Returning Survivor Michael Skupin made it into the final three of Survivor: Philippines twelve years after being evacuated from Season 2 in Australia.
Although all three returning Survivors in Survivor: Philippines became early targets in the game, Michael Skupin outlasted Jonathan Penner and Russell Swan to become a final three contender in Sunday night’s season finale.
An original member of the Tandang tribe, Skupin formed a strategic alliance with former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel who also formed a strong friendship with Penner. However, when push came to Survivor shove this week in the finale, it was Lisa’s alliance with Skupin that carried the two into the final three with eventual winner Denise Stapley of the Matsing tribe.
The day after the Season 25 finale of Survivor: Philippines, Michael Skupin shared his post Survivor thoughts with The Deadbolt, how he felt about his chances, Jeff’s Kent’s comments that he wasn’t a target, and his alliance invite to Penner.
THE DEADBOLT: Do you feel you had a legitimate shot at winning, or was there too much bias toward returning players?
MICHAEL SKUPIN: You always think that you know your game and that you know what you had to go through to get there and the obstacles that were in your way. From day two they said, “I hope they vote out Russell Swan!” I thought that is crazy! I knew I had a target on my back but I didn’t realize I was a day two target.
So, from day two, I had to fight and claw for everything I got out there. I thought I had legitimately earned outwit, outplay, oulast.
I asked my tribe on day one, I said, “Would you have handed Russell Hantz the money?” Every one of them said “yes.” Based on that answer, I knew I had a team that was going to respect the integrity of the game. The jury was mostly Tandang members, so I thought I had a real legitimate shot at the win.
THE DEADBOLT: How do you feel now about Jeff Kent’s comments that you weren’t really a target?
SKUPIN: You know, Jeff Kent is Jeff Kent. You have to take things that people say in a manner that just because they’re out of the game doesn’t mean they stop playing the game. I believe there’s more game play at Ponderosa than there is on the island itself. It’s an overall experience. It doesn’t stop.
People in the green room last night were lying about their age still. So the game doesn’t stop just because we get off the island. You look at people’s comments and they’re still potentially a little biased toward their overall edit and how they’re perceived by the world.
I respect Jeff Kent’s game, he was a player. I loved playing with him. The first thing he said to me was, “Skupin, we hate returning players but we hate Penner more than we hate you. You’ve got three more days, so we’re going to make this as comfortable as possible for you.”
He’s a brilliant player but really dumb to tell me he’s going to vote me off in three days, because that gave me a three-day heads up to work on strategy and get him out of the game before me.
THE DEADBOLT: Had Penner accepted the initial final alliance, how do you think things would have been different?
SKUPIN: Well, we had different alliances and different strategies almost every day out there. We had a final three alliance with me, Lisa and Penner. We had one with me, Carter and Penner. We had one with me, Carter and Lisa.
Based on who won immunity that day, who we thought we could get off and who was best sitting next to you, we would have taken that. Lisa and I would have taken Carter into the final three.
I figured that I had to get rid of Penner because he was too entertaining and too likeable. I think he’s more entertaining and more likeable than he is a strategic player. But that translates to jury votes and I did not want to sit next to Penner in the final three.
How did you feel about Michael Skupin on Survivor: Philippines?