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Malcolm Freberg Retrospective


A look back at the previous game of Malcolm Freberg, one of the returning castaways on the upcoming Survivor: Game Changers.

Age: 29
Hometown: Hermosa Beach, California
Previous Season(s): Survivor: Philippines, Survivor: Caramoan
Previous Placing: 4/18 | 9/20
Days Lasted: 38 | 30
Correctly Voted for Boot: 9 | 3
Votes Received: 6 | 11*
Individual Immunity Challenge Wins: 2 | 0
Most Memorable Moment: Playing idols on himself and Eddie Fox and blindsiding Phillip Sheppard in Caramoan.

*Includes 2 negated votes due to an idol play and 6 tie-breaker votes.

What happened in his previous season(s):

Survivor: Philippines

We were introduced to fan-favorite Malcolm in Survivor: Philippines. He was the new age Ozzy who came along at a time when Survivor was in desperate need of some good casting. He was intelligent, charming, and a super-fan, exactly what a viewer looks for when rooting for someone.

His Survivor career started off a little rocky, being on the Matsing tribe that lost every challenge in the first four episodes. This turn of unfortunate events left a tribe of two: Malcolm and closest ally, Denise Stapley. The only tribe to do worse than this in Survivor history was the Ulong tribe, which famously was stripped down to just one tribe member, Survivor veteran Stephanie LaGrossa. Malcolm and Denise had formed a strong bond early on, pretty much calling the shots when it came to eliminations. Malcolm also discovered the tribe’s hidden immunity idol. The remaining two tribes absorbed Malcolm and Denise at the tribe swap, Denise joining the Kalabaw tribe and Malcolm joining Tandang. Malcolm received a warm welcome from Tangdang and helped add to their challenge strength, the tribe winning all the post-swap immunity challenges.

Malcolm made the merge where he met back up with Denise. With Tandang having a significant majority, led by Abi-Maria Gomes and Pete Yurkowski, they decided to target returning player Jonathan Penner. Malcolm went along with the vote, but Penner played an idol, causing Tandang member R.C. Saint-Amour to be eliminated. During this time Lisa discovered Malcolm’s idol, which kind of forced his hand into aligning with her. But after growing sick of Abi and Pete’s behavior, Malcolm formed an alliance with Denise, Penner, Carter Williams and Jeff Kent.

Malcolm and his alliance tried to persuade Lisa and Skupin to join them, but they were initially reluctant, leading to Jeff’s elimination. Malcolm revealed his idol at this tribal council, owning up to the accusations and proving his loyalty to his alliance. At the next vote, Malcolm’s alliance was able to get Skupin to flip his vote, allowing them to eliminate Artis Silvester, a member of Abi and Pete’s alliance. After Skupin flipped, Lisa also abandoned the old Tandang alliance, which led to forming a sub-alliance with Malcolm and Denise, taking them to the final four.

Throughout the game, Malcolm could not hide his strengths in his ability to play, his challenge dominance, and ability to connect with everyone on some level. Walking into the final four, Malcolm was viewed as the biggest threat to win, and for a good reason. Malcolm won a reward challenge in the finale, which gave him an advantage in the final immunity challenge. Fellow castaways were discouraged, considering that the biggest threat to win the game was already the largest physical threat for the final challenge, but now he had an advantage. This was being set up for a Malcolm win without any question that he would dominate the final vote.

In the final challenge, the castaways were asked to hold blocks with their hands while a marble floated on the top of the blocks. Throughout the challenge, more blocks would be added to increase the level of difficulty. A challenge that, also, stole the million from fellow Game Changers contestant Cirie Fields in Survivor: Micronesia. Even with his advantage, Malcolm was not able to win the final immunity, putting him at high risk to join the Day 38 club. Malcolm pitched to Skupin and Lisa that Denise was a bigger threat, but it was not enough to spare him and advance him to the final tribal. Malcolm was voted out in fourth place and on night 38, an honor he shares with other Survivor legends: Rob Cesternino, Johnny Fairplay, Terry Dietz, Yau-Man Chan, Cirie Fields, Ozzy Lusth, Kass McQuillen, and Kelley Wentworth.

Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites

Malcolm took a “three-week break” in between leaving the Philippines and returning to play the following season in Survivor: Caramoan. In a Fans vs. Favorites format, Malcolm was one, if not the biggest favorite on the Bikal tribe. However, due to playing in back to back seasons, the other players were not familiar with Malcolm or how he played the game.

In true Malcolm fashion, he blended quickly and was pulled into a majority alliance, Phillip Sheppard and Andrea Boehlke’s Stealth R Us, along with John Cochran, Dawn Meehan, and Corinne Kaplan. Malcolm helped make Survivor history by making Francesca Hogi the first person to be voted out first, twice. This would be the only tribal Malcolm attended pre-merge. He joined the Gota tribe at the tribe swap, where he had a Favorite majority with Andrea, Brenda Lowe, and Erik Reichenbach, and also added to the tribe’s strength – they never lost an immunity challenge.

