Survivor: Philippines - Reunion

By Ben Willoughby

December 19, 2012

Everyone fake claps for Lisa and her Fan Favorite award.

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When we were last together, Denise had just been awarded the title of Sole Survivor, with six votes, against one each for Lisa and Michael. Good game.

So it’s time now for the dreaded Survivor reunion, where we revisit all those contestants we hoped we'd never have to see again. It’s like Tribal Council for a whole episode, except with softball questions and montage clips! Will we get to the bottom of the deep-burning issues of the season? Or gain a better understanding of what it takes to win Survivor? Probably not, for two reasons – the returning castaways, and Jeff Probst.

Before we start, let’s have a brief recap of Denise’s journey with plenty of shots of Denise being tough in challenges and everyone congratulating Denise when they are voted out, or calling her name from the voting booth. See, Malcolm? It wasn’t all about you.

Probst welcomes us back and moves straight into the interview. “Denise, were you seen by the fans as an underdog?” “Absolutely,” says Denise. So it’s not just an answer she says in Tribal Council. Current and future therapy patients of Denise – when she says “absolutely,” she’s just buying time while she thinks up her real response. Which this time is about always having to think and re-think because they were losing challenges and she was joining tribe after tribe. Denise thought her game was going to be over when they reached the final four phase. “So, your biggest move was cutting Malcolm,” says Probst, desperate for a chance for a cross to Malcolm. “Yeah, 100%. I had to cut him.”


“Malcolm, you had a chance! Why not just lie to Denise?” Malcolm says he took a page from the “Penner ways to get voted out playbook,” and explains “I thought I had it locked with Skupin and Lisa.”

Now it’s that time where Probst asks everyone who they would have voted for in a different final tribal council situation. If Malcolm made it to the end with Denise, would he win? Only two people would have voted for him – Jeff Kent and Lisa. The others – except for RC, who is still standing behind her Lisa vote – all would have voted for Denise. What about if it was Malcolm, Lisa and Michael? Though I’m sure we all know the answer there.

So, back to Denise. “So, you’re a sex therapist.” Probst asks her what her clients think now they’ve seen you all vulnerable and wearing a bikini? Denise highlights the positives, saying it’s been full of “unexpected gifts” and she’s had a lot of conversations with her clients about things like religion and body image and just trying to do something different.

A big issue in the game is trust, but instead of asking the sex therapist if it’s an issue for her clients, who tell her their most personal secrets, to see her kneecapping her closest ally throughout the game, he blurts out “Lisa, you betrayed Malcolm too!” and that she was plotting to get rid of him even as he took her on that nice reward out of the goodness of his heart. “It was also strategic of him to take me to the reward,” says Lisa. Sorry Denise, that’s the last we’ll see of you until you get your check.

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