Survivor Philippines: Ranking the top 5 castaways of the season

Screengrab via CBS
Screengrab via CBS /
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Survivor Penner
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3) Jonathan Penner

Out of the three returning players, Penner was easily the most captivating and showed the most promise in terms of gameplay. He came into the Kalabaw tribe as a huge target to eliminate, not just because he’s a third-time player, but also because Jeff Kent was on his tribe. On Day1, Jeff made it clear to all of his tribe members that they would do anything in their power to prevent a returning player from winning. The rest of the tribe appeared to be on board and it looked like it would take a miracle for Penner to survive even one Tribal Council.

That’s when Penner demonstrated his remarkable social game, as he found an idol and used it as a tool, much like Russell Hantz. Sensing that he was on the bottom, he confronted Jeff Kent and told him about his idol in order to build trust with him. It worked out perfectly, as Jeff, Carter and Penner teamed up and took out the girls on their tribe one by one.

He did an awesome job of deciding to play his idol during the first vote after the merge, negating five votes, including one from Jeff. When it was clear that Penner was the next to go, he came up incredibly clutch by winning the next Individual Immunity. However, that’s when we saw an end to Penner’s great gameplay.

Probably the biggest mistake of the season came when Lisa asked Penner to form a Final Four pact. Instead of saying yes, Penner claimed that he couldn’t commit yet and stressed that it was too early to make Final Four promises. This response scared Lisa and her closest ally Skupin, so they turned around and agreed to go to the Final Four with Malcolm and the eventual winner; Denise.

In his exit interview with RHAP, Penner felt pained to talk about that decision! He regrets how it went down and wishes he just said yes to Lisa, and then decide later if he actually wanted to follow through. If Penner did lock in his Final Four deal with Lisa and Skupin, there’s a possibility that the third season veteran could have earned the title of Sole Survivor.