Malcolm Freberg is a fan-favorite two-time Survivor player known for almost making the end in Survivor: Philippines and his big idol plays in Survivor: Caramoan. He played in the Philippines alongside the Brazilian firecracker Abi-Maria Gomes. The two met when the remaining Matsing members (Malcolm and Denise Stapley) were absorbed into the other two tribes. Malcolm became part of Tandang and helped them continue their immunity winning streak while also bonding with Abi-Maria and Pete Yurkowski. At the first merge vote, Malcolm and his old ally Denise joined Abi-Maria’s alliance in targeting Jonathan Penner and RC. But with the tribe tiring of Abi-Maria and her allies, Malcolm and Denise jumped ship, eventually forming an alliance with Michael Skupin and Lisa Whelchel. Abi-Maria was the last remaining member of her alliance and was finally eliminated at the final five, after previously playing an idol to save herself. Malcolm was then voted out at the next tribal council after blowing the final immunity challenge.
Inside Survivor reached out to Abi-Maria to get her thoughts on Malcolm’s return to Survivor: Game Changers.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in June 2016 while Survivor: Game Changers was still filming in Fiji.
1) Hey Abi, thanks for doing this. During the Philippines, you voted with Malcolm, and you voted against Malcolm. What was your overall opinion of him as a player? What was he like to work with?
Hello there, no problem! I am glad I can contribute. I did vote with and against Malcolm in the Philippines. I voted with him when I needed to and against him when I felt that his power was going to be against my game on that season. My opinion of Malcolm as a player is that he is a very dangerous one. Very charming, exceptional in challenges and very intelligent. Malcolm will tell you what you want to hear. He will charm you and then eat you up. I would be very wary of him.
2) You famously told Skupin he was an “idiot” and a “moron” for thinking that he could beat Malcolm or Denise at the end. Do you think Malcolm would have won if he made it to Final Tribal Council? Could he have beaten Denise?
Malcolm had a lot of friends on the jury. I think that he would have had a very tough chance of beating Denise but an easier chance of beating either Lisa or Skupin.
3) People often compare Malcolm to Joe Anglim (as well as Ozzy). You have played with both Malcolm and Joe. How do they compare?
I think that both of them have a lot of charisma. They are both super fans of the show and have both looked up to Ozzy by growing up watching him play! Joe had Ozzy and Malcolm to mirror and look up to. Maybe consciously or unconsciously they end up mimicking a SURVIVOR style of playing.
4) Malcolm seems to be able to get along with almost anybody. What was his social game like? What was he like around camp day-to-day?
Malcolm is a super fan of the show. He grew up in Texas watching it religiously with his family; I believe he has never missed an episode. He does know how and what to do when it comes to playing the game, especially the social aspect of it. He does have a personality that will pull people in. However, he will stab you in the back the same way. Around camp, you could see that he was super focused trying to win the game.
5) Malcolm and Andrea played together on Caramoan. How do you think their relationship will be this season? Will they try to work together? Or will they still be enemies?
Andrea is in a great position. She has been on the show so many times plus she interviews and interacts with past players often. I can see her using Malcolm for what she needs and hopefully being smart enough to get rid of him when she needs to.
6) Who are Malcolm’s biggest threats on this cast and why?
I think that the castaways with big egos are the ones he should be more concerned about. I think that Ozzy could see Malcolm as a threat. Perhaps? Culpepper could be another one to have issues with him, I think. It is possible that the alpha males will get at each other at some point? Maybe Troyzan.
7) On the flip-side, who here should Malcolm align with and why?
I think that Malcolm should align with the weakest links and promise to bring them to the end. He only needs to get to a point in the game where he can win individual immunity challenges. And keep on telling the people he protected prior to the merge that he has their back. Towards the end, he will deceive them and hopefully have a solid relationship with them in order to win their votes. I am sure Malcolm will have the chance to make some good moves to be able to make his case and win it – if another player lets him.
8) Putting you on the spot, how far do you think Malcolm will make it? And who is your overall pick to win the season?
Malcolm is a very smart guy. If the people he is playing against drink his kool aid, he will make it far. However, we have Sandra there hehe. Sandra is my spirit animal! I can see her and myself thinking very much alike. I just have not achieved what she has. I am of course rooting for her, heck, give her a third win!
9) Lastly, before we let you go, what is new in the world of Abi-Maria? How have you been since we last saw you in Cambodia?
Everything is well in my world. I have been working very very hard. Being healthy is everything one can ask for. Going through many changes, but it is all for the better.
Thanks again to Abi-Maria for taking part. For more on Malcolm, you can check out his cast retrospective and official cast bio. Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more Playing With Game Changers interviews. Survivor: Game Changers premieres March 8, 2017, on CBS.
Abi’s analysis seems to be ‘Yeah, Malcolm played a good game I just liked other people better’. I think Abi gave a decent perspective on Malcolm’s game in the Philippines, but I believe she still harbors ill will towards Malcolm.