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"Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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09-20-15, 11:50 AM (EST)
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"Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Welcome everyone to a new season, one that Probst will most likely describe as one of the best ever. I must admit that I have barely listened to all the pre-season promotions. This season was built for the casual fans, giving the masses a chance to vote on their favorites and, of course, we wound up with a lot of recent players. I think it would have been much more interesting to see Shane and Teresa in place of Woo, Keith or Kass.

With returning players, we have much more information on the players than usual and we even have a lot of knowledge about them personally through their interactions in social media. Despite this, I will limit my analysis to the characters we once saw and look for differences in their new edits.

First, we have the Takeo tribe:

Terry Dietz: In Panama, Terry was a huge character right from the start. In episode one, we saw him win the RC for the Older Men’s tribe. He then took the map from Jiffy and quickly assumed leadership. He made sure that his tribe was well organized and he built a big fire on the beach, hoping it would be seen from the other islands in order to get an edge over his competitors. From day one, he was a doer, an active player that wanted to get the job done. His challenge and survivalist abilities rivaled the best we’ve ever seen. Austin even commented that the tribe was lost and couldn’t do a thing when their leader was on Exile Island. His social game however was extremely questionable. The editors didn’t help him though, starting in episode 4 where we heard Nick and Dan criticizing his decision to keep Sally over Ruth-Marie. After the merge, the scenes where he argued with Cirie and Aras rarely favored him in most of the viewers’ mind. Despite this, we have to note that he would have easily won the jury vote over both Danielle and Aras. Speaking of Aras, it will be interesting to see the dynamics between Terry and Vytas. A pre-game alliance is to be expected since there was a lot of respect between Aras and Terry after all was said and done.

Even if he is now well over 50, Terry is still in great shape and he will want to be the tribe’s leader. He doesn’t really have a male rival for that position in TKO. The women however could give him problems and his “Boys’ Club” mentality in Panama could come back to bite him. His early edit will give us an idea whether Terry will be a long term player or not. If he is successful, he will be quite visible again and we may even see the game from his perspective. If he is an early casualty then I expect some kind of “hero’s send off” where we will see him as a victim of circumstances, bitter rivals ganging up on him. If he isn’t featured a lot then it will be very interesting to figure out the reason for that editing choice.

Abi-Maria: When Survivor: Philippines began, Abi-Maria immediately looked like she was heading the wrong way. Feisty and loud, Abi wasn’t a fan favorite and her feud with RC may very well have cost her alliance a chance to win the game. Being given a second chance, we will see if she has learned anything. If she did, then she will tone it down and that could be very telling: If she is still featured then that will tell us she is a long term player. A quieter Abi-Maria will likely be ignored if she doesn’t last very long. If she continues to irritate the others it’s doubtful she will last as long as the first time because she never demonstrated any loyalty to her tribe.

Woo: From the start of Survivor Cagayan, Woo wasn’t shown as a smart player. He had very little presence in the premiere and all we learned from him was that he knew Cliff and that he was a fan of the basketball player. He then told us that his first mission failed and that was the main theme of his season story. Later, he agreed to throw a challenge to get rid of the NBA player but then proceeded to do his best in that competition. Despite knowing that most members of his tribe were against Cliff, he was still caught completely off guard when they voted him out. Simply put, Woo was almost always out of the loop.

He is a player with good physical skills that won’t cause waves in his tribe so he may very well have a good chance to stay a while but it’s very unlikely that his second chance will get him as far as his first. He isn’t a Survivor player; he is simply a happy camper. Since he completely wasted his first chance, I find it almost unbelievable that he was given a second one but this isn’t a thread meant to complain about the fans’ picks. (If it was then I would have so much more to say!)

Peih Gee: She was an endearing character in one of my favorite seasons. From the start, we saw that she was in a failing tribe and that it would be a tough battle for her but she tried very hard to make it work. In time, she assumed the leadership of the tribe even if Crazy Dave wanted to be the one doing everything and that the three Christians (Sherea, Jaime and Erik) formed an important voting bloc. For someone that could have been the first player voted out, she certainly played proactively and she almost flipped the game. Even when her attempts failed, she continued to fight and she was the last Zhan Hu member standing. She deserves a second chance and it will be interesting to see how she uses it.

I am particularly interested in seeing how she interacts with Terry. This time, she isn’t confronted with a dumb leader but she will certainly feel uneasy if he takes charge. I expect that the women of TKO, led by PG and the two Kell(e)ys, will form the main alliance with Varner and Spencer giving them numbers. If PG is the winner, it should be an editor’s dream because she will certainly provide great comments.

Vytas: In his first season, Vytas was a very good narrator, one that talked with a lot of confidence, showing that he felt he was a superior player. Another thing we learned from Vytas in Blood versus Water was that he was part of a pre-season alliance with his brother, Gervase, Tina and her daughter. He relied too much on that alliance but this fan favorite will likely want to have a working relation entering his second chance season. He didn’t hesitate to let Brad assume leadership of Tadhana and he was part of the ex-football player’s all-male alliance. With that in mind and considering that Aras was close to Terry, we can expect that Vytas will be Terry’s new Dan, helping the former fighter pilot assume the tribe’s leadership. That should alarm the women of the tribe and should enable them to flip the game on these two.

Spencer: This young man had a stellar edit in Cagayan, one of the few members of the Brains’ tribe that was shown to be smart. Despite a terrible start to the game he never gave up and found himself in a great position after an advantageous swap and a well timed merge. That’s when Kass threw it all away so we can expect that he will not trust her this time if an early swap brings them together. Another player that he should target will be Woo, not that he will see him as a threat but simply because he skated his way through their first confrontation.
Two things we know from Spencer is that he is a fan of the show and that he likes the strategic aspect of the game. Granted, some of the end game strategy in Cagayan was attributed to Spencer even if some of the ideas came from Tony (like the threat of a women’s alliance) but Spencer is a smart guy so he will likely have formed some alliances. He isn’t a very athletic guy so he is unlikely to bond with Terry. I expect to see him working with the women of his tribe just like he did in Luzon after Garrett showed that he was an idiot. An alliance with Kelley Wentworth seems destined to happen since both were betrayed by early allies. Like him, Peih Gee lost many early tribal challenges so that should also contribute to their bond. They will want to take charge from the start this time.

Shirin: For a player that didn’t have much impact on the game, Shirin certainly had a rich edit in Worlds Apart. At the start, she looked a lot like a dumb player, especially when she spent more time observing the monkeys mating instead of her tribe’s dynamics. She did connect nicely with Max but alienated all the others. Many said she was placed in the wrong tribe, thinking she should have been in the No Collar tribe from the start but that neglects the fact that even the laid back members Nagarote didn’t connect with her at first. She would have been voted out next if the merger hadn’t momentarily saved her. That’s when her edit changed and her redemption arc endeared her to many fans.

Since she proved that she is loyal, Shirin shouldn’t be an immediate target if the TKO tribe goes against Terry’s leadership. If not, then she would become an immediate target for Terry who should clearly remember the problems that his season’s super fan created for him.

Jeff: Varner is definitely the player whose selection pleased me the most. If only Shane had been there with him then we would have had two of the few former Survivors that have dared to bash the show. Most will remember Varner for his confessionals where he stood next to a tree and kept telling us that “Mike is an idiot”. I also remember that he started some fights between his team mates including the one that led to Alicia’s famous: “I will always wave my finger in your face.” The ability to create conflicts between other players can be an interesting tool as long as it doesn’t come back to bite him in the butt.

I expect Varner to lead a charge against Terry, Vytas and Spencer and I’d like to see him succeed. He mentions that he wants to target Spencer first but I’m not sure that should be his priority. Still, he should make it to the swap and probably even the merger. If that happens then we could be in for a treat: His reunion with Kimmi. He blamed her for telling Tina about the vote he received during their first Tribal Council, a revelation that eventually led to his elimination and the pagonging of Kucha. It doesn’t have quite as much history as the reunion between Jerri and Colby but it should be good.

Kelley: Kelley was my pre-season pick for San Juan del Sur and I still think she should do well here. She was almost invisible in the episodes before the swap but we saw that she was part of the alliance that included Missy. Therefore, she was right to say that playing with her father hurt her game. It was the animosity between Dale and Baylor that broke her bond with Missy.

Playing on her own, she should thrive, especially if her tribe goes against the Boys’ club. She is smart and athletic so I can see her going far this time. Her early edit should be very revealing: In reality, she is a very minor character in this group of “fan favorites” so she should be ignored but if she isn’t then we will know she is a long term player.

Kelly: Kelly is one of the few players whose selection pleased me. Of course, it will be impossible to compare her presentation this season to her original edit because Borneo was so different. Back then, character development was the editors’ main job instead of showing the searches for idols and preparing us for the big, often fake, blindside. The 16 Borneo players had more substance than most of the finalists these days! To get an indication that Kelly makes it far, I will be looking for confessionals that aren’t about her first experience and how things have changed since season one. If that is her only role then we will know she doesn’t make it far.

Can Kelly make it to the end? It would surprise me because she came so close the first time. With Stephen and Woo, she is one of only three players to face the jury. None came as close to winning so maybe the others will say she already had her chance. I hope she can navigate her way to the end. While Hatch showed everyone how to play this game, she was smart enough to make connections with the other side and she even considered turning on her closest ally. Of course, Sue called her a rat for it but Kelly certainly spiced up the end game.

Then, here we have the Bayon Tribe:

Monica: I found it quite surprising to see that Monica was voted by the fans for this second chance considering she had a very small role in Samoa. I remember writing that she was no more than a deckhand after that season’s first episode but then so was Natalie! Monica was a jovial character and despite her small role she had a very consistent edit. She was identified as a Club Med vacationer along with Laura and the other players that Shambo didn’t like. Monica was almost always the alternate target in Galu. What the editors didn’t really show was that she had found a nice niche in Laura’s alliance and that this alliance formed the majority in Galu. To most viewers it seemed obvious that Monica was the one saved when the double TC was cancelled but the after show interviews told us that Shambo was on her way out that night. In Aiga, Monica’s role increased and she eventually became a feisty player, managing to get under Hantz’s skin a few times.

From all this, we can assume that Monica will once again try to get in the majority alliance without making too much waves but Bacon is much more likely to be dominated by the men than TKO. If Andrew, Joe and Jeremy get together as I expect, then there may be very little room for Monica to maneuver. These guys would be more likely to form an alliance with Tasha who is much more physical and Kimmi who could get in the main alliance just because she is part of Survivor’s lore. Monica is one of the few cute young women on this cast but the viewers will probably not get much time to enjoy her bikini shots... but she should outlast Kass!

Savage: After being the main casualty of the Outcast twist, Savage certainly deserved this second chance. Many will say that it should have happened sooner but Andrew was a very polarizing figure in Morgan. Many viewed him as a villain even if he was simply trying to lead his tribe against the juggernaut that was called Drake. His approach with Skinny Ryan and Lill was judged hypocritical by many but he was under very difficult conditions. Those two were obviously less adept in physical competitions than Osten and Darrah even if the latter pair grew disenchanted with being on the island. With the help of Burton’s idiotic plan, Savage managed to get his tribe to the merge with even numbers. That’s when his treatment of Lill came back to bite him.

What will he do with his second chance? I expect that he will once more go for an alliance that includes the most physical players and his plan should be facilitated by being teamed up with Jeremy, and Joe. Andrew won’t have the burden of assuming leadership because those two used a very collegial approach to the game. Joe even share his experience of being in a tribe that fell behind early.

Tasha: She was very well represented during Cagayan : We had the picture of a strong-willed woman that kept on fighting even when things didn’t work out for her. What the editors partially hid was her constant need to strategize. We heard Tony alluding to it, saying something like: “Tasha always wants to talk about the vote so when she doesn’t, you know something is up.” Still, she is a likable person and I expect that the Bacon tribe will prefer working with her than Kass or the young women. I think things could work out very well for Tasha this time around, especially if she can connect with the women of TKO after a swap.

Kimmi: One of the marvelous characters of the Australian Outback, I expect that it will be as much fun to reconnect with Kimmi as it was to see Gervase a few seasons ago. Because of Mike’s accident and the tribe’s demise after the merge, we didn’t see much of the alliance talks in Kucha. We surmised that Varner and Alicia were close, that they could count on Nick while Mike had Lis Lis and Rodger on his side. That left Kimmi as the outsider, explaining her early exit but I suspect there were many discussions that weren’t shown. In particular, I suspect Varner pushed for her elimination to deprive Mike of numbers.

That being said, I expect that Kimmi will have learned a thing or two since then and that she will do very well in this format and this tribe. I don’t know if she can go as far as Gervase but I think she will make a deep run mostly because of her good nature. People won’t be expecting a strategic player but I expect she’ll have a trick or two up her sleeves.

Kass: I disagree with many of the audience’s choice for second chance but never more so than with Kass’ selection. She has proven to be untrustworthy so I expect she will receive the same treatment that Candice experienced in the first Blood versus Water. Personally, I’d be happy to see her leave first. While the editors did show some of her good moments, we mostly saw an immature woman that simply wanted to create chaos and that couldn’t stand seeing the attention going to Sarah at the merge. She flipped the game mostly to spite Tasha even if it left her with no chance to win it. Of course, with so many seasons featuring returning player, she probably didn’t care wasting her first opportunity because she knew she’d be back. It’s not as if Survivor is “the chance of a lifetime” anymore...

Keith: Here’s another waste of space. Keith simply isn’t smart enough to play this game. I don’t need to say anymore than that.

Joe: One of the few castaways that were able to make fire without flint, Joe is a good survivalist but that doesn’t mean he’s a good Survivor player. Some of the returning players already have him in their sights so he’ll have as big a target on his back as he had in Worlds Apart. He had occasions to make alliances in his first season but he wasn’t able to get it done outside of his original tribe. He had a good social game but he didn’t seem to try hard enough to persuade the others. Maybe he never had a chance after that swap. The same should happen here: I think Joe will be safe in the original Bacon tribe but that should last for only 2 cycles. The players are expecting a lot of tribal shuffling so his strength will actually become a liability. It will be tough road for Joe to simply make it to the merge.

Jeremy: The best advantage that Jeremy has entering his second chance season is that he showed a willingness to work with the women on his first tribe. The alliance he formed with Natalie, Missy, Kelly and Julie should pay dividends here. He wants to work with strong men but that shouldn’t turn the women against him. I see a strong alliance developing between him, Tasha, Joe and Andrew and that could carry him nicely through the swaps where he could connect with some of the women from TKO. Like Joe, he could become an early target because this format doesn’t favor strong athletes but Jeremy has more tools than the former Nagarote tribe member. I think Jeremy will do better in his second chance because he has proven he can be trusted.

Ciera: Ciera received a nice edit during her first season, one that probably makes her slightly over rated by most fans. She wasn’t a target early on mostly because her mom, who playing on the other tribe, wasn’t considered a threat. The men’s alliance in Tadhana targeted Rachel and Marissa first because they were connected to Tyson and Gervase. After the merge, she played a game that pleased Probst even if her “big moves” weren’t really to her advantage.

Because her big moves make her untrustworthy, (I mean voting out your own mother means no one would trust her word in an alliance) I don’t think Ciera has much of a chance to last to the merge. Even a swap wouldn’t be helpful.

Stephen: I really like Stephen. I thought, like most, that he deserved some votes during Tocantins’ Final Tribal Council. With that said, our own “know-it-all” knows too much! To our great pleasure, Stephen is one of the alumni that have stayed the closest to the Survivor community. That could mean many opportunities to create pre-season alliances but I think that, overall, his connections will hurt his chances. Everyone knows that he is a good strategist and that he has a tremendous understanding of the game so who will want to give him a chance to stay? It would only mean giving him time to outwit them. Much like Boston Rob feared Rob in the first All-Stars, these veterans won’t want to deal with Stephen. This shows the shortfall of a season with returning players. Survivor is a game best played by strangers.

How will these people be presented the second time around? Will a former sweetheart turn into a villain like Stephenie? Time will tell and the premiere will certainly give us some clues.

This thread will be devoted to the analysis of the edit of the show. I ask that you leave all source information out of this thread but I welcome everyone's contributions. A scene can always be interpreted many ways and while I try to see the editors intent, it's always a pleasure to hear different opinions.

Here's hoping for an interesting season.

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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Jims03 09-21-15 1
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Outsider32 09-23-15 2
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Outsider32 09-24-15 3
   RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... PepeLePew13 09-24-15 5
   RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Outsider32 09-24-15 6
       RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... PepeLePew13 09-28-15 15
           RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... michel2 09-28-15 17
               Same location Dusty2004 09-28-15 18
                   RE: Same location michel2 09-28-15 19
                       RE: Same location kingfish 09-28-15 20
                           RE: Same location michel2 09-28-15 21
                               RE: Same location kingfish 09-29-15 22
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Flowerpower1 09-24-15 4
 Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun michel2 09-26-15 7
   RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... Flowerpower1 09-26-15 8
       RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... michel2 09-26-15 9
           RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... Flowerpower1 09-26-15 10
               oops tribephyl 09-27-15 14
                   RE: oops Flowerpower1 09-28-15 16
           RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... Jims03 09-26-15 11
           RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... Outsider32 09-27-15 12
               RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... michel2 09-27-15 13
                   RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... Outsider32 09-29-15 23
   RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... suzzee 09-30-15 24
       RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... kingfish 09-30-15 25
       RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More ... michel2 09-30-15 26
 The stage is being set Outsider32 09-30-15 27
   RE: The stage is being set michel2 10-03-15 29
       RE: The stage is being set Outsider32 10-03-15 30
           RE: The stage is being set michel2 10-04-15 31
 Episode 2 - Change is Hard michel2 10-03-15 28
   RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard Flowerpower1 10-05-15 32
       RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard michel2 10-06-15 33
           RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard Flowerpower1 10-06-15 34
               RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard michel2 10-06-15 35
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Outsider32 10-08-15 36
 Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! michel2 10-10-15 37
   RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! Flowerpower1 10-10-15 38
       RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! michel2 10-12-15 42
   RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! Georganna 10-11-15 40
       RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! michel2 10-12-15 43
   RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! Flowerpower1 10-11-15 41
       RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist! michel2 10-12-15 44
 Some tweaks Outsider32 10-11-15 39
   RE: Some tweaks michel2 10-12-15 45
       RE: Some tweaks Outsider32 10-13-15 46
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Outsider32 10-15-15 47
 Episode 4 - Evolution and Change michel2 10-16-15 48
   RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... Flowerpower1 10-17-15 49
       RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... Outsider32 10-17-15 50
       RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... suzzee 10-19-15 52
           RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... michel2 10-19-15 54
       RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... michel2 10-19-15 53
           RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... Flowerpower1 10-19-15 55
               RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... michel2 10-19-15 56
               RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Chang... Outsider32 10-19-15 57
 My style Outsider32 10-17-15 51
 Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message: michel2 10-24-15 58
   RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Messa... Flowerpower1 10-24-15 59
       RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Messa... michel2 10-24-15 60
           RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Messa... Flowerpower1 10-25-15 61
   RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Messa... suzzee 10-28-15 62
   RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Messa... Outsider32 10-28-15 63
 RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... b1whois 10-30-15 64
   RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... Outsider32 10-30-15 65
   RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... michel2 10-31-15 67
       RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... b1whois 11-02-15 71
           RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: Th... michel2 11-02-15 72
 Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor for t... michel2 10-31-15 66
   RE: Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor f... Outsider32 11-01-15 68
   RE: Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor f... Flowerpower1 11-02-15 69
       RE: Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor f... michel2 11-02-15 70
 Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again... michel2 11-07-15 73
   RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... CTgirl 11-09-15 74
       RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... michel2 11-09-15 75
   RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... Flowerpower1 11-10-15 76
       RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... michel2 11-10-15 77
           RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... Flowerpower1 11-11-15 78
               RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... michel2 11-11-15 79
                   RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One A... Flowerpower1 11-12-15 82
 Score 1 Outsider32 11-11-15 80
   RE: Score 1 Outsider32 11-12-15 81
 Boots building up/surprising endgam... Outsider32 11-12-15 83
 Episode 8 - The Game is Always Chan... michel2 11-14-15 84
   RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always ... Flowerpower1 11-17-15 85
       RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always ... michel2 11-17-15 89
   RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always ... kingfish 11-17-15 86
       RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always ... michel2 11-17-15 87
           One other thing.... Flowerpower1 11-17-15 88
               RE: One other thing.... Rembrandt 11-17-15 90
               RE: One other thing.... michel2 11-17-15 91
                   RE: One other thing.... Flowerpower1 11-17-15 92
                       RE: One other thing.... PepeLePew13 11-17-15 93
                       RE: One other thing.... michel2 11-18-15 94
 Ep 9 quick thoughts television2 11-19-15 95
   RE: Ep 9 quick thoughts CTgirl 11-19-15 96
   RE: Ep 9 quick thoughts michel2 11-21-15 98
 Episode 9 - That was Bad@ss michel2 11-21-15 97
   RE: Episode 9 - That was Bad@ss Flowerpower1 11-21-15 99
       RE: Episode 9 - That was Bad@ss michel2 11-21-15 100
           RE: Episode 9 - That was Bad@ss Flowerpower1 11-22-15 101
 Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Changer michel2 11-28-15 102
   RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... Flowerpower1 11-30-15 103
       RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... michel2 11-30-15 104
           RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... Flowerpower1 11-30-15 105
               RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... television2 12-01-15 106
                   RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... Flowerpower1 12-04-15 108
                       RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... SquidProQuo 12-04-15 109
                           RE: Episodes 10 and 11 - A Game Cha... Flowerpower1 12-04-15 110
 Another victory Outsider32 12-04-15 107
 Episode 12 - A Million Dollar Decis... michel2 12-05-15 111
   RE: Episode 12 - A Million Dollar D... SquidProQuo 12-05-15 112
       RE: Episode 12 - A Million Dollar D... michel2 12-05-15 113
   RE: Episode 12 - A Million Dollar D... coldbrewer 12-06-15 114
       RE: Episode 12 - A Million Dollar D... michel2 12-06-15 115
   RE: Episode 12 - A Million Dollar D... Flowerpower1 12-09-15 116
 Unbelievable Outsider32 12-09-15 117
 Episode 13 - The Point of "Know" Re... michel2 12-12-15 118
   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Georganna 12-12-15 119
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-12-15 120
           RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Georganna 12-13-15 122
               RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-13-15 123
                   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Georganna 12-13-15 126
                       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-13-15 130
   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Flowerpower1 12-12-15 121
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-13-15 124
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Chez 12-13-15 125
           RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-13-15 129
   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Jims03 12-13-15 127
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-13-15 128
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Outsider32 12-16-15 135
           RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... PepeLePew13 12-16-15 136
               RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Jims03 12-16-15 141
                   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Jims03 12-16-15 142
                   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Outsider32 12-16-15 143
   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... SquidProQuo 12-14-15 131
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... Flowerpower1 12-14-15 132
           RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... michel2 12-14-15 133
               RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... SquidProQuo 12-15-15 134
   RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... suzzee 12-16-15 137
       RE: Episode 13 - The Point of "Know... CTgirl 12-16-15 138
           Viewing party? Flowerpower1 12-16-15 139
               RE: Viewing party? michel2 12-16-15 140
 New thread Outsider32 12-18-15 144
 Finale - Jeremy Has it All: michel2 12-19-15 145

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Jims03 156 desperate attention whore postings
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09-21-15, 01:23 PM (EST)
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1. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Looking forward to reading your column.

I, unfortunately, got partially spoiled so I'm not going to participate with any follow-up thoughts. At least, I "think" I got spoiled. I made the mistake of reading speculation threads, which all consistently seemed to suggest that the same set of players went deep into the game. I think editing threads are less fun when one of the people "know" the answers in advance, so I'll just stick to reading and maybe making a comment or two.

Should be an interesting season!

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09-23-15, 10:59 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
I guess you weren't a Keith fan.
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Outsider32 460 desperate attention whore postings
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09-24-15, 00:51 AM (EST)
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3. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
I may have to rewatch again because I may have missed the Savage/Joe moment after Joe started fire.

So this season I am going to try to not go by screentime alone but character types and who has a story and who has flaws and who seems like they might be the winner. Let's start with Ta'Keo and this season's new emotional player.........

Varner-I don't see Varner being endgame but he will make the merge and be out around that time. I get the feeling he is getting the confessional overloads like Jenn did last year and Jeremy in SJDS. He knows the game but he is also playing with a full deck and that kind of confusion can come back to bite him.

Shirin-I am seeing the same opening edit as last time, where she basically was getting people in line about who to target(like she did with Carolyn and Max last year) but she got another negative edit from Jeff about how she was talking so fast. We got one more confessional from her after that, where she talked about Vytas. She was the one who started the Vytas boot but the edit showed that Jeff and PG were the ones who decided he go over Abi. Last season Shirin didn't get a negative edit the first episode, getting one the first episode this year doesn't help. I see a worse finish for her this time, pre-merge.

Abi-Nothing's changed, same girl with drama but given she got so much attention this episode and didn't go is questioning. However, Carolyn got a super positive edit despite being on the block the first TC last season. Abi's is negative 100%. I think usually the early goers get the negative edits early on unless they are this season's Rodney but I don't think Abi can play that game and Abi I think is out before the merge but she's probably one of the last pre-jurors.

Kelley-Great edit from Kelley and possibly, winners edit. When her pre-marooning confessional emerged, there was a upbeat in the music and then she has a story talking about playing with her dad not wanting to waste her second chance. She got attention on getting the idol clue and she didn't find one, why waste time on that if she didn't find it? She was smart to not want to have herself be looked at as a target. Kelley is endgame.

Woo-Other than finding the Rice and getting the first confessional upon arriving from Camp, nothing from him. He talks about getting a second chance but nothing was defining from him at all. He didn't get what Will Sims got last year with a early impression then disappeared, he got no impression. While Woo appears to be the typical early-mid juror, I don't think this is the season a quiet male player with no clear intentions can get to the merge.

Spencer-No really negative edit, he talked about his gameplay and being new school, talked about being more mature but the edit of saying he's playing the game for himself after talking with Terry could be the one flaw in his edit that goes against him winning. However, he was quieter in this episode than Varner and Abi-Maria which shielded away from the negativity on this tribe which will help him outlast the three players heavily involved in that. I think Spencer might get more story the next episode but I think he falls short of endgame.

Terry-Very quiet episode for him confesional wise. We got a lot of scenes involving him talking with Spencer and Vytas. But he was a background player this episode. I don't feel good for Terry's chances, I think he's a non factor this season.

Kelly-Another quiet player. She got an early start and a edit that could not be avoided with her swimming, but first season nostalgia might be the reason for that. She didn't get completely ignored so that hurts her given she really got nothing in terms of what she will do this season. I don't think she makes the merge.

Peih-Gee-This is the one I am most confused about. She got attention and was involved in the Abi/Vytas stuff. She had negative and neutral edits. She was not shown to rise above the Abi drama, but she was shown making a power alliance with Varner and being one of the ones who decided who went home. However, her confessionals did not show in the Varner deal. Since it appears Abi will not go far, PG likely will outlast her but I see her as midjury because I couldn't get the best read on her.

The clear standout from Ta'keo is Kelley. This tribe is also shown to be the Coyopa/Luzon, that will probably lose more than win with all the negative aurora displayed.

Now on to Bayon where there's much more positivity.

Stephen-By far a great edit, yes he was shown to be not as hard of a worker as Savage but his POV was clearly shown. His story is shown, he's getting a long term arc. He is shown to have flaws but at the same time he acknowledges it. Stephen's in it for the long haul.

Tasha-One of the winner contenders. Her pre-marooning confessional was one of the two that stood out the most. Once into the game she was rather quiet until the Joga stuff. Seeing her be the sharper alternative to Keith in that goes well in her favor and she's talking about the immunity challenge. She appears to be the player on this tribe to watch. I had her as my pre-season winner and so far that's not looking to change. She is one of my winner picks.

Kass-Very quiet episode from her. Even more surprising is she got absolutely NO negative edit. She made a point however that she will stir up trouble if she makes the merge and I feel that that is forshadowing that she gets there. I don't see how she isn't a easy target so I'm going to make the guess she doesn't go to a single pre-merge TC or just one and manages to get by. Still, she did not get a endgame edit so she's likely not long upon the merge.

Kimmi-Other than her pre-marooning confessional there was nothing else from her. But with no negative or positive about her and her appearing to be no threat I think we are looking at this season's biggest goat.

Jeremy-The other big pre-marooning standout. Clearly the show wanted to let us know why he lost the last game and he quickly took the high road with Keith as well instead of having his emotions get in the way like before. He had the same start however as last time with starting up an alliance to get to the end but didn't get the confessional overload like before. I think he is the other contender with Tasha for the win.

Monica-Nothing really important. I don't think she serves any purpose for this season. Probably the most ignored out of everyone shown. Either she or the next person goes before the merge and the other goes but doesn't reach endgame.

Ciera-Another one who didn't get anything important but talking about her last game and her second chance. Her or Monica go before the merge and the other early-mid jury as they have similar edits.

Savage-Nostagia upon his old season but he's not starting this one off good at all. He got the lack of POV in the him vs Stephen debacle. And the only thing we really get of him is the talking about his daughters loving Joe, which is to prop up Joe if anything. There was the one thing I missed with after Joe started the fire where it seemed to me it was a Joe/Savage alliance but regardless I don't see him getting near the end.....

