"Survivor Smacked Me in the Chops"
3 Retunees
Episode Information
Version: United States
Season: Philippines
Episode Number: 1/15 (368)
Original Release: September 19, 2012
Viewership (in millions): 11.37[1]
Ratings/Share (18-49): 3.2/10 Summary: Link
Episode Chronology
Previous: "Reunion"
(previous season)
Next: "Don't Be Blinded by the Headlights"

Survivor Smacked Me in the Chops is the first episode of Survivor: Philippines.


Day 1

Over the waters of Caramoan, a first-class municipality on the eastern coast of the Republic of the Philippines, a fishing boat is about to send fifteen strangers to the adventure of a lifetime. The castaways, already divided into three tribes, see a second boat, which is driven by host Jeff Probst. Probst welcomes the castaways, and asks Jeff Kent his opinion on having three tribes instead of the normal two. He replies that because of the few numbers the tribes have, it is hard to lose a member. Probst then informs them that three former contestants, all of whom were medically evacuated in their previous seasons, will return for another shot at the million dollar prize. And by saying so, a third boat, containing the three returning contestants, arrives. Probst introduces Russell Swan (from Survivor: Samoa, who passed out due to severe dehydration), Jonathan Penner (from Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia, who was evacuated due to an infected knee puncture in Micronesia), and Michael Skupin (who is infamously known for falling to his tribe's campfire in Survivor: The Australian Outback, which burned his hands). Probst then assigns Jonathan to the red Kalabaw tribe (named after the Philippines' national animal, the carabao), Russell to the blue Matsing tribe (an archaic Filipino word meaning "monkey"), and Michael to the yellow Tandang tribe (which means "rooster" in Filipino).

The last time I played, Survivor smacked me in the chops, and this time, I'm smacking back.

Russell Swan

Thirty-nine days from now, I will make a million dollars.

Jonathan Penner

I'm in love with the fact that I'm able to come out here and do it again.

Michael Skupin

After the returnees meet their tribes, Probst tells them to hoard as much supplies as they can in one minute before they head out to their camps. From fruits to chickens to firewood, the castaways waste no time collecting as much supplies within the very tight time limit. The one minute lapses, prompting the castaways to lower their rafts and jump overboard. Over the commotion, Kalabaw releases their raft, but accidentally drops their items. Jonathan realizes that Jeff, who had a bad fall from the boat to the raft, is in pain because of his knee, and asks him if his leg is okay. Jeff replies that he is fine, though he tries to hide the pain from his tribemates.

Within the first three minutes, my knee's pinned and I could possibly have torn my MCL. This is too bad to believe.

Jeff Kent

After disembarking from their raft, the Matsing tribe is told by Russell that he will not step in as leader of the tribe. Instead, he insists that they should just work as a team. Moments later, as the tribe builds shelter, Russell starts barking orders on how to construct it, to Malcolm Freberg and Angie Layton's annoyance.

Quote1What's Russell's want to do is kind of how today is going.Quote2- Malcolm
Quote1Yep.Quote2- Angie
Quote1Do what Russell says for now, make him happy, and we'll figure it out later.Quote2- Malcolm
We do need a leader, but I just feel like we should all kind of just work together, not like for him.

Angie Layton

Using his experiences from Micronesia where he worked as an elementary ESL teacher for a year, Malcolm makes a ruse by volunteering to spark a fire, but merely guided Russell into it. With only bamboo and twigs, Russell makes fire at Malcolm's expense. Later, Malcolm and Angie agree that they will "act nice" to Russell.

Russell is the one who actually did it, which actually works out in a way, because he wants to be the leader so bad.

Malcolm Freberg

At the Kalabaw tribe, Jonathan expresses his excitement being back in the game for the third time. While Jonathan swims alone at the lagoon, Jeff calls the rest of the newbies, declaring that one of them should win the game over the returnees.

Quote1Jonathan, he's a good guy. It's all good. But, if anybody's gonna win this game, it ought to be one of us. He's a veteran.Quote2- Jeff
Quote1That's right.Quote2- Dana
Quote1If it's survival skills he brings to us, we'll keep him for a couple of days. We have shelter, we have fire, we have food.Quote2- Jeff
Quote1I agree.Quote2- Dana
Not that Jonathan's not a good guy, but he's returning for a third time. I think he has had his time and I think that I'd like to see one of us win it.

