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Million Dollar Question

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"Million Dollar Question"
Philippines final challengeThe Final Immunity Challenge.
Episode Information
Season: Philippines
Episode Number: 14/14 (357)
Original Release: December 16, 2012
Viewership (in millions): 11.46[1]
Ratings/Share (18-49): 3.2/8 Summary: Link
Episode Chronology
Previous: "Gouge My Eyes Out"
Next: "She Annoys Me Greatly"
(next season)

Million Dollar Question is the season finale of Survivor: Philippines.


Day 36

Denise Stapley, Lisa Whelchel, Michael Skupin, and Malcolm Freberg were all excited to be the Final Four. Denise and Michael were happy to have ousted Abi-Maria Gomes in the previous Tribal Council, with them dancing with glee.

Day 37

Denise tries to make a deal with Malcolm, but he is hesitant. Later, Denise tries to make a deal with Lisa and Michael for the Final Three, but Lisa and Michael made the same deal with Malcolm during their previous reward. During the Reward Challenge, Malcolm wins and receives an advantage in the final Immunity Challenge. The other castaways claimed things like "Malcolm doesn't need an advantage" and "he would be tough to beat without immunity".

Day 38

Day 39

Denise, Lisa, and Michael enjoyed the traditional Day 39 breakfast. Before the three headed to the Final Tribal Council, they set their shelter ablaze. At the Final Tribal Council, the three made their opening statements to the jury. The jury made their statements to the three and questioned them about their game play. Artis took his statement to attack the three for betraying alliances. Carter asked Michael why he voted him out. Pete questioned Lisa over her perceived betrayal of the former Tandang members. He questioned Denise about why she played a better game than Lisa or Michael. RC questioned Michael about his role in her being sent to the jury. Malcolm also questioned Denise about why she played a better game than the other two. Jeff asked Michael if he was a person who made things happen, watched things happened, or wonder what just happened. He then asked Lisa to give him examples of her not playing in the middle and being assertive. Abi-Maria asked all three why they deserved her vote. Jonathan spent his time attacking the final three and revealing Lisa's past as a television star to the jury. When the final vote came, the jury decided that Denise was the most deserving and awarder her the title of Sole Survivor by a vote of 6–1–1.



Challenge: Dragon Slayer
Castaways must make their way through various obstacles on a course, obtaining three bags of puzzle pieces along the way. Once they have all three bags, they will return to the start, where they will use the puzzle pieces to assemble a dragon puzzle. The first person to do this will win reward.
Reward: An advantage in the Final Immunity Challenge.
Winner: Malcolm Freberg

Reward Challenge: Dragon Slayer
Result Winner Competitors
Castaway S25 malcolm t
S25 denise tS25 lisa tS25 michael t
Denise, Lisa, & Michael


Challenge: The Ball Drop
Castaways must balance a small metal ball on a wooden cylinder, while holding the center cylinder in place with two wooden handles. Every 5 minutes, new pieces will be added, making it harder to balance the ball on the center cylinder. The castaway who balances their ball the longest will win Immunity.
Additional Stipulation: As Malcolm won the previous day's Reward Challenge, he had an advantage in this Immunity Challenge. If Malcolm's ball were to drop, he would be given a second chance and allowed to place the ball back on the center cylinder.
Winner: Michael Skupin

Immunity Challenge: The Ball Drop
Placement Winner 2nd 3rd 4th
Castaway S25 michael t
S25 lisa t
S25 denise t
S25 malcolm t

Tribal Council

Day 38

Tribal Council 14:
S25 malcolm t
Malcolm (3 votes)
S25 denise tS25 lisa tS25 michael t
Denise, Lisa, & Michael
S25 denise t
Denise (1 vote)
S25 malcolm t
S25 malcolm bw
Malcolm Freberg

Voting Confessionals

(voting for Malcolm) Hey, Malcolm. I completely respect the way you play the game, but I tried to approach you, and you didn't give me a commitment. So, I helped make your bed.