Joe-And neither him. Joe is getting the same edit as last time with "everyone loves Joe". I think Joe is yet again to a body to get to the merge and then basically taken out as a threat. Also, he's already being talked about being used as a shield for the others. He might make it to 8th place I think if the shield strategy for Jeremy works out.

Keith-Saving the best for last. Keith will not win, he did not get that kind of edit, but he got another highly favorable edit. His talking about Joe was not actually negative, it's classic Keith. And what reason would Keith have for getting a confessional on the Joga other than foshadowing he's another big character again? He talked about doing the same thing as before but with some subtle changes. If anyone hated how he did before, they probably will hate it again, Keith looks to once again get to the endgame as he was among the standouts.

The pre-mergers

The big early/mid merge boot

The endgame

The winner is Tasha or Jeremy.

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PepeLePew13 25802 desperate attention whore postings
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09-24-15, 08:57 PM (EST)
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5. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Not quite seeing Tasha/Jeremy just yet - it's still very, very early, but I'm getting a strong Kelley vibe. Feeling meh on Kimmi. We'll see how it all plays out.

Nice analysis of the first episode.

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Outsider32 460 desperate attention whore postings
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09-24-15, 09:08 PM (EST)
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6. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Okay Kelley actually did get the idol. I guess I must have missed that. That's what happens when you watch and type at the same time. I do know she did get a confessional talking about not taking the idol but the I hear on RHAP that after she said that she kept looking back and grabbed it.
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PepeLePew13 25802 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-15, 12:15 PM (EST)
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15. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Yes it was quite clear that Kelley made a quick reach-back and shoved the idol down the back of her shorts while everyone else was still focused on the retrieval of the key.
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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-15, 04:15 PM (EST)
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17. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
What I would have like to know is if she kept an eye on the Bayon tribe to see if someone on that tribe also went for their idol. Since bayon left first, I wonder what production would have done if Kelley had tried to grab their idol!!
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Dusty2004 33 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-15, 04:46 PM (EST)
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18. "Same location"
Do you think both idols would be hidden in the same place?


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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-15, 08:22 PM (EST)
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19. "RE: Same location"
I think they had too or else one tribe could say that theirs was harder to find.

Now, the question is: Since they will have to rehide one for Bayon, will there be a second one for Takeo? I certainly hope not but who knows with these guys.

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kingfish 18690 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-15, 09:58 PM (EST)
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20. "RE: Same location"
If by "the same place" we're talking about the general area of the challenge site, I say yes, maybe.

But if we really mean in the same place (under the tripod support) on the other tribe's side of the challenge, I'd say no. There would too great a chance that Kelley would put two and two together and go for both idols.

But it is very possible that the other idol could have been hidden at the site somewhere, for the reason you just gave.

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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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09-28-15, 10:08 PM (EST)
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21. "RE: Same location"
First, would they care if Kelley wound up with 2 idols? One person with 2 idols has created some good TV before so why not?

Also, where else could they place it? It couldn't be on the raft itself because it would have been too easy to grab the idol while they were in the water and the cameras would not have been able to film it. It had to be close to the tribe's mat. The front post of the raft was a good hidding place: Close but not too close.

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kingfish 18690 desperate attention whore postings
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09-29-15, 09:14 AM (EST)
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22. "RE: Same location"
It would have been the subject of discussion at the production meeting, at least. If there was a second idol, I believe there are viable alternate locations somewhere along the path from the raft to the final flame stand that would have prevented one clue from being, in essence, the clue to both idols. I think the cons would have won the day, and that consensus would have come down against that being a possibility. It would have been kinda hard to explain and justify.

But the pro side of the discussion would have been just as you said. I would welcome that as a possibility, dam the critics.

But I'm also thinking that since the idol was probably hidden just before the competition began, and since there was only one clue found by one tribe, that there might have been only one idol to be found.

I know what will pop up in your mind, that that would rule out the possibility of the other team stumbling upon the idol without a clue, which would in a way compromise fairness. A definite consideration.

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09-24-15, 08:01 AM (EST)
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4. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Spot on pre-game assessments, michel! Amazing as always. This should be a fun season to watch unfold. I sure hope that the producers step it up a bit and throw some good twists and turns in to keep these vets on their toes!

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09-26-15, 03:14 PM (EST)
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7. "Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
In the introduction, Jeff said that Survivor is the most physically demanding and emotionally taxing game on television but that it gives you the opportunity to prove what you are made of (We had images of Kimmi and Stephen right then). After talking about the million dollar reward, Jeff added: “But for those who lose...” (we saw Woo on our screens followed by Stephen, Tasha, Monica, Ciera, Savage, Joe, Peih Gee, Abi, Kimmi, Varner, Kelly, Keith, Vytas, Terry, Jeremy, Kass, Spencer and Kelley) it is a relentless nightmare of “what-ifs” that never ends...until now .”

It was Kelley that was the featured player when Jeff said that the time for nightmares is coming to an end. We have to note also that all the “Losers” were shown with the exception of Shirin. Maybe she was simply forgotten but it’s certainly something that we have to keep in mind. If Shirin becomes a big character then this could be seen as the first hint that she is our winner.

We then had some beautiful images of a Cambodian temple, art work, monks and primates which quickly situated us geographically. Jeff called Cambodia a country with its own stunning, humbling and powerful history that stirs the emotions. “It serves as a vivid reminder that the past can haunt us and it provides the inspiration to seize their second chance.”

Once more, Kelly Wiglesworth was shown)

S1 Kelly gave us the first confessional: “Fifteen years ago...I almost won. I made it 39 days and lost by one vote. That’s why I am here: It’s been poking at me for 15 years, little by little. I’m much stronger and smarter and I’m a mom now. I’ve given birth so I can do anything at this point, right?”
We saw the truck making its way through a village, approaching an open air market.

Savage had the 2nd interview: “I am living the dream. I have the perfect wife and my kids are amazing. I’ve got a great job. I don’t have any bad things in my life except Pearl Islands. My exit: It’s haunted me for 12 years (we saw Fairplay mocking him a she left.) and I’m not over it. To cure my Survivor pain, I need to give it a thousand percent. I’m going to leave everything I’ve got in this game and it will be epic.”

Spencer was next: “Last time I played Survivor, I was frankly cocky. I thought of Survivor in terms of chess but I have done a lot of maturing. I have done a lot of emotional growing in that time. People are not chess pieces and they need to be related to on a human level. Being more emotionally aware, I think I am in a better place in life than I’ve ever been to play and win this game.”

The truck didn’t stop at the market; instead it let the players off near the temple.

Kimmi’s confessional followed: “My experience in Australia was cut way short and I want to have my second chance at my dream of getting to the end. The Angkor Wat temple is a total metaphor for this whole game because you get a little bit of damage but you can build yourself up. Fourteen years is a long time to finish that last chapter in the book.”

It was S29 Kelley's turn: “Last time I played the game, I was with my was my downfall, absolutely. I probably should have written my dad’s name down but I can’t go back on it now. I can take this second chance and I can make the move that I wanted to make and have a better game.”

Ciera’s interview: “I really messed up my first time being scared early on. After discovering that I can socially work my way through this game, I said: OK, Ciera, let’s start making some moves. Unfortunately, I had to start with voting my mom out. This time, I want to be fearless. I want to be that person that I was at the end of the game at the beginning of the game and just leave it all out on the island.”

Tasha in confessional: “The first time I played Survivor, I was “nice Tasha”. I didn’t want my family or my church members to be disappointed in the way I played the game. When I returned home, my church members were saying: “You need to be more aggressive, you need to lie and backstab like everyone else”. So, if the Saints think it’s OK; it’s OK! I’m here to win a million dollars and when it’s all done, I will pray for forgiveness.”

While we saw him walking on the temple grounds, we heard Varner’s confessional: “This second chance means everything in the world to me. I jumped off a pole in the Outback for peanut butter and gave away a million dollars when I did it. Replaying that history over and over again for 14 years really does a number on you. This is my opportunity to rewrite my own story. I’m more mature, I’m a lot smarter and I’m not jumping off anything for peanut butter.”

During this confessional, we saw Varner walking alone on the temple grounds, the sole Survivor walking in that part of the grounds.

Just like they did with the market, the group of s Survivors didn’t stop at the Temple and reached a river where boats were waiting for them.

Joe’s confessional: “Growing up as a kid, me and my dad would sit around and watch Survivor. It was really hard not getting my dad out here for the Loved Ones visit. It was something that I really wanted to do to prove to myself that I could make it that far in the game. I just came up short and it was devastating. I think this is my time to make it happen right now.”

Kass’ interview: “We all have a little devil in us. I was a bit of a trouble maker in my season.” (We saw a replay of Trish’s exit. She left with class but Kass showed her the finger anyway, shocking Sarah who was sitting in the jury.) Chaos Kass! She lives somewhere deep within me, but if I don’t change; someone is going to take me down. I kind of like my legacy thus far! I like the chaos. The only thing that needs to change is their perception of me and then, when the merge comes and I’m there, all hell will break loose.”

Abi-Maria was the next: “When I look back on my season, I made a lot of mistakes. I created a lot of trouble. That was a mistake. I threw coconuts at Skupin’s head. That was a mistake. I was too blunt with Lisa. I shouldn’t have done that but having a second chance to come back and patch those little mistakes but I like having fun and villains have more fun!”

We had a quick glimpse of Varner who was sitting right behind her. Will he be the villain that has the most fun?

Then we heard from Jeremy: “The last time I played with my wife and half my mind was always with her. I wasn’t focused so I was blindsided by my own alliance. I went home, took it hard and now I want the money for Val more than for me. I just need to go through this again. I’m back for some redemption.”

That’s when we saw that the four canoes were heading for a large boat in the middle of a bay where Jeff was waiting for them.

I liked this introduction. First, it was fun to see a bit of Cambodia and not just some non-descript beach like we often do. I also enjoyed the reminders we had along the way: Seeing the players assembled on the truck reminded us of the opening of Africa among others. The open air market was a wink at the opening of Pearl Islands while the walk through the temple had to remind everyone of the amusing opening scene in China. We didn’t stop at any of those places because we were about to relive the very first marooning.

As for the characters that had early introductions, I think we have to consider that it was the temple and the monks that are supposed to provide the inspiration to seize that second chance. If Buddhism is to serve as a theme for this season like the constant images of the temple suggest, we will be looking for a winner that will show humility and enlightenment in his own quest for Survivor’s “nirvana”. Following this train of thought, the confessionals that were given during the temple visit may have particular significance.

The first one was given by Kimmi and she referred directly to the temple, saying that Angkor Wat was a metaphor for the game. She talked about making it to the end, writing the book’s last chapter. That sets her for one of the “Journey” players. I expect there will be quite a few of those this season given the nature of the cast.

By contrast, Kelley, Ciera and Tasha only talked about the game which tells us that they aren’t focusing on personal growth which is so important in Buddhism. We expect that they will make some moves but that the others will think they are playing too hard and it will eventually catch up to them.

After Tasha’s confessional, we had a change of music. It had been very rhythmic, very martial in tone, befitting her new aggressive approach to the game but suddenly we heard spiritual oriental themes and we saw Jeff Varner walking in slow motion. His confessional reminded us of his foolish actions in the Outback, opening the door for personal growth. Like Kelly, he also talked along the same lines that Jeff used to introduce the season, saying the constant replay of his first game played a number on him. If we add the image of him walking alone over the ruins, we may take this as a hint that he will come out on top, the player that will emerge from the ruins left by the game.

For the others, we had Kelly and her defeated look from Borneo’s finale at the end of the montage where Jeff talked about the relentless nightmares and then we saw her live at last season’s finale when Jeff announced that she would get the second chance. It suggests that this game will end her nightmares.

By his own words, Joe is setting himself up on a Journey to make his dad proud. The opening confessionals came from much longer interviews that the players gave before the game started so the focus on the family visit tells us that it will be important for Joe. It probably will signal the end of his journey.

Kass first told us that she needs to change then said she will do the exact same thing so maybe she just eliminated herself. The same can be said of Abi-Maria who thinks that she can easily fix her “little mistakes”.

Jeremy is looking for redemption but he tells us that he is still playing for his wife despite saying that it cost him the game in his first try.

Before we move along, we have to note that Woo, Vytas, Terry, Monica, Stephen, Peih Gee, Shirin and Keith didn’t give opening confessionals. It certainly doesn’t eliminate them from contention but it certainly puts a question mark on their chances, especially considering that Vytas was in that group.

Villains Have More Fun.

After Jeff greeted them, Ciera was asked about the fan vote and the added pressure. Varner talked about the excitement and the emotions of starting the game. Joe mentioned all the great players that he grew up watching which made Kelly realize the weirdness of the situation. When Kelly said that she replays the final vote of Borneo every day, the camera went to Stephen and Woo, the other two runner-ups, letting us imagine that it is hard for them also.

Throughout this segment, the camera showed us Savage quite a few times even if he didn’t speak. I counted 4 individual close-ups, much more than anyone one else that didn’t have a speaking role between the time Jeff greeted them to the time he started explaining the first challenge. Second Chance certainly has some personal meaning for Savage considering he was voted out immediately after 2 people got their own second chance. He was the victim of the very first second chance given in Survivor. Will he be the one to seize the opportunity?

The tribes were divided by boats: The players sitting on the two boats on the left formed Takeo while the two boats on the right were Bayon.

It’s too bad we didn’t get to see how those assignments were made.

When they released their rafts we heard that Wiglesworth was swimming ahead.

Immediately, images of a foolish Stephenie in Palau’s premiere came to mind but Kelly maintained her lead for a long time.

Bayon was trailing Takeo so Joe decided he’d try to catch Kelly by jumping in the water. Seeing that, Woo dove in also and he outraced everyone to the bag of rice.

Contrary to Cagayan, Woo succeeded in his very first mission. It was nice to see that Kelly made it to the boat just a bit behind Woo and would have won it for Takeo. She certainly didn’t look as bad as Stephenie.

The Intro gave us many views of the Temple and the Monks, reasserting the importance of that theme. I noted that Tasha was the only one whose introduction images were taken in the temple but she was crying. They didn’t look like tears of joy.
After the break, we joined Takeo as they arrived to their beach. The music was very harmonious.

Woo’s confessional: “Seeing our flag, I wanted to cry...It’s like when I received my first black belt. It is super honorable. Going into that second chance, I feel I’m not playing only for myself but for everyone who voted for me.”

The first two we saw hugging were Varner and Vytas, quite ironic considering the vote.

Kelly (solo): “Seeing the beach it was day one Borneo all over again. My first thought is: Let’s get camp going. To me, it’s important to work hard and be useful in camp and it was immediately clear who were the workers in camp: Terry, me, Woo and Vytas and Spencer. When people don’t have anywhere to sleep and it starts raining hopefully they will remember that I was there working and building the shelter. It doesn’t get more old-school Survivor than me!”

Personally, I would have loved to see her getting everyone’s attention to discuss the reason they were there! Note however that 4 of the 5 workers will also be voting together but formed the minority. Kelly and Terry introduced an interesting theme: Old-school ethics versus new-school tactics. Should we be looking for one approach to beat the other or for someone that can combine the two? The rest of the episode should give us a clue.

Terry’s confessional: “It’s been a long time since I’ve played and I believe that there is a huge difference between old-school players and new-school. One of the biggest differences is that the game is now immediately played when you hit the beach whereas in old-school it was kind of like we need shelter and we need fire. My social game over the past nine years has haunted me a bit...I hear my wife’s voice talking in my ear: “Don’t let people walk off by themselves. Make sure that you get in the social game.” It’s a big part of Survivor.”

After talking to Terry, Spencer gave us a confessional: “Terry’s children: Thank you for having your dad trust me because I don’t trust anyone and I’m going to do what’s best for me. I’m a new-school player but I’m an every school fan so it’s important for me to have real relationships and to know what people are thinking. I want to have more one on one conversations in the first three days here this time than I had in my entire game in Cagayan.”

Terry promised to have Spencer’s back. Spencer agreed, saying he wanted to play with solid rational guys.

The scene shifted to the disappearance of Abi’s bag. It was nowhere to be found and she really wanted to retrieve the bracelet that was inside.

Abi’s confessional: “I am worried because my bag disappeared...It had my super-powers bracelet. Last time, I totally let my emotions get the best of me and that was one of my downfalls. This time around, I told myself that I was going to control my emotions and that’s part of the game I want to play but it’s so hard for me not to pull out the fangs.”

We left Takeo to observe Bayon on their beach. The melody was also harmonious with more Oriental instruments than in Takeo.

Keith, Jeremy and others were working hard on the shelter while Tasha, Kimmi and Ciera were seen gathering wood.

Ciera’s confessional: “The tribe seems to be in a really good spirit. Everybody is working around camp, everybody is getting along. We have like a really peaceful mantra about us and I’m hoping that coming here a second time, I can rewrite my story.”
Tasha and Kass were seen weaving palm fronds together. Monica, Ciera and Kimmi joined them, the latter saying they didn’t have palm fronds in Australia.

Keith’s confessional: “I never thought I’d make the cut but here I am! I’m happy to be here now. Last time, I coasted on by for a while even without an alliance. That will get you all the way to fourth: Big deal. Fourth place is a hard pill to swallow so I’m not going to change a lot but maybe tweak a little bit. Second time is going to be a whole lot different. No fumbling this time.”

But he’s still spitting!

Jeremy and Keith went for a walk; the fireman saying that they should put everything behind them for this new season.

Jeremy’s confessional: “With the tribe, I feel good. I knew that my season saw me as a threat so I figure: Let me talk to Keith. I’m hoping that, if Keith hears my name, he comes back to me. I’m trying to go strategically and really use my head this season. I wanted Tasha, probably the strongest female out here and I wanted Savage. Savage seems like a real straight up guy, another physical threat. My number one that I wanted was Joe. There’s no bigger shield out here than Joe and it kind of worked out that way. It will be so dumb for someone to mess this up. I feel like we have the stronger group. We can really move on in this game, we can make some noise. We need to stick together and watch each other’s back.”

While Tasha, Savage and Joe agreed to the alliance, they expressed doubts about Stephen.

Savage told Joe that both his daughters found him perfect.
Joe’s confessional: “One thing I found out in my season is that I am a big threat so I’ve got to make some moves. Either the alpha males go at each other or they align together and come together. In the case of like Jeremy and Savage, I think that we are all on that same page...”

Savage then knocked down a tree, impressing the women but worrying Stephen.

Stephen’s confessional: “I feel exactly like I felt the last time: Out of place on a tribe with guys who are not like me. I’m a Fishbach out of water once again. It could be the same narrative as it was for me in Tocantins where I was super out of place but then I connected with one of these people who was really in his element and we went all the way to the end. JT, he was too amazing so he destroyed me in the end. I’m not going to make the same mistake a second time. All these manly men on my tribe, it is my nightmare. Either I am going to be totally in charge of my tribe or I’m going to dramatically overplay and flame out really quickly.”

We then saw him trying to break some branches.

It wasn’t pretty and it was accompanied by the familiar kooky musical theme! Second chance was supposed to put an end to the constant nightmares but apparently not for Stephen. If the only options are to take charge or to flame out then it doesn’t look good for Stephen. Fortunately, there is another option: A string of victory until the tribe swap.

After the break, we were back in Takeo:

Vytas, in confessional, reminded us that he was once on a tribe with only women. He explained that he manipulated their perspective.

We saw him trying to do the same thing with Kelley, Abi and Peih Gee. He wanted to get the women to like him.

Shirin’s confessional: “To me, Vytas comes off as smarmy. That’s how I read him in his first season and that’s how I’m reading him now. Out of the gate, I want to pull away some people that I want to work with and just lock it down. It’s a rare opportunity to get a second chance ever, let alone at this game and I’m not going to squander it. Vytas has very good connections and he’s got connections on the other tribe as well.”

We saw Shirin talking to Varner and Spencer about Vytas and his connections on both tribes.

Varner’s confessional: “Shirin is talking a mile a minute. This train took off and I’m glad I’m on it. I just got on it. I don’t care who’s pulling me in the woods: Yes is your answer. It’s like: Damn! Mama, slow down. I just got here and a train will only go as fast as its conductor will take it and she’s hitting the gas. What just bit my a$$? (!) When I did it the first time in the Outback, it was all about the adventure. It wasn’t about the strategy at all. I haven’t played Survivor in 15 years. Is this the way you do it now? I don’t know if it’s 15 years of waiting for this opportunity but it’s coming at the right time for me. I’ll be 50 next year. That’s a big year and most men my age go through a mid-life crisis: They buy a corvette, they cheat on their wives. I go on Survivor! It’s not about a mid-life crisis, it’s about a mid-life quest. The second half of my life opens with Survivor Second Chance.”

The threesome agreed on Kelley Wentworth and Peih Gee as allies. To Spencer and Shirin he said he was the old guy but felt like a baby.

Since Shirin was talking to Spencer and Varner, we could have heard from either but it was Varner who got the airtime. His words fit very well with the themes of humility and enlightenment. This confessional enables us to see him as an old-school player adapting to the new-school train of thought.

When he mentioned feeling like a baby, we had the image of an adorable baby monkey.

Like Varner, that baby will have to adapt quickly in the jungles of Cambodia.

That’s when Abi found her bracelet in Peih Gee’s bag.

Abi told us about finding her bracelet in Peih Gee’s bag. She told Varner she wouldn’t do anything about it but she told everyone just where she found it. In confessional, she wondered if Peih Gee was intentionally trying to awaken the Brazilian dragon. She concluded by saying: “It’s my second chance; I have to play smart.”

Peih Gee in confessional: “Abi-Maria was causing weirdness around this bracelet of hers that she thought I took and now I just want to straighten it out with her because I don’t want her to think that I stole her damn bracelet.” Peih Gee told Abi that she saw a bag with no name tag on it so she just grabbed it. Her confessional continued: “The last time I was on Survivor, I didn’t form the relationships that I should have. I’ve learned that you make friends but you keep your enemies closer.”

Bayon Day 1

Joe was determined to make fire. He wasn’t successful so Kass suggested using her eyeglasses.

Kass in confessional: “Out here on Second Chances it kind of sets a tone for everyone like this is it! I was a little worried about getting voted back in because I flipped off someone but I think people know that I’m going to play and you’re going to have some fireworks. A lot of people are here to prove something. I’m just here to win. I don’t care how I do it.”

That’s when Jeremy asked about Stephen’s whereabouts. Kimmi guessed that he was looking for an idol.

The cameraman found Stephen who was indeed looking for an idol.

Stephen in confessional: “I went out looking for wood but I couldn’t help myself looking for the idol because, if I don’t find that idol, someone else is going to find it. This is a huge beach and there are a lot of trees. I walked in this disgusting muddy swamp. I don’t imagine Jeff Probst going into that swamp to hide an idol but, you know, it’s game on! I need to find the idol or I need to create solid links with people who won’t judge me for being the nerd. I’m sure people noticed that I was looking for the idol. I hope I don’t get branded by it...Damn it!”

Joe was still working on making fire and this time it worked.

People cheered, danced and applauded.

Andrew in confessional: “I’m still in awe of the fact that Joe got fire. Joe was just incredible. In this environment, with this humidity, we thumped Mother Nature on day one by getting fire and that is a great sign of things to come.”

The sun went down over the temple and we heard some Oriental music. We saw the sunrise on Day 2 in Takeo

It started with Vytas and Wiglesworth doing yoga on the beach. While the sun was shining on Kelly, it soon faded away from Vytas.

That’s sun dimming over Vytas’ face can certainly be seen as a symbol of his upcoming elimination. Since it was still shining on Kelly, then maybe it was also telling us that her elimination isn’t coming anytime soon.

Waking up, Varner told the people in the shelter that he felt gross. Kelley told him it was only day 1.

Wouldn’t that make a nice reunion clip? Jeff could be saying something like: “Jeff, you didn’t think you could make it past day two yet here you are on day 39...”

Varner in confessional: “Day 2 and I feel like I’ve never played this game before. It’s odd. This game is way too fast. I can’t keep up with it but I’m playing hard. I’m trying to make it look like I’m not playing hard but I am playing hard.” He was cooling off in the ocean with Peih Gee when he asked her about her impressions of the groups. She mentioned the shelter people and he agreed that it was the shelter people versus the beach people. PG asked if they were beach people. He told her that he didn’t know because he did both. His confessional continued: “There are two divisions happening on this beach right now: There’s the people who built the shelter, the old-schoolers. Old School wants to do it the way old-school did it. You work and that’s what your value is. New-school just wants to take off running down the beach and get me in an alliance but I don’t want to turn on the shelter people, my own folks. I don’t want to do that.” PG asked Jeff for his choice of first boot. Cautiously, Jeff said that Shirin wanted to get rid of Vytas but PG really wanted to do something about Abi. We heard more of Jeff’s long confessional: “It’s my second chance and I’m in something I’ve never been in before and I don’t know what to do. Old-school, new-school, what do I do?”

Since the last image showed Jeff lying in the ocean, we were told he was going with the beach least for now! This type of long confessional is fairly rare and we always have to take good note of them. It really presents the game from Jeff’s perspective and it lets us in on his dilemma between the old-school and the new-school players. That is the best way to tell us that he is indeed part of both groups already.

Takeo Day 3

Kelley Wentworth was one of the first to get up.

Kelley’s confessional: “I think that I have to take into consideration the game that I played last time. I didn’t take as many risks as I should have. You don’t always get second chances and I’m not going to waste it. Generally, the hidden immunity idol is already in camp when you get there so I expect that in a second chance season there is definitely going to be one. I took on the task of getting palm fronds and coconuts and I knew that would give me an opportunity to potentially look for an idol. Sneaky, sneaky! I looked for a long time and then I happened to walk by one tree.” She found something that she thought was the idol. Unfortunately: “I jumped the gun a little”. It was just a clue to the location: “Usually the idol is in camp but for it to be at the immunity challenge is just crazy because one can see you if you are not sneaky enough. If I get to the challenge and I feel I can pull it off then I’m going to try to grab it. Otherwise, I’m going to be super obvious.”

This is another long confessional but, contrary to Varner’s, the search for the clue demanded such a montage. There was a nice attention paid to Kelley’s plan so maybe she will use that idol advantageously but I don’t know if this presentation makes her a long term player. We will have to see how her character evolves from here.

Following a bat, we arrived at Bayon’s beach in time to read tree mail.

Kimmi read it and it told us we would see a replay of the very first challenge ever.

Kimmi: “Our very first challenge is going to be the very first challenge on Survivor. Getting the first tree mail after waiting so long, you know you get these butterflies in your stomach.”

Andrew talked about family and harmony to the tribe, saying they would need to help each other during the challenge.

Monica’s first confessional: “Tree mail kind of gets me nervous. It’s no secret that I’m one of the smallest people here and the first time I played, I always tried to downplay that and not make a big deal out of it but now I want to make sure that I pull my own. I think I’m stronger now.”

Following Joe’s lead, the tribe did some yoga to stretch and get ready for the competition.

Keith in confessional: “Joe’s down there doing yoga. I don’t do yoga: I get up in the morning, I get coffee and I go to work like 99% of Americans do. Nobody wants to see me bend backwards and get contorted out there. I think Joe’s great...but yoga? That’s Joe.”

Did the editors really think we needed a confessional to figure out that Keith isn’t Joe? At least it showed some humor.

Tasha certainly enjoyed seeing Joe stretching out.

Tasha: “Today... we did some “Joga”. Honestly, I was a little distracted. I was trying to breathe but all I could think about was Joe’s body...I think we are in a good mental place to win this challenge.”

Tasha wasn’t the only one looking at Joe Kimmi seemed to enjoy the scenery also!

Over in Takeo, someone else was trying to organize a yoga session
Shirin in confessional: “Before the challenge, Vytas showed me some of his yoga moves. He can be so over the top! He’s so yoga and vanalasama, monkey pose and vashamashala.”

If Shirin thinks someone is over the top, can you imagine how far he’s gone?!

Kelley in confessional: “Vytas is going around, trying to flirt and it’s annoying me. It’s not sexy in any way. Just go away. Like a bug: Get away. I want Vytas out. Done! He’s annoying me.”

Abi left the shelter area, saying she didn’t want to see Vytas’ “idol”.

The contrasting reactions between these two juxtaposed scenes is a very good sign for Joe. His yoga session met great review while Vytas’ annoyed everyone. Since Vytas was voted out, the contrast would be that Joe is safe for a long time.

Vytas gave a confessional telling us that it’s tough to deal with Abi since she gets annoyed so quickly. Terry was in agreement because he told Wiglesworth that Abi would make for a good target.

Vytas mentioned that the vote could change if someone was really bad in the challenge.

Just then, we saw Kelly on our screen, the one that was going to be responsible for the loss.

The Challenge: Quest for Fire

Kelley Wentworth’s confessional: “Our first immunity challenge and all I can think about is the immunity idol. It’s all that I had on my mind.”

When Jeff mentioned that the losers would be going to Tribal Council where one would be the first person voted out, we had a close-up of Kass and Ciera.

I’m sure some viewers were expecting that one of those two would be out first.

Jeff reminded everyone that Kelly lost the very first quest for fire.

