Survivor Philippines: Lisa Welchel flushes out immunity idols

Will Penner survive another night in the Philippines?

Last week's tribal council was hilarious. The group decided they'd vote out Penner, but Penner won immunity and was untouchable at tribal council. Fortunately, this season's "Survivor" is packed with people who've played the game before and celebrities who worship the game.

It's apparent Lisa Welchel is a die-hard "Survivor" fan. She devised a couple of schemes in the event Penner won immunity. One of those schemes was to flush out Malcolm's idol either before or during tribal council.

Malcolm had hoped Lisa would be a church lady and keep her mouth shut about his immunity idol. But instead, Lisa told Michael, Penner and Pete about Malcolm's secret idol. Pete went back and told Malcolm. Malcolm denied everything. Pete decided he didn't believe Lisa. But Pete is the con artist who devised a tense and irreconcilable confrontation between Abi and the ousted R.C.

R.C.' s now a jury member and justice would have been hers had Pete been voted out last week. Pete has yet to admit that he bungled the idol flap that destroyed Abi and R.C.'s alliance.

After Lisa told half the island that Malcolm had an immunity idol, Abi was the only Survivor who gave Lisa flack. The rest went along with Lisa. But now the island realizes that Lisa the nice lady from Texas, who is really an actress who played one of the most memorable characters in television history, is on the island to win the game.

Lisa admitted as much. She said she's not in the game to be top 5, but in the final three. We'll see what happens to Lisa tonight, because there may be some backlash for outing Malcolm. At least, ordinarily there'd be backlash. But in last week's episode, Lisa not only forced Malcolm to out his idol, Lisa also flushed out Abi's idol.

Jeff and Pete, of course, wanted to vote Abi off the island. Others want to keep Abi because Abi is such a mean and spiteful person that no one on the jury would vote for Abi to win a million dollars at the end of the game. Jeff, the 60 million dollar man and retired pro-baseball player was blindsided and ousted from the island in a last minute scramble by the remaining Survivors.

Jeff, who doesn't care for President Obama or tax penalties on the wealthy, had systematically eliminated a number of women from the island. And Jeff has removed women from the island without much persuasion. Many would argue that Jeff's targeting women is the nature of the beast, but particularly sad because for more than a decade now, one of the hugest complaints about "Survivor" is that minorities and women are often the first to go--a phenomena that occurs quite often in mediocre box office flicks.

Tonight, and perhaps for her remaining days and hours on the island, Lisa Welchel has to prove that she had the best intentions when she forced castaways to flush out their idols.

The players will regard Lisa either with huge respect because she legitimately knows how to play Survivor without hatred. Or they will consider her a gossip and a backbiter, out for her own salvation with little to no concern for those outside of her allegiance.

Welchel may not remember much about her ringleader character Blair from the 80s sitcom "The Facts of Life," but on screen in the Philippines, Lisa Welchel is the ring leader and no one is saying anything against her. But what comes around goes around and so far, Lisa is walking around the island incognito because no one recognizes her--the cast, overall, is far too young.

If it weren't for Lisa, the secret of the idols may have continued.

Take Home Message:

Honesty and goodness are the best policy. Lisa Welchel is playing the Survivor game like anyone else for the same reasons as anyone else. Lisa plays fair in a game where the strongest survive and the weaker are voted off. Mentally, Lisa has been a force to reckon with, but she's used that intelligence to help her peers win group challenges.

"Survivor" is often a microcosm of the real world, particularly corporate America. Typically, women are voted off the island in a rush, but Lisa Welchel's presence and strategy has begun a new wave of players who are imagining themselves at the finish line. These players aren't being voted off because of a particularly annoying personal habit. Lisa Welchel has, without help from anyone, singularly embarked on a strategy of eliminating those who threaten her chance to win 1 million.

photo courtesy CBS Survivor

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