It's a shame that after engineering some bold moves at tribal council that Malcolm went out like a punk in this episode. Man, he played badly.
First, have none of these people seen how the friggin' auction works every damn time? Most of the them are returning players so they should have a clue, but you put the promise of a little temporary relief in the form of food and drink in front of them and they seem to totally forget that they're playing for a million dollars.
If you're a serious player or in danger of being voted off (and many people could have been last night), you hold on to your entire $500 until Jeff starts giving out the clues to the immunity idol location and the advantages in the immunity challenge, and then you immediately bid the full $500. Or even wait for the letters from home to give you a little morale booster. I have no sympathy for the crybabies who wasted their money and then were devastated that they couldn't get a letter. They were stupid.
Malcolm was stupid for wasting even a small amount of money on the beer since he knew from last season that he could get a clue or advantage that could save him in the game (which he did in the last auction, IIRC). But fortunately for him, everyone else was even dumber than he was and he was still able to get it for $480. But then he totally squandered the opportunity to get the idol just because Andrea was shadowing him. So the hell what? They're all going to assume you found the idol anyway if you ever get some time to wander off by yourself, so just openly look for it right in front of her. It's not like she was even trying to find it first (which would have been smart), she was just sitting there watching him.
Then Malcolm once again got fooled by everyone he thought he had convinced. It's one thing to get fooled once or twice, but he's been fooled by everyone he's been 100% convinced he turned to the dark side since day one, and this time it was by Sherri and Eric, the latter of whom isn't exactly a brain trust, and the former is shaky as all hell.
The only person who played strategically in the auction was Cochrane (who won the challenge advantage for only $340 because again, everyone was STUPID), and as a result he won the challenge easily. I love Cochrane's gameplay this season, but his bragging is starting to come off as less self-deprecating and endearing and more like he seriously thinks he's some kind of physical challenge badass (which he's not, by any means), so I hope he doesn't get too full of himself and blow it. I want him to win it all.
Reynold (or Reynold's as the idiots of the tribe call him) and Eddie were as stupid as Malcolm in the auction, but not as lucky. That's no surprise from Eddie, who has the intellect of an amoeba coupled with completely undeserved arrogance. Reynold is equally full of himself, but he usually is at least a little more calculating than Eddie. It's not a MENSA convention though, regardless. If they had saved all their money and gotten the clue to the hidden immunity idol for Malcolm and the advantage in the challenge for Eddie or Reynold, than that would have put them in a stronger position to convince others to come over to their side. But instead, they got a slice of pizza and some peanut butter for everyone.
I like peanut butter as much as the next person, and I get that they're hungry, but WTF was that all about? That was disgusting. It was like peanut butter porno money shots with the way it was all over their faces and hands. Gross.
The tribal council was at least still somewhat interesting because of the suspense about whether blond Jesus or shaky Sherri would betray their alliance, but I have a feeling that without Malcolm around to inject some bold moves (whether they work or not), things might get boring from now on.
I am so over Dawn and her drama queenery. Brenda just broke this one time, so it's not as bad. Her breakdown was at least about general fatigue and hunger and loneliness (understandable), and not about betraying people as she keeps right on betraying them or whether she lost her bottom teeth in six feet of clear water and is willing to give up a million dollars if she can't find them because of her vanity (all while screaming at the top of her lungs like a wounded goat instead of just trying to look for them herself).
Brenda seems to have a trance she goes into during challenges to deal with the pain and fatigue. It worked well in the hold your head up beneath the cage in the water challenge, but not so much when you're leaning back and trying to hold on to a weight at the end of a rope.
Now that Malcolm is gone, Cochrane and Brenda are the two that I hope win first and second, with Andrea as a runner up to replace Brenda if Andrea starts playing better. Their third in the final three will probably be Sherri, Shaggy (Eric), or Eddie, because the latter two are dumb as rocks and haven't contributed anything of note. However, Eddie is more actively disliked and possibly a better choice to go all the way with, whereas Eric has just sort of slid under the radar by being completely uninteresting. Sherri was a stronger player earlier on but just went to crap later, so she might be a good choice if you don't want to bring a guy like Eddie from the opposing alliance along. Reynold is strongly disliked, but he's too much of a physical threat to keep around, and even if he miraculously did last, you wouldn't want him in the finals because people might respect his physical prowess enough to vote for him.
Anyway, I just hope things can remain interesting now that Malcolm is no longer around to shake things up.