Did Kelly volunteer to build the tribe’s pole to erase that bad memory? It certainly back-fired.

Keith struggled during the challenge, letting Takeo pull ahead. Takeo easily won the physical part of the challenge.

The camera focused on the hidden idol under the front pole.

Kelley didn’t risk it at first because everyone had to race to the mat before Kelley could start assembling the pole.
Kelley: “I thought; crap. I missed an opportunity to get the idol. As much as I want the idol, I don’t want people seeing me getting it.”

Once again, it was Joey Amazing that tried to catch up to Kelly. Ciera told him to get it right the first time.
That advice comes a little late considering we are in a season of second chance!

With everyone focused on Joe and Wiglesworth, Kelley finally took a step back and grabbed the idol.

Joey Amazing was successful this time, getting his key first. That’s when Spencer jumped in to relieve Kelly. It didn’t matter, Bayon was already opening their door and Keith lit their fire.

Kelly Wiglesworth knew she blew it. She told Jeff she felt 100% responsible. Varner told Jeff that she didn’t let them down.
Everyone was in shock when Jeff told them they were heading out to Tribal Council immediately.

Gone are the days when the castaways could talk along the way. Now, they are under strict rules to stay quiet.

Abi-Maria gave us an interview: “We don’t have a second to talk about strategy, game play: Nothing.”

Spencer also gave us his thoughts: “I am nervous as hell going to Tribal Council without getting your ducks in a row. We have a tribe with Abi-Maria, Jeff Varner and all the crazies under the sun (Shirin was pictured when he said that.) If the worst case scenario happens, it’s equivalent to all of your ducks getting shot by a rifle at once.”

It has to be noted that Spencer, despite voting with him, considered Varner as one of the crazies along with Abi and Shirin (at least according to the cameraman).

Tribal Council

The first question was addressed to Spencer who said it would be heartbreaking to leave because you’d be letting down yourself, your family and everyone that voted for you.

(They seem to forget that the same people that voted for one also voted for another!)

Woo told Jeff about the division between old-school and new-school.

Terry agreed with that assessment, saying he was part of the old-school regime and that he spent more time building than talking at first but then he took time to sit down and talk because it’s part of the game.

Jeff added it was a huge part of the game.

Jeff is telling us that new-school is better. But that's our Jeff: Always going for the falvor of the month.

Terry was surprised to see it happening that fast.

Peih Gee said that Second chance was about learning from mistakes. She said she was trying to split the difference between camp life and getting to know everybody.

Abi admitted she was trying to learn from her mistakes and that she already had situations where she could have been like a firecracker. She said she had been able to hold back.

Vytas talked about Aras beating Terry and that his brother would rub it in if he didn’t outlast Terry.

Wiglesworth said she was trying to figure out where she stood since no one had time to huddle and talk.

Varner told Jeff that he thought people knew what was happening. He added: “There’s been a lot of work on this beach in the last 3 days.”

Vytas agreed that the vote wouldn’t be random.

Woo said the vote would set the tone for the game but that he didn’t know where he was going.

Once more, Woo was out of the loop!

Probst turned to Abi and asked her if she had noticed Woo making eye contact with everyone.

Abi answered: “Yes, now I see the division and it’s a male thing.”

Vytas said it wasn’t a male thing and that he was looking for tribe unity.

Abi said she felt nervous and would be heartbroken if she left: “I’m not ready to go.”

Woo’s next answer told Abi he was voting for her.

Wiglesworth told Jeff that she thought she knew which way to vote by picking up on some cues.

Varner said that picking up on cues was very important, so much so that he was losing sleep over it and he wasn’t doing the things he would have done in Australia. “It’s a whole different world and I don’t know if my old-world counterparts are participating in this new world as hard as I am. I’m balls to the walls and I’m dying to see what happens tonight.” After

Probst mentioned the elephant in the room, Varner added: “This is my second chance; I don’t want to screw it up. It’s an important night.”

In the end, Terry, Woo, Vytas and Wiglesworth voted for Abi-Maria.

Varner, Shirin, Abi, Kelley, Peih Gee and Spencer voted for Vytas.

Vytas left with no hard feelings, wishing them good luck.

After he left, Jeff said: “One thing is very clear: Your second chance could end at any time which means you got to make the most of it.”

The camera gave us a close-up of Varner when Probst said that, meaning he’ll either see his second chance end quickly or he’ll make the most of it!!

The Story

From this episode, I think we can establish four main themes: The importance of the Angkor Wat temple suggests that the players will have to show humility, spirituality and inspiration. It will be a hard road to make it to the end. The long term players will have to show all those qualities and more if they want to succeed.

The long term players will also find a way to put an end to their nightmares. The Journey players will eventually reach a point where they can be happy with the game of Survivor. They will give their all and won’t leave with as many bad memories.

Old-school ethics and new-school tactics: Vytas was made an honorary member of the Old-School so maybe this tells us that a new-school player will win but the result of the vote seem to indicate that the winner will have to combine the two.

Finally, we can expect to see that Villains have more fun: I expect that the winner will not necessarily be seen as a good guy but rather someone that finds a way to eliminate people without completely alienating them.

Looking at the tribes, Takeo had more airtime even before Tribal Council but the editors had to set up the vote. Jeremy and Savage made comments that suggest Bayon was the better tribe but the challenge didn’t really back their comments since Takeo won the tribal part of it. Bayon owed its win only to Joe. The music was very harmonious in both camps except for the scenes that featured Abi and Stephen.

One thing that was good about this premiere was that everyone received a confessional. There are no real extras in this cast of characters. Of course, some have much more important roles than the others but that could easily change over the next few episodes. For now, we have to give more weight to the 12 players who had confessionals before reaching Jeff on the boat. Those who were shown during the temple visit underlined the themes of this story. Let’s see how this apply to the individual players.

The Characters

Missing their Connections – These players didn’t connect with their tribe mates or the themes of the story.

Stephen: While we were very happy to see Stephen making a comeback, I’m not sure production shares our feeling. It seems that the editors are trying to show that the “Know-it-all” isn’t very smart. In this week where we remembered Yogi Berra, I think this quote applies perfectly to Stephen’s role in this episode: “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” The story could be setting him up for a great underdog role but I think Stephen won’t be able to make the right connections.

Monica: I was surprised that she focused only on her problems in challenges. Since she made the merge, I would have thought that Monica’s main nightmares came from Shambo, Hantz and the idols. Monica will never dominate challenges so maybe she should have concentrated on something else like finding idols this time.

Ciera: The cameras focused a lot on the encouragements she gave Joe during the challenge so maybe she made a connection with the boy wonder. However, she seemed mostly like an outsider in Bayon. The images suggested that she could have been the first one eliminated if Bayon had lost when Probst mentioned Tribal Council. In a “new-school” season where trust plays a much bigger role than survival skills, I don’t think that Ciera stands much of a chance.

Kass: A second chance season was said to be a way to put an end to the nightmares yet Kess admitted she likes her legacy and would do the same thing if she makes the merge. Like Ciera, we were pointed in her direction as a possible first boot if Bayon had lost immunity. In Cagayan, she had an alliance with the other members of the Brains tribe and that’s why she could reach the point where she flipped the game. I don’t think she will ever make the connections she needs to create chaos this time.

Woo: It was surprising that we never heard anything about the bag of rice that Woo won for Takeo. It was as if we were supposed to forget that he ever won something for the tribe. Of course, that could change now that the tribe as flint and may start talking about cooking the rice and rationing it but still, no one was heard thanking Woo for winning it. He connected with the old-school players by working on the shelter but he was still out of the loop when it came time to vote. Woo isn’t a threat so he should be safe for a long time but his role isn’t really important.

Terry: When he said that talking to people is part of the game, Probst’s reaction said it all: Finally the old-school player is starting to get it. That moment eclipsed his actual social game where he got an alliance together to vote against Abi. He didn’t count on Varner and Spencer’s decision to go with Shirin but an alliance was still formed. Can Terry recover? It would be surprising to see him turn things completely around because of his reduced role but Varner still thinks of him as one of his own.

Sitting at the Gate - These players made connections but they haven’t gotten on board yet:

Kimmi: Survivor Australia was hard on Kimmi. She felt that her tribe didn’t show her any considerations and she didn’t make many friends in Kucha. It seems that the people of Bayon are more understanding so even if she didn’t get in the alliance, she will probably have time to repair the damages and build herself back up.

Keith: Jeremy talked to him mostly to remove the target on his back and he hoped Keith would warn him if he was in danger but it didn’t look like Keith was included as a full member of the alliance. He knows he can’t float his way to the end and he said that 4th isn’t good enough but I think it will be hard for him to duplicate that result.

Spencer: He was part of the shelter building team and then talked to Shirin about voting against Vytas yet he wasn’t sure if he could go along with “the crazies”. He wasn’t sure he had his ducks in a row making him appear hesitant and we didn’t hear him talk during Tribal Council. His hesitations could make him seem untrustworthy. For now, I can’t connect Spencer with the themes of the season. He did identify one of his problems during his first season but is he really more humble? We’ll have to wait and see in his case.

Kelly Wiglesworth: More than anyone else, Kelly tried to redeem herself right off the bat. She took it upon herself to win the race for the rice and to retrieve the key in the crucial moments of each challenge. While she didn’t do poorly in the swimming challenge, she failed during the immunity challenge. That could have cost her the game but the members of her tribe rallied around her. That is an indication that she will not be left hanging despite the vote. Her opening confessional was perfectly in line with the main theme of the season so she probably still has a role waiting for her.

Abi: Even if the vote saved her, I don’t think she’s really part of the alliance. Shirin, Varner and the others used her to get Vytas out of the way but now she may have outlasted her utility. We know that she won’t be able to let things go for very long. Three days is probably her record and I don’t think she’ll improve it.

Riding the Train – These players are off to a fast start:

Tasha: She accepted Jeremy’s offer to make sure she wouldn’t be the one voted out. She intends to play more aggressively but that goes against the theme of humility and enlightenment. She is in a nice position right now but will she mess it up by making unnecessary moves?

Jeremy: His second chance game started exactly the same way it did in San Juan del Sur. He quickly assembled a majority of voters and wanted to keep everyone in check because he feels it would be stupid to rock the boat. It doesn’t seem that Jeremy has learned anything because he said he just has to go through it again. While this plan should get him to the merge, he should still come up short.

Savage: I found it interesting that Fairplay was shown as being responsible for his exit in Pearl Islands. It’s a better sign for Savage to be remembered as the victim of the biggest villain that Survivor had seen instead of being voted out because he didn’t treat Lil nicely. He had two nice confessionals during the episode and he talked to his tribe about harmony and team work but it was the camera work before the scramble to get supplies that impressed me the most. Every time Jeff mentioned second chances, Andrew was shown on our screens and it made us realize he had been eliminated because of the biggest twist ever: The first second chance given to eliminated players. Even the fans that don’t like Andrew have to admit he fits the theme of Second Chance as well as anyone.

Joe: It was a good episode for Joe but I think any episode where he isn’t voted out will be a good one for Joe. There really isn’t much negativity that can be thrown his way and he’ll probably be voted out again because he is too much of a threat. His opening confessional set him on a Journey to make his dad proud so we can expect that he will last up to the family visit, give his dad a tour of camp but get voted out soon after.

Peih Gee: She wasn’t sure if she was part of the shelter builders or the beach people. In other words, she wasn’t sure if she was old-school or new-school and she was more inclined to vote against Abi but she showed some humility and went with Varner and Shirin. Most of the players that have boarded the train right off the bat had an opening confessional but she didn’t so we don’t know if she can truly fit in the season’s themes. Much of her presence was tied to Abi-Maria’s attempt at personal growth. Will her role evolve from there? We have our doubts.

Kelley Wentworth: Here’s another player who thinks her only mistake in her first season was not making big moves. Putting all the blame on her father shows a lack of humility. However, her need to play harder was rewarded almost immediately when she put her hand on the Hidden Immunity Idol. The idol’s protection could calm her down, enabling her to build solid bonds with the others. Getting rid of the guy that annoyed her put her in a nice position but she was in an equally good position before the swap in her first season. How will she handle this season’s tribal shuffle?

Shirin: There were two very important developments for Shirin in this episode. First, she formed a solid alliance around the idea of eliminating Vytas. Shirin received full credits for booting the player that she saw as being untrustworthy. The editors proved that she was right by letting us hear Vytas’ confessional where he talked about manipulating the women in his first season. Shirin showed that she was a new-school player but she was able to connect with an old-school one. That union should be interesting. The second important point came in the first few seconds of the season where the montage of losers looking for a second chance didn’t include her. If that omission was intentional (would the editors really make such a mistake?) then it could be a huge indication that Shirin is our winner. She didn’t get an early confessional though but maybe it would have made her too obvious. Varner called her the train’s conductor so she should play a key role down the line.

Varner: This episode was great for Varner. Some will say that he showed too much arrogance during Tribal Council when he announced that he was playing balls to the walls but his talk with Shirin and Spencer showed us that he was humble enough to rely on them. He admitted that he wasn’t used to playing like this so the two won’t see him as a threat to them. His presentation during the walk through the temple grounds was quite noticeable. His confessionals presented the strategy from his perspective and he fits very well in all the themes. Already, he was a key player in a big blindside and he had fun doing it. Villains have more fun and it seemed that no one had more fun than Varner in the premiere. If he doesn’t over play it, he should make a huge impact on this season.

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09-26-15, 07:21 PM (EST)
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8. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
So looking forward to this season and your take on it, michel! I also enjoyed the beginning of the show and paid attention to those confessionals that were in the very beginning, introductory segment. I agree, those that didn't get a confessional in that portion may be earlier boots. I would suspect that the winner DOES have a confessional in the intro portion of this season!

Most of the confessionals, if not all, were related to how they played the last time and what they wanted to change for this go round.

I found these to be the most important of the show, because the rest of the show it seemed to prove these confessionals right or soooo wrong. Kelly Wiggle remarked how it's haunted her for 15 years and now she's so much stronger....seems to be playing the same game, but look how far that got her the last time. She's a contender, apparently.

Second conf: Savage: I have the perfect life, except for Pearl Islands, this will be epic. Savage looks to be playing the same game as well so far. Not impressed.

Third conf: Spencer: First time I was cocky, now I'm more mature and won't treat people like chess pieces....Spencer is the first one that I see put his money where his mouth is. We see him working the crowd, making connections, getting along and working hard. I'm excited to see if Spencer can top his last game! This is surprising to me because since he was such a "player", sort of like Stephen was, somewhat of a geek, and since his season was so recent, I thought that he would be one of the very first boots. From what I saw in this episode, I think I was dead wrong.

Fourth conf: Kimmi: Comparing the temple to the game, a little bit of wear but can build yourself up, 14 years time to finish the last chapter. Verdict is not out yet on Kimmie as we really didn't get to see her starting her game. The drama and time was spent at the losing tribe.

Fifth conf: Kelley Went: Last time my dad brought me down, shoulda voted him out, this time I am ready to make some moves of my own. Later we proceed to see Kelley doing just that! Making some big moves of her own. Using her head to gather palm fronds and coconuts she finds the clue and is daring enough to get the HII mid challenge. WELL DONE. She voted with the new schoolers and is sitting pretty. She's a gamer!

Sixth Conf: Cierra: Last time with my mom, didn't start playing fearless until I voted her out, now want to play fearless from the start. Sounds good, but like some others, we haven't gotten to see her game yet.

Seventh conf: Tasha: Last time people said she wasn't mean enough, this year she has their blessing, I'm going to win the million dollars and then pray for forgiveness. Yes, that's a million dollar quote! We also didn't get to see Tasha play yet, but cannot wait to see it!

Eighth Conf: Varner: This second chance means everything, last time blew it for peanut butter, this time, not jumping off for anything. We'll see! Varner appeared similarly as he did the last time to me, man in the middle. Identified with the old schoolers but voted with the new schoolers. Hmmmmm?

Ninth Conf: Joe: Last time didn't get to play with my dad at the family visit, fell short....Joe seems to be playing 100% the way he did last time. Which makes me feel he will fall so short...

Tenth Conf: Kass: WE all have a little devil in us, Kaos is deep within me, I like it, want to play differently until merge then look out! We will see how she plays, hopefully they will give her a chance! I have grave doubts about Kass.

Eleventh Conf: Abi-Maria: She wants to clean up her mistakes a bit, but loves playing the villain. As the episode moves on we see she's trying so hard to change, but we know she is incapable of playing differently, it's who she is! Abi will not win this game, but could she possibly be an end game player aka GOAT?

Jeremy: Last time he played with his wife but now she's not here and he can focus. Still wants to win the million $ for her! Another million $ quote! Going to be more strategic and needs redemption.

Michel, I love how astute you are and break down the confessionals by content, as well as notice slight changes in the music! Well done!

Boats arrive and game on at this point. We have the marooning, and they are off, all of them are contenders. Kelly Wiggle goes for the rice, then Joe, then Woo smokes them! A rivalry is born perhaps, if they both make it to the individual part, Joe vs. Woo?

Woo gets the first confessional upon arriving at the Takeo beach, it's like getting his first black belt and this time he's playing for the fans!

Kelly Wiggle gets the first second confessional and she immediately breaks down the tribe into workers and non-workers....workers: Terry, me, Woo, Vytas and Spencer...she hopes when people are tired or wet, they remember her working hard on the shelter....

Then Terry with his intro conf: noting the divisions of new school hit the beach running vs old school build the shelter first, etc. This time he's mindful that he didn't have such a great social game and hopefully will make amends...I love Terry! I know a lot of people didn't, but I had the utmost respect for him. I would love to see him do well this go round. I know if I was playing Survivor, I would be very happy to see him on my tribe!

Spencer then talks with Terry and Terry tells him that his son told him to get with Spencer, then Spencer has a meaty confessional to follow, thanks Terry's kids but the only one I trust out here is me, and I want to know what people are thinking. I want to have more one on one conversations in the first three days here this time than I had in my entire game in Cagayan. Now that is a MEATY confessional. I am liking what I see from Spencer. He's in it to win it!

Abi worries about her bracelet....same old Abi.

Cut to Bayon, where they are harmonious and in good spirits, Cierra tells us, then conf by Keith, wants to play as he did last time but step it up at the end, and he ends his statement with a SPIT! Same ole Keith, which is symbolic of him playing the same ole game despite what he says.

GREAT confessional by Jeremy: Telling us he wants Keith to come back to him. WE see him recruit Keith, then we see him go off to recruit his alliance, just as he did in him season in the first day. This time, however, he wants the stronger people, Tasha, Savage and especially Joe. This is ALOT different than gathering the girls and being the strongest in the alliance. He's going to play more strategically this time, with their strength, they ought to out last! I LOVE THIS!!!

Savage told them he didn't know about Fish....this bums me out because I am a BIG Stephen fan...spells early trouble for Stephen. Then Stephen has his confessional and he notes how he feels exactly like he did the last time, a Fishbach out of water, but last time he connected with someone who was at ease in these elements and they went all the way to the end, but he couldn't beat him, so he doesn't want to do that again. I think MISTAKE!!! JT and Stephen were the perfect duo to make it to the end, and if Stephen doesn't see that, he's doomed. Stephen ends the confessional with either I take charge of the tribe or overplay and flame out early. I am worried at this point that he will indeed do the latter. I just hope and pray for a shuffle, or that the alphas in his tribe will keep them WINNING!

The shots of Andrew Savage chopping down an entire tree and then him trying to break one little branch, HILARIOUS!!! Of course it was meant to highlight Stephen as inept in the woods, as he noted, a "Fishbach out of water!"

Then we move to Vytas trying to make nice with the girls and then Shirin's conf pegging Vytas as her target, with all of his connections and then the connections to the other tribe. We see Varner with Spencer and Shirin, and then a very good confessional by Varner. Where he speaks about how fast the new schoolers play the game and he's just glad he's on the train, and the answer will ALWAYS be yes! Then he notes: I’ll be 50 next year. That’s a big year and most men my age go through a mid-life crisis: They buy a corvette, they cheat on their wives. I go on Survivor! It’s not about a mid-life crisis, it’s about a mid-life quest.

So, with that confessional, I think it's safe to say that Varner is our journey player this year. He's on his mid-life quest, and he's riding the train wherever, ready or not!

Abi finds her bracelet, Pei-Gee conf: need to be better at relationships, keep enemies closer.

Kass at Bayon with a nice confessional: She doesn't care how she does it, she's just here to win! Million dollar quote?

Jeremy asks where Stephen is, Kimmie says he's out looking for the idol, then we have a ridiculous conf by Stephen....ugh, he's so toast if things don't get shuffled. Thank GAWD he's on a strong tribe!

Later, Varner has another meaty confessional, telling us that he's with the new schoolers but doesn't want to turn on the old schoolers, "his people"....the dilemma of this first episode. WE know what happens later...

Nice comments on the significance of long confessionals. I will say that Kelley's was because she is on the quest to successfully find the idol, so her plan is set in motion as she awakens. My biggest take away from Kelley is that she is out to do just what she said in her introductory confessional, she's out to make some big moves of her own, and she NAILED it! I think this blow by blow play of a new way to hide and retrieve the idol was a SUCCESS! I think this establishes Kelley as a serious player, one who may be over looked as she finished so poorly in her first season.

We are shown more of Vytas and his yoga poses and Shirin and Kelley are annoyed with him, as is Abi....cut to the challenge, Keith does poorly, but despite that they win the challenge, thanks to Joe. Cierra gave him GREAT advice and I thought that was helpful input, to get it right the first time. That clearly won the challenge for them.

Nice contrasting Vytas' yoga vs Joega...hahaha! I also noted the camera going to Cierra then Kass when Jeff spoke of someone will be voted out... puts a red flag on these two for me, possible foreshadowing to come, and I recall that Kass didn't get the conf in the introduction portion of the episode, Kass first out for Bayon?

Going to TC, nice notes, Woo, out of the loop, Varner in the middle, sides with the new schoolers and Vytas is toast. Vytas leaves in a classy way, however! This episode served several purposes. RE-introducing us to the cast of characters, and to setting the theme of the show. I love what you surmise, michel, that the one that can integrate both schools of approach may well achieve the balance they need to win this game, along with showing inspiration and humility, etc...

From a confessional point of view, and from what I saw and heard I think my perspective is pretty different. For me, I would say that Spencer and Kelley Went were the stars of the show. They gave us their perspective of their second chance and what they did to amend their mistakes last time, and then they SHOWED us that they meant what they said. They underlined their words with their actions....Very strong and telling for these two perhaps?

I found Varner to be a worthwhile character but I think he may be headed down the journey path. He recognized the importance of this second chance, as if he was the narrator of the season, it was as if he was speaking for them all. He also identified himself as an old schooler but was quick to recognize how the new schoolers play and he didn't want to be left behind. In the end, he didn't want to risk rocks and therefore surged ahead with the new schoolers. His mid-life quest is spelled out, but can he balance his old school ways with the new school pace? Time will tell, perhaps he could be a winner? But, with the previews for next week we see that he's still quite conflicted, talking about how he doesn't like these people (the new schoolers)...If this is an on-going conflict for Varner, perhaps integrating or making peace with the 2 approaches will be his resolution at the end of his story? I dunno?

Regarding those on Bayon, I found Jeremy to have the meatiest confessionals. Jeremy stated that last time he was unfocused, with his wife, but this time would play more strategically, then we see him making the changes he needs to make, going with the alpha's of the tribe, keeping others that can be perceived as more threatening then himself, and choosing people that could get him the farthest in the game with the greatest chance to win. I think the show edited more in of Jeremy from the Bayon tribe than any of the others, and I think that has to play into the story somehow.

Kimmie could have that zen buddist approach, I don't know, I just don't have anything to go on....yet.

Those that I think will have no chance to win this game because they said they wanted to play differently than last time yet they are shown to be repeating the sins of the past...Joe, Keith(spit), Abi-Maria, Stephen (he's shown to shun what he did last time even though it got him to END GAME???, this is a huge mistake, imo), Savage, Woo.

Interesting what you pointed out in regard to Savage, with the camera going to him a lot. I don't know? I know that he was a personal friend of Jiffy's, wasn't he? Could them focusing on Savage have to do with him being symbolic to production as someone that warranted a second chance? I know I certainly felt like he deserved one!?

Terry, Pei-gee, Kass, Cierra, Shirin, Kelly Wiggle....may have promise, but I am concerned for those that didn't get a confessional in the opening segment. I thought Tasha had a million $ quote and seemed to deliver her first intro confessional with conviction, so I am eager to see her play the way she proposes.

Monica....Monica who?

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09-26-15, 09:32 PM (EST)
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9. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
LAST EDITED ON 09-27-15 AT 02:08 AM (EST)

It's great to have you aboard again, FP!

I appreciate the different look and you could be right. Varner's confessional could point to our narrator and journey player instead of our winner. However, I think we will have many "Journey" players this time. It comes from Jeff's introduction: They are ALL on a journey to put an end to the nightmares. It seems that, no matter who it is, the winner will be a Journey player this time. It's just a question of identifying their journey. For Joe, it's to make it to Family visit, not to win. For Monica, it's to prove she can pull her own in challenges, not to win either. For Varner, it's to prove that he won't lose the million because of a stupid mistake. That is a winner's quote to me but we had many like you pointed out.

For Jeremy, you wrote: "This is ALOT different than gathering the girls and being the strongest in the alliance." I agree that it was presented differently but we know that his first alliance in SJDS included Jon Misch and Drew Christy, two alphas also. He wanted to boot Keith but it was Natalie and Missy that changed the target to Drew. After the merge, he got back with Jon and it was the football player that got him booted. Aligning with Savage and Joe isn't really different. Let's see how he handles this alliance.

You seem down on Savage for playing the same game but I saw a huge difference: In Morgan, he clearly established his hierarchy, pushing Lil and Skinny Ryan on the outside. Here he said that they were all one big family. MUCH better start.

You didn't mention anything about Shirin. What do you think of her omission in the images of all these "losers"?

I always liked Kelley Wentworth and she did have a great episode.

I liked Spencer too much once so I'm being more careful this time! He did have a good episode but he seemed indecisive just before TC and I don' think that is a good sign. He was shown as the one being caught unprepared. We'll see how it goes for him.

I liked the premiere more than I thought I would so let's hope it will continue.

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09-26-15, 11:42 PM (EST)
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10. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
All fabulous responses, michel! And, you are probably right, you see so much more! That's why you are so good at this stuff. At first I was thinking same old Jeremy, shown to get his alliance going on the first day, and I just went back to that first day...when he gathered all the girls. The boys, Keith, Misch, and Christie definitely came later, and I felt like they came by default. So, it seems different to me, but he could be one that is repeating the sins of the past? This time though, he has the benefit, as they all do, regarding knowing some information about the character and the way these players have played one time before.

I loved Andrew Savage before, he just didn't pop out to me. He seems smitten with Joe, which is funny. Yes, perhaps he has learned from his mistakes with the one big happy family comment...You can tell he's thrilled to be there. You are right, they all are on a journey of some kind, that's for sure!

I missed the omission of Shirin in with the losers. That's odd, because Shirin was such a wild presence in her first season. Monkey sex, crazy fan, embracing her nudity, etc. So, I don't know what to think. She came out playing pretty quickly and got Varner on board, but, with the preview I have to wonder if he's really on board? She's the instigator of the new schoolers, which could be interesting down the road. Did Shirin ever have a "first time I played I did...., so now I want to do.....?" confessional? I don't recall it, but we know how Survivor crazed she is. I still cannot believe she said, "when I made my first million..." at the reunion show. If I was a second chancer, I couldn't forget that. Shirin is a wild card for me that I don't have much hope for to win, but she certainly could go far...

Those were just my gut reactions from the first episode and the ones that stood out to me, but that's the beauty with the editing, sometimes they have made the winner stand out in the first episode, Earl, and sometimes they have hidden them, Tina. I think that the winner is probably among the first confessionals before arriving at the start point with Jiffy, though. Maybe

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09-27-15, 05:19 PM (EST)
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14. "oops"

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09-28-15, 12:31 PM (EST)
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16. "RE: oops"
LAST EDITED ON 09-28-15 AT 12:32 PM (EST)

TRIBEY!!!! I LOVE IT! But, not quite as much as I love you! <3


PS. You know how I love bells and whistles!

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09-26-15, 11:55 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
LAST EDITED ON 09-26-15 AT 11:56 PM (EST)

Yeah, I agree about Savage... Seemed like a much better start for him than it could have been. I admit, I wasn't a fan of him at all in Pearl Islands. His leadership skills were constantly in question that season, questioning if he really knows what the Morgan should be doing survival-wise, and then the decision to bet on Osten.

This opening question, almost no questions about his leadership. The show him cutting down that tree (contrasting Stephen)... In Pearl Islands, they would go the route of him just talking down Skinny Ryan in confessionals. And, even though he is basically building the same alliance as last time, it wasn't pointed out in the episode or even implied (as some could interpret Jeremy/Keith redux). The Stephen stuff seemed to center more about Stephen himself and less about Evil Savage Who Excludes People.

Solid start for Mr. Savage. Could've been way worse.

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09-27-15, 02:08 AM (EST)
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12. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
I don't know if all the people who didn't get confessionals pre-marooning are gonna finish top 11. I think the winner will be among those. This was debated on Sucks and some people thought it foreshadowed but someone said it may not mean that.