In the early days of Caramoan, Malcolm played a very mature game, even compared to his previous season. He found an idol with his closest ally Corinne Kaplan, but the closeness of the pair drew suspicion from the other Stealth R Us members. The two were split in the tribe swap, but brilliantly recruited Fans on either side: Reynold Toepfer and Eddie Fox by Malcolm, and Michael Snow by Corinne, to form a resistance alliance against the oncoming dictatorship of Phillip.

Once reunited in the merge, the Malcolm and Corinne combined their numbers to create a secret hybrid of fans and favorites to take down the Stealth R Us machine. A plan that would quickly turn spoiled, when at the first merge tribal Corinne was blindsided by perceived ally Dawn. This elimination put Malcolm, Michael, Eddie and Reynold on the outs of the majority, with Malcolm as the assumed “head of the snake.” In the following tribal, the four guys were all in danger while they made a move to eliminate double agent Andrea. Reynold thought he was the target and stood up to play his second idol of the season, only for Malcolm to tell him to “hold up, bro” and convince Reynold to play the idol on him instead. Unfortunately, Andrea’s paranoia led to a smart move by Stealth, when they targeted the most unlikely of the group, Michael, leaving the three amigos firmly on the outs.

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In the next forty-eight hours, a series of events took place that worked out beautifully for the three amigos, who were treated “like they had the plague or something.” First, Reynold won immunity, a challenge that Phillip opted out of competing in due to a fear of drowning. Second, moments before tribal Malcolm found his second hidden immunity, forcing the Stealth group to split the votes. With Eddie as the presumed target, all was calm as the majority had their plans secured safely. At tribal, Malcolm pulled out a second immunity and handed it to Eddie. This move quickly turned tribal into one of the first “live” tribals that Survivor had seen. The amigos announced they were voting for Phillip and everyone should follow suit, calling him the “fun sponge.” Both idols were played, four votes were cast for Phillip, and Stealth R Us lost their faithful leader. A move and tribal that many consider one of the best of all time.

Coming down off the success of the insane tribal, the reality set in that all advantages and hidden cards in the amigos arsenal were gone. It was now up to them to find cracks in this broken alliance. At the auction reward, Malcolm bought a clue to a hidden immunity idol, his third in the game. However, in his quest for safety, fellow favorite and Game Changers castaway Andrea followed him on his hunt and shadowed him like “an annoying little sister.” Malcolm was unable to find the hidden idol, which was later found and not played by Andrea. In the next tribal after his big move, Malcolm went in unprotected and was voted out of the game. A move described by fellow castaway Dawn as “huge.”

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Biggest Strength: Malcolm’s biggest strength is his charm. On both of his runs, he was perceived as the likable guy that everyone wanted around. Always a good competitor in team challenges, Malcolm made it to the merge easily both times. He has always been able to talk reason into players and relate to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Biggest Weakness: Malcolm’s biggest weakness is his inability to make other people appear as bigger targets. In his defense, this was a strategy that wasn’t really used until the past few seasons. If Malcolm can use tactics like Jeremy Collins and David Wright, players who were obvious threats but kept other people in the line of fire in front of them, then he has a very, very good chance of winning.

What he considered his mistake: In post-show interviews, one of the things Malcolm regretted was not keeping his allies in check better. Speaking to CarterMatt.com, he said: “If there was one thing that I could go back and whisper in my ear as a reminder, it would be to have everyone on a shorter leash. [You had] Corinne running around to Dawn, Eddie spending time with Andrea. You have to have allies on a shorter leash; being left to their own devices is what I probably would have done differently.”

Malcolm is one of twenty returning castaways who will compete on Survivor: Game Changers which premieres March 8 on CBS. Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more cast retrospectives and other pre-season content.


Cam Kuhn is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas and proud super fan of Survivor. He works as an education consultant for a technology firm and blogs in his spare time. Cam has applied for Survivor 4 times since turning 18, written his college thesis on the communication styles of Survivor, and won Corinne Kaplan's season 32 cast assessment via auction.



  • Phillip F.

    Malcolm is awesome. The first season I watched was Phillipines, so, now as a super fan, I own him a lot. He was bad ass in both seasons and I think he has what it takes to do great again.

  • Ishay

    By far the castaway I’m most excited about. I hate when people compare him to Ozzy, because he was a better player on his first time than ozzy on his third, and now they play on the same season I hope people will see that.
    If he makes it without being targeted early, he is my winner pick.

  • Bennett

    My favorite player ever!!! I have my money on him to win and be THE strategic force of the season.

  • Nathan Schultz

    Of the three “golden boys” of this season Malcolm is my favorite by far, good making strategy, good in challenges and good social player, I hope he reach the merge again.

  • Bennett

    Malcolm o Malcolm. How you are my favorite survivor player. The one with the most charisma and crazy idol play. Also the craziest almost idol play when Jeff got voted out.
    I have my money on Malcolm winning survivor game changers.

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