginning to split up and form solid alliances.
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"I didn't want a veteran to win this game, but I've got to adapt. Jonathan has the idol now and I want to get further in this game, so we're going to have to make some adjustments," Jeff told the cameras.
Jeff said he'd be able to give Jonathan value in their tribe because he had a good relationship with his other tribemates and knew he had some control over them. As a result, Jeff and Jonathan promised to "ride" with each other and see where their bond could take them down the road.
"Jeff and I actually like each other and he's a hell of a competitor -- a really nice guy, and he and I are prepared to be loyal to each other deep into the game," Jonathan said. "Having him on my side at least for the time being will make us both pretty, pretty powerful, and it's exciting. It's exciting to have a real ally. I think I do."
Carter then decided he wanted to work with Jonathan rather than target him, so he joined his alliance with Jeff and figured he wouldn't go after Jonathan until making it to the Final 5 beside him. Because the men were spending so much time with each other, the girls were suspicious of their private conversations.
The girls jumped to the conclusion the guys were joining forces with each other and strategizing, so they decided to band together and align just in case. The girls said they didn't need the men physically and had great social games to play. Dana, especially, did not want to be underestimated just because she was a female, claiming it would be the "worst thing you could do to a woman."
Meanwhile, Malcolm was summing up his Matsing tribemates and beginning to pick up on Russell's alleged weaknesses.
"I think I sized Russ up pretty good right off the bat. He's met my low expectations the entire way through. He's been forced now into a position of leadership, and it worked out once in Samoa for him -- I mean, until he collapsed. You can tell watching him that he lacks self-awareness from Day 1. It's apparent in challenges. It's apparent in the way he talks to us around camp. It's apparent when he loses his cool at Tribal. He's still here only because we're doing so badly and we need muscle mass," Malcolm explained.
Russell believed everyone's gameplay sucked because no one wanted to become a target and be placed on the chopping block. He worried about where he stood considering neither Malcolm or Denise had talked to him about what would happen if they were to lose another challenge.
Therefore, Russell continued looking for his tribe's hidden Immunity Idol to potentially save himself in the game. He had a feeling he walked by it 100 times at camp and just didn't notice it, and he was absolutely right.
Denise ended up catching Russell wandering around a specific location at camp and shared her fear with Malcolm that he might've found an idol. A worried Malcolm then took charge and searched through Russell's belongings in the shelter, but he didn't find anything. Malcolm believed his only choice was to eventually blindside Russell and "leave no room for error."
On Day 10, Pete noticed the wedge between Abi and RC had become concrete because of the clue incident.
"I would love to send RC home right now. I don't trust RC as far as I can throw her. She's dangerous, but she has one big problem. I'm here," Pete said.
RC attempted to talk to Abi about what was going on, but Abi had moved on from their friendship and wasn't having it. RC said she did nothing wrong, but Abi was convinced RC had lied to her, betrayed her, and ultimately broke the trust they had between them.
RC had spent the first 10 days at camp assuming she had Pete and Abi on her side, but she was beginning to realize she was on the outs and might actually be in trouble. When RC approached Pete asking if he knew anything about why Abi had suddenly turned on her, Pete falsely claimed he was completely out of the loop.
RC had a pretty good idea Pete was lying but couldn't do anything about it. Lisa believed the drama existing between Abi and RC was a perfect time to secure herself into a piece of the tribe, so she fed into the flames and supportively discussed the situation with Abi.
Afterwards, the three tribes met with Survivor host Jeff Probst, who then explained the rules to what would be their fourth Immunity Challenge.
The tribe members learned that each tribe would have one member at a time carry two pots of rice on a large bamboo pole through a series of obstacles. Once that person placed the pots in their stands, he or she had to head back to the start, and then the next person could go and do the same task. Once a tribe collected all six pots, they had to use a wrecking ball to smash each one.
The first two tribes to smash all six pots 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.
In addition, the tribe to finish in first place would receive a reward in the form of a steak dinner complete with vegetables, spices and utensils. The second-place tribe would receive a smaller meal, which consisted of vegetables, salt and pepper, and a pot to cook it all in. However, if either winning tribe wanted to trade in their reward for a tarp, they were able to do so.