I thought Jeremy was in an alliance with the girls and Keith. It didn't seem Jon, Drew, and Jeremy were allies from the start given Jeremy's confessionals. Missy was close with Jon and Natalie and that was the bridge to connect Jeremy and Jon. Jon and Jaclyn were swing votes at the merge though and almost sided with the gas brothers before Julie quit.

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09-27-15, 02:15 AM (EST)
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13. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
LAST EDITED ON 09-27-15 AT 02:18 AM (EST)

Thank you, Outsider for your feed back but can I make a request? I have been avoiding Sucks for the last few years because they use spoilers in their speculation thread so I would appreciate it if you didn't bring them here. Your ideas are fine. Theirs? Not so much.

As for Jeremy's alliance, Drew said in his exit interviews that he thought he was good with Jeremy. Jon was surprised that Jeremy turned on Drew because he thought they were in an alliance. Jeremy only turned when Drew told him that he didn't want to vote against Keith.

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09-29-15, 10:28 PM (EST)
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23. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
But wasn't that after Keith sold him out? Was Jeremy targeting Keith from the start? Jeremy was aligned with everyone but what we saw on tv showed who his true alliance was. I remember Reed possibly being the target because Drew said on RHAP he was causing drama around camp but that was never shown because of what Keith did. And he was the one who pretty much let it slip Julie quit.

That had a lot to do with editing more than spoiling when people assumed.

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24. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
Hi there Michel, excellent observations. I'm looking forward to the whole season.

Shirin’s confessional: “To me, Vytas comes off as smarmy. That’s how I read him in his first season and that’s how I’m reading him now.

I wonder if all Shirin's perceptions of the other Second Chancer's are based on their original seasons. Vytas may indeed be smarmy but she seems to have her opinions preconceived and carved in stone. Will she allow herself to to be flexible when working with the others? It seems she is so full steam ahead that I wonder if she could miss the fact that people change.

Corrupting teenage boys
since, well,
none of your business how long...

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09-30-15, 03:19 PM (EST)
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25. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
The Crazy lady from her own season should not be throwing preconceived stones.
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09-30-15, 03:46 PM (EST)
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26. "RE: Episode 1 - Villains Have More Fun"
Great remark, Suzzee.

I heard a few people comment that Vytas came off as very arrogant when he did his post game interviews, especially during his podcast with Rob so I wonder if Shirin, then big fan, is basing her preconceptions on the edited versions of the characters or how they appeared in public afterwards. Like Joe, she didn't have much time to mingle with them during off-season Survivor events.

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09-30-15, 09:57 PM (EST)
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27. "The stage is being set"
Jeremy may have taken over as the new frontrunner. His edit of him crying about his wife being pregnant at home to go with his first episode is too forshadowing and he is not doing what he did last time getting all the screentime.

Savage, sadly, you can see that he isn't central to this season. To have his love story be outshadowed by Jeremy's is bad. Even Kass came off more touching. Stephen Fishbach is going to get the upper hand, and I think it's before the merge............

Because Joe will be going after the merge.

Stephen is being set up for endgame but not a winners edit. He however is going to be a character until he goes. To me, though, he is coming off more and more as the penultimate boot. Dan Foley last season finished 6th and the season before Jon did. They all got negative edits the first couple of episodes but they tried to put their own spin on things. They are the players editing wants you to want out the most at the merge.

Kass...............WOW. Redemption story? Don't see winner though.

Spencer after this season will take Cirie Fields' title as the best player to have never won. He's now looking to get to the end again and fall short.

Kelley once again getting that gamer girl edit. It is SO Carolyn from last year. I'm afraid she will be outdone by Jeremy.

Varner lapping up his early to mid-merge boot edit. she pre-merge or GOAT?

There was nothing from Keith and Tasha this episode. Which hurts Tasha's winner chances. But I am thinking she is going toe be the villain after all Keith might still get there.

Final Six
Abi-Maria, Kimmi, or Keith

At any point early in the merge or in the middle

Pre-merge boots(based on build up whether negative or not)
Woo(did not like that at all)
Terry(don't think he's endgame and edit was too big)
Kelly, Abi-Maria, or PG(another who isn't looking good)

I am going to take a guess that the family visit will not be at the endgame because Joe cannot last that long.

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10-03-15, 01:27 PM (EST)
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29. "RE: The stage is being set"
Interesting analysis, Outsider. I see that we took completely opposite views of Bayon's second scene. I think it's normal since we saw so little of them.
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10-03-15, 10:18 PM (EST)
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30. "RE: The stage is being set"
The one with Jeremy?
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10-04-15, 10:27 AM (EST)
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31. "RE: The stage is being set"
Yes. I thought it showed that Jeremy is still thinking about Val. Last week he said thinking about his wife was his downfall so he is repeating his mistakes.
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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
DAW Level: "Beef Jerky Spokesperson"

10-03-15, 01:23 PM (EST)
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28. "Episode 2 - Change is Hard"
The Recap

20 players voted in by America traveled to Cambodia. They have been given a second chance to change the way they played the first time and to finish what they started.

Tasha’s confessional: “I’m here to win a million dollars and when it’s all done, I will pray for forgiveness.”

At the Takeo tribe, Abi was battling herself but the real battle was between two styles of play: Old School (Terry and Vytas serving as visual examples) and new school (Spencer, Shirin with Varner).

The new school was all about strategy while the old school was about relationships and survival.

It was the veteran Varner who found himself stuck in the middle.
At the Bayon tribe, the strong men bonded together but Stephen didn’t fit in and his tribe became suspicious that he was looking for a hidden immunity idol. (Old School Kimmi mentioned Stephen’s idol search to the surprised new schooler Kass)
In a Survivor first, Kelley found an idol hidden at the immunity challenge but it was Joe who found success and it only got worse for Takeo.

At Tribal Council, Varner had to decide which way to go.
Varner: “It’s my second chance; I don’t want to screw it up.”
In the end, Abi got four votes but it was Vytas who was sent home (Varner’s pleased expression was shown to make sure we know which side he chose) leaving Terry, Wiglesworth and Woo on the bottom.

This was a fairly straightforward recap: The old-school versus new-school theme was repeated so maybe Kass’ surprise reaction that someone could be looking for an idol is something we should file for future reference: Kimmi had to be the one telling her that someone could be searching for an idol when you’d expect it to be the other way around.

While the “Old-School” term is somewhat pejorative, I'm glad that Ayak reminded us that old-school was primarily about Survival skills because it really mattered back then. We should remember that the players started thinking earlier about the social game when they started having it easy. Fiji really showed the difference: The Ravu tribe members needed to think about their own survival while in Moto they could take it easy. Most of the first seasons were more like the Have-Nots while at one point, probably around Cook Islands, the tribes got so much supplies that they could start playing earlier.

Getting back to this season, Jeff Varner’s role was underlined as well as his conflict between both schools. This made it sound like a long term story. The replay of Tasha’s confessional is also something we have to note. When Probst mentioned that the players were given second chance to change the way they played the first time and to finish what they started, we had a close up of 4 players: Varney, Keith, Ciera and Kelley. They were all shown during the walk through the temple grounds. Was that a hint pointing to our Final 4? We will have to file that for now and remember this if these four ever wind up together.

The episode started with an image of the temple whose structure seemed to be replicated by the cloud formation over Takeo.

To me, this was another sign that the winner’s story will be shown to follow, thematically, the teachings of Buddhism. It was a nice visual and could have been shown only for that reason but it was a very powerful symbol, something we have to consider.

At its center, Buddhism has 4 Noble Truths that tell us the nature and origin of suffering and the path to end it. The path to end suffering requires wisdom, concentration and ethical conduct. Let’s see how this applies to our story.

This episode could have been titled:

Change is Hard.

The episode started with Terry making fire with the flint that the tribe had just received.

Kelly Wiglesworth’s confessional: “Tribal Council was devastating. I didn’t expect Varner to flip. It kind of sucks to be on the bottom. It was not how I wanted to start this second chance. My alliance needs to get their crap together. Shirin and Spencer set the pace: Forming alliances and scheming. We got to start defending ourselves or we’re done here.”

In season one, Kelly always knew which way the vote was going. The only times she didn’t vote with the majority was because she wanted to express her individuality. This season is quite a change for her. Can she change along with it? That is the main question regarding Kelly’s prospects.

Kelley Wentworth gave us a confessional: “Yesterday, we went from the challenge straight to Tribal Council and so I need to find some time to read my idol which I have been holding on to. I don’t even know what it looks like, I don’t know what the clue says... This second chance season is already insane so I’m really glad to have a little bit of security. It’s a beautiful thing. I am so excited. Playing a second time, having a second chance; I just want to do everything that I didn’t do the first time. I want to be aggressive and I want to be a player. It’s really important to me. It’s a second chance: Go big or go home!”

Before the next scene, we saw a bird holding an insect in its beak. The angle of the bird’s head was identical to the angle of Varner’s head as he listened to Spencer.

Talking to Varner, Shirin and Kelley, Spencer was saying that they had a good group. Varner asked for the next target and Spencer said it simply should be one of the three which was fine with the veteran.

Spencer’s interview: “After Vytas went home there was definitely a sense that the new school got the better of the old school on the first vote. Terry, Wiglesworth and Woo missed the boat.”

Varner asked the group if his vote showed them his loyalty. The new schoolers all said yes.

Varner in confessional: “Spencer and Shirin are quite comfortable but I’m not so sure they should be as comfortable as they are. My whole plan with voting out Vytas was to teach the old schoolers to play this game finally and to set the pace to get rid of Shirin and Spencer. They are playing way too hard, strategy wise. I want to get one of them out of the mix.”

Taking a walk in the woods with Terry, Varner told him that he didn’t think Abi was the right one to go, that it wasn’t time for Abi because she was easy. He added: “This game is moving like lightning Terry and all of these threats have got to go. They can’t be like names in passing. That’s old school. This is a new game and I don’t want us to look like we don’t know what we’re doing. I want to vote out Spencer or Shirin. Those two are playing. They got to go. If I’m going to the end with a group, I am going with you all.”

Varner gave another interview (It was in a different location and he hadn’t yet torn off the sleeves of his purple shirt): “That vote last night was a wake up call: Get off your ##### and play this game. This is not 2001.”

Varner is making an effort to improve which is part of Samadhi; concentration. He analyzed the situation as it really is, showing Prajna; wisdom. Those are two of the three higher trainings that lead to the path to end suffering, the other being Sila; ethical conduct.

Terry gave us a confessional: “I left tribal Council feeling like crap but Varner is hitting the beach hard and playing the game. Survivor has changed. My second chance includes Terry Dietz having to play a social game or I will see my butt voted out.”

The scene ended with the two guys hugging and Varner turning to look around: “I’m looking for a spy shack!”

This last segment showed us that these two veterans have kept up with the events of the last seasons so they know how the game has evolved. Will they be able to truly change when they are confronted with new tribes? They were both on seasons that didn’t have tribe swaps so the next episode will be a major hurdle for them.

After the Introduction, we were in Bayon on Day 4

Joe’s confessional: “I want to have fun out here, I want to do stuff. No one likes sleeping on the bamboo so I said: Yeah, I think I’m going to make a hammock. The last time I played, I was the biggest threat no questions asked so, coming into this season it’s nice being in a role where I feel I am providing a service. I want to be someone that people need and want around.”

The music was very upbeat and light, something we’d expect on a tribe that can sit back and enjoy a nice sunny day. Bayon’s camp was already starting to look like Moto, the tribe that had everything in Fiji. Imagine next week after Joe gets that tool kit...

Ciera was seen serving fried mangoes to the tribe.

Stephen’s confessional: “It’s crazy to be in a tribe with Joe because he’s Survivor MacGyver. He’s always building a hammock or going fishing. Joe is too good for his own self. He’s too much of the golden boy, beautiful; a threat. Joe is the guy that is perfect at the beginning; he wins all the challenges and builds the shelter and then you slit his neck right when you get to the merge.”

As if practicing what he would do to Joe, we saw Stephen chopping a coconut.

The music got slightly more dramatic when Stephen started talking about Joe. There will probably be a showdown between the two and I have a feeling that Joe will come out on top because Stephen is talking about a post-merge move. His time may run out before then.

Takeo Day 4

Abi in confessional: “At Tribal Council, I got four votes. If it was me back in Survivor Philippines, I would have exploded but I didn’t. You know, I’m working on it, I want to change. I just try to act like the new Abi that I want to be.”
Abi got in a confrontation with Peih Gee, convinced that she had been talking about her.

Spencer’s interview: “Abi is an absolute drama queen. The fact that I have to trust someone like that to protect my interests is the most frightening thing that I’ve had to do in all of Survivor. I feel like I am in a good position but Abi is the permanent liability. She will always be this bodyweight that you have to lug around. Abi is here to start fights and that is cancer for the tribe and definitely cancer for an alliance.”

Seeing Woo, Terry and Varner talking on the beach, Abi asked if she should walk to to them to interrupt their conversation. When Spencer said why not, she got up saying: “I’ll just be annoying.”

Varner’s confessional: “Abi is our own little Brazilian soap opera that we can turn on and watch whenever we want to and there are buttons that you can push to get to various levels of entertainment! I see Abi as someone that everybody hates which makes her somebody I know I can beat. She is the perfect tool to help me win one million dollars. Oh! my god! This is delicious! Who needs food when you got Abi.”

Abi must have interrupted many conversations because the one we just saw at the beach was spliced together with another conversation between Terry and Woo next to the shelter. Note that the last part of Varner’s confessional was also spliced in because he was wearing his tie in that part. This segment offers us a nice question about Abi moving forward. It was funny to hear Spencer call her a drama queen right before Varner said she was a Brazilian soap opera. They had the same view of her but diametrically opposite reactions: Spencer worried about it; Varner was amused by it. Was Spencer right? Is Abi a cancer for an alliance? If she is then Varner and Terry may have made a fatal mistake by including her in their group. However, this was Spencer in his arrogant phase still so it’s possible that he didn’t see that Abi can change...or that she can be replaced if needed! Of course, this scene showed that Varner can be just as arrogant as Spencer but it looks like he is keeping it for his confessionals.

Bayon Day 5

Andrew was telling the story about the way he met his wife, the most gorgeous brunette he had ever seen. That story touched them all.

Kass gave us her reaction in interview: “My last season, my fellow cast members were horrible. This time, some of these people are great people so if they make me a better person and a better player, I’ll take it. I think you have to have feelings in this game and that was a fault in my prior game: I was assuming everyone had compartmentalized this and we were going to play poker and someone was going to win and I realized that not everyone behaves in that manner out here. We’re real people and I’m going to be a real person throughout this.”

Jeremy had also been affected by Andrew’s story so he took a walk alone out of camp.

Jeremy’s confessional: “I’M trying to have fun and be all business but Savage bringing up that story with his wife...It touches you, you know. My wife is pregnant (congratulations Val!) and I want to see her stomach, I want to be there to see it grow. But I’m not telling anybody. I got so much riding on me anyway. I know they are going to come after me as a physical threat and you’re going to add on that my wife is pregnant? No one is going to want to take me to the end. I got to control this a little bit. Val knows how much this means to me and to her. She is the reason why I am doing this again.”

Back in the shelter, someone asked about Jeremy. Stephen wondered out loud if Jeremy was out looking for an idol.
Andrew in confessional: “Here’s the thing about Stephen: His first reaction was that Jeremy was looking for an idol as opposed to Jeremy has a wonderful wife and kids so maybe my story affected him and he needed some private time. That just tells me that Fishbach is playing the game 24/7 and all he cares about is that idol. It’s all about the game and no emotions. Fishbach is kind of lacking in some of the things that really mean everything to me and my tribe: Morals, values, loyalty, dignity, courage. So, whether I like the guy or not, his time out here, if it is up to me, is going to be limited.”

While we didn’t get to see much of Bayon, this segment gave us an indication about some players’ ability to change. Kass’s confessional tells us that she wants that change and it would certainly give her a better chance of winning if she was seen as a real, good person. However, will the others still perceive her as someone that is simply playing the game, still wanting to cause chaos? We haven’t heard her talking to the others enough to answer that question.

It seems that Jeremy can’t change. While his alliance gives him a better shield than in San Juan del Sur, he is still thinking too much about Val. The timing of coming back during her pregnancy doesn’t help but if we don’t see him focusing more on the game then he doesn’t have a chance.

For Stephen, the scene wasn’t very positive. For someone who spent time away from the shelter to look for an idol, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to bring up the idea that others doing the same thing could be looking for idols.

Andrew’s latest confessional connected him with the theme of Buddhism. He showed Sila when he talked about his values. The game of Survivor is amoral but the people playing it rarely put their morals away. It’s something that a smart player needs to consider and Andrew certainly had the right speech to connect with the people of his tribe, especially the women who really appreciated his romantic side.

Takeo Night 5

While Abi was out by the beach, Peih Gee and Shirin were talking about her. Abi overheard and confronted them.

Shirin told us about their fight in confessional, saying that it upset her so she walked away.

Peih Gee in confessional: “Of course, I was a little embarrassed to have been caught talking about somebody behind their back but everybody is fed up with her. She doesn’t have a single friend on this island.”

Going back to the shelter, Peih Gee told everyone that it felt good to have it out with Abi. Everyone laughed and didn’t seem to mind that Abi heard them.

While Shirin will immediately feel the consequences of this fight, it doesn’t reflect well on Peih Gee either.

Abi’s confessional: “Everyone that I was aligned with is laughing at me now. I feel like Shirin didn’t have my back.
The reason why I wanted to work with her was because she felt like nobody had her back on her season. I just feel really weird right now. It hurts and I feel alone.”

Terry’s confessional: “Abi goes off to the beach, the eight of us are in the shelter and she’s getting laughed at by her people and no one stood up for her. I know; she’s annoying and she’s an emotional train wreck but to leave another human being out there, floundering; that’s just wrong.” Terry and Abi had a talk by the ocean. Terry told her that Shirin and Spencer are only out for themselves. His confessional continued: “Something started to really click between me and Abi! Not only personal wise because we made that connection but strategic wise in the talking we were doing there. The opportunity sprang from just being thoughtful about somebody. Jeff lit a little fire under my a$$. I knew I had to come to the beach with a social game and I was a little slow on the uptake at first but it’s starting to come together.”

Speaking of Varner, did anyone notice that he was sleeping just a few feet away?

I wonder if he participated in that conversation. Maybe he encouraged it. The next scene certainly suggests it. For Terry, we see that he is changing his ways thinking more about the social aspects of the game. In Panama, his decisions were all based on numbers and Sally was saved only because he thought she would be more helpful to win challenges than Ruth Marie.

Takeo Day 6

The images were still in black and white.

Jeff was just getting up when Abi came to join him. He asked her if she had a good talk with Terry. He added: “Isn’t he a nice man? I’m thinking of aligning with him.” Abi agreed. Jeff told Abi that he thought she was fabulous. She was very thankful.
That was nice manipulation considering Jeff had already decided to align with both!

Abi’s confessional: “That was music to my ears. After my whole alliance is making me feel like a fool and now I feel so good that people actually want to work with me and they find me a joy. Terry saw the crack and he jumped right on it. My old alliance will definitely regret not coming to me when I needed them the most.”

Varner told her the plan to vote against Shirin and Spencer. The two shook on it.

The Immunity Challenge

As we expected, Ciera’s reation was the first shown when Jeff told them that Ta Keo had eliminated Vytas but it was fun to see that the cameras also turned to Stephen. His “Oh! my god!” was almost as if we had a very short version of Stephen’s “know-it-all” podcast one week after the fact! We know that Bayon must have spent hours wondering about the vote (Why doesn’t Survivor show us any of that footage? I think it would be extremely interesting to see) so Stephen’s reaction told us that he and his tribe were totally surprised by that outcome, maybe even shocked to see Ta Keo playing hardball so quickly.

Ciera sat out for Bayon.

She is turning into the tribe’s waitress and cheerleader.

Monica and Kass could have sat this one out so maybe it’s telling us that Bayon doesn’t respect Ciera’s abilities.
The tribes were neck and neck until they got to the crates were Bayon took the lead.

The first two puzzle makers for Bayon were Kass and Kimmi. Takeo countered with “I’m good at Sudoku” Peih Gee and Kelley Wentworth. Despite a lot of help from their tribe mates, neither team made much progress. Spencer took over for Kelley while Joe and Jeremy took over for Kimmi and Kass. Seeing that, Shirin took Peih Gee’s place. Panic was setting in. Varner even said that this was a nightmare.

Even if Takeo thought they had finished first, MacGyver won another challenge for Bayon.

Now, considering the upcoming Tribal Swap, I wonder if Joe will have time to enjoy the new shelter he will be building!

As the tribe was heading back to camp, Varner had a confessional: “That challenge was a nightmare and we ended up losing but it didn’t dawn on me until just now that Spencer and Shirin had their fate in their own hands and they lost it. Now, one of those two is going home tonight. How poetic?”

I’ve often said that this spot can be called the “kiss-of death” confessional, especially when the person giving it his very confident about the outcome of the vote. There have been exceptions however and sometimes this spot is reserved for the season’s master mind. Since we know that Varner was right then that could mean that he is in for the long term.


The defeated tribe returned to camp, Terry telling everyone that they did their best.

Spencer’s confessional: “Second challenge in and we are already getting our asses kicked. I am very happy to have control of the game with Shirin. I relate to Shirin more than anyone else out here. My old Survivor experience of being on the bottom and suffering and not having anyone I can play with and trust is gone.”

Spencer thought he had already reached Nirvana! Nevermind, Spencer...

Varner’s confessional: “My whole thing is to get rid of the threats as soon as you can. Spencer is a huge strategic threat. That kid is the smartest young man I have ever met in my entire life. Shirin is all of that plus she is emotional. She knows how to talk to you like she’s your best friend. She’s the sales person. They are two heads on one snake so it doesn’t matter which one we chop off.”

He asked Peih Gee and Kelly, if they would vote out Shirin or Spencer. Peih Gee said she wanted to go where the numbers were.
Peih Gee’s interview: “I wanted to vote out Abi-Maria but I am siding with the larger majority which seems to be everyone except for Shirin and Spencer. I think they are both a little bit dangerous and I don’t want to be on the wrong side of the votes.”

Kelley Wentworth and Jeff agreed that their tribe was a mess. He told her about Abi’s loyalty to Terry. Counting the numbers, Kelley realized that it included... “everyone but Shirin and Spencer” interjected Varner. Kelley quickly told him she was on board, adding that he wouldn’t see her talking to Shirin and Spencer all day.

Kelley’s confessional: “It’s very hard for me thinking of voting for Shirin or Spencer because those are my original allies. Unfortunately, things shifted over the course of 24 hours and now I find myself in a different alliance which I don’t necessarily like but I have to go with the flow. So Shirin and Spencer are in deep crap.”

This confessional shows that Kelley can adapt.

Taking a walk along the beach with Abi, Shirin gave us a confessional: “Even though we lost the immunity challenge, I feel really good going forward because we’ve got me, Spencer, Kelley, Jeff Varner but I want to make sure that Abi still feels good. She is always all over the place.”

The conversation she had with Abi didn’t go as well as Shirin expected. Abi told her directly that she wasn’t with her anymore and neither were Varner and Kelley.

The drums sounded like a heart pounding underlining the tension in the scene.

Abi in confessional: “I am so sorry. I tried Shirin, I tried having your back but if you (bleep) me, you are dead.”

In confessional, Shirin told us that she should be riding high but that, somehow, someway, she ended up in the minority.

The little monkey listened to Shirin telling Spencer that they were screwed because Varner and Abi were voting with the old school players.

Spencer’s confessional: “Right now, I am swinging like a pendulum between frustration and exasperation. One minute ago, I was in a perfectly fine position and now nothing is as high a priority as keeping myself safe. I just have to make it a priority to make it three more days.”

Shirin and Spencer tried to recruit Woo, telling him that he would be the first to go if he stuck with the old school. Woo answered that the majority rules and that this was their very first conversation.

Woo’s confessional: “All of a sudden, Spencer and Shirin have the audacity to think that I’m going to drop my tribe and jump in with them.”

Shirin told us that her only option was voting for Spencer.

Spencer’s confessional: “My situation is getting bleaker and bleaker. This was going to be my second chance and I wanted to have a very different experience but I am being brought back hard to my first experience where everything starts going really, really well and all of a sudden it collapses in front of me. Every other person except Shirin and me is in the numbers against us. Shirin has been my only solid person and now I feel like there is no move I can make other than screwing over the one person that I wanted to play with.”

For someone that wanted to have more conversations in the first three days than he had during his whole first season, I was surprised to hear that he didn’t even talk to Woo! Of course, now he does have those three more days and a tribal swap that can completely alter his future. He may be able to change and his tears finally showed us some humility.

What I found most interesting is that the camera work made it look like Spencer was applauding Woo and the man behind him, the one that changed the vote, Varner.

Spencer was only getting the dust out of his shoes but the effect was quite noticeable.

Tribal Council

Asked about the vibe of the tribe, Varner said they were all exhausted: “That was an intense challenge.”

Spencer told Jeff that players suffer from amnesia, remembering only the fun parts of the game, forgetting that this is going to kick their #####.

Shirin said she didn’t remember it being awesome. “I had a really hard time the first time and I’m starting to have a rough time the second time around.” She told Jeff about the fights and that she thought she was on the bottom.

Kelley told Jeff that the fight was between Abi and Peih Gee.

Abi explained that she overheard Shirin and Peih Gee talking about her, making her feel betrayed. She added: “I am very gracious towards Terry. He was the only one that rescued me when I was feeling very lonely, when I felt I was going to be voted out tonight unanimously.”

Probst noted the irony about Terry coming to her rescue just like Mike had come to Shirin’s rescue last season.

Shirin said she should have gone to Abi to fix it.

Terry noted that he had been on the bottom but that he made a connection with Abi.

Spencer was also concerned for his safety. He said he was in trouble because he talked too much about strategy and didn’t get to know everyone.

Asked if the vote was indeed between Shirin and Spencer, Varner simply said: “Yes.”

Spencer vowed to everyone individually that he would make changes if he was allowed to stay. He turned directly to Varner at the end of his plea and Varner looked glad to hear it.

Probst noted another ironic situation: Spencer had said very similar words when his fate in the game rested with Tasha and Kass. His philosophical question led Shirin to say: “Change is hard...It doesn’t mean that you are going to change overnight.”
She asked her tribe to give her a third chance.

It was time to vote.

Terry, Shirin, Abi and Kelley voted for Spencer while Kelly, Peih Gee, Varner, Spencer, and Woo voted for Shirin.

Note that by splitting the votes, the old school players left the door open for Spencer and Shirin to go after Abi with only two more votes. If Kelley and Peih Gee had stayed with them, they could have kept control of the game. Contrary to even many new school players, this alliance’s resolve forced Shirin and Spencer to vote against each other, removing the risks of dividing the votes.

Before leaving, Shirin told Spencer to “Give ‘em hell.”

Turning once more in the direction of Varner and Terry, Spencer said: “I meant every word I said. Thank you, guys.” It was Varner who was shown nodding in response.

After snuffing Shirin’s torch, Jeff said: “This season offers a second chance to change what didn’t work the first time but if you don’t change, history is destined to repeat itself.”

The Story

For this episode, the attention was almost exclusively on Takeo. The dynamics changed so quickly during this three day cycle that the editors had to spend a lot of time on this tribe just to show it all. That means we can’t say that Takeo is the tribe of interest, that its players will be there at the end game, but it seems likely.
In the first episode we said that there were four themes, namely:
- The players will have to follow the teachings of Buddhism
- The players will have to find a way to put an end to their nightmares.
- The game comes down to Old school ethics versus New School tactics
- Villains have more fun

We find that the first three can all be interpreted by the influence of Buddhism on the edit. The images of the Temple at the start of the episode that was reflected in the cloud formation suggest that the winner will be presented as someone going on a quest to reach Survivor’s Nirvana; Being Sole Survivor.

Putting an end to the nightmares is another way of saying that the players have to find a way to put an end to their sufferings. For some it has been practically a lifelong quest to find happiness in this game. The discussion at Tribal Council about the amnesia that the players have about all the hardships shows that the need to rewrite the end of their story is very powerful.

In Buddhism, the “Middle Way” is very important because it leads to enlightenment. The “Middle Way” is a path between the extremes which suggests we should be looking for someone that combines both New and Old School like we mentioned after the first episode. The winner will probably not be shown as being too attached to either way of playing but someone that can combine the two. Their conduct should combine Prajna (wisdom), Sila (ethical conduct) and Samadhi (making an effort to improve).

As for Villains having more fun, it seems in contradiction to the need to have morals, an ethical conduct and using harmless methods. The Survivor format forces the Villains to be accepted by the jury. Hatch, Tina, Chris, Todd, Kim, Natalie and Tony were big manipulators who had fun with this game while being villains in the eyes of some of their allies and even for viewers in some cases. Maybe that is the type of winner that we will have this time around.

It’s difficult to write an analysis when we know that a tribal swap is just around the corner. So much will depend on the structure of the new tribes and the new connections that the players will have to form. We also won’t know how much the new alliances will come into play over some that may have been forged before the game started. Still, we can take a look at the way the characters have been portrayed in the first two episodes and how they fit in the themes of the story.

