Why Malcolm lost Survivor; why Artis hates Skupin

Why did Malcolm Freberg lose Survivor Philippines? He was, of course, a threat, and lost the final immunity challenge, but neither of those are the exact reason why he did not make it to the final three.

Instead, he lost because he made a critical error, getting cocky and ignoring a threat. He told Xfinity:

“I didn’t see how dead set Lisa was on getting rid of me. I had no idea. All that I’d seen was that Lisa and Skupin shook hands with me and had stood by a final-four deal. So, if I can get them to shake on a final-three deal, that’s set in stone and that’s done. It sounds horrible, but as soon as we shook hands on that boat I thought, ‘Got it. Done,’ even after I lost that immunity challenge. So, when Denise came to me I was just trying not to piss off a jury member. It’s a little bit of a cocky thing, but I thought I had it. I found out in the middle of that last Tribal that I was getting kicked off.”

To me, this answer makes Malcolm an even stronger player and even more awesome person: He understands and owns up to exactly what he did wrong strategically, and does so humbly and directly. I doubt, however, that even Malcolm can convince those who so desperately wanted Malcolm to win they cannot see how he screwed up.

Meanwhile, a mystery from this season has been resolved, maybe. Earlier, we learned that Artis had “a personal vendetta” against Michael Skupin, but refused to say why. When some suggested this might have something to do with race, Skupin said that wasn’t true. The feud turned into Skupin saying that Artis told him, “watch your back” at the finale, which Artis denied.

Artis finally revealed the source of his anger in in a bizarre photo tweet of text, and here it is: a shelter.

Yes, a shelter. The hilariously written message (“non-chalet attitude”) insists that “Mike’s ego and refusal to listen” meant that a shelter they built collapsed, “dropping more than 400lbs of weight onto the ground from over 4 feet in the air.” Because he thinks Mike was “jeopardizing the well-being of others around him,” Artis is very, very mad about this.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.