I don’t think I have seen two people go from such ultimate lows, to insane highs, so drastically during this great game.

Malcolm and Denise have certainly had to endure the most out of everyone in the Philippines, but when you reach the bottom of all bottoms, the only place to go, is up.

Just as they should, both sense that time on the Matsing beach may be very limited, so they began one last effort to find the sacred hidden immunity idol. Leave to resident genius Malcolm to finally realize it was right in front of their faces the whole time. He smoothly pries it off the top of the rice container, and like any great player, lets his ally know that he has it, but keeps it for himself, proof that he is already thinking ahead. If a merge really was imminent, these two know that they will probably be separated, making an argument over an idol pretty irrelevant.

Indeed, we did have the merge that I was expecting, and it was even more basic than what most of us are used to. A simple pick of the buffs for our two remaining Matsing members effectively ended their campfire alliance, for now, as we saw Malcolm join the cluster that is Tandang, and Denise to the battle of the sexes Kalabaw, both welcomed with open arms. This must have been an incredible feeling for both of them. Having experienced so much loss, in more ways than one, it must have truly been a simple form of rebirth for both, finally being close to people that have seen nothing but success.

What will be very interesting to see is who these two will continue to associate with. Both are very good at blending in, keeping a cool mindset, and not ruffling to many feathers, which are key attributes to any great player. I’m still completely in Denise’s corner for the all out win, but I think she is going to have a tougher run at it than Malcolm. Here’s why:

Malcolm has always had the level-headed nature that has allowed him to see all scenarios, and stay 2 steps ahead of everyone else around him. Entering a tribe like Tandang, it seems like he is already keeping this strategy moving forward.

With simple friendly gestures towards his new tribe mates, he already has super ultimate paranoid RC freaking out, for no reason! Malcolm, word of advice…don’t change a thing. Sit back and enjoy the ride these idiots are about to hand you.

Denise has walked right into an all out battle in Kalabaw, the males vs. the females. At first glance, her joining this format would seem like an instant advantage for the girls, maybe. Soon after the first challenge, we saw Dana fall to illness, quickly, and seemingly in extreme amounts of pain.

With Dana’s exit, the playing field inside Kalabaw was once again on level ground when looking at the sexes. But not so fast! My girl Denise realized that siding with a weaker group of women was just not her thing, and quickly made a verbal alliance with the guys. This appears to have been the right move, as the guys decided Dawson was the next to go. However, I’m afraid that with the strength in the all male alliance, Denise may be the victim of a pure numbers game if there are no more women left.

If either wants a good shot at winning the game, they really need to find their way back together again. But will their alliance hold true after so many days apart? Only time will tell.