The Characters

Nothing Has Changed – These players haven’t shown us that they can change:

Tasha, Ciera, Monica, Keith: These four were practically absent in this episode so we can’t write anything more than what we said after the first episode. We will have to wait before we can see what they are doing with their second chance. At most, we can say that the replay of Tasha’s confessional during the summary of the first episode is noteworthy while Monica was chosen to participate in the challenge over Ciera which was important for someone who told us that she wants to show she can contribute.

Kimmi: She didn’t receive much more than the first four but in her case it may be an improvement. While we see that Abi can’t change, Kimmi hasn’t caused any trouble up to now. Her situation is helped by the two challenge wins and the luxurious shelter but the old Kimmi would probably still have found a way to attract attention. We are seeing a more relaxed Kimmi but we still don’t know if she can play the game.

Jeremy: While the structure of is alliance puts him in a better situation if he makes it to the merge, we see that his methods and his thoughts haven’t changed. He still recruited allies very quickly and is hoping that nothing will mess it up while he can’t stop thinking about his wife. Jeremy seems incapable of making the effort to change and to concentrate on the goal

Joe: He’s probably never had to change a thing yet in his young life so he is still playing the same game probably hoping things will change for the better by themselves. Survivor MacGyver is simply putting a bigger target on his back. Stephen is already targeting him, machete in hand! He may not have the numbers to go after Joe and he may never find them but someone will.

Abi: The way she turned on Shirin reminded me a lot of her actions in the Philippines where she turned on RC. The big question about Abi comes from Spencer’s comment: Is she a cancer for her alliance? If so, maybe Terry and Varner will regret recruiting her. At least these two seem to understand her better than Spencer and Shirin. I’m not sure how far Abi will go or if she will be the downfall of her new allies and the tribe swap could put her in a tough situation once again but she found a nice spot in Takeo just like she had in Tandang.

Woo: Just like in Cagayan, Woo’s game changed for the better even if he didn’t have to do a single thing. The last time, Kass’ move gave his side the numbers while here Varner’s tactics and Abi’s change of heart put him in a nice spot. For Woo, the trouble is that we are still far from the merger and he won’t be able to coast from here on out like he did in Cagayan. It was bad for Spencer not to talk to Woo before he needed his vote but the same could be said of Woo. Why didn’t HE try to make a connection with Spencer? It shows the limits of Woo’s social game.

Peih Gee: Another puzzle and another failure for Miss Sudoku Peih Gee! And this time she was trying to solve it! While she is in the middle of the story in Takeo, we mostly hear from her when she has to explain what she did wrong. She was right to say that Abi also talked behind her back but she should have known that Abi wouldn’t take it as well as she did, wouldn’t understand Survivor’s imposed discipline. Just like in Zhan Hu, Peih Gee finds herself in the weaker tribe. China’s tribal swap gave her a fighting chance so we will have to see how she handles the upcoming switch.

Forced to Change

Stephen: By his own words, Stephen fell ass-backwards into an alliance during his first season. This time, the train left the station too quickly for him and he seems to have fallen ass-backwards on the tracks. Luckily for him, no train came to take Bayon to Tribal Council so he has time to get back on the platform and wait for another one. How will he play in his new tribe? He will have to move more quickly this time if he wants to make it to the merger.

Kelly: As a member of the Tagi 4, Kelly didn’t have to scramble during her first game but she found herself quickly in trouble this time. Like Woo, we didn’t see her doing much to change the situation but it’s easy to imagine that she was in Varner’s mind when he told Terry that he wanted to go to the end “with you all”. Now she has an opportunity to show us what she can do because the tribal swap will be totally new for her.
Spencer: It was refreshing to see some humility from Spencer but it may have come too late. The switch will put him with players who still see him as an arrogant schemer and they won’t have heard his promise. He could wind up right back on the hot seat.

Finding a Way to Change

Kass: For once, she likes the people around her. It was good to hear her sentiments about her fellow castaways but that seems to signal the start of a redemption edit. If Kass likes these people, will she be able to create chaos? If not, what role does she have to play? Of course, the tribal swap may put her back with people she hates so she still has time to go back to her old, doomed tactics.

Andrew: We heard more of his personal life in this episode than we probably did during his 8 episodes in Pearl islands. His confessional was an example of Sila (ethical conduct) and how it can apply to Survivor. The game is amoral but the players will almost always form alliances with people that they like. Rare are the players like Todd who can align with Jean Robert and James, the ones that he called the trash that had to be taken out. Will it be enough for Andrew to get to the end? Telling us about his perfect life tells us that he may not want it bad enough to make the effort to reach the final goal.

Kelley: Contrary to last time, Kelley found a way to turn the situation around. She was right there next to Spencer and Shirin and a big part of the new school alliance but she found the right words to convince Varner that she could be trusted. She succeeded because they decided to split the votes between their two targets. Now she is in with the Old School players but she has all the weapons, the knowledge and the tactics of the New School. Kelley could be a very interesting player down the road. It was important for her story that they showed her going out of camp to look at her idol. We didn’t need to see it but the scene served to show that she is ready to improve her game. Kelley’s portrayal puts her very high on the list of contenders.

Terry: No one showed more signs of change in this episode than Terry. Many viewers criticized his social game but we heard both Abi and Varner say that he is a nice guy. His main problem comes from his reputation however. We have already heard many comments about getting rid of threats and, before Mike last season, no one was a bigger threat than Terry in Panama. The tribal swap will be critical for him: He will need to have some old school players on his new tribe and find the right words to get them to work with him.

Varner: Using what some view as new school tactics, Varner flipped the game just like some other famous old school players did way back when! With one vote, he flipped the alliance around much like Tina did in episode 4 of Australia or Rob did a few times in the Amazon. Varner could be seen to be playing too hard too fast but we have often followed these master manipulators all the way through their seasons. Varner had already shown some of his manipulation skills during the Outback but we saw them again in this episode when he sealed the alliance with Abi. I’m wondering if he even started the fight between her and Peih Gee! He’d only have needed to tell Abi where she’d find Peih Gee and Shirin.

It was interesting that Varner used the word nightmare twice to describe the latest challenge when it was the nightmare of the merge challenge that has haunted him all these years. His 15 year quest to find Survivor’s Nirvana puts him in line with the themes of this season. He actually used the word quest which is the perfect one to describe the path to enlightenment that is essential in Buddhism. Can he carry this momentum all the way to the end? It would be a fun ride.

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32. "RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard"
As always, michel, you've done a great job with the editing re-cap. Despite the identified themes of the show, which, BTW, are excellent, I still have to consider that the main theme is your second chance. Will it boil down to actually doing something that changes your game, or will you play the exact same way and let history repeat itself? You've broken it down nicely in the end between no changes/forced to change/finding a way to change.

The players themselves have divided the group into old schoolers and new schoolers. I do believe that our winner will be able to take from both schools to employ the winning strategy.

Previously on Survivor: You will get a 2nd shot, after being picked 20 get a second chance...welcome, See Tasha: I'm here to win a million $ and when it's all done, I'll pray for forgiveness. At Takeo, Abi battling herself...but the real battle was between old school and new school. New school is all about strategy, see Shirin, old school is about relationships and surviving, and it was the veteran, Varner, who found himself stuck in the middle. At Bayon, the strong men bonded but Stephen didn't fit in and they became suspicious that he was looking for an idol. At the challenge Kelley got the HII, but Joe won the challenge, at TC, in the end Abi got 4 votes, but it was Vytas that was sent home leaving Terry, Wiggle and Woo on the bottom...19 left who's next?

The intro gave us a Tasha highlight. One of the reasons I was impressed with Tasha, that I forgot to mention after the last episode, was that she used religion in her answer. How she played as how she perceived her church members would want her to, but now, with their encouragement, she can do what she has to do to win. Knowing how important Christian faith is to EPMB, this confessional did stick out to me, and now that it's chosen as the quote from all of their quotes, I think it's something to keep in mind regarding Tasha.

The old school theme vs the new schoolers is going to be important again. With Varner in the middle, as the intro points out. At Bayon, Stephen is on the hot plate, and Joe is the star. Abi got 4 votes, and Terry, Wigle, and Woo are on the bottom.

Kelly Wigle has the first confessional and it's as a narrator. Varner flipped, didn't expect it, Shirin and Spencer are the ringleaders...our alliance needs to move it or lose it. Sets the tone for episode and asks the leading question. They either will or the won't get their acts together.

Kelley wants to see her idol, and does...another great conf about how differently she's going to play this time around: I want to be aggressive and I want to do everything that I didn't do the first time, I want to be a player, go big or go home, YES! And, the actions support the declaration!

See Varner with Spencer, Shirin, Kelley, and he wants to know who's next. Spencer has a conf: the old schoolers missed the boat. Then Varner says that he's not so sure they should be so comfortable, and we see him talking to Terry...wanted to light a fire under my alliance, wants either Spencer or Shirin out and he wants to go to the end with their group.

Terry has a confessional afterwards: "my second chance includes Terry Dietz having to play a social game or I will have to leave the game"....This is a great point of enlightenment for Terry, now can he deliver?

Then Terry turns to Varner who says to him,I"M LOOKING FOR A SPY SHACK!!! I loved this that the old schoolers were trying to play the way the penultimate new schooler played! Nod to Tony!

Over at Bayon, Joe tells us that this year he wants to provide a service for his tribe so everyone will like him. Stephen talks about Joe, which is good, but says he's good till merge, then you chop him, and we see Stephen chopping him. A nice conflict between Joe and Stephen, polar opposites perhaps. Joe certainly appears to have the stronger edit! I think this is ALL WRONG for Stephen. He should be embracing Joe, the survivalist and team up with him, as he did with JT. I felt that his strategy the first time around was stellar, and now he's changing when he shouldn't. Stephen was also mentioned in a bad way in the intro. Does this spell impending doom for our knowingest know it all?

Then back to TaKeo. We see the baby monkey and then Spencer. So, the baby monkey is Spencer and precedes him. That's got to be a good sign that they have an animal that's symbolic of one of the players, no?

Abi says that she's changing, would have exploded with 4 votes last time, Then Spencer has his conf: Abi's a drama queen, she's cancer to the tribe and an even greater cancer to my alliance.

Contrasting to Spencers thoughts, Varner has a conf about how much he's enjoying Abi. Our own little soap opera that we can manipulate for entertainment, who needs food, delicious!

Then we flip back to Bayon and Andrew talks about how he met his wife. A nice recollection, everyone gets choked up, bonding with him. But, I have to say, this is striking to me. If he's crying about missing his wife on day 4, he's in trouble. AS Jeremy had a hard time focusing on the game because of his wife, I am thinking that Andrew is going down the same path. Andrew seems unfocused, at least from the last time he played, and this is not a good thing. I see Andrew as playing very similarly to his last game. He's collected his alliance and identified the ones he doesn't want, last time it was Skinny Ryan, this time it's Stephen. He seems to be on top of his tribe, but we know that next week is a big twist, and who suffered from the big twist in Andrew's season? Andrew, as he was most affected by the outcast twist. Time will tell.

We see Jeremy leave as well and have a cry, and tell us Val is pregnant and he cannot tell anyone. Yes, I do think, as you pointed out last week, that Jeremy also seems to be walking down the same old path, still focusing on his wife when she's not even there....uh oh.

Then Andrew has the confessional about Stephen asking if Jeremy had left to go look for the idol. Andrew goes and finds Jeremy and tells him. Now Jeremy is definitely on board with boot Stephen. Well, it does show that Stephen just didn't get the moment. But by Kass' confessional, she certainly does, which is far different than how she played the last time. I love that Kass is getting a different edit! I think about that she played with Spencer and Woo last time, and they are at the other camp, and Spencer, while declaring he's going to play differently, seems to be playing clinically as he did last time. Woo, also appears to be playing a similar game. Good for Kass!

Then at night, we get the Abi trash talk from Pei-Gee and Shirin, and Abi is right there. HELLO! Then the fight erupts and Shirin shrinks away saying she's talking about those votes for the millionth time, and it ends with Abi going to sit on the beach while Pei-Gee goes to the shelter, and recounts the fight telling everyone she feels good and they all laugh, which Abi can hear. We see Terry sit up and talk about at this time, her own alliance is laughing at her, and she's a human being and deserves more compassion. He goes to sit with her, and they bond, and then align. Good for you, Terry! You have crossed over to the few that are putting their words into actions!

Then we see Varner, good eye to see him laying down on the beach, Michel!, talking to Abi in the AM, and they are all on board, Varner and Abi shake on it!

We had the challenge, and when Jeff said, losers go to TC where someone will be voted out, we saw Shirin then Kelley. During the challenge Jiffy made it sound as though TaKeo was way behind, but when you saw it, they seemed neck to neck. Bayon shined at the crate pull however, and Shirin and Spencer lost the puzzle, but it was a good try. So hard because they all thought they had won it, then were totally deflated when they didn't. Varner had a supreme confessional when he said that he noticed that Shirin and Spencer held their own fate in their hands with the puzzle, how poetic!

Arriving back at camp, Spencer gets the first conf about how they are getting their a$$es kicked, but My old S experience of being on the bottom and suffering and not having anyone I can play with and trust is gone...

Then it all plays out and we see Varner work his magic. He identifies the threats and asks people to vote for one of them, asking all their opinions. He gets confirmation from Pei-Gee, and then from Kelley, then we see Shirin take Abi, Abi confirms she is no longer with her. Then Shirin gets more telling confessionals, she takes Spencer and they try to woo Woo, loved that Woo just says, NO!

Spencer has the last confessional before TC: My situation is getting bleaker and bleaker, this was going to be my second chance and I wanted to have a very difft experience, but I am being brought hard back to my first experience, it’s where it starts going very well and then everything collapses on me. Every single person except Shirin and I, are against us. She is my only solid person, now there is no move I can make except for screwing over the only person I wanted to play with, CRIES!

Wow! TC comes, Jiffy points out the similarities to Shirin's prior position, and Spencer's as well. Spencer pleads to everyone that if they spare him he WILL work hard to get to know them all, it won't be about making alliances...blah...They vote, Shirin goes. Spencer thanks them for this chance. Jiffy's last words that sum up the essence of the entire season: This season offers you every chance to change your ways but if you don't history is destined to repeat itself.

So, VARNER IS THE MAIN MAN! He's putting his money where his mouth is and he's PLAYING THIS GAME, and playing everyone along the way. I love him! He is stealing the show and is TV gold. He reneged on his old schoolers and voted out Vytas, then got them right back in the palm of his hand, and totally flipped ALL the numbers and got the new schoolers to turn against their own. I am all in, #TEAMVARNER! And, he's so charming! Seriously, Varner schooled them ALL! And did so with a smile on his face! I can't help but to think after this episode that Varner could just turn out to be the nuTony 2.0. GO VARNER!

I think that Terry had a stellar moment as well, when he got up and played the game on a human level and went to the defense and aid of someone who was hurting, and apparently he had an epiphany. He switched it up and addressed his identified weakness, his social game. He's definitely on the up swing! Yay Terry!

Finally, another star of this show was SPENCER! Spencer got so many confessionals and it was all to set him up as the same cocky and clinical kid he was in his first season. The baby monkey that we are constantly shown on screen IS Spencer! Makes me think he's a player. The thing that bodes the best for me is that Spencer is the one that is getting a SECOND CHANCE in a season of second chances! I expect him to really show emotion and social growth now, after he has beared all in confessional and cried, he's just hit ROCK bottom. Now, he just has to do what he has to do, no where to go but UP. I also loved that Spencer recognized that he isn't the best socially, and I always love someone that can recognize his weaknesses, try to overcome them, and make them his strengths. Let's see if he can do it!

Here is how I see them falling so far: Those that seem to be showing actively that they are setting out to do what they said they needed to do: Varner, Terry, Kelley, Kass. Those that seem to be letting history repeat itself: Joe, Andrew, Jeremy, Abi-Maria, Woo, *Spencer*. One that appears to be changing in the wrong direction: Stephen: He noted that he joined up with someone that was comfortable in the elements and that he couldn't beat him, so he wouldn't do that again. I think this is a mistake because last time it got him into the finals. He needs to play the same game and change up his end game argument! We see him poking fun at Joe, when he should be latching on to Joe! And, finally, those that I just haven't seen enough of their game to decide where to put them: Kelly Wigle, Keith: something tells me he will play the exact same game...spit!, Kimmie, Cierra, Tasha, Monica, and Pei-Gee.

*Spencer*: Regarding Spencer, he talked a good talk of change in his first episode, then in ep 2 reverted back to his same old ways, BUT, he's got the second chance in a season of second chances. I think this is very promising!

Also wanted to point out those that did not get an intro confessional: Woo, Vytas, Terry, Monica, Stephen, Peih Gee, Shirin and Keith. We have to consider that these could possibly be our pre-jury boots. So far the first 2 boots are indeed on this list! Time will tell!

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10-06-15, 08:12 AM (EST)
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33. "RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard"
LAST EDITED ON 10-06-15 AT 08:19 AM (EST)

Great read, FloPo, you really bring up some good points.

I want to start with the Buddhism theme though. Second chance can also be seen as a rebirth, something that is very important in Buddhism so that's why I think they incorporated the temple so much in the intro and the chants in the musical score.

Consider also that Karma was responsible for both eliminations:

We heard Shirin say “To me, Vytas comes off as smarmy. That’s how I read him in his first season" so it was the actions of his prior life that brought this Karmic fruit.

Shirin's actions in episode 1 brought her immediate punishment in episode 2 so it was again Karma.

Finally, the need to combine old school and new school can be seen as searching for the middle way.

Now turning to your post, I'm not sure about your interpretation that the baby monkey is Spencer. Last week, that same baby monkey was shown right after Varner said he was trying to learn this new game, making him, I thought, the little monkey that was learning. This time, the little monkey was shown right before we heard Shirin and Spencer talking so I think it could still be seen as Varner who had his eyes on those two. We'll see. Maybe it's because I got too caught up in Spencer's first struggle that I am hesitant to jump on his bandwagon again but I do hope they don't let him skate by like Tony did.

Good point about Andrew. I saw changes in the fact that he was more humanized that the PI Andrew but maybe he is also focusing too much on his perfect wife and perfect life. He may not feel the need to make the extra effort.

It's really starting to look like the lack of first episode introduction confessional could be seen the way we did with the list of friends in "Loser Lodge". Woo and Keith don't appear to be early targets though. Maybe there'll be another swap that will hurt them.

PS. I liked your comment about "spyshack". I saw it has a way to tell us that Varner and Terry had kept up with the show but it is also a way to tell us that "old school" knows about "New School" tactics. Can they use them? Varner certainly can!

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10-06-15, 09:58 AM (EST)
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34. "RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard"
Hi michel! Thanks for the comments. I want to add that I think your themes regarding Buddism especially is spot on. Survivor LOVES to incorporate the culture of the area where they shoot, and this clearly is significant, with all the nods of the temples, etc. I love the Karma note, and it specifically ties in with the second chances theme. I love all your references, I just don't know enough about Buddism to comment much on it. But, I definitely love to hear your observations and how they tie the players to this particular season. Well done!

Vytas' and Shirin's story's did come full circle in their boot episodes.

You could be right about the baby monkey, but I definitely seemed to notice him more in association with Spencer. I will have to pay more attention, but regardless perhaps he's significant in that he heralds one that is learning a lesson, or perhaps is about to learn his lesson? Just as the snake represents some kind of sinister spin of some kind, either at camp or at TC. And, we love the spiders too. I specifically recall John Mesch as the howler monkey in B v W2, and Matty was the bird in Gabon. Interesting to note that those with some kind of animal symbolism or association have been longer term players?

The whole beauty of editing is that there is no right or wrongs and it's all how one sees it, and how individuals with their own perspectives and biases interpret what is shown. But, the other side of the coin is the story the producers want to show and tell to the audience. You are amazing at the latter! Thanks!

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10-06-15, 10:45 AM (EST)
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35. "RE: Episode 2 - Change is Hard"
Thank you for the kind words, FP.

It's possible that the little monkey is meant to be associated with the events instead of a particular player. We'll have to keep our eyes on that critter!

Animal imagery has always been important and I miss emydi's contributions. Panama was especially fun for it's imagery. I only remember Cirie's owl but I think all the F4 had their animal.

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36. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
LAST EDITED ON 10-08-15 AT 01:31 AM (EST)

The endgamers are set(four of them)
Jeremy-I had him winning last week and now I am going back on that. He found an idol, and his confessionals was as moderate as before. He is not getting the narrative edit he had before in SJDS and that was mainly why he went early in the merge on a editing standpoint. However, I think Jeremy fits the perfect spot of past threats, person the winners want out(the Dans, Jons, Tashas), 6th place.

Tasha-Her story has been strong the first and this episode. However, in this episode she was in so much negative surrounding it became hard for me to see her as the winner. Also, her million dollar confessional was not included in the recap this time but she did once again say in the episode that she's here to play for a million dollars. However, her outburst at the IC, she came off very OTT in the post-IC, all this tells me she is indeed the endgame villain and losing finalist.

Spencer-And this episode mirrored the last two seasons third episode standouts in Natalie and Mike. That is strong stuff. Spencer is going to the final four again. He's one of my winner choices. He piled it on more with not only talking about how his game changed, Jeremy even said he would keep him around for a while, and thats after Spencer talks about his girlfriend and all. I have a feeling Spencer gets to that point because he's going to have friends in the endgame in Tasha and.............

Kelley-Kelley had only one big moment today and it was where she pulled a "Keith" about Terry having the idol and she wanted to throw him under the bus even acknowledging the "get under the bus, go" wow Kelley's too much quality confessional to not be endgame. She is the other contender for the win.

The showdown is Spencer vs Kelley

Now there has to be one other vocal endgamer and it has to be one of these
Abi has way too much drama. And she is being fleshed out already too early. She is tragic and if he gets to the end, I think this season could turn sour because she will simply cause people to tune out. Editors know this. I say she is pre-merge. Terry has too much positivity but also seems very cocky. I think Terry is pre-merge too. Now that leaves Stephen. Stephen appears to have a negative edit but just because someone has a negative edit does not mean they can't go far. It's when their negative edit is the center of attention, ala Abi. And when Savage gets taken out, and I still say pre-merge, Tasha does not have to stay loyal to the alpha alliance she will reunite with Spencer and they and Kelley will be calling the shots. I think they will take Stephen under their wing.

I have to go with Stephen here as the fifth endgamer. And I am seeing fifth place.

The previous person in position to make endgame was Keith but he has been absent two episodes now, which is bad. And he showed up the first episode so he's not the quiet one that gets to the end. When someone doesn't show up in the first and third episode that's troubling but if Stephen ends up going early in the merge as the original Bayon overnarrator, then it can't be anyone but Keith. Or maybe....Kass.

Now the silent one that gets to the end. The candidates

Ciera opened her mouth this episode which imo has pretty much cemented her to not get there. Out of those three above we see Kimmi's presence at least here or there. Such as when she told Jeremy Stephen was looking for the idol in the first episode. Monica's had nothing like that except being shown looking for the idol in this past episode, and Kelly while she's had a confessional each episode until this one, she appears to be on the quiet side. However, Kelly is a stronger player and is no Sierra and Jaclyn. Monica's given no reason why she will be there. I say Kimmi is the silent endgamer. There has always been at least one woman over 40 in the finale since One World. And she would be it especially if Kass misses out.

Kimmi's the sixth endgamer. And likely the 2nd or 3rd place depending on Tasha's receptions.

Varner-He should make it to the merge and then he's in trouble like past storytellers Jenn and Jeremy.

There is the notion of the eight without a opening confessional being the first eight boots. However, two of them will survive. Because Abi's clearly the weakest link of the ones with a confessional. And Savage just does not appear to have a merge arc. I am not seeing it. He seems to be the same person he was before and the edit is showing him to come off completely unlikable. I think there is going to be a second swap and the Stephen/Savage arc will come to a head. One of those are set up to make the merge. And I don't see Terry again getting there because his edit is not showing strategy. He seems to have Mad Dog's edit. He's just happy to be there. We will probably have one more without a confessional going and I am thinking Woo. Then the early drama Abi and then the next swap occurs setting up the Fishbach/Savage conclusion with Savage going, and then Terry's time is up and Ciera closes out the pre-merge.

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37. "Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"
LAST EDITED ON 10-10-15 AT 04:03 PM (EST)

Episode 2 Recap

Twenty returning players got another shot at a game they love.
We heard a repeat of Ciera’s opening confessional where she said that she wanted to be fearless from the start.

At Bayon, we see a bird taking flight.

Was it a vulture or an eagle? We hear that their second chance couldn’t have started any better.

Jeremy and Stephen were smiling and relaxing, Keith called it Island Paradise while Joe returned with some fish.

Joe told us that he loves it out here.

At Takeo, Abi and Peih Gee continued to fight, leaving Abi all alone.

We heard Terry say that it was just wrong to leave her out there.
At the immunity challenge, Takeo lost for the second time in a row.

Back at camp, we first saw Abi telling Shirin that she wasn’t with her anymore.

Shirin and Spencer found themselves on the outs.

The little monkey laughed out loud when he heard them!

We heard Spencer say that everything just collapsed in front of him.

At Tribal Council Spencer promised to change his ways. In the end, Shirin was sent home.

If the editors are picking random confessionals from episode one to present the theme of “Second Chance” during the recaps then we can’t put much weight on the two we’ve had so far...unless Ciera will emerge in the next episode the same way Tasha exploded on the scene this week.

We didn’t see a repeat of Spencer’s display of raw emotions and we didn’t hear anything about Varner’s maneuver to flip the game away from the new school players. All the credit went to Terry and Abi.

As for Bayon, I really think that it was a vulture that we saw lurking over their camp. That would be a terrible sign for the players who actually looked more like Club Med vacationers than Survivor players. Hearing them talk about island Paradise isn’t going to impress those viewers who want to see true survivalists. I’m guessing that many would want to see them suffer a little more, even see them forced to vote out a few members.

Let’s do the Twist!

Ta Keo Night 6

After the group assembled at the shelter, Spencer told everyone that he was grateful to be here.

Spencer in confessional: “I’m still not the strongest social player out here. Ostensibly, I’m completely on the outs so I have to change.”

(This part of his confessional was presented in voice over so during a break we heard Peih Gee say: “Things can change overnight”. I’d say she was right.) “In this season, which is about change and about a second chance, the second iteration of you as a Survivor player and as a person, people who have been able to change( Woo, Terry and Varner shown on screen) have been rewarded. So, if I can make the change that I know is within me happen, there is hope.”

Spencer’s confessional was perfectly in tune with our themes. Saying that it was a second iteration of you as a survivor and as a person, really underlined the Rebirth theme. He questions whether he will be able to make that change and, while he had a good start, we have to agree that many things depend on the answer.

Terry told the tribe that getting rid of one of the most strategic persons he ever met would be a feather in their cap for anyone of them who makes it to the actual finals.

The camera made it look as if he was talking directly to Varner when he said that. We always have to pay attention when someone mentions making it to the finals in such a random fashion. This could certainly have been left out just like Lindsey’s “the winner is on this mat” comment. Since Terry was facing Varner and it was Varner who made the biggest move to get rid of Shirin then it really would be a feather in his cap...if he makes it to the finals.

Terry’s confessional: “I have simply gone from the bottom to the top without any fear of getting voted out. The numbers are on our side and all of a sudden Terry Dietz has the social game. I’m kind of proud of myself. It worked out great and there’s still Spencer to vote out at the next tribal if we have to go. Boy! I’m on top of the world right now. Life is good.”

This won’t be the first overly confident confessional of the evening. The important part of this is that Terry thinks he has the social game but we will soon see that he still has lessons to learn.

Challenge Beach

Jeff remarked that Tasha always has a smile.

It gave her quite a positive introduction for this episode.

When Takeo came in, Bayon reacted with much less surprise. Only Kass seemed worried.

Jeff asked Varner if Shirin’s elimination would help the tribe. He answered him with an emphatic yes.
Woo added that they had the team unity back and that the challenge would give them additional team spirit.

When Woo is wrong he is completely wrong...and Woo is often wrong!

Jeff asked Kass how she felt.
She told him that she felt great, that she was on the “freakin’ love tribe.”
Seeing that everyone was happy, Jeff decided it was time to scare them with the first twist. There would be three tribes one of which would have to start from scratch. They’d have to build a new camp and would have very little provisions.

Reacting to this news, Andrew told Jeff that he was scared because he didn’t know anybody over there.

Andrew’s interview: “When Jeff said it was a swap, my heart stopped. I haven’t had the best of luck on Survivor in terms of swaps and twists. I’m having the same haunting fears that I had 12 years ago in Pearl Islands. I don’t want to swap.”

We saw Tasha’s censored reaction when she uncovered a yellow buff while we saw that Stephen was very happy to stay in Bayon.

Bayon, the luxury camp, would include Jeremy, Kelly, Spencer, Kimmi, Stephen and Monica which means 4 original Bayons

Ta Keo, the tribe with the regular shelter, had Joe, Terry, Ciera, Kass, Keith and Kelley so they also have 4 old Bayons.

Angkor, the Have-Nots, was composed of Abi, Varner, Peih Gee, Andrew, Tasha and Woo which meant 4 old Ta Keo.

