“It’s very simple on paper but on paper is the only place it’s simple” – Malcolm during a confessional before tribal council.
If there was ever a season of Survivor for Malcolm Freberg to win then this was it. The three-time contestant had everything coming to him and was set up so nicely all throughout the game. But, thanks to his good pal JT, who said he was 100% loyal to him for the rest of the game just two hours earlier, Malcolm was sent home prematurely. There was absolutely nothing Malcolm could have done better this season and unfortunately might go down as one of the most screwed over players in Survivor history. But nonetheless, we still have to talk all about why Malcolm went home.
Screwed By A Twist
Before anything else, it has to be said that Malcolm would have never gone home without this sudden twist by production. Although it created one of the greatest tribal councils in the history of Survivor, it also screwed us of a good player playing a really good, hard-fought game. I imagine the Survivor producers themselves were happy with how the tribal council turned out but not the end result of the vote. So although it created amazing drama and will be talked about for years, I don’t know how excited they’ll be to do it again anytime soon. It’s pretty safe to say that this was not what they planned for at all when they implemented this idea. Even if Nuku were to lose that immunity challenge and go to tribal council by themselves, Malcolm would have never gone home. Out of all six Nuku members, he was probably the safest. Therefore it has to be concluded that the twist implemented by production played a massive role in sending the three-time contestant home. But it was by no means the sole factor in his demise, and there were three more crucial figures in his elimination, so let’s start with the first, James ‘JT’ Thomas.
FACT: Nuku had a 6-5 advantage over Mana. The only way that Mana was going to infiltrate Nuku with or without Tai’s idol, was if they knew who they were voting for. Foolishly, JT handed that information to them on a silver platter. You can sort of empathize with JT in this situation. He himself was screwed over by the tribe swap and was desperate to reconvene with his old pals, particularly Brad whom he proclaimed to be his closest ally. JT clearly wanted Brad to relax. Why? We can only speculate. Maybe he thought that just in case Brad had an idol that he could now feel safe enough to keep it in his pocket. Or maybe he was trying to ensure that who he wanted to go home, Sandra, would be the one sent home, using Sierra’s name as a way of trying to gain the NFL’ers trust. Whatever JT’s reasoning, it screwed over the only person over on Nuku that was seemingly willing to work with him. Above all else, including the twist from production, JT’s foolishness in disclosing to Brad who they were voting for was the biggest factor in sending Malcolm home.
Tai Trang’s Idol
In the elimination of Malcolm tonight, we can’t forget about the other crucial factor that sent him home, Tai Trang and his strange decision to go looking for the idol. It just came out of the blue and he was in no danger at all but either way, he decided to go and look for the idol. Within minutes, the fan-favourite found the hidden item and had no problem at all at disclosing to his alliance what he had just managed to accomplish. Without Tai’s idol and Brad’s connection to JT, Malcolm never goes home. JT’s foolishness, the twist by production and Brad Culpepper’s role in the matter will all be talked about for years to come but we cannot ignore the fact that without Tai going into desperation mode to find that idol and then having the guts to play it on Sierra, Malcolm Freberg does not go home in this episode.
The Architect of His Demise
For the second week in a row, Brad Culpepper is the architect of someone’s demise in this game. We’ve already spoken in great detail about the unfortunate, accidental role that JT played in Malcolm’s demise, but Brad Culpepper deserves almost as much credit for Malcom’s elimination as the Tocantins winner. Brad has just completely swooped Tai Trang under his wing, and it really paid off for him this episode. Tai, the man who sent Scott Pollard home by not playing his idol for the NBA star, had no hesitation at all in this episode at playing his idol for Sierra, which was thanks to the hard work done by Brad. The moment Tai found the idol, Brad claimed “If one of us four is going to go, we need to play it”. So Tai, almost against character, had absolutely no apprehension about playing it for Sierra. Brad also deserves an immense amount of credit in this episode for his fantastic ability to make JT continue to trust him even though they find themselves on opposite beaches. We didn’t see any of it in the first two episodes, but clearly JT and Brad have a powerful bond and the Tocantins winner clearly felt as though he could trust him with his life in the game. Finally, Brad ensured Malcolm’s demise by making sure Tai was going to play the idol and pointing at Sierra so that the Califronia native knew exactly who to play it on. This was just brilliant from Brad Culpepper all around and although JT’s stupidity is what costs Malcolm the most tonight, Brad deserves almost an equal amount of credit for his demise.
PRE-SEASON THOUGHTS & PREDICTION
From SPOILER ALERT: Survivor Season 34 Cast
Shot In The Dark Prediction: 11th place.
Thoughts: Let’s face it Malcolm is a legend of this game and it will be so interesting to see how he does when he comes back and plays for a third time. Will he be able to pull out a win this time? I honestly don’t think so. I think he’ll be targeted right at the merge and that he’ll need to pull out some nifty idol moves, which we all know Malcolm is capable of, in order to survive. I also think that Malcolm is one of these players that is going to return to Survivor a handful of times before the show goes off air. He’s young, smart, entertaining and a real fan favourite. So, maybe this spot could have gone to a Natalie Bolton or an Earl Cole; someone who we’d never ever see back again. However, I am really excited to see Malcolm play this game again and even more excited to see how he changes his game this time.
Read more -> Survivor Game Changers Cast Assessment
From The Favourites To Win Survivor 34 Game Changers
A talented Survivor player of the highest order, Malcolm comes into this season as one of the most capable strategists without being one of the biggest initial targets. Malcolm is incredibly intelligent and knows how to navigate this game in a way that works for him. There’s almost no chance he goes home before the merge and on top of that as he outlines in his video he’s ‘charming as hell’ and can easily persuade people on to his side.
Read more -> The Favourites To Win Survivor Game Changers
Malcolm just looked so promising going into this season and it really shows in both of my pre-season eulogies of the three-time contestant. I even claimed “There’s almost no chance he goes home before the merge”, and well, look what happened! The fans of the show also agreed on the promise he brought to this season as he won 43% of 211 votes for most likely to win in a poll on this very site going into the season. Look, as the first eulogy explains, Malcolm will return to Survivor someday and hopefully when that day arrives, his dream can be achieved. For now, this is a very sad outcome to a player that seemed to finally be playing to his full potential.
Conclusion and a Malcolm Sendoff
Poor Malcolm. You really do have to feel for the Caramoan and Philippines contestant, who looked destined to at the very least, make it to the merge with some solid numbers in every direction around him. I could just feel it the whole episode; that I had jinxed Malcolm with all my talk of him being the eventual winner of the season. The Texas native really was amazing this season and there was nothing more he could have done. He was great in confessionals, he was saying all the right things and backing it up by doing all the right things and he just got screwed over by a series of unfortunate events. Now more than ever, I think it is safe to say, Malcolm Freberg will return to Survivor some day. Hopefully that day is sometime very soon because I still think he has the greatest potential of any non-winner of this game to someday write his wrongs and win. Malcolm, The Mastermind will certainly miss you on the show and Survivor Game Changers will not be the same without you.
For more articles like this, follow us on Twitter @raadesmo. Be sure to check out our recap, edgic and analysis, coming out in full tomorrow. Also check out previous articles in the Why Was Voted Out Series right here….
See you next time!