In order to even up the numbers, the three women on both the Kalabaw and Tandang tribes sat out of the challenge.
Although the challenge came down to an extremely tight race in which Jeff and Malcolm were trying to each smash his final pot, Tandang won and Kalabaw finished in second place. Therefore, Matsing would be forced to go to Tribal Council for the fourth straight time.
An extremely disappointed Russell said he just couldn't take what was happening anymore, and he didn't understand what fate the Lord was supplying him. He repeatedly kicked himself and complained of his tribe's inability to win.
"I don't know what happened! [God] gave me another opportunity... I just can't take this! For me, this isn't supposed to happen," Russell said upon his tribe's loss.
"Russell, with all do respect, you sometimes talk like you're a superhero -- like Superman's never supposed to fail. You're just a guy," Jeff Probst told him.
"I'm a guy who was formed by God's hands -- a perfect creature. And as far as I'm concerned, that's the way I'm supposed to live my life -- in excellence. And everything I'm supposed to do is supposed to be excellent," Russell replied.
"Russell, not everyone can succeed at everything in a competition. By design, someone will fail. Someone will lose," Jeff Probst explained.
"It pisses me off, but at the same time, logically, I understand," Russell said.
Following the Immunity Challenge, Malcolm found himself in the "lowest of lows." He compared his sadness to the time his beloved dog has passed away, yet he said his Survivor experience was even worse. Russell was equally if not more so frustrated and sad. Malcolm then told Russell to vote Denise out because they needed to keep the two athletes around.
"Me and Denise have been strategically aligned since Day 1, but I'm having to make decisions on Day 9 that I didn't consider having to make until Day 20 or so. I'd like to think that Russell believes I'm going with him to vote out Denise and keep out matchup strong going forward. And I'd like for Denise to believe that I'm with her and that we're going to vote out Russ like we've been planning for a week now," Malcolm explained.
Denise knew her alliance with Malcolm was strong, but she worried Russell might have the tribe's hidden Immunity Idol.
"I've got my alliance with Malcolm and I hope it's strong. For me, it's strong. But if Russell has the hidden Immunity Idol, it's not good. And I don't want to have to draw rocks. I don't want to have to re-vote. I don't want to have to go there. So right now, we're trying to get Russell to think that he's the swing or to think that he's comfortable so that if he does have an immunity idol, he doesn't play it," Denise said.
Russell and Denise then had a deep conversation. Denise told him they should consider voting Malcolm out because he would serve as a strong physical threat in the game later on when winning Individual Immunity Challenges would be vital, and his good social game would pose danger.
Russell was thrilled that both Malcolm and Denise had approached him to talk strategy and was starting to think he may not be going home after all, but he still worried Denise and Malcolm were tight.
Meanwhile, Denise was sure she and Malcolm were still on with their plan to keep each other around. While Malcolm was stressed and felt uneasy about his own position in the game because a lot of lying was happening, Denise surprisingly seemed calm for the most part.
"Yes I'm a Midwesterner. Yes I have faith in human beings. I have to. That's what I hang onto. And if I get bamboozled tonight, it's not going to shake my faith that these are two good guys. It'll tell me that, you know, I screwed up and they played the game better than me," Denise said prior to walking to Tribal Council.
That night, Survivor: Philippines' three members of the Matsing tribe arrived for their fourth Tribal Council session -- the fourth session of the season overall.
Denise told Jeff Probst they all felt helpless. Russell said he didn't think anything was wrong with expecting excellence from himself, and whether or not that was a "fatal flaw," he was comfortable with that. Malcolm also wanted to be the best he could be. He took full responsibility and all the heat for not getting the job done in the final task of the Immunity Challenge.
Afterwards, each castaway gave a speech about why he or she deserved to remain in the game. Denise said she was strong physically, Malcolm suggested he was the strongest physical player of them all, and Russell explained Malcolm was too much of a stud to be a good thing for the tribe and Denise would probably be too well-liked.
Jeff Probst then revealed the votes. Two castaways voted to oust Russell fromSurvivor: Philippines and Russell voted to eliminate Malcolm. Denise clearly sided with Malcolm and the two players got Russell out of the game.