The three tribes were divided evenly with 3 men and three women on each side and a very even age distribution. In fact, if production had selected only these 18 players, this could very well have been the way they would have divided them. Another “random” swap that gives me doubts about production’s honesty. Note that Kelley remained in Takeo where she had already found the idol. Kelley won’t have a chance to find a second idol. Another rather fortuitous result of this twist was that Peih Gee and Abi remained together, keeping the drama alive.

Immediately, Spencer and Jeremy hugged, Terry gave a warm greeting to Ciera while we heard someone from Angkor say that they had a lot of work to do today.

Joe had a confessional: “It’s a dangerous game going into a mix-up but looking at the tribes as a whole, our girls are stronger, our guys are stronger; we are in a really, really good spot to take control of this game.”

Like Terry earlier, this was another very confident confessional but Joe is a guy who always sees the glass full.

Andrew told Jeff that he felt overwhelmed: “If they go by tribal lines, I’m in serious trouble and we have a couple of days of unbelievably hard work ahead of us. It’s devastating.”

Spencer’s confessional: “I needed some way to get out of this situation where I was pinned on the bottom. Now, it’s like Survivor gods have looked on me and said: Spencer, you do deserve a second chance. Here’s where you were, where are you now?”

Survivor gods? Around here, we call him Burnett...

Angkor Day 7

The birds were flying all over the place and the music was very ominous, underlining the new tribe’s confusion.

The castaways saw that they had flint and felt relieved.

Varner told everyone from his old tribe that Andrew was going to get on his nerves. Woo said they just had to stay with their four. Everyone agreed but he still begged them not to do anything crazy.

Who ever listens to Woo?

Peih Gee had a confessional here she told us that it would be hard but that being in the majority was a luxury. She was sure that there were two people ahead of her before getting voted off.

This confident confessional would get immediate retribution so how about the previous two? How long will we have to wait to see those Karmic fruits?

Just then, we saw a leopard cat looking for its next meal;

a baby bird was alone in its nest. The first ex-Takeo member was as easy to eliminate as catching that baby bird but will the others be so easily dispatched? There was only ONE bird in the nest so maybe not.

Tasha was in the woods looking for her target, telling Andrew that they needed to find out if anyone was on the outs and then promise them they’d be safe at the merge. Andrew agreed.

Tasha: “I am in the minority on this new tribe but if anyone can survive this, I can. What I learned the first time I played was that I was strong at heart. I’m going to win this game and I’m going to play the cards that I am dealt.”

This is the type of confessional that forces us to take note. From a background character, Tasha stepped right up to take center stage; she took over the game for now but will it last? So far, she hasn’t done a thing that she didn’t do in her first season.

Takeo Day 7

We heard cabana music; an “all fun in the sun with a bottle of rum” type of atmosphere was being created. The little monkey was once again seen and it was having fun looking down at the castaways. Instead of portraying a character, it seems that the little monkey is there to set the mood, to tell the audience what kind of scene we are about to witness. This one was going to be trouble least in the beginning!

Keith was happy to see Kelley; Terry told Joe that they’d be running the tables. Joe agreed, saying they shouldn’t lose anything.

Terry in confessional: “Looking at the tribe, we got three or four number one draft choices.” (Keith, Ciera and Joe were pictured which makes me wonder what Fantasy game we are playing. Joe and Kelley, I understand but can Keith and Ciera really be considered first draft picks?! ) “I couldn’t believe the luck. It was sick. I know that I am with Kelley so there’s two. We have a working relationship. We don’t have the numbers but I don’t think we are going to need the numbers. A little bit of confidence in there because I don’t know if we are going to lose a challenge.”

He was right for this episode but Terry must have been surprised to hear Kelley’s upcoming confessional...

We saw Joe going to the coop, grab a chicken and twist its neck, feathers flying everywhere. After the chicken was cooked, Kass and Ciera told each other that they were very lucky. “We scored” said Kass. “I love Keith and I feel really good with Joe.” Ciera agreed. Kass added that Terry and Kelley were very strong.

Ciera in confessional: “I feel that I came out so good in the swap. I have Kass, me, Joe and Keith, all four of us from Bayon. Win or lose, as long as us four stick tight, we have numbers. We should be just fine.”

It seems that many players are feeling extremely confident. We should soon witness the hecatomb.

Kelley was talking to Joe in the shelter, looking over at Terry who was away, washing himself in the ocean. Joe asked if she liked Terry. Kelley answered that he was good but that they weren’t really working together.

Kelley’s confessional: “If our tribe loses, Dietz or myself will be on the chopping block. I have a feeling that the four are going to stick together.” In the middle of this confessional, we heard Ciera and Kass asking her if Terry had an idol. Kelley said that Terry and Spencer were the ones that were really looking for it, that Terry used to go out for hours. Ciera and Kass exchanged a knowing glance. “The idol is still in my bag but I am pushing Terry under the bus, just pushing him there. Go under that bus, Terry, go, go!” She said the last while kicking the air in front of her as if it was Terry.

Kelley played the role of “Little Miss Innocent” in front of Ciera and Kass. She came up with a nice plan but it could very well backfire. If Ciera and Kass play it right, they will make Terry think he is the target but they will throw their votes on Kelley to flush the idol. In a 4-2 situation, Terry would have to be dumb not to play an idol if he had one. If Kelley feels too confident about her tactic, she may be the one leaving with an idol in her pocket. The confessional’s placement made it look like Kelley was the smart player however, the one making bonds while Terry’s social game was, once again, lacking. So, editing wise, Kelley should survive if it ever comes down to a vote between her and Terry. We’ve also seen that Kelley has learned to deliver more entertaining confessionals than in her first season.

Bayon Day 7

To introduce the scene in this camp, we heard relatively tense music and it included Oriental chants. The melody’s intensity suggests that there are real players in this camp.

Kelly and Spencer told the four original Bayon tribe members that this camp was nice. Jeremy welcomed them home.

Monica in confessional: “Here, at the new Bayon, we have Jeremy, Kimmi, Stephen and myself and we are in the majority as the original Bayon members. We also have Spencer and Wiglesworth which is great because they are in the minority.”

To confirm this, Stephen and Jeremy talked, agreeing that they were a solid group of four.

Stephen’s confessional: “I love this new tribe. It is so liberating not to be in camp macho anymore. I was on the bottom of our tribe and then we swapped and for the first time ever, I know that I’m safe so I couldn’t be happier.”

Monica and Stephen are the newest members of “Team Optimism”.

We then saw Stephen trying to cut a coconut with the machete.

He failed just as miserably as he did with the branch in the first episode.

Adding that little image of Stephen fumbling with the machete told us that he shouldn’t be so confident. If he can’t cut down a branch or a coconut, he won’t be able to cut down his opponents.

Spencer’s confessional: “I’m someone who’s played very logically in the past but I’ve failed when it comes to understanding the emotions of people and that’s been a huge flaw. So, I’m trying something new on this tribe. I’m trying to have feelings.” Spencer talked about his girlfriend to Jeremy, seeking his advice. “I’m trying to approach this game in a way that I can form bonds that will actually be helpful and that will carry me further. So, when I tell Jeremy about something really honest, which is my concerns about me and my girlfriend, when I ask him and I truly care about what he says; I want to get to know him because it’s something that I haven’t taken the time to do before and it might just make the difference in my game.”

The change from within is much more important for Spencer’s story than receiving a lucky break from the twist. It was a very touching scene and another example of the “Family” theme. Since Spencer introduced it as a way to improve his social game, I see it as an example of the “Ethical Conduct” theme, so central in the noble path leading to enlightenment. I thought it was quite surprising to see Spencer bonding with Jeremy instead of Stephen.

Jeremy’s confessional: “When Spencer joined up, he needed to talk to me and it was good to sit down and talk because I think he’s a stand up guy, someone you can really connect with and trust. He’s funny and I’m digging the kid. He’s alright. I think we can definitely have a bond. I’m not sure exactly how long we’ll keep him but we can use him for right now.”

Now that should really scare Kelly...and Stephen. The problem with keeping someone like Spencer is that he could reach a point where he’ll regain the advantage over someone like Jeremy. If he isn’t exactly sure when he should get rid of Spencer, he may miss the last opportunity.

Angkor Day 8

We heard more ominous sounds as we approached the Angkor camp. We also saw that it was raining...only on them it seemed!

Varner was cursing at the skies and the rain god, saying he hated this place.

(The rain god is also called Burnett...)

Tasha’s confessional: “The first time I played Survivor, I was on Luzon which is arguably one of the most horrible tribes in Survivor history. I’ve been here before, I know what it’s like not to have food, I know what it’s like not to have shelter, I know what it’s like to fight to stay in this game so this? This is just round two for me.”

Well there was Samburu in Africa, Mara’amu in Marquesas, Ulong in Palau, Ravu in Fiji, Matsing in the Philippines but “Lose on” in Cagayan is right up there, yes. This confessional is very much like the one that Earl had right after the merger in Fiji. While Mookie, Alex, Cassandra and most of the others were very disappointed when they realized that their beautiful camp had been taken away, Earl simply said: “We had…Nothing. I felt OK with that. I kind of laughed; I had a smirk on my face. I’ve already been trained, being at the old Ravu for 13 days. Hey! I’m just back home again.” The only small drawback from Tasha is that we keep hearing that she’s done this before so there’s nothing new, nothing learned, nothing changed. It goes against our main theme so Tasha could very well be headed for an identical result as in her first season.

Once again, Peih Gee and Abi found a way to fight; this time it was over Abi’s dry spot in the shelter. A calm Tasha noticed what was going on.

Tasha’s confessional: “Abi has a little bit of resentment against Peih Gee for something. That works in my favor. There’s still time left in the day to strategize and converse and I’m going to use every minute of it.”

When the sun came back out, we saw Tasha using that time to talk to Abi, telling that her old tribe was very harmonious and adding that Abi could join them. They only needed one more vote, she said.

Abi’s confessional: “My old members from Takeo want to do “Takeo Strong” but Peih Gee and I had some issues back at Takeo and Tasha sort of whispered some sweet nothings in my ear. This is my second chance. I want to go to the end so I really, really don’t know what to do.”

Someone should tell Abi there’s a reason they are called “sweet NOTHINGS”! That’s what they are worth.

Varner was telling Tasha and Andrew that he only wanted to make the jury, that he had just missed it the last time. For someone in the minority, Tasha sounded very confident when she told him he could be there.

I noted that Andrew had also just missed the jury but he didn’t say anything. I think that means Andrew will go farther than the last time. For Varner, this better be just words that he told Tasha and Andrew to appease them because it gives me the impression that he will make it to jury but not farther. Because of the bloated juries of the later years, it would be ironic since he could finish in 12th place instead of 10th but still make the jury this time! Since Andrew was seen chopping down with the machete while Varner said this, it could very well be that Andrew decides when Jeff leaves the game. It could also have a figurative meaning: Andrew will regret not using that machete to chop Varner out of the game when he had the chance.

Tasha reasoned that an old member of Takeo was going home if either of the two other tribes lost. When the merge comes, she said “you are going to need us.”

Varner’s confessional: “Savage and Tasha want me to come and join them. They will get me to the jury. Isn’t that a lovely invitation? I want to say, you and you, you’re on the bottom. Those two, we can get rid of them like that. I don’t know if they are making deals but they are running up and down the beach, talking to everybody. I need to make sure they are not taking away Abi Maria and that they are not taking away Peih Gee because there is a lot that could go wrong.”

As I suspected, Varner wasn’t buying the invitation to the jury because the sarcasm in his voice was clear when he said “Isn’t that a lovely invitation?” However, taken on the first degree, it can be telling us that is all he’ll get. Not everyone understands sarcasm! Since Varner only mentioned Abi and Peih Gee when he said that he didn’t want them to be taken away, it seems that he is a lot like the editors: Woo doesn’t matter for him either.

Bayon Day 9.

Led by an acoustic guitar, the music was quite smooth when we returned to this camp.

There was a scorpion in their food basket so they had to get rid of it.

Don’t they know you have to eat the scorpion if you want to win? I know it’s quite a reach but that’s what came to mind when I saw this scene!

Stephen’s confessional: “Spencer and Wiglesworth, they are cozying up to us because they know it’s 4 to 2 right now so we have an unbeatable advantage. The idol is somewhere on this island and it could destroy everything. Not only is it a great tool for myself to have but it’s a real symbol that bonds an alliance together.” We heard Stephen saying that he will help Jeremy look for it. “Wouldn’t be great if we found this idol for our alliance? It would make us so strong. I would be in a power position on a strong alliance with people I trust and people I like. So, one of us needs to find that idol.”

Stephen, Stephen, since when are you aligned with Jeremy, the alpha male of your tribe? This was a golden opportunity to reverse the numbers but all he saw were the old tribal lines. He was also wrong about the idol: It’s rarely found by a group but rather by an individual and it bonds an alliance together if and only if the person that finds it shares the information! Stephen is about to give more power to someone that wants him out. Of all the “Pride cometh before the fall” confessionals we heard in this episode, this was the most ominous.

With Monica and Kimmi joining forces with the guys, all four members of old Bayon went out looking for their idol.

Jeremy’s confessional: “I’m so frustrated looking for that thing...It could be anywhere but it is my second chance and I feel like I have to work harder this time...There was this little tree full of leaves and I started digging in it. It just popped out!” He read the clue to the location of HIS idol. “Finally! Two seasons it takes me but I finally find something but is it an idol? No, it isn’t an idol. It’s a clue to an idol that I have to grab when 18 people are playing around me. I’m going to make it work; I’m going to get this thing. I’m going to bring this thing home.”

It would be ironic if Jeremy does in fact “bring this thing home” meaning he doesn’t play it when needed.

The Challenge Arena

Jeff pointed out that Spencer, Tasha and Kass all failed miserably in their season’s version of “Draggin’ the Dragon”.

Jeremy left the keys to the other tribe members. He concentrated on the chest and had no trouble retrieving the idol.

The challenge showed that Joe was right: Takeo was the strongest and with him doing the puzzle, they easily won immunity.

With no rewards at stake, Joe could have taken his time but he really makes it easy for everyone to target him as a huge threat.

Fighting for second place, Spencer and Monica struggled at first but Tasha and Peih Gee weren’t doing much better. Jeremy replaced Monica while Woo (!) took over for Tasha. Jeff said that Jeremy picked it up for Bayon.

Working together to win the second immunity idol, this could very well cement the bond between Jeremy and Spencer. Nothing builds team unity as much as victory.

Suddenly, Varner looked over at Kelly and mouthed some words to her.

(I couldn’t read his lips but it seemed like it started with: “Let me...”)

Seeing this, Tasha quickly stepped in between the two and said: “We got a rat.”

After distributing the idols, Jeff said that there was no redemption for Tasha but he asked her what happened at the end of the challenge.

Varner said he was only looking at “Wigles” when Tasha jumped in.
Tasha explained that they were trying to bond as a tribe so he was sending a good message.

Varner wanted to refute this by saying they were making deals with everyone. Andrew said he was wrong. Woo wondered why Varner didn’t make a deal with him.

Jeff sent Angkor back to camp by saying this could be the start of a great underdog story adding: “In order to be an underdog, you have to hit rock bottom and you are certainly heading towards that.”

Varner’s confessional: “Tasha called me a rat. I shouldn’t have done that. I’m in the middle of a big old mess and I have to figure a way out of it.”

This was not a good scene for Varner but the editors gave him a chance to tell us that he recognized his fault. Now an underdog, he has time to repair the situation. A quest can’t be too easy and it had been a fairly smooth ride for Varner up to now. The editors knew that this scene would be coming up in episode 3 so they didn’t have to worry about featuring him so much early on. I’m guessing that most viewers have crossed him out of their list of contenders.

Angkor Day 8

We were on Day 9 during the previous scene, the one that showed Bayon looking for the idol! We’ve known for a long time that the editors present many scenes out of sequence but they’ve never given us such a clear indication before. Bayon could have started looking for the idol in earnest only because they will be going to Tribal Council next week and that scene should have been part of the next cycle. “One of us needs to find that idol” said Stephen and he talked about it potentially destroying everything but that would happen only if they had a date with Probst. Jeremy could have found the clue to the idol already when Stephen talked about looking for the idol. If Stephen, Kimmi and Monica were determined to look for it, Jeremy wouldn’t have a choice: He’d have to spend time looking for it himself even if it was in his pocket.

It probably was just a typo though because the fourth immunity challenge shouldn’t be scheduled as early as Day 9. It still tells us that we can’t believe that everything is presented exactly as it happened on the island.

Getting back to day 8, the monkeys were playing in the water but a crocodile was watching. The message was clear: It only takes one predator to kill a group. Numbers don’t matter to a crocodile and they certainly didn’t in the mess that was Angkor at the time.

Andrew’s confessional: “This morning, I thought guaranteed I’m going home but Varner’s meltdown after the challenge painted a huge target on his back. Everyone on this tribe looked at him and thought: He can’t be trusted. I was like a little kid inside, I was giddy. I couldn’t believe he handed me ammunition on a silver platter.”

Out by the water well, Andrew told Peih Gee and Woo that they needed him for the physical challenges while Varner wasn’t pulling his weight and was sleeping all day. He wanted them to vote Jeff.

We heard a gong just then, an imitation of the sound of thunder. This was a pivotal moment in the game.

Woo and Peih Gee couldn’t give him an answer. Woo had to ask for some time to talk alone with Peih Gee.

In episode one, Varner was quick to tell us: “No matter who drags me in the jungle, my answer is going to be yes.” Peih Gee and Woo’s hesitation cost them dearly. You could tell that Peih Gee wasn’t thrilled by the idea that they would still be in the majority with Abi even if they eliminated Jeff.

Peih Gee’s confessional: “Does it make sense to join Tasha and Savage? Are they going to be loyal to us? I want to believe so but you have to take what desperate people say with a grain of salt.”

Varner was then shown resting in the shelter.

The only good thing about that is that he didn’t look like a desperate person.

Abi said she thought Varner needs to suck it up and forget about them. They both wanted to vote against Varner.

Abi’s confessional: “After I saw how unpredictable Varner is, I think that he needs to go next but Woo did vote for me and Peih Gee is sketchy too. I don’t know how much I can trust her.”

You really have accomplished something when you are called unpredictable by Abi! Can Varner recover from this? His chances have to be put in serious doubt. He certainly is at rock bottom.

Peih Gee, Woo and Abi took time to talk about the situation but no one wanted to say what they were thinking. Finally, Peih Gee said they were thinking of voting against Jeff. Abi told them that they had to make up their mind, that she wasn’t going to vote against Tasha and Andrew because she wasn’t on the bottom with them like she was with Peih Gee and Woo.

Peih Gee told us that she wanted to vote out Abi because of her animosity. She said the same thing to Tasha and Andrew but he objected that Abi was “stronger than Jeff”.

Really? If Andrew thinks that Varner is weaker than Abi than he isn’t perceived as a threat but it could be a sign that Varner is getting too weak to stay in the game.

Andrew’s confessional: “I’m looking at Tasha, she is looking at me; stunned. It’s so easy to create suspicion or misdirection between Peih Gee and Abi.” We saw the famous snake when Andrew told Abi that Peih Gee was gunning for her and that he couldn’t talk her out of it. “I can’t believe how quickly everything changed on this tribe.”

We then saw Abi telling a catatonic Jeff that they were going after Peih Gee.

Varner in confessional: “I came back to this camp thinking that I was done but if I can take this cloud that is over me and sling it over somebody else; I’m going to do it.”

Tasha told Woo and Peih Gee that they were voting against Abi.

Tasha’s confessional: “Options are opening up: Peih Gee will be voting Abi and Abi will be voting Peih Gee. The thing about Abi is that you don’t know what you are going to get and Peih Gee, she is indecisive so it’s a tough decision but it feels fantastic to have the tables turned. Savage and i were down four to two, all hope seemed lost but here we are making the decisions on who will go home tonight.”

Tribal Council

We saw the Angkor Wat temple once again when the players made their way to the council.

Savage discussed the switch and how it was too much at first.
Peih Gee said that the minority is in trouble after a swap.
Varner explained that he was sending a signal to someone on the other tribe that he cared about and that Tasha jumped out of nowhere and called him a rat. He said he wasn’t being a rat. He blamed it on lack of sleep and food and that he didn’t remember it. He described it as an emotional meltdown.
Andrew looked skeptical.
Tasha said that her momma always told her to keep the family business at home. “Whatever issues we have, we should have kept it amongst the family.” She said that their family was right there, not on the other tribes. Her first thought was to take him out now so that they wouldn’t have to worry about loyalty later on.
Varner said that people can recover from all kinds of things and that it would be great if he could escape from there without a single vote. “Wouldn’t that be crazy?” he remarked.
He would soon get his wish.
Varner also told Jeff that he didn’t know what would happen but that he heard Abi’s name being thrown around as well and Peih Gee’s and his. He added: “Savage and Tasha have found their way from the bottom of the heap to the top.”
That surprised Probst so Varner added that the decision was up to the two of them.
Abi said she thought she was going home. She saw all the conversations and she was that naïve.
Peih Gee said she wanted to be with people that are solid and that her word was good.
Probst liked that pitch so he asked for Abi’s.
She said that her pitch was very similar and that she was a committed person.
With a smile, Varner told Probst once again that he had no idea what was about to happen and he repeated that Savage and Tasha were in control of the vote.

Peih Gee and Woo voted for Abi but the other four voted against the former member of the China cast.

Before leaving, Peih Gee said that they played well and she wished good luck to Woo.

Abi turned to Woo and noted, with a smile, that it was the second time that he wrote her name.
Woo looked dumbfounded.

Probst’s final words: “One of the keys to lasting in this game is that you have to be able to adapt on a dime in any situation. If you don’t, you’re gone.”

The Story

Some players are twisting the game to their advantage some were twisted by the game some have no concerns while others haven’t joined the dance yet. We heard more talk about the family theme and every time it was to explain the ethical conduct that was needed to play this game. We also heard many players saying that they felt good and thought they were safe. That shows a lack of humility which is fundamental in Survivor and in the path to enlightenment

The tribes were presented in very different ways: Confusion at Angkor, fun in Takeo and intensity in Bayon. Each tribe contains some serious players and it felt like the end game can’t be dominated by any of these three tribes. We have probably not seen the end game alliance yet. Even if the players have an idea because of pre-game deals, they probably haven’t had a chance to get together yet to iron out all the details. It should make for a very fluid narrative even if the outcome is contrived.

The Characters

These players are dancing their way right out of the game

Terry: He may think that he has found a social game but he was out alone in the ocean when the “game” part of social game was being played by Kelley. He feels confident that Bayon won’t go to Tribal Council but, if they do, Terry is already under the proverbial bus. Terry is a player that needs numbers and his are dwindling faster than in Panama.

Stephen: He really should know better than to think the idol will help his alliance. It is Jeremy’s idol, not Bayon’s. One could even ask what alliance since Stephen was clearly not one of Jeremy’s allies before the swap. We’ve seen him twice fumbling with a machete so that must have symbolic value: Stephen is out of his element.

Joe: He certainly knows how to take care of his tribe. He feeds them, he makes fire, he builds a great shelter and he wins the immunity challenges. What more could you ask in a tribe mate? Add his inability to scheme and you do have the ideal ally. Joe will get voted out when he isn’t needed anymore and that should be as soon as he fixes the tribe’s shelter after the merger.

These players have still not made their way on the dance floor.

Keith: As anyone spotted him in the last 2 weeks? Should his family worry about his whereabouts? Maybe some of the people that voted to get him back in the game are starting to agree with me that he doesn’t belong there. Of course, the other players are thinking the same thing, meaning he won’t belong there but he will be there for quite a while.

Kimmi: She looked for an idol. She didn’t find one. I’d like to see more of her but maybe she is too mellow now.

Kass: It seems that Survivor Second Chance will redeem Kass’ character. This season is showing that she can be nice. She can be a nice lady when she isn’t under the stress of the game but the others still don’t have a reason to give her a chance to hang around.

Ciera and Monica: They both like their new tribes. Good for them.

These players got twisted around by the game

Kelly: After getting the initial confessional in the first two episodes, Kelly disappeared from our screens this week. That means her role was only to serve as Ta Keo’s narrator and since she isn’t in Takeo anymore, she has no role. When I saw that episode three was titled “We got a Rat” I really worried that someone would be throwing that insult at her once again. She certainly didn’t deserve it in Borneo so I hoped it wouldn’t happen again. The problem is that Varner’s “meltdown” could be more damaging for Kelly. With Spencer already bonding with Jeremy, she could find herself in an untenable situation. Having to defend her loyalty won’t help.

Woo: He finds himself once more out of the loop. They went and did something crazy, Woo! Poor guy.

Varner: Most will think that this episode killed his chances. He was shown resting in the shelter when he should have been scrambling, he was called a rat, he is perceived as being weaker than Abi and he doesn’t pull his weight around camp. He simply can’t win with that edit… However, the first two episodes showed that he has a plan. According to Terry, he already has a feather in his cap if he makes it to the finals. He recognized that he made a mistake by telling us in confessional and by his comments during Tribal Council. Those last comments removed the leadership role he had acquired and put it squarely on those two. If Abi and Woo were smart, they’d consider removing one of those two the next time they go to TC. It would explain why there was only one baby bird in the nest!
It won’t be easy for Varner to recover from this episode but Probst already opened the door to an underdog story with his comments after the challenge. I still like his chances with one worry: He could be getting sick and that could be why he was shown cursing the rain and why he needs to rest so much. Because of his early role, Varner doesn’t make the end game if and only if he has to be removed from the game.

These players twisted the game.

Abi: Varner said that Tasha and Andrew controlled the vote but, in reality, it was Abi that got what she wanted. It was her conflict with Peih Gee that opened the door to the ex-Bayon members but it was her determination that changed their vote. Peih Gee and Woo were much too indecisive, Varner wasn’t a threat but Abi showed that she can be an asset. How will she handle her new found power? She didn’t do a good job the first time so we doubt she can do much better this time.

Jeremy: There seems to be no one against him. While the twist put him in a good position, he solidified it immensely by first taking Spencer under his wing then by listening to Stephen’s idea about the idol and then by finding it for himself (if it did happen in that order!) Right now, Jeremy is in the rare position of having no predators looking for him. His intention of making a bigger effort also has to be recognized. Not many people were high on Jeremy after the first two episodes but I think he is proving that he has indeed improved his game. It could carry him far.

Andrew: It was interesting that they showed Andrew’s bad luck with twists to underline this situation. He wasn’t the only one that got a bad deal with the new tribal arrangements but he was one of the few that we heard talking about it. For most of the episode, we heard people saying they love their new surroundings. None of the other members of the new minorities were given the opportunity to tell us how they felt. We heard from them only after they had found some kind of foothold in their new tribe. For Andrew, it was different: We heard his anguish then saw his recovery. While he mostly followed Tasha, it was more because he was “assigned” to Peih Gee and Woo while she dealt more with Abi. Andrew was with her every step of the way and it was even more important for him to twist the game immediately because he was the first target.

Tasha: The star of this episode and probably the top contender for most viewers, Tasha played it brilliantly. She found a rat and quickly put the target on him but she didn’t stop there. She found a crack and used it to her advantage. Maybe it would have been wiser to keep both women and go after Varner, their first choice, because now she faces the risk that Abi, Woo and Varner could vote together once again. But she evaluated that risk correctly and knows that Abi will want Woo gone next. As long as she has Abi she will be safe. Tasha has also given us two winning quotes so she has to be high in any list of contenders

The problem is that this vote was a lot like Garrett’s elimination in Cagayan: There also, the situation looked bleak when Garret, Spencer and Kass first teamed up but Tasha quickly reversed that situation. She even told us that she has gone through this once before. She is playing the same game as she did before so doesn’t it make us crazy to expect a different result?! Until we really see something new from Tasha I will have to say that her karma is to finish 6th once again. Sixth isn’t bad but it’s not worth a million dollars.

Spencer: Spencer needed that twist to get out of a bad situation in the old Takeo but the new Bayon could have been just as bad. His new found social game and the challenge win enabled him to bond with Jeremy and that could very well mean that he has moved ahead of Kelly in the tribe’s pecking order. Considering Jeremy’s plan to surround himself with strong guys, Spencer may even have moved ahead of Stephen, Kimmi and Monica and find himself in the position of Jeremy’s right hand man for a while. A smart player like Spencer could do ravages given that position. Slowly but surely, Spencer’s story is aligning itself with the themes of this season. He is using this second iteration of himself as a player and as a person, his own rebirth, as a way to make improvements both in his game and in real life as his talk to Jeremy about his girlfriend showed. Spencer himself isn’t a chess piece anymore but a real person. That is big.

Kelley: Since Takeo didn’t go to Tribal Council, there was no need for Kelley to remind us about her idol or even to throw Terry under the bus so quickly. Her talk with Kass and Ciera and her subsequent confessional showed us that she is a very good player and an entertaining commentator as well. It showed us that she handled this swap much better than her first.

She is playing big so she will probably not be going home soon. She has to be worried about a couple of things though: At this rate, she won’t have many original allies left so she has to make strong new bonds and she can’t be seen as being too close to Joe. That is what put targets on Hali and Jenn so quickly in Worlds Apart. Joe and Kelley look like they would make a nice couple so she has to fight that perception. Kelley would be much better to align with the women of Takeo for now and then adapt to the new situation when the new twist arrives. Her momentum has carried her to the top of the list of contenders.

