>The curiosity for me is why
>does this conversation even happen?
Dabo, I wonder if this scene is after RC? Malcolm says something about his heart still pounding and Denise says he has such a great shot of winning immunity. It's unclear but could be implied that Malcolm wins RC -- which could be why he's feeling so cocky that he won't even reassure his ally. It'll be really ironic if he gets an advantage from RC and STILL loses IC to Denise.
I also like your spec that Lisa tips Denise off after the whale trip/F3 deal from last episode, just like she tipped off Penner he was going. And in exit interviews Abi said that Lisa told her that Skupin was lying and they weren't going with her. So it would fit with LIsa's gameplay.
RE "As far as Denise knows, she has been tight with Malcolm to the end": I think that Malcolm not giving her the HII last week was a tipoff. And she's savvy enough after everyone pounding home that she's unbeatable that the idea must be running through Malcolm's mind.
All of this is great news for Denise. As others have noted, now she has a great excuse for jettisoning the beloved Malcolm. He can't really blame her! Malcolm will have to be consoled with Fan Favorite.
P.S. FloPo, I agree, it's surprising that they're giving us all of this on a platter. Seems too obvious.
Also, I would love to see a tie/firemaking challenge at TC! It's been a while.