Denise Stapley of Cedar Rapids continues to survive "Survivor."
She made it through Day 5 of the popular television endurance test. Episode 2 aired Wednesday (9/26/12) on CBS, showing more trials and tribulations on the game show that plunked 18 Americans onto a hostile paradise island in the Philippines last spring.
Now the numbers are down to 16, after four days of nearly nonstop rain and lots of camera closeups of snakes and sharks. The really big fangs came not from the cobras, but from the human participants.
Divided into three teams in separate camps -- Matsing, Kalabaw and Tandang -- they are subdividing their allegiances in groups of two or three. These pairings vow to help each other stay in the game, as others are cast off the island one by one, until a lone survivor wins the million-dollar payoff. These fragile alliances drip with drama and can turn on a dime.
Last week, we saw Stapley align with Malcolm Freberg, 25, a bartender from Hermosa Beach, Calif. However, the plot thickened when Angie Layton, 20, a student and model from Provo, Utah, began cuddling with Freberg at night to keep warm. Romantic alliances are apparently the kiss of death on "Survivor," drawing the wrath of other players. Would the hostilities work against Stapley's alliance with Malcolm? Could they work together with a "snuggle buddy" in the way?
So far, so good for Stapley.
After she and her Matsing Tribe members lost their second straight Immunity Challenge -- this time, a race to fetch and assemble three puzzles. The winning Tandang Tribe cheered as they were showered with blankets, pillows and a tarp. The Kalabaws placed second and won a tarp to fortify their shelter on the rainy island.
The losing Matsings headed back to the Tribal Council to vote yet another contestant off the island.
Four to one, they ditched Roxy Morris, 28, a seminary student from Brooklyn, N.Y., who apparently just wasn't pulling her weight and contributing to the well-being of the tribe and its rugged campsite. Her fatigue didn't stop her from spouting off about other tribe members, which obviously didn't win her any fans.
Next week, we'll see how Stapley, 41, the mental health professional and certified sex therapist, fares as her alliance with Malcolm is threatened by the come-hither Angie. Also still in the Matsing mix is returning player Russell Swan, 45, an environmental lawyer from Glenside, Pa., who has rankled the ranks with his bossiness.Follow Stapley's adventures in the wilds at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, on CBS-TV. How long will she survive?