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10-10-15, 09:29 PM (EST)
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38. "RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"
Michel: I am going to respond, comment, or add to your comments through the show. First of all, I agree regarding Tasha and her showing in last weeks recap. Boy, did she dominate this episode, she was last weeks Varner! Her momentum is in full gear. I have the same thoughts, let's see if Ciera comes into center stage next week!

As for Camp Bayon, paradise living, I love it. It reminds me of the "happy Chappy's" in All Stars, and we know what a dominant tribe that ended up being and did produce the winner! If Takeo is the dysfunctional tribe, Bayon is the functional one. They are impressive.

I thought Spencer's first confessional was very meaty in that it summed up the Season perfectly, and Spencer could indeed be one of the stars. If he is able to capitalize on this second chance in a season of second chances, he's on his way.

Terry was confident and it just steam rolls from here.

Excellent catch on Tasha, always with a smile, and her quick response, I'm glad to be here, Jeff! Loved it, and I saw it as a nod to her and that big smile! Loved your take on Woo being wrong, tribe unity, it's laughable at the end of the show! Good catch!

Andrew Savage did get the confessionals in regard to the short side of twists, and I agree, production must have played some kind of role in how the tribes broke down. Wow! Spencer had another great confessional regarding the survivor gods wanting him to have a second chance!

While Spencer could be a star of the season, Tasha was the star of this episode and she started off with amazing confessionals at camp Angkor. If anyone can do this, I can, I've done it before, this is just round 2....Got to LOVE her attitude and we all know how Survivor loves their underdog story.

Then we cut to Tribe nuTakeo and Terry is thrilled cause all he sees is mighty Joe young. He has a very confident and perhaps a bit arrogant confessional, that he doesn't know if they will lose a challenge. He's also assuming so much with new schooler, Kelley. Terry, the paternal one, declares it's chicken and rice for all tonight to celebrate! As Terry is having his confident confessional we see Joe reach in grab the chicken and wring it's neck....will Joe do that to Terry?

Everyone comments on their good fortune. Cierra has a confessional regarding it, saying as long as the 4 stay tight they ought to be good, then we see a hornet's nest and ominous music, then we see Joe talking to Kelly and she starts throwing him under the bus. She follows with a confessional about how she is going to kick him under that bus. She's a PLAYER! Still making big moves of her own, and as a new school player she's playing as soon as she stepped on the beach, while Terry is just smoozing. I'd say point: New School!

Like you, I also thought, do I really want people to think that Terry has the idol...the easy vote would first be to cut the number without it...I dunno, but also like you, the scene made me feel that Kelley was one step ahead.

Then to Camp nuBayon and Monica speaks! As a member of the Bayon 4, she's confident too, and Stephen emphasizes this again, he couldn't be happier to out of camp Macho. But, hearing first from Ciera in the nuTakeo, and Monica in nuBayon, about how if they stick together they'll be good, I am not so sure. There is doubt. The two smallest girls that we really haven't heard from at all so far get a confessional about being secure with their four. Just gives me a lot of doubt for them, as we saw that the majority didn't work out for Angkor, will the other two tribes follow suit? We'll see.

All I can say about Stephen is: Poor guy! Where's JT when you need him! I agree, we all expected Spencer and Stephen bonding, and I am SURE that they must have, but the producers chose to show how he bonded with Jeremy, which was more relevant to the story. I think it bodes better for Spencer and Jeremy than it does for Spencer and Stephen.

Jeremy gets the big brother edit, sort of. Stephen instigates them to all look for the idol to support the 4, but Jeremy finds it and says he's going to come back from the challenge with HIS idol. And, later we see that he does just that. Again, I feel like Jeremy is steps ahead of Stephen.

Spencer got another stellar confessional and he's on a roll. Things are looking way up for Spencer a la the editing...Excellent comments on Jeremy better watch out for Spencer, if he doesn't know how long he'll keep him. Spencer will definitely know how long to keep Jeremy!

At rainy Angkor, Tasha has another nice confessional. I take it as a positive sign. She's done it before and she can do it again. She's using what was good about her last game and applying it here, she's keeping her wits and has positivity, I love that! I saw all of the drama that unfolded at Angkor between all of them as just par usual, and Tasha capitalized on it all. She was brilliant how she secured the wild one, Abi. Andrew may have wanted out Varner, but getting out Pei-Gee was still what they needed. And, now Woo is alienated from Varner and Abi. It seems like they are all attached to Tasha and Andrew, yet they still out number the new members of their tribe. WOW!

I took the scene where Savage was chopping the coconut when Jeff asked to make the jury as Andrew would CHOP Jeff when he was ready. And, I also felt that Varner may either fall just short of jury, or just on it?

To me, all of this is a hot mess. Abi-Maria is a mess! She is emotional, insecure, radical, playing too hard, paranoid, fickle. I understand that those around her think they can handle her, but time and again the ones that think they could handle her, are walking out the door. There is just no handling a player like that, and therefore as a viewer, I think they are idiots. Will Abi get the last laugh this season? It's crossed my mind. Will Varner be her next victim? I don't know. I was so bummed about Varner but I have to admit, while I loved it, I did think he was too much too fast. Got to come back and bite him. He played too hard at the challenge mouthing to Kelly, and it could bite her as well.

Regarding Andrew and Tasha and their confessionals, I thought that Andrew's were more narrational, whereas Tasha's were deeper and were more forthcoming about her own game and what she was planning to do in this new tribe, more strategic. Tasha's were much deeper.

Tasha's last confessional told us how she had hope, and that reminded me that Spencer's first confessional also ended with him having hope that he could indeed change his prior ways. I have a lot of hope for them!

I agree with all of your assessments regarding the players and where they seem to be dividing. Excellent comments on the editing for this episode.

I also noticed that there were a lot of animal imagery this episode as monkeys, baby birds, a ton of birds, hornet's nests, snakes, scorpions, Ocelots, was there a croc too? It will be fun to see how these tribes settle down. Thanks!

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10-12-15, 12:59 PM (EST)
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42. "RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"
I apologize for the tardiness of my reply but those are great observations, FP.

You write:

"As for Camp Bayon, paradise living, I love it. It reminds me of the "happy Chappy's" in All Stars..."

I saw them more like Fiji's Moto and that was a really bad tribe. We'll have to see how it goes. All I can say is that this happy tribe doesn't have anyone like Boston Rob running the operation. Some would say that's a good thing but a tribe needs one and only one leader.

"...we see Joe reach in grab the chicken and wring it's neck....will Joe do that to Terry?"

Lvoe that image. I hadn't even considered the possible symbolic meaning mostly because I never saw Joe as a schemer but his question to Kelley suggests that he may very well consider the possibility.

"Cierra has a confessional regarding it, saying as long as the 4 stay tight they ought to be good, then we see a hornet's nest and ominous music..."

A hornet's nest! Of course!! For some reason, I couldn't figure why they showed "working bees" after that confessional. That was the image that came to mind but it simply didn't fit with the scene's intent which was telling us that Ciera can't succeed with this approach. The hornet's nest prove it.

"Like you, I also thought, do I really want people to think that Terry has the idol...the easy vote would first be to cut the number without it...I dunno, but also like you, the scene made me feel that Kelley was one step ahead..."

It could cost her but if it had, I think the scene would have been shown differently. First of all, we wouldn't have seen Terry alone in the ocean, trying to get water out of his ears and we would have had a confessional from either Joe, Ciera or Kass saying that they have their eyes on Terry but on Kelley also. Instead we had Terry with his ears full of water, telling us that he can't hear what is going on around him.

I wonder if Stephen's problems stem mostly from his "Know-it-all" podcast with Rob. I think that is why Savage called him out. In his mind, you have to be cold blooded to simply look at everyone's best moves. I also wonder if Probst likes that podcast. Maybe the editors' mission is to tell us that this "know-it-all" knows very little after all. In our blogger's roundtable at RHAP we had one question asking us who's reputation may be changed the most after this and, right now, it looks like Stephen's is getting tarnished. Very needlessly I might add.

"At rainy Angkor, Tasha has another nice confessional"

I remember that during Micronesia it was a rainy scene that clinched it for me. It was right after the swap and Parvati had been my top contender for a while but then we had a scene of Airai huddling in the cave. While everyone looked miserable, Parvati was shown with her trade mark smile. Considering that in her opening confessional she had said: "I have to win; I didn't come back here to be miserable..." that made it very clear for me.

This time though, Tasha's opening confessional doesn't resonate with her edit so far. She wants to play more agressively but she is simply doing the same thing as before: First she followed Jeremy "as long as it's not me" just like she did with Garrett when they voted out Sampson together. Then she turned to Abi to save Savage and herself like she did with Kass to save herself and J'Tia. Same game should equal same result...

"I took the scene where Savage was chopping the coconut when Jeff asked to make the jury as Andrew would CHOP Jeff when he was ready. And, I also felt that Varner may either fall just short of jury, or just on it?"

I'm holding out hope for Varner. I don't want to repeat the mistake that I made with Skupin when I fell for his "Phoenix rising from the ashes" story so I have to be more cautious. Still, I think the scene was telling us that Savage missed his chance when he had Varner right where he wanted him. Maybe that even explains why we didn't see Varner scrambling: He was supposed to look like a dead duck but he escaped without a single vote...Second chance within a season of Second Chances.

As for Abi, I certainly hope she isn't another Sugar. I've already had too much Sugar. On the other hand, Varner saved her twice and she saved him in return. He certainly isn't regretting saving the Brazilian dragon. Where do they go from here?

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10-11-15, 05:42 AM (EST)
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40. "RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"
LAST EDITED ON 10-11-15 AT 12:07 PM (EST)

Andrew: It was interesting that they showed Andrew’s bad luck with twists to underline this situation. He wasn’t the only one that got a bad deal with the new tribal arrangements but he was one of the few that we heard talking about it. For most of the episode, we heard people saying they love their new surroundings. None of the other members of the new minorities were given the opportunity to tell us how they felt. We heard from them only after they had found some kind of foothold in their new tribe. For Andrew, it was different: We heard his anguish then saw his recovery. While he mostly followed Tasha, it was more because he was “assigned” to Peih Gee and Woo while she dealt more with Abi. Andrew was with her every step of the way and it was even more important for him to twist the game immediately because he was the first target.

Well, if one of the principal objectives of the editors is to create doubt in the viewer's mind that the eventual winner does in fact become the Season's Sole Survivor, tnen things have certainly looked rosy for Cambodia's designated pessimist from Day One.

Much as they did for Mike ...

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10-12-15, 03:08 PM (EST)
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43. "RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"
Maybe but Mike's edit was manufactured so that we would think he was in trouble and could be the first to go in the Blue Collar tribe. Andrew was in real trouble after that swap. We'll see.

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10-11-15, 06:08 PM (EST)
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41. "RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"
LAST EDITED ON 10-11-15 AT 08:33 PM (EST)

LAST EDITED ON 10-11-15 AT 08:30 PM (EST)

Nice comments on Kelley as well, michel. I wanted to comment on her too. She is kind of a loner. I love that she has the idol and hasn't told anyone about it, but we have not really seen her get a real wingman yet. She was with Spencer and Shirin, but she jumped quickly and voted against them. She was playing the numbers, and I don't feel she really has any solid connection with anyone out there...yet. She definitely needs a buddy. Will that buddy be on this tribe, or is she waiting to hook back up with one of her original alliances, Jeremy?

This is a social game and she seems to be flying under the radar but Joe and the old Bayon's definitely recognize her strength, just as she recognizes Joe's.

Funny to note that she and Tasha are in the exact same positions. The women in the minority and it's interesting to compare and contrast how they both approach it. Tasha is solid with Andrew and they work as a team to find the weak points, where as Kelley is very quick to throw Terry under the bus, and fend for herself only. Will one be more successful than the other, will both options work? Time will tell!

When Kelly has a confessional at nuBayon we can compare her as well. I have to assume that Spencer, as the man in the minority, was shown because his integration into the tribe is more significant. Not good that Kelly was overlooked completely.

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10-12-15, 03:19 PM (EST)
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44. "RE: Episode 3 - Let's Do the Twist!"

>is she waiting to hook
>back up with one of
>her original alliances, Jeremy?

It's possible but I'm not sure that she trusts Jeremy. It would be HIS alliance and I think she'd prefer to have more control.

>and the old Bayon's definitely
>recognize her strength,

It was good to hear them talking positively about her.

>Funny to note that she and
>Tasha are in the exact
>same positions. The women in
>the minority and it's interesting
>to compare and contrast how
>they both approach it. Tasha
>is solid with Andrew and
>they work as a team
>to find the weak points,
>where as Kelley is very
>quick to throw Terry under
>the bus, and fend for
>herself only. Will one be
>more successful than the other,
>will both options work? Time
>will tell!

They each adapted to different tribes. Kelley saw that the four ex-Bayon were tight and that the tribe was strong. She may only need to escape one vote before the next swap so why not go after Terry since he wasn't with her originally.

Tasha and Savage saw a divided and weaker tribe so they had to consider the possibility of facing a few TC. Throwing each other under the bus wouldn't have worked just like it didn't work for the member sof the Beauty tribe after their swap.

All this to say that both may be successful while these tribe last. We may have to wait until they adapt to the next swap or the merger to see which is more successful.

>Not good that Kelly was
>overlooked completely.

It seemed that she was mostly narrating the early days of Takeo. It would be between her and Stephen, I think, if they go to TC. It's unfortunate but I don't think Kelly can win with her edit and her strategy.

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10-11-15, 04:10 AM (EST)
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39. "Some tweaks"
So this could bite me in the butt like it did with Jenn last year if I am wrong(Jenn being a merge target and being a early juror). But I am thinking more on Abi's edit. Maybe Abi is tied to Jeff's edit. Jeff talked about in episode 2 how he could drag Abi to the end. Well, that made me think......

Maybe Abi DOES make the merge and goes early in it and when she goes, Jeff goes right after her. And the other person tied to Jeff-Kelly-could find herself maybe in a build-up arc to her boot similar to Reed after Josh was voted out in SJDS. I don't think she will go right after but the editing told us she is tied to Jeff.

However, now about Stephen. I do believe he will outlast Savage. And should he make the merge he has these targets ahead of him:Jeff, Abi, Joe, and Kass(she won't survive a merge with Tasha and Spencer. Editing doesn't need to tell us that). That is at least getting him to perhaps ninth place. He could be the Varner of Bayon and like Josh(Coyopa's Jeremy), find himself going right after Varner.

So then we go back to the alternative.....Keith. I don't like he didn't get anything the last two shows, but he was one of the three male standouts the first show. He may have actually had the best strategic edit of those three as he's doing what he did the last time but plans tweaks. And with it being a 20 player season and not 18 there maybe could be another chance for Keith in the next episode or two. And really, who's going to get rid of him? He won't be dominating challenges this time with Jeremy, Spencer, Tasha around imo.

Finally I am beginning to think Monica could take Kimmi's spot.

So now with my new updated outlooks

The Pickoffs at Mid Merge

The Major Confessional Stealer Boots

Jeff's Preceding Boot and Editing Handcuff

The First Targets

The Rest out Pre-Merge

And also, this tells of perhaps a 13 person merge if Abi is in it because I can see none of the names I listed(except for one of the multi-options) going pre-merge. But if Abi ends up going pre-merge I guess I'll have to take the hit.

After three episodes I don't think I need to break this all down anymore. The only thing that I need to be on the lookout for is Keith and what he does the next episode. At some point I will be breaking down how I see my final 6 order shaking out.

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10-12-15, 03:21 PM (EST)
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45. "RE: Some tweaks"
I have to tip my cap to someone who goes all in like that! We'll see how it works out.
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10-13-15, 08:36 PM (EST)
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46. "RE: Some tweaks"
It really isn't that hard. I just pay attention to confessional moderation and what they say. One thing that I might need to point out is when players get confessionals sitting by the rocks or near a shoreline. Also the music that is played. Last year I got Carolyn and Will right for the endgame, because Carolyn disappeared after her first episode and Will had a strong introduction, then disappeared in favor of Jenn and Vince in the first show and a lengthy compelling confessional before TC in the 2nd show. Dan I went back on after the second show and he was the penultimate boot. I did not have Rodney endgame and that was grave for me there. I had him winning though for one episode. The winners usually do not get the type of screentime presence the other late finishers get. So far, Tasha, Kelley, Spencer, and Jeremy have all gotten quality confessionals in moderation. Bad confessionals mean the opposite like when someone is talking about the whole tribe early on, that's bad. Or when someone is bashing people negatively in confessionals, thats also bad. In SJDS I only got Missy and Keith right. I think had Jon getting near the end as well but wasn't sure he could win. This was the first time though I saw major narrators leave after Tony's was so big last year and even early on. My winner pick was Jeremy,one of the narrators, I have tried to learn from this. I don't know if narrator is the word for it someone who's opinionated too much.
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10-15-15, 01:52 AM (EST)
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47. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Tonight, I am not changing my order of how I see things in the endgame. But some interesting developments emerged tonight.

I really am believing the Tasha villain arc is already starting. She's keeping around someone like Abi-Maria, and I know she is going to target redeeming Kass. I think that will be when the villain arc becomes full blown.

With Jeff gone, that completely changed what I thought I knew but my endgame is intact as no one has left. But what is going to happen with Abi? I think so far the season is starting off with all the wrong boots(except Shirin) it gives me uneasy feeling about this season. I see a bad merge happening unfortunately.

Stephen was more toned down tonight than previous episodes which for a narrator doesn't make much sense but it is a 20 person season.

The preview for the next show with Kimmi is forcing me to maybe stick with my original quiet endgamer. And one thing stands rather clear to me. Monica targeted Spencer this episode, that's bad for her. She has now been ruled out for Kimmi's replacement and fitting that Kimmi could take out her edit challenger. So the Monica/Ciera theory of mine is back in place where one makes merge, other doesn't.

This season, I would add producers are deceiving edgic and ultimately it appears they are going to deceive the fans. That Varner boot imo is the beginning.

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10-16-15, 10:24 PM (EST)
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48. "Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
The Recap

After a surprise switch, Survivor Second Chance went from two tribes to three tribes.

The new Takeo tribe was building confidence (Terry’s draft picks confessional was replayed) the new Bayon tribe was building relationships, (It was Spencer’s new approach confessional) while the new Angkor tribe had to rebuild everything. The only thing that was evident: Tasha and Savage were in the minority but they weren’t ready to give up. (After talking to Tasha, we heard Abi’s sweet nothings confessional)

At the immunity challenge, Jeremy secretly found an idol, Angkor lost the challenge and Varner lost his cool. (Varner’s “I shouldn’t have done that” confessional)

Facing Tribal Council, the former Takeo couldn’t get along so Tasha and Savage used it to their advantage. (It was Savage that we saw telling Abi to vote Peih Gee and then we had Tasha’s confessional: “It’s great to have the tables turned.”)

At Tribal Council, Woo voted for Abi, again but it was Peih Gee who was sent home. (We heard Abi’s remark to Woo about his vote)

All this talk about Woo’s vote against Abi was presented to hide what should have been an obvious vote. While Tasha has received a stellar edit, I noticed that it was Andrew that was shown securing Abi’s vote while Tasha was heard giving a very passive comment. “It’s great to have the tables turned” she said as if she didn’t do anything to change the situation. The other tribes were barely mentioned but since Angkor was going back to TC, their stories are still on standby.

Evolution and Change

Angkor Night 9

The music was accompanied by lamentations. Then we saw four sneakers hung up to dry on sticks left on the beach.

The Killing Fields

The image reminded me of Army helmets used to mark graves after a battlefield burial. If that was the intent of this image then we have to say that the Angkor members are doomed. There were only 4 sneakers though so maybe one of them can slip by...Which one? Woo’s story doesn’t fit with our themes. Abi is Abi. Andrew’s confessionals have been mostly narrative while Tasha’s are more personal so if we are seeing the beginning of an underdog story, it would be hers.

Varner’s confessional was the first we heard. He was glad that he dodged a bullet and escaped without a single vote. He added: “I’m indebted to these guys which makes me sick. I got to kiss their asses.”

We are going to miss his funny confessionals.

Tasha was sitting alone with Woo, telling him that it should have been Varner going home instead of Peih Gee because of what he did at the challenge, adding that he was the source of all the drama. She promised Woo that he was safe. We saw that Abi was looking at them.

Tasha in confessional: “I’m feeling great because I came in here bottom two and I initially thought that it would be either Savage or myself going home but now we’re in control.”

Abi told Tasha that seeing her talk to Woo made her uncomfortable. Tasha wondered “what’s the beef?”

Hearing Tasha say that Varner was the source of all the drama made me question her. What about Abi? I wanted to ask. Now that she is aligned with the drama queen, will Tasha follow the same path as Shirin and Varner?

Savage in confessional: “Aligning with Abi does make me a little nervous because she has deep rooted insecurities. She has some paranoia which makes her completely unpredictable.”

Abi’s interview: “It bothers me to get these votes at Tribal especially when you are coming from a tribe like Takeo where everyone is plotting to get you out. I feel great that I am in the majority but I have my ears open and Woo has voted for me twice. If the decision was up to me, he would be the next one going home.”

She should realize that, with Varner gone, she is the next to go.

Bayon Day 10

There was still fog lingering around the Bayon camp when we saw Stephen and Kelly waking up. The fog could indicate that those two are still be unaware of their tribe’s dynamics.

Jeremy’s confessional: “In the last immunity challenge, I found an immunity idol but I couldn’t really celebrate... I’m so happy! Finally! It took two years to get this thing but I finally got my idol. It’s a thing of beauty.”

During this confessional, we saw a monkey lose its banana and we heard Stephen asking Jeremy if he had any luck finding the idol. Jeremy said he didn’t; that it had to be somewhere in a tree. Jeremy's confessional continued: “This is my idol and I’m not telling anybody. I told Stephen that we really need to look for this thing because I don’t need him to think that I have it. I want Stephen to think that I’m still looking for it and that it’s for us. I want to keep pulling him close. I know they will be coming after me at some point and I want it to be him who is the one to say: “Listen; they are coming after you.” Then I got my “get out of jail free” card. I would love to be Steve’s JT. We could be friends for life after this. I’ll give you second place if you are happy with that. I’m not happy with second place.”

Those pesky numbers! Whenever we hear someone mentioning numbers, I wonder if they will come back to haunt them. In Survivor just like in Lost, the numbers are cursed! Will Jeremy finish second? Maybe he will have to be happy with it or he could wind up even worse. While the monkey’s clumsiness reminded me of Stephen’s awkwardness around camp it could also be telling us that Jeremy will let his game slip through his fingers. What if it’s Stephen that comes after Jeremy? If he’s still hoping for that warning, he may get to keep his idol all the way back to the States.

Angkor Day 10

Bugs were flying all over the place, one even landing on Varner’s shoulder.

Savage told Tasha that they had survived one night in a hellhole. He called their camp a dead cove.

Savage could be right: Two of the six original members of this tribe never made it out of camp and others could soon follow. However, this scene was presented as a rebuttal to all the flak Probst received over the years for the Have-Not twist. Fiji’s detractors have told Probst numerous times that the season’s twist was the most unfair and the dumbest idea that production ever had. After this Reward Challenge, Probst will finally be able to say that a tribe deprived of food and shelter can still win a competition. OK, that was one challenge win. Big deal! Their performance in the very next immunity challenge was very reminiscent of the old Ravu.

Savage in interview: “Our new camp: No resources, no shelter. Nothing. I’ve just been gutted. I started out in Shangri-La. I was top dog with an abundance of sea food. Now, I am literally in a Survivor ghetto. There’s nothing here... We are in hell right now.”

He came back empty-handed from his fishing expedition.

One can wonder if they are in that hell hole because it is their karma. Varner and Andrew were villains in Kucha and Morgan respectively, Peih Gee threw a challenge to get rid of Aaron, Woo was a weasel, Tasha voted against Tony while Abi was Abi. We are told that we shouldn’t look backwards to explain Karma but maybe production chose to ignore that rule and wanted to settle some scores!

Just then, Varner came back with Tree Mail. The message told them there would be a feast.

Woo had a confessional: “It’s a reward challenge which is good because I feel like I am withering away. I’m really excited but I don’t know how much we have in our tank to actually pull this off.”

The Reward Challenge

It looked like no one was surprised to see that Peih Gee was gone. It was as if she didn’t matter to anyone.

Yawn...what a snoozefest that must have been

It was a Hero Challenge:
Takeo chose Terry (why not Joe?)
Angkor was represented by Savage (Wouldn’t Woo have been faster?)
Bayon designated Jeremy.

We never got an answer to Takeo and Angkor’s selections. Woo had won the race to the rice so he was definitely the fastest guy there while Joe has to be faster than Terry. Is it possible that the tribes didn’t actually make the selections? Watching this, I had the same feeling that I had while watching the first challenge in Samoa: Production wanted these players to run the challenge so they were “picked”. If that was fixed then maybe the results were also. It was another Survivor specialty: The comeback win.

Jeff said that the three tough guys were showing their wear and tear.

That’s Jeff being the salesman.

Heading back with his third bag, we heard Savage saying: “Almost there. Almost there.”

Not quite since there are 29 days left!

Andrew won the big reward while Terry finished second.

I bet Jeremy would have been happy with that second place! It was rather ironic coming right after his confessional where he said he didn’t want second place. On the other hand, maybe the inclusion of that comment in Jeremy’s confessional only applied to this challenge instead of the whole game. Can we still look at it as a hint that he won’t win? I think the combination of these two scenes tells us that Jeremy will wind up wishing he’d finish second.

Asked how they felt, a teary eyed Tasha told Jeff that they hadn’t eaten in four days. She added that Andrew won it out of love for his tribe.

How about those sneaky editors?! The season’s introduction shows Tasha crying after a challenge and we thought it meant they had lost again but we couldn’t tell in which episode it would occur because of the buff-o-matic used to change the colors. They were in fact tears of joy.

Savage gave us a confessional while the tribe walked away from the challenge arena: “Part of my demons from Pearl Islands is that I never stopped thinking: Did I carry my weight, did I do enough to get us over the hump? Today, I gave everything I had and we won so: Vindication for me.”

Despite Andrew’s good showing, Tasha’s tears stole the scene. If Andrew feels that this was enough to vindicate him then maybe he’s already got as much as he will get from this second chance.

Angkor Night 10

Of course, it was to be expected that we would rejoin Angkor for their reward but it must be noted that we still haven’t spent a minute with the Takeo tribe. And Bayon was really only shown because of Jeremy’s idol. It seems that the story is not about the season’s winner yet, that, for four episodes we have been forced to watch all the turmoil surrounding our Brazilian Dragon. We aren’t watching the show about a Sole Survivor; we have been forced to watch a telenovela! Hopefully, it will get off the air soon and we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Everyone was thanking Savage, their new legend.

Andrew’s confessional: “After not eating for four days, you get at wit’s end. When Jeff said: “Angkor wins!” I almost dropped to my knees. It’s one of the best moments in Survivor that I ever had. They put a million pound of faith in me because this was everything when you are starving and I was able to deliver. This little tribe, now they know that we can compete against all the big horses on the other tribes and that’s huge. It’s a game changer because now we can fire on all cylinders and not go to Tribal.”

Between bites, Abi said: “We are so winning immunity.” Then the whole tribe was shown celebrating

They should have known that they would soon be proven wrong.

Takeo Day 11

To the sounds of a sitar, we saw a spider going after an insect that had been trapped in its web.

Everyone was asleep except for Kass...and Kelley!

Kass in confessional: “I think that if you lost Survivor the first time out, you need to do something differently. I made a big mistake the last time in Cagayan. Strategically, I think I played a great game. Socially? I didn’t. Pretty much everyone thought I’d come in here and be a little turd and cause them problems. I was probably at the top of the list of everyone to get out and I really took that to heart. So I read the book “How to win friends and influence people”. It says: Act as sincere as you can, sympathize with people. I know this is bizarre for people to see Chaos Kass out here applying self-help methods but I knew that I needed to look at my game play and what I need to do.”

Let’s pass on my opinion that Kass’ strategic game in Cagayan was as bad as Cochran’s in South Pacific but let’s just look at her confessionals: She wanted to change everyone’s perceptions but Kelley still sees her as Chaos Kass. It would have been much better to hear this confessional AFTER Kass had survived a Tribal Council. The votes are the only truths in this game so, until then, any confessional that Kass gives can be seen as part of a redemption edit. For now, like practically everyone that wasn’t in the original Takeo or the new Angkor, she isn’t yet connected to the game.

Kelley’s confessional: “This morning, I wake up and I see Kass over by the tree and she’s using the machete to cut off beads off the bags. I’m like: What is this woman doing? I don’t trust her. I mean she nicknamed herself Chaos Kass. Hello! That is her whole thing, to do something sneaky like making a fake immunity idol. Then, I see her out on the beach and she’s like: “Get away, get away”. I know she has something up her sleeve. She’s Chaos Kass; come on.”

Instead of a fake idol, Kass had been preparing a gift for Kelley’s birthday: “Happy belated birthday” she said, adding: “A little piece of Bayon to welcome you here. A little good luck charm.”

Kelley said that it was so sweet. She added: “I thought you were making a fake idol.”

Kass said she knew it would look like that but she wanted to trump them all.