Dana Lambert

Over at Tandang, RC Saint-Amour and Abi-Maria Gomes examine the island to determine where their shelter should be put. RC introduces herself to Abi-Maria as an executive assistant, not wanting to divulge her real profession as a banker.

I'm telling people that I'm an executive assistant because I don't want people to know I'm an [investment] banker. There's a negative connotation about bankers. If I can handle Wall Street, I can certainly handle Survivor.

RC Saint-Amour

As RC and Abi-Maria converse, the two agree to form an alliance and decide to bring in Pete Yurkowski. Abi-Maria uses her Brazilian charm to lure in Pete by asking him to cut bamboo for her. Later, RC and Abi-Maria go to Pete and ask him to join their alliance, which the engineering graduate accepts. RC goes to Michael next. Michael is surprised on how quickly alliances are built has changed since his days on The Australian Outback. Deciding not to lord over the tribe and follow their pace instead, Michael agrees to align with RC.

My strategy coming into this was – make sure that you go with the game. If your tribe is moving slow, go slow with them. Don't be the person that jumps out in the lead. This is a little bit foreign to me, the three-minute alliance. But the three younger people move fast. I feel like I have to move fast with them.

Michael Skupin

Back at Kalabaw, its members start to introduce themselves while building their shelter. Dana Lambert says she likes riding four-wheelers and she is from the South, while Jeff claims he is a rancher with a motorcycle dealership. While she is the only lesbian member of the tribe, Dana feels relieved upon knowing Jeff is also a Texan like her. Unknown to most of tribemates, Jeff hides a secret: he is the famed baseball player, Jeff Kent. Believing he would be in trouble if his secret is revealed, Jeff keeps this part of his identity a secret. The only one who appears to know Jeff's secret is Sarah Dawson, who once dated a baseball fan. While Jeff explains how he applied on the show, Dawson secretly gives him a piercing stare.

Being a baseball player is a disadvantage for me. There's a lot of baggage that comes along with it. You made a lot of money, so you don't need the money. This game is not about who deserves to win the million bucks because you're in debt or you don't have a lot of money. I've been a fan of the show for a long time, and I want to play the game.

Jeff Kent

I used to spend time with a guy who is really into baseball, so I know who Jeff Kent is. There is no mention of him being a former professional athlete who made probably $30,000,000 in his career. I don't think the other tribe members know, and I think Jeff likes it that way, but I will tell him that I know, as soon as it becomes valuable to me.

Sarah Dawson

Back at Tandang, RC, Abi-Maria, and Lisa Whelchel are at the beach bathing. Not wanting to divulge her teen star past, a cautious Lisa introduces herself as a mother from Texas and has a ministry for mothers.

We filmed the last episode of The Facts of Life in March of '88. I got married in July of '88. After that, I left show business behind. I lost all the money that I made from The Facts of Life. A bunch of money invested, a lot of it kinda went the way of the 80's crash. Being on Survivor at this season of my life is just a godsend. Because I've been running and running from the time I was a little kid, to slow down and go inside and find out: Who am I? Am I more than a mom? Am I more than a child star? So I am just excited because I love the game. But in a whole new level, I'm really excited of what will change inside me.

Lisa Whelchel

Lisa volunteers to stay behind to try to spark a fire, while the rest of the tribe explores the island. While away, RC uses this as an opportunity to tell her alliance to target Lisa, saying she is not trustworthy. In the evening, Michael secretly pulls Lisa aside to tell her he knows who she was.

Quote1I recognized you easily.Quote2- Michael
Quote1Yeah. Okay, good.Quote2- Lisa
Quote1Are you gonna keep your identity completely?Quote2- Michael
Quote1As long as I can. If we merge and somebody over there says something, I will, you know, volunteer it.Quote2- Lisa
Quote1I was wondering if they knew, it would be helpful, because they would be like, "Oh my gosh!"Quote2- Michael
Quote1I don't think so. I think it would be hurtful.Quote2- Lisa
I don't want it to be her, but if I'm going to get with the team that's playing the game, I got to go with the game, as opposed to your heart.

