By Diana Nollen/ SourceMedia
Denise Stapley left the other women in the dust.
She’s been doing that all along, but in this week’s episode (10/31/12) she was victorious in a show of strength, outlasting all the other female castaways on “Survivor: Philippines.”
No tricks, just a treat for hometown viewers in Cedar Rapids and all the other fans Stapley has gathered on this television endurance odyssey.
Each player had to hold a bucket filled with 25 percent of their body weight, attached to a rope and suspended over a target. Surprisingly, some of the seemingly strongest men were the first to have their bucket plunge to the ground.
They fell in this order: returning player Michael Skupin, out after just five minutes, then Pete Yurkowski, returning player Jonathan Penner, “Facts of Life” actress Lisa Whelchel, strongman Malcolm Freberg, divas RC Saint-Amour and Abi-Maria Gomes, then after 15 minutes, Artis Silvester, and after 25 minutes, retired baseball star Jeff Kent, leaving Carter Williams as the surprise winner for the men — and powerhouse triathlete Denise as the obvious winner for the women.
Day 19 marked the first time Denise went to tribal council secure in her return to the game. But in all fairness, she’s only drawn one vote for elimination thus far — from Sarah Dawson, who was voted off two episodes ago.
Last night’s segment began with the dissolution of the two tribes, shipping everyone to a new island where they had to start anew, building a bamboo shelter and rethinking their personal alliances.
I’m a “Survivor” newbie, so for me, the most interesting aspect was watching the chess game unfold, as everyone schemed to position themselves in voting blocs that will ensure their survival.
Lisa’s dirty trick involved doing everyone’s laundry after they arrived at the new campsite. She claimed she was just doing her part while the men built the shelter. Perhaps she meant “cavemen,” since she’s worked very hard to position herself as the “mama bear,” making it harder for her cubs to vote her off the island. We’ll see how long that works for her.
The end result was that by rifling through bags, she found Malcolm’s hidden immunity idol. That gives her a monumental advantage, since part of the strategy is guessing who found the three idols they can play if they fear they’ll get voted off the island. It worked for Jonathan, who used his idol last night, keeping him in the game even though he garnered the most “kick off” votes.
Since Jonathan was safe, even though he received five votes to leave, RC was the one going home, stuck with four elimination votes.
Host Jeff Probst wrapped it all up, saying “it is anybody’s game” going forward. All are pawns just waiting it out.
Tune in next week (11/7/12) to see Denise’s next moves.
“Survivor: Philippines” airs at 7 p.m. Wednesdays on CBS-TV.