Mormon Jeff Kent was voted off of “Survivor: Philippines” Wednesday and became the second member of the jury that will ultimately pick the winner of the $1 million prize. It was the 22nd day of the 39-day challenge.
“I can’t think of a more complicated, more entertaining tribal council ever in my time being at tribal,” host Jeff Probst said before the castaways voted.
Two players, Malcolm Freberg, 25, and Abi-Maria Gomes, 32, shared that they had the hidden individual idols from their original tribes. But neither played them.
Kent, 44, a retired Major League Baseball player, narrowly lost the individual immunity challenge to 50-year-old Jonathan Penner, who is one of two returning players. The challenge included racing over and under a series of obstacles and untying bags of puzzle pieces. Then, the first three through the obstacles — 24-year-old Pete Yurkowski, Penner and Kent — competed to put together a snake puzzle.
The plan among the tribe members was to vote off Penner, as Kent had flipped alliances from Penner to the majority from the old Tandang Tribe during the last tribal council — which was the first after the tribes merged. Since the beginning, Kent said he didn’t want a returning player to win.
As Penner had immunity, it left the other castaways bringing up who to send home next.
“(Jeff’s) a nice guy. He’s played a great game, but he’s a big threat and I want him gone,” Yurkowski said.
Kent caught wind that his name was among those tossed around and he and Freberg, who had tried unsuccessfully to keep his immunity idol a secret, scrambled to put together a group of six to take out Yurkowski.
During tribal council, Penner even verified their six-person voting block, including asking people by name.
“We’ve discussed those options and many more. I think you already know about that,” Kent told him.
In the end, four people voted for Yurkowski — Kent, Freberg, 24-year-old Carter Williams and Denise Stapley, 41. Penner voted for Gomes. Returning player Michael Skupin, 50, was thought of as part of the six, but swung his vote for Kent.
Kent appeared surprised by the vote but didn’t say anything to the castaways as his torch was snuffed out and he left the tribal council area.
“That vote may go down as one of the biggest blown opportunities in the history of this game,” Probst said after Kent left.
After he left the tribal council area, Kent did have a thing or two to say.
“I think I’ve made about $60 million playing baseball and I want this ... million dollars in this game,” Kent said after leaving the tribal council. “And it’s not even a million bucks, it’s 600 grand by the time Obama takes it. “
There was a bright spot during the episode.
On Day 20, Kent, Malcolm, Penner, 49-year-old Lisa Whelchel and Denise Stapley, 41, won the reward challenge that included retrieving four fish traps anchored off the beach, finding a key in the sand to unlock the puzzle frame and putting together a puzzle of banners. Their reward was going on a riverboat tour and a lunch of barbecued ribs, potato salad, cornbread and apple pie.
Kent, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Austin Texas Oak Hills Stake, now joins the first jury member, 27-year-old Roberta “R.C.” Saint-Amour, at Ponderosa. Jury members observe tribal councils, but don’t participate until the final one. The jury will ultimately choose who wins the $1 million prize.
“Survivor: Philippines” airs Wednesday evenings on CBS.