Michael Skupin

Day 2

At Matsing, while Zane Knight and Denise Stapley collect firewood along the shore, Zane reveals his background. After warming up to Denise, Zane asks Denise for an alliance, which the latter accepts. Later, Zane secretly talks to his tribemates individually, all of which is successful. Noticing Zane's pride, Denise and Malcolm converse, saying that they should keep an eye on the tire repairman. The two agree to form an alliance.

He's young, but he's wise, and instantly we just clicked.

Denise Stapley

At Tandang, the tribe chastises Michael for carelessly injuring himself several times while fixing the shelter. A worried RC advises Michael to keep his wounds clean. The returning contestant agrees, but continues to work anyway. Later, Michael gets more and more injuries: he accidentally cut his finger while chopping a coconut, and he got a gash in his foot.

Mike's a complete mess. It's not funny that he gets hurt, but it's funny that it happens over and over again.

Pete Yurkowski

At Kalabaw, the tribe goes to a nearby cave while waiting for the rain to subside. On the other hand, Jonathan returns to camp, secretly looking for the Hidden Immunity Idol. After checking rocks and tree holes, Jonathan remembers the objects that awaited them the moment they reached the beach on the first day: a pot, a bolo knife, and in his own words, a "beautiful box of rice." Jonathan puts his hand below the rice box, and finds a small roll of paper beneath it: a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol.

Security and power are soon within your reach.
An idol lays in waiting, somewhere near your beach.

It's good to have protection from friends and from foes.
It could just be salvation, is right under your nose.

–The clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol (as read by Jonathan)

Back at Matsing, while scooping a portion of rice for lunch, Russell finds the same clue Jonathan got. Russell rushes to the well to read it. Lo and behold, Russell sees Zane glaring at him while swimming. Zane asks him if he already found the idol, but Russell says he did not.

I don't trust Russell no farther than I can sling him because this is his second time in this game. Everyone else, it's their first rodeo.

Zane Knight

Day 3


Kalabaw tribe.

The three tribes meet Jeff Probst for their first challenge, which is for both reward and immunity. The two winning tribes will receive flint, while the tribe that finishes first wins a fire-making kit complete with tinder, husks, and kerosene.

As the tribes strategize and delegate roles, Matsing struggles to figure out who will perform the final leg of the challenge, a puzzle. Russell, who admits he is terrible at puzzles, assigns Angie and Roxy Morris for the job, even though Angie also declared she is not good at puzzles either.


Tandang tribe.

Tandang amasses a lead when RC and Artis Silvester retrieve their paddles first, while Matsing's Russell and Zane are just right behind them, with Zane getting tired, being pulled by Russell. As Tandang and Matsing head out to sea, Kalabaw's Dana and Katie Hanson, come out with their paddles. Tandang extends their lead by quickly retrieving their chest of puzzle pieces. Carter Williams and Jeff catch up to Malcolm and Denise. Pete and Michael return to shore with their chest, prompting the rest of the Tandang tribe to help them move it to the designated spot. Kalabaw extends their lead over Matsing by reaching shore earlier. While waiting for Malcolm and Denise, Russell asks a visibly tired Zane if he is still fine. Tandang's Lisa and Abi-Maria make quick work on the tower puzzle, with Kalabaw's Jonathan and Dawson on their heels. Angie and Roxy of Matsing struggle at their puzzle. In the end, in a close race between Tandang and Kalabaw, with both tribes trying to figure how will the last piece fit, Kalabaw finishes first, while Tandang finishes in close second, sending Matsing to Tribal Council.

Matsing tribe.

Returning to camp, Russell cheers his tribe up, when all of a sudden Zane seemingly asks his tribe to vote him out because of his poor performance at the challenge. But in a confessional, Zane explains that his speech is just a ruse to fuel the tribe's anger at Russell's poor leadership, hoping to use it to send him home.

My whole reason why I'm throwing my neck on the chopping block is to establish whether I'm running the game. So hopefully everybody loves me to the point they would rather have me as a hindrance than to keep Russell.

Zane Knight

Russell walks with Angie and Roxy at the beach telling them to vote for Zane. When Russell leaves the scene, Angie vents her frustrations about Russell, saying that putting her on the puzzle-building leg was to make sure Russell will not take blame if he messed up.

A leader would listen to his tribe and really take into consideration what their strength and what their weaknesses are.

