The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
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No. 6 – Malcolm Freberg (Philippines)
Surfer-bro on the outside, nerdy superfan on the inside, Malcolm Freberg had a swagger that made playing Survivor look just plain cool. Whether it was flashing hidden immunity idols or hatching plans with his bros, Malcolm played with a passion befitting any superfan and showed that dreamy hunks with long hair could actually play Survivor well.
That said, although Malcolm looked like a total package player at first, there were a couple of fundamental flaws that prevented him from reaching the end and, instead, landed him a spot in the Day 38 Club.
Malcolm’s story in Philippines is one of the greatest “rags to riches” tales in Survivor history. He started off on the infamous Matsing tribe, one of the worst groups ever assembled. The tribe never managed to win a challenge and was ultimately whittled down to just Malcolm and his most trusted ally, Denise Stapley.
After Malcolm and Denise had been split up, the charming bartender spent the short time away from his number one ally adapting well to his new tribe, making allies left and right, which would come in handy when he reunited with Denise at the merge.
Battle-tested from their time on Matsing, Malcolm and Denise were in a great spot, as the remnants of the two other tribes sought their votes in their war against each other. That cushy spot didn’t last for very long, though, when Malcolm’s threat level outgrew the charm he had been relying on previously.
Luckily for him, he had a hidden immunity idol, and at the final ten Tribal Council, he was able to develop a signature move of sorts, perfecting the art of the idol bluff, daring anybody to come at him at the risk of their lives in the game. Not only did it work, but Malcolm soon found himself in a solid final four alliance with himself, Denise, Lisa Whelchel, and Mike Skupin.
During the final stretch of the game, Malcolm demonstrated what a true threat he was by balancing his charm and strategic skills by winning a couple of key challenges, pushing him all the way into the final four. He seemed set for the Final Tribal Council, despite being the biggest threat in the game.
However, when Denise came looking for some reassurance of going to the end together, Malcolm failed to reciprocate those same feelings. After his shaky hands cost him the final Immunity, that one misread of the situation came back to haunt him, as Denise felt no more loyalty to Malcolm and sided with Lisa and Skupin to send him out of the game.
Throughout Philippines, Malcolm played the game to its fullest extent, showing that more than just nerdy guys with glasses can call themselves superfans and embrace a love for the game. More than just his “mactor-y” appearance, Malcolm often acted like a dork himself and never took himself too seriously.
Malcolm’s fun-loving attitude and penchant for shaking up the game made him one of the faces of the new generation of Survivor players, setting the bar high for pulling off great game moves with style.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.