(voting for Denise) (sighs) It sounds like it's, uh, either me or you tonight. Um, (expletive censor)


Final Words

Maybe I pushed too hard, I leveraged too much. I had them so driven to finally play the game and see threats, and they finally saw me as a threat. It's just, I'm pissed off that I'm not gonna be at the end. Right now, it's, uh, painful for a lifelong fan.

Malcolm Freberg

Final Tribal Council

Tribal Council 15:
Jury Vote
Voted for
S25 denise t
Denise (6 votes)
S25 abimaria tS25 artis tS25 jeff t
S25 jonathan tS25 malcolm tS25 pete t
Abi-Maria, Artis, Jeff, Jonathan, Malcolm, & Pete
S25 lisa t
Lisa (1 vote)
S25 rc t
S25 michael t
Michael (1 vote)
S25 carter t
S25 lisa bwS25 michael bw
Lisa Whelchel & Michael Skupin
S25 denise t
Denise Stapley

Voting Confessionals

(voting for Lisa) The minute I got on the raft, I wanted you gone because I knew what a threat you really were, so you certainly deserve this vote.


(voting for Denise) You played a pretty flawless game. My congratulations to you. It hurts, but you did great.


(voting for Michael) You're a good dude. I hope other people recognize the type of game you played out here.


Still in the Running

S25 zane bw
S25 roxanne bw
S25 angie bw
S25 russell bw
S25 dana bw
S25 dawson bw
S25 katie bw
S25 rc bw
S25 jeff bw
S25 artis bw
S25 pete bw
S25 jonathan bw
S25 carter bw
S25 abimaria bw
S25 malcolm bw
S25 lisa bw
S25 michael bw
S25 denise t


  • PhilippinesReunion

    The reunion.

    Lisa wins the Fan Favorite Award over Malcolm. 
  • When Jeff is about to talk to Sarah, she runs up to him with Jeff exclaiming "Oh no!" and she kisses him just like how she did when she was voted out causing a wild reaction from the audience.


Behind the Scenes

Life at Ponderosa

Malcolm is warmly received by the other jurors, with Carter handing him a bottle of beer. Malcolm vents his frustration on how close he was to making Day 39 before going for his post-game medical, where he lost a total of 10 pounds, which surprised him as he said that he "wasn't that skinny since middle school".

The next day (Day 39), the jurors are pondering on who is more worthy of the million dollars and prepare their speeches.

Jeff Kent states he wants to "see somebody get thrown under the bus, get driven over, backed up and driven over again". 


  • This is the first episode since "Create a Little Chaos" in which a member of the original Matsing tribe was voted out.
  • The name of the Reward Challenge, Dragon Slayer, is a reference to Coach Wade, who up until his 3rd appearance in Survivor: South Pacific referred to himself as the "Dragon Slayer".
  • This episode shares many things in common with Survivor: China's "A Slippery Little Sucker".
    • There was one Reward Challenge and one Immunity Challenge.
    • Both runners-up received no votes against them during the game.
    • All three finalists received at least one vote from a juror.
    • The final four included a contestant named Denise.
  • This is the first finale to have both a recurring Final Immunity Challenge and a Final Three.
  • Denise became the twenty-fifth Sole Survivor.
    • This episode marks the 3rd finale in a row where a female who started on a blue tribe wins the season.
    • The next female Sole Survivor, Natalie Anderson, would later also start on a blue tribe.
  • Dalton Ross from Entertainment Weekly heavily criticized the inclusion of an advantage for the Final Immunity Challenge, claiming that it is the most important challenge of the game and should be kept fair.
  • This is the first episode since "You've Got That Puzzled Look" where there are co-runners up and the first since "A Slippery Little Sucker" where all of the final three receive votes to win from the jury.
  • This episode is the first since "The Good Things in Life Aren't Easy" from Survivor: Gabon where only one person wins individual reward.

Episode Title

  • The episode title is said by Michael Skupin in a confessional where he is debating, whether to vote out Denise or Malcolm because he strongly believes that he can beat either of them at Final Tribal Council. He says: "So I just have to keep my cool and figure out who I want to sit next to in the final three because that's the million dollar question right there."


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