Angie Layton

Angie talks to Zane, asking him if he could take back his decision to send himself home and vote Russell out instead. Zane is glad that his plan seems to work. Malcolm, knowing Russell is still a physical asset over Zane, asks Zane if he is still firm on his sacrifice. Zane reveals his ruse to oust Russell, and warns him that Russell is likely to have the idol. Later, Malcolm relays the information to Denise. As the time to go to Tribal Council nears, Russell thinks that he is safe because of his strength, but his bad call at the Immunity Challenge might be his downfall.

This is not about leadership. Leadership kills, dude, and I went right back into the old mode." He hopes that his tribe will not turn on him and vote him out tonight.

Russell Swan

At Tribal Council, both Denise and Zane laud Russell for his experience, since it helped the tribe tremendously during the past three days. On the other hand, Russell castigates himself for subconsciously acting abrasively at the challenge, fully blaming himself for their loss. Zane takes his ruse further by also blaming himself for his weak performance, likely due to his nicotine withdrawal, something he just did a day before he left for the Philippines. In the end, Zane's scheme completely backfires, as his poor challenge performance weighs heavier than Russell's bossiness, sending the tire repairman home by a vote of 5-1. Before the Matsing tribes heads back to camp, Jeff Probst hands them their flint.


Reward/Immunity Challenge: Share the Wealth
Two tribe members, tethered together, must run inside the jungle to reach a chest containing paddles. Once the paddles are retrieved, two other tribe members must ride a boat and use the paddles to reach a buoy with a crate below. The paddlers must unclip the crate and bring it close enough to shore, where all six tribe members would then take the crate to a station where the final two tribe members must open the crate, revealing puzzle pieces. The first two pairs to solve the puzzle (a tower with a Filipino hut on top) win immunity for their tribes.
Reward: Flint for the winning tribes; a fire-making kit for the first-place tribe.
Winner (according to finish): Kalabaw and Tandang

Tribal Council

Tribal Council 1:
S25 zane t
Zane (5 votes)
S25 angie tS25 denise t
S25 malcolm tS25 roxy tS25 russell t
Angie, Denise, Malcolm, Roxy, Russell
S25 russell t
Russell (1 vote)
S25 zane t
S25 zane bw
Zane Knight

Voting Confessionals

(voting for Zane) Zane, I'm not ready to go home yet. I wish you lots of luck, man.


(voting for Russell) If you ain't first, you're last.


Final Words

I honestly thought that I had this whole game figured out. And I thought I had my whole tribe in control. And I thought that I was allowing them to pull the strings instead of me being the one in charge. It just backfired on me. And it doesn't change the fact that I respect this game and… it sucks, man.

Zane Knight

Still in the Running

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


Behind the Scenes

  • Day 2 at Matsing, Zane Knight complains about the erratic weather since Day 1, where the rain subsides and rains again after a few hours. The tribe then collected several banana leaves for their roof. Later, Zane told the history of his tattoos to Denise Stapley.
  • On Day 3, the castaways received war paint and their swimwear via Tree Mail. While Lisa Whelchel was away changing clothes, the other Tandang members agreed to vote her out should they lose.
  • After a come-from-behind first-place finish at the Immunity Challenge, the Kalabaw tribe returned to camp very ecstatic. After Jeff Kent invited the tribe for some downtime at the lagoon, Jonathan Penner went back to the shelter under the premise that he will just get his bag. After looking for the obvious hiding places, Jonathan suspected that the Hidden Immunity Idol (or the clue to the idol) was hidden within their rice box. His speculations were correct, as he found the clue beneath the rice box.
  • After Matsing's Tribal Council, Entertainment Weekly writer Dalton Ross interviewed Jeff Probst at the voting booth. Jeff stated that he was so floored by Zane's move, he "voted him" out as well by writing his name at an extra parchment and placed it in the urn. Jeff predicted that after Tribal Council, Russell Swan might be in trouble, and Matsing would return to Tribal Council. Jeff then chastised Angie Layton and Roxy Morris' quietness, so he "voted" them out as well.


  • This is the first time that a male has been voted out in the first episode since Jon Dalton in Micronesia.
  • Matsing and Kalabaw used their raft as the floor of their shelter, while Tandang used theirs as their roof.
  • The episode title comes from a line spoken by Russell Swan in his very first confessional, referring to his medical evacuation in "This Is the Man Test".