Personally, I wouldn’t have told Kass that I thought she was making a fake idol because I’d be thinking that was exactly what it was supposed to be. The fake idol could have become a gift once Kass realized that she had been discovered. But that’s just me: I wouldn’t trust anyone. Now that Kelley has a good luck charm she may have all she needs to go to the end.

Kass’ confessional: “I think the winner of Second Chance will be someone who truly embraces evolution and change. For me, that is being this more open person.”

Looking at Joe, Kass said: “As if I have the skills to make an idol.”

Well, a crafty jeweller like Joe would certainly have the skills to make a fake idol so maybe that is where this scene will lead. Was Kass telling Joe to make fake idols for them? Or will Joe follow up on that idea and make one for himself? There’ll probably be a fake idol popping up at some point and it won’t be a f*** stick! Wouldn’t it be funny if Kelley uses Kass’s gift to trick someone from another tribe? She could even use the paper with the rules of the real idol to fool someone.

Bayon Day 11

Jeremy was asking Spencer about his deal with “Wiggles.”
Spencer told Jeremy and Stephen that she voted against him and that he would have been the next to go. He told Jeremy that he would be ready to get rid of her; that “people over there own her vote, namely Terry, Woo and Varner.”

Spencer: “The facts are: 4 Bayon and 2 former Takeo. So, I know immediately that Wiglesworth and I are in some degree of trouble which puts me in the position of having to throw Wiglesworth under the bus. I need to make it clear to my tribe that there are people who Wiglesworth will run back to in the future.”

Spencer then talked to Monica about Kelly, saying that she was close to Terry and Woo. Monica asked if she was close to Wentworth. Spencer said she was good with all of them.

I know he meant Wiglesworth but it certainly made it sound like Wentworth was good with all of them. That sounds like another good point for Kelley Wentworth.

Monica’s confessional: “Spencer says that Kelly Wiglesworth has a ton of people that are in her alliance but I don’t think that he is being completely truthful. He’s a little bit sneaky so my first gut reaction was: As women, we need to be strong, we need to stick together not only to keep the girl count up and the hopes of maybe doing a girls’ alliance and also to keep the boys’ count down. So, once a challenge is lost, Spencer needs to go first.”

Sneaky, sneaky!

It looks like Spencer figured he had showed enough feelings for one season. This tactic was very cold blooded and it was perceived that way by Monica, someone who can’t exactly be called a Survivor know-it-all. I think Spencer will regret telling everybody that Kelly was close to Varner, Terry and Woo. One of those close allies is already gone and the other two are in danger. If Kelly loses more allies, she will become a very interesting free agent. Spencer may be giving his tribe more reasons to vote him out. On the other hand, this could also lead to Monica’s downfall if Jeremy really wants to keep Spencer.

The Immunity Challenge

Monica sat out for Bayon while Ciera warmed the bench for Takeo.
Varner was Angkor’s caller, Kass got the job for Takeo while Kimmi handled it for Bayon.
Jeff told us that the tribe that communicated the best would succeed.
Kass was shown screaming at the top of her lungs yet Keith kept saying: “I can’t hear.” Dietz was “waiting to get called on in class but the teacher doesn’t see him.”
Angkor was working well, jumping out to an early lead.
Jeff said that Dietz was “like the guy at the party that no one talks to and is waiting for an invitation to dance.” He then added: “Joe is not waiting for anybody; he basically did it on his own...Joe has put Takeo back in this challenge...Joe with a full on sprint. Takeo is now in the lead.”
We then had the usual bumps and bruises with Keith, Kelly, Abi, Stephen, Varner, Spencer, Tasha and Spencer getting hits.
When it got to the last piece, Jeff said: Dietz working with Joe. He’s finally got a partner after working in his own.”

It was funny that Jeff mentioned the tribe that communicated the best because it was presented in such a way that Kass was the worst caller. Terry was always forgotten and Keith couldn’t hear her, yet they finished first! All the credit went to Joe who is apparently so amazing that he doesn’t need eyes to find his way around an obstacle course.

When it got to the puzzle, Angkor was simply pathetic. They never made any progress. It was Varner that got the worst of it: He dropped a piece that fell directly on his foot.

It was a race between Takeo and Bayon. With Spencer taking control, Bayon made a lot of progress. Monica cheered for Spencer. Once again, it was Spencer and Jeremy that placed the last piece.

As for second place, it got to the point where Angkor stopped trying and simply looked on as Takeo put in their last few pieces.

Out of breath and almost losing his voice, Andrew told Jeff that it was all they had. He said he never felt that way even when he played college football. Varner fell to the ground.

It looked like nobody was even able to give a confessional.

Angkor Day 11

Varner had a very noticeable limp.

Andrew’s confessional: “We went into today thinking we would decimate those guys and continue to ride this high but we just got thumped by the hardest physical challenge in which I participated. We just reached this rock bottom low and we have to go to Tribal Council and send somebody home.”

Tasha’s confessional: “Thanks to Abi, Savage and I have fought our way from the bottom to what appears to be the top. However, Abi is unpredictable. She will make a decision, she will be solid but a few minutes later, she doesn’t know and that worries me.”

Tasha and Andrew agreed that Jeff was very cunning so that they couldn’t let him talk to Abi because he needed to go.

Jeff and Woo took a walk by the ocean, both knowing that one of them was going home.

Varner said that Abi was “in their lap” and that she had turned her back on him.

The baby monkey, the one that we first associated with Jeff, was about to fall victim to a lurking leopard cat.

It seems that Tasha is the leopard cat. After getting Peih Gee, the baby bird, she was now going after Varner.

Woo tried to do some damage control with Abi but she kept harping on his previous votes.

Abi’s confessional: “Woo pitched his case and... he says that he wants to work with me but then he stabbed me behind my back and I’m going with people who value my personality and what I bring to the table.”

Which is?

Woo’s confessional: “I tried to rekindle a relationship with Abi but she was pretty upset. I did write her name down twice and she does have a grudge and if she is looking for retaliation or vengeance upon me then I could be facing a lot of trouble going to tribal tonight.”

Tasha’s confessional: “Abi is totally fixated on: “I don’t trust Woo.” The thing is that Woo can help us win challenges but Abi is just contrary. You’ll say it’s blue, she’ll say it’s yellow. Varner is very manipulative and he could work his magic. Abi is the pivotal piece of this puzzle and we may have to do what she wants. Otherwise, Abi is going to be pissed.”

They could have voted her out, no?!

Abi’s confessional: “Tonight, I have a huge decision and it all comes down to winning challenges versus trust and loyalty and I hate to be the decision maker.”

It’s funny that the old school guy was voted out because the tribe went with old school thinking! They valued challenge strength over trust.

Tribal Council

Varner talked about his injured foot. Right then, he was attacked by some really big flying insect.

Woo said that he was on the bottom with Varner.

Abi agreed that it was between those two guys but that she hadn’t made up her mind yet.

Savage said that Woo would be a stud in challenges after the merge.

That makes me wonder once again why the tribe didn’t pick Woo for the Hero challenge.

Woo objected that the merge wasn’t going to happen any time soon.
Varner said that Woo’s physicality would be a threat.

When Woo said he would be loyal to this alliance, Varner pointed out that he hadn’t been in this alliance. Varner went on to make a very appealing pitch, one that made Woo feel very uncomfortable.

Tasha said it was between loyalty and physical ability.

Woo said he’d be loyal also and the argument went on between the two until Varner said he wanted to get to the vote. Probst obliged but Woo made one last plea.

As he stood up to go vote, Abi reminded him: “Don’t write Abi.”
After Probst read one vote for Woo and one for Varner, the third vote told us the outcome: Everyone voted against Varner.

Before bringing his torch to Jeff, Varner hugged and kissed Abi while pretending to be angry. “You little #####!” he said. She smiled at him.

Probst offered them a silver lining: “Sometimes, if you make the right vote, you return to camp stronger and more united. We’ll know soon enough if that is the case for this tribe.”

The Story

With all the images of rebirth that can be found in this Second Chance season, we have to say that Varner’s elimination was due to his karma. It was very ironic that he was voted out because of his cross-tribal message to Kelly. For years, he had been angry at Kimmi for telling Tina that he had received a vote at their first TC so it was very fitting that he’d be the one caught sending a message to a member of the other tribe. The real beauty of this Karmic fruit is that his message was telling Kelly to trust Kimmi! Another irony is that the old school player was eliminated because the tribe voted along old school thinking. They needed Woo’s strength more than Varner’s loyalty.

The “Takeo-turned-Angkor” tribe has gone to so many Tribal Councils that we can call their camp the “Killing Fields”. The main problem of this situation is that it gives us very little information on the other two groups. It’s very possible that we’ve only been given a rough sketch of the winner’s story in these first four episodes. Still, the editors must have set the first markers on the winner’s road to the end. Even if we lost our first player that had an introductory confessional, one that was a star in the first two episodes no less, we can still look at the remaining introduction confessional for clues to our long term players and to the winner.

The themes of the first episodes reminded us of elements found in Buddhism like a rebirth, an ethical conduct, a need to improve and to follow the middle way. These themes can still guide us because it became evident that Varner didn’t have the ethical conduct to be our winner.

The Characters

These players are devolving into minor or even bad roles

Keith, Kimmi, Ciera: While each had interesting roles in their first season, these three continue to be ignored so we don’t know where they fit in the story yet. They could simply be characters on hold while the more urgent story of Angkor is recounted. Kimmi’s opening confessional probably served to introduce the Buddhist theme more than to establish her role but what about Ciera whose introductory confessional was replayed in the recap of episode 3. We should expect good things from her but up to now, “bernique”*!

Kelly: It was troubling for Kelly that she wasn’t heard in an episode where Spencer threw her under the bus. It’s as if we are being told that this old school player isn’t aware of what is going on around her. She had a nice start to the season though so maybe she will take on a bigger role when Bayon goes to Tribal Council.

Joe: Only featured during the challenge, we were told that Joe was amazing once more but that is nothing new. How does he fit in with the new tribe members? He had a brief talk with Kelley in the last episode but it didn’t tell us what he thought. We had a hint that he could be making fake idols in the future so there is still a role for Survivor MacGyver.

Stephen: The way Stephen’s scenes are constructed, it makes him look like a “Dumb player”. First we had the clumsiness which the editors alluded to by presenting that image of the monkey losing its banana at the same time that Stephen entered the scene. Then he is heard talking about looking for the tribe’s idol that we know is in Jeremy’s pocket. There’s certainly the possibility that Stephen turns this around. He could be the one that gets rid of Jeremy, taking over control of the tribe and the game at the same time but it looks like a long shot right now.

Monica: From near invisibility, Monica emerged as one of the only strategists outside of Angkor in this episode. Her confessional made her appear like a villain because Spencer was being honest with her. His goal may have been devious but Kelly certainly had more connections in the old Takeo than he did. Monica could emerge as an interesting player but she doesn’t seem to be of the right calibre to pull off an alliance that would topple all the men. That surge of strategy certainly looks like it signals the end of her story but if Monica comes on top, if she gets her way and Spencer is booted first, then she would certainly have shown enormous improvement. In Galu, she was one of Laura’s minions, one of the Club Med vacationers that were freeloading off of Swan’s hard work. It should be noted that she hasn’t been shown at rest or sunbathing once so there is a slim chance that something good will happen for her. More likely, she will come out of this saying that she tried this time.

These players haven’t changed enough

Abi: Abi is Abi. She is acting like the new dictator in Cambodia, turning her camp into the Killing Fields. The Khmer Rouge regime killed over 2 million civilians and practically destroyed the Buddhist monks while our Brazilian Dragon has only 4 “victims” on her scorecard so I’m not really comparing the two but no one seems capable of stopping her.

Woo: Who is Woo? Apparently, he is a challenge stud that doesn’t get picked to represent his tribe in a race he would probably have easily won. He should be safe even if Angkor goes back to Tribal Council (if?) but his future could be in Abi’s hands if Tasha and Andrew continue to give her all the power. Even if he makes it to the merge, we’ve already heard that he’s considered too dangerous to leave in the game.

Andrew: He wasn’t liked by the viewers in Pearl Islands but I thought he was simply doing what was best for his alliance. It wasn’t easy going up against a tribe that had the three strongest men and the strongest woman so there wasn’t much room for Skinny Ryan and Lill in Morgan. He didn’t handle them properly and that cost him only because of the Outcast twist. He’s been much more careful this time. Varner thought he could be saved and no one from his original tribe has named him as a possible target. Still, his confessionals are mostly narration, leaving him without much substance for someone who has gone to two Tribal Councils.

Terry: When his tribe won immunity, we had the image of Terry standing on top of the cube, giving one of his patented Ka-shing! gestures. While we do see a friendlier, more relaxed character than the one we remember from Panama (winning does that) we still have witnessed examples of Terry’s poor social game. It could simply be that he isn’t a very gregarious person but his personality doesn’t seem to mesh with all these out going types that are all around him on Survivor.

Jeremy: Despite some clear signs of improvement, there’s still an aura of superiority emanating from his confessionals. He seems so certain that he can manipulate Spencer and keep him just long enough to suit his needs. Likewise, he thinks Stephen will serve his cause and be content to take second place. He believes it would be dumb for anyone to mess up a situation that is so perfect for him. Maybe he does keep everyone in order and gets his way but it doesn’t seem that he is following the right path. He is being set up for a comeuppance much more than enlightenment.

These players are showing clear signs of evolving and changing

Spencer: While this episode showed mostly the same calculating chess player, it seemed that his exchange with Monica was used to put an obstacle on his path. Spencer has shown some growth and while he will need much more if he is to win the game, he is making some good moves. It will be very interesting to analyze his role in an episode where he goes to Tribal Council.

Kass: We are definitely being shown a nicer, more socially aware person but it could be a simple nod from the editors to a player that wasn’t afraid to make a big move in her first season. She may very well gain some friends but until she goes to Tribal Council we won’t know if she has changed their perception. It really seemed odd that Kass was presented as the worst caller during the blindfold challenge when her team actually won that part of the challenge.

Tasha: Will Tasha fall victim to the killing fields that the Angkor beach has become? If she doesn’t put a stop to Abi’s reign of terror, she will follow her new ally to Loser Lodge. She knows that Abi isn’t trustworthy so why didn’t she simply take her out? It would have eliminated the big variable. Maybe Tasha is planning on unleashing the furor that is Abi on the unsuspecting members of her original alliance! I really don’t think that Tasha and Andrew would have been in more danger if they had kept Varner. While there wouldn’t be a risk of drawing rocks in a four person tribe, you’d have to think that both Varner and Woo would prefer aligning with the connected pair instead of each other.

Kelley: So much of her story depends on the interpretation of her scene with Kass. On the first level, Kelley was wrong to doubt Kass who was simply trying to be nice by offering her a birthday gift. However, Kelley was right to doubt someone that calls herself Chaos Kass and who told us she wanted to make her move after the merge. Anyway, a smart player should doubt everyone all the time so this wasn’t any different. I can’t decide between the two interpretations mostly because we didn’t hear from Kelley after she received Kass’ gift. Did she fall in Kass’ trap or does she still have her eyes open? Maybe we won’t have to wait for a trip to Tribal Council to answer that question. For now, I think it’s very good that we keep hearing from Kelley in scenes that aren’t really important to the night’s events and that we hear other players talking positively about her.

If we were to measure relative airtime, I think that Kelley has made the biggest move up the ladder. If we were to measure increase in game play discussion, I think she’d be the biggest gainer also. In San Juan del Sur, she was never involved in strategy confessionals before the swap put her in immediate danger and she had to protect herself. She has talked about her strategy in each of the first four episodes even when she was never in immediate danger. That sounds significant.

* bernique: Pronounced Bear-nick, it is a French slang word used to say “nothing” with a touch of disappointment.

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10-17-15, 05:53 PM (EST)
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49. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
LAST EDITED ON 10-17-15 AT 05:54 PM (EST)

Blowing me away with your comparison of the helmet on the stick marking graves to the sneakers on the! That's why you are in charge of the editing thread! LOL. Great observation that from the recap, ANDREW got the nod in that it was him telling Abi to vote for Pei-Gee, so why is that when it is seemingly Tasha that is doing most of the work. The subtleties of editing!

I couldn't have agreed more noting that Abi is seemingly ALL the drama in that tribe and that those that are her closest allies seem to be the ones voted out....will Tasha follow suit? Then, immediately after that conversation we have Andrew as the one that is saying in confessional how it makes him nervous to align with Abi as she insecure and paranoid. He's the wiser.

Well noted with Abi....she's so paranoid she is unable to make that connection, that if Varner goes, she's next. But, you are spot on, I think.

I LOVED your symbolism thoughts with the monkey and the banana applying it to Jeremy and his idol. Will his idol be wasted? Will the game slip through his fingers? So many good questions. I also thought that Jeremy could have had another money quote here though. He noted it took two years for him to get it, but he finally did, then he went on to note that he'd love to be his JT, we could be friends for life. I'll give you 2nd place, but I won't be happy with 2nd. I think this could be considered a declaration to win....all or nothing. So, the question comes around again back to your monkey symbolism....will it slip through his fingers?

Great insight to the "hellhole" comments and the karma! I LOVED it! Also the non-reactions to the Peih-Gee vote out....hilarious! Wow! I can't help but wonder if the old Takeo's on the other tribes could have foreseen these events!

Yes, I agree something was fishy with the selections for the hero challenge! Regardless, Savage, the underdog, repeats history. I will never forget him carrying all the weight of his tribe on his meager shoulders. Now that was something! But, it was fun to watch, Probst got to chant his "go to" sayings....both guys DIGGING DEEP! Loved your thoughts with Jeremy and falling short of second place...and, I agree, is this foreshadowing?

Also, Yes, I couldn't believe those were tears of joy, I thought for sure that those tears were in regard to a challenge loss! I was so happy though that they won! I hate the have not season as well, these daws just aren't as sturdy as they were in yesteryear when they really STARVED and had nothing.

I loved them showing them eating the reward and just what winning one reward can do to the morale of the tribe. Loved the chants! Even though the Anchors are such misfits and drama queens they are still our underdogs and I will still root for them!

Going to tribe nuTakeo, I also noted the spider going after it's prey. And then there was Kass. Kass is getting a great redeeming edit, and I can't wait to see what she does with it. I loved that she even read How to win friends and influence people, and then she even commented on what it said to do: Act as sincere as you can and empathize with them! Then we see her making the lucky charm bracelet. I <3 Kass! She has nailed it for me....last time she thought everyone was playing clinically the last time, but now she sees that you can form and bond relationships. I love it. My FAVORITE highlight of the editing was at the end of this scene, when Kass commented, “As if I have the skills to make an idol.”, and we SEE JOE in the foreground, as you noted! JOE DOES have the skills to make a damn good fake II, as we just saw last season! Wish their great minds would come together! Is it foreshadowing OR is it just a nod to Joe? I loved that you noted it too, michel!

Right before the switch to camp nuBayon and Spencer, there was a shot of a young monkey again, and I thought to myself, here come's Spencer, and there he was! I agree that Spencer and Monica got confessionals over at nuBayon, and Spencer's were in regard to being on the bottom with Kelly, so he has to throw her under the bus, and then Monica's was about not trusting Spencer and that she needs to keep the women, so he needs to go first. Sets them up to be at the core of the drama when and if the nuBayon's go to TC, and judging from the vidcaps we have, I'd say it's going to be sooner rather than later.

I thought the IC was brutal, but hilarious. To see the old farts, who can't hear, Terry and Keith, wandering around aimlessly was so funny. And, then to see them all fall over things was just sick. Joe, wow, he even has X/R vision and apparently can see through the buffs. He didn't need anything, he just went! Never has it been more apparent how totally SPENT these daws were than when we saw Angkor at the puzzle solving portion of the challenge. Literally, you could see that they had nothing. I don't know if they were thinking coherently at that point, but it was scary. Poor Varner. It was really too much. They are crossing a line, someone needs to give them some RICE, please!

Great point about Tasha being the leopard, love it! I was noticing the snake that Outsider said represented the bootee. And, he was right, it was presented right before we saw Varner and Woo walking on the beach, but we were hearing Varner saying, I think it's going to be me...! But, we did see another snake precede the talk between Woo and Abi, when he appealed to her to keep him. So, still questionable, but I will keep a look out.

Great comments on everything, michel. I agree that while Stephen's stock did go up a notch as Jeremy would even take him to F2, as long as he would get second place, he still came across naive. It just seems to me that the editors are going to lengths to humble the internets "knowingest know-it-all", and make him appear to be the dumbest of them all. GRRRRR! While you gave Spencer and Jeremy credit for winning the IC puzzle, I gave it to the young lad and Stephen...!

Regarding Jeremy, I do think he is playing almost the same game but he's tweaked it in an important way. On day one of his last game he was the alpha and he chose to work with all women, he ended up being their shield and was targeted by his own alliance. This time on day one, he picked all the alpha's plus Keith, so he WOULDN"T be the shield, and so he would have more threatening people around him. It's a big difference. He also worked harder, it took him 2 years, but he finally found HIS idol. And, he wants EVERY ONE around him to give him a heads up when they come gunning for him. Let's see if they they will.

Kelley: She is seen as a player with substance this year but she's playing so clinically and I really haven't seen her make ANY solid connections with anyone else out there. You got to have FRIENDS, and I don't know if she does. She is seen to be so focused and calculating, I don't know, I think she's going to end up on the villain side when it's all said and done.

YAY Kass! Loving her redemption, but I hope that she is NOT the journey player? Could be?

Savage: I agree, he's looking pretty proud of his hero accomplishments. Does he have the stamina for 39 days? It's doubtful to me at this point.

Tasha: Clearly her stock is rising and she's sticking to her pledge that she made in her first confessional. She will do what she has to do and then pray for forgiveness later. CAn't wait to see what that is foreshadowing down the road!

Spencer: With the tout he got from Jiffy for next week, the young lad is indeed on the road to maturation, change, redemption, you name it. But, is he on the road to the WIN?

Great job, michel! Loved it all!

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10-17-15, 09:39 PM (EST)
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50. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
Well I never said the snake represented the person that goes, but represented a move to take someone out. Varner said it was him that he thought was going. Then when Woo went to Abi, while he was pleading he afterward said to vote out Varner.

The snake usually represents where the successful target will be. Such as when the snake occurred, and Abi was walking with Shirin and told her that her or Spencer was going. Yet the snake preceded Shirin, and Abi was the snake that was gonna take out Shirin.

The animal symbolisms are beginning to pick up more.

So we have the following.
Tasha is a leopard cat. Even more forshadowing of her being a villain.
Spencer is a baby monkey and Stephen is a monkey.
The monkey dropping his banana means Stephen is gonna screw up being loyal to Jeremy and will shoot himself in the foot. I am guessing he will blurt it out that he and Jeremy have a final 2 deal and will get himself voted out.
The spider is Kelley? Or the insect? Can a insect represent the winner? Kass is the other. If Kelley is the spider I am guessing Kelley is instrumental in Kass's exit. Meaning two things, she either flips to vote out Kass or she plays her idol to get her out if say Kass is on the majority side.

I'll have to study other animal symbolisms.

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10-19-15, 12:33 PM (EST)
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52. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
Nicely thought out Michel! Enjoyed as always certainly not "bernique"

FP pointed out the highlights there and had to shake my head at the "old geezer" choices for the Hero Challenge and wondered just who picked them, it made no sense at all with Woo & Joe standing right there. I hope someone asks them about that post season.

Again well done, till next time.

Corrupting teenage boys
since, well,
none of your business how long...

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10-19-15, 04:11 PM (EST)
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54. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
Thank you, Suzzee. Someone should tell Terry, Andrew and Jeremy that you called them "Old Geezers"!
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10-19-15, 04:08 PM (EST)
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53. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
I'm glad you like the image of the killing Field, FP. It seemed appropriate considering Cambodia's recent history and the way the Ta Keo players are being systematically eliminated.

You should see the flak I'm getting over at RHAP for that comment about the Hero picks. I'm guessing many of those posters never went to sites called Survivor Blows or Survivor Sucks! I've seen too many oddities in picks and random distributions over the years that I doubt what I see. Now, it could have been simply that the teams hesitated for a minute so Probst jumped in with a "suggestion" that it would be interesting to see the three veterans going at it but why not show it?

The non-reactions to Peih Gee's elimination could be due to pre-game alliances. I don't think she had many compared to some of the others. Things could be different when they see that Varner is gone. That should get a reaction from Kelly and Terry at least.

Kelley is an interesting case because she has received much more airtime than in SJDS even if she hasn't gone to TC in the last two episodes and wasn't a target when she did attend. We know she made connections with Spencer, Joe, Kass and Ciera and she has previous ties to Jeremy so it's not all bad. She could have a confessional where she says that Shirin and Varner were her allies. That would give her a nice underdog story. We'll see.

Kass and Spencer are higher up on my list of contenders than I expected but Tasha is looking very good. I like the fact that Varner's boot was put on Abi's shoulder more than on Tasha's.

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10-19-15, 05:35 PM (EST)
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55. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
Nice comments, michel! Kelley will be interesting to watch and see how she connects with the people that she is currently with, and if and when she could make the merge and get back with Jeremy.

Yes, regarding Abi, it seemed as though the powers that be went to great lengths to have it appear to be all Abi's doing, when I really felt like Tasha had it in for him from the RAT moment onward. It was as though Abi was conflicted still at TC, then when they voted, they didn't even need her vote....they had Woo's. Interesting indeed.

I listened to RHAP with an interview with Randy from Gabon, and he made a shout out to you! Saying that whoever picked up that Abi was like Sugar was very astute, Rob said it was one of his bloggers and I knew who they were talking about! YOU! Well done!

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10-19-15, 09:32 PM (EST)
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56. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
I missed that podcast with Randy! I didn't like Sugar but not on the same level as him.

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10-19-15, 11:01 PM (EST)
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57. "RE: Episode 4 - Evolution and Change"
LAST EDITED ON 10-19-15 AT 11:10 PM (EST)

I don't get that at all with Sugar and Abi. Sugar was nowhere near as mouthy as Abi. She was playing dumb while really smarter than she let on. I never even noticed Michel's comparison either in her analysis. I might have overlooked it idk.

But Randy was on the island with Sugar so Sugar probably complained more off camera than on. I was actually a Sugar fan and could not stand Abi.

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51. "My style"
Part of my main editing style has always been about making out the major players at the end, who is going sooner than later, and who is about to go. That's how I did things with WA as well and with SJDS it was basically just who I saw at the end. I have been accused of manipulating this part of the editing. Take of that what you will.
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10-24-15, 11:06 AM (EST)
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58. "Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message:"
The Recap

With three tribes in the game they each have their own story:
- Takeo was on top of their game (Joe is shown picking a puzzle piece while Terry told us that he doesn’t think they will ever lose)
- Bayon had yet to lose but were far from united (Monica said that Spencer and Wiglesworth were in the minority)
- Angkor was a disaster (Andrew described their hellhole) ... and they lost their second immunity in a row.

Facing tribal Council, Savage and Tasha wanted to take out the biggest strategic threat but Abi held a vendetta against Woo.
At Tribal Council, Woo pled his case and it was Varner who was sent home.

We rarely have such a straightforward recap. There’s not much that we can learn from this that we didn’t already know. It showed us that Monica was too confident for her own good. If there was a slight manipulation it was by presenting Woo’s plea as the big turning point when it probably didn’t affect eh vote at all. It shows him as a player and this episode would build on that.

Sending a Bad Message

Angkor Night 11

While we saw him thanking his tribe mates, we heard Woo’s confessional: “I’m here to fight another day and I am absolutely psyched. Four tribals in eleven days is something I will never get used to and I hope we can postpone some of those tribals now that we have a strong team but if we don’t put our act together very soon, all four of us could be gone.”

Abi’s confessional: “The decision was up to me. It was either Varner or Woo and I kept Woo. I don’t like feeling like people owe me anything but if he writes my name down again, he is dead to me.”

If Woo writes her name down again, I believe it will be after receiving his walking orders so Abi won’t live to get revenge on Woo. We have to expect that someone will come to their senses at some point and eliminate the diva.

Andrew and Tasha hugged and shared their thoughts. Andrew said he loved his “little sister” and that he couldn’t believe what they pulled off.

Tasha’s interview: “Six days ago this was like mission impossible. Not just the conditions but the mental toughness it takes to fight your way from the bottom to the top but that’s part of the game and I’m playing it and I will continue to play it until my condition changes.”

The scene ended on an image of Tasha looking out to sea with a very determined expression. That was followed by the stars in the sky.

Is it written in the stars? The scene of Andrew and Tasha hugging looked very important and I could certainly imagine them repeating that hug when facing the jury during the reunion.

Bayon Day 12

It was so early in the morning that Jeremy and the monkey were yawning, the music was muted but the three women were already at work, trying to find food in the ocean.

Monica’s confessional: “Kimmi, Wiglesworth and I like to get up and we go clamming and we go crabbing. We bring home the protein for the boys. We’re the gatherers and we’re fine with it because, as women, we should be strong, we should stick together.” That’s when Kimmi found a big clam which started an argument with Monica who didn’t want to deplete the area since they would have to be there for another 27 days. Monica’s confessional took a rather ironic tangent: “That’s a big difference with this second chance: I’m not living day to day, I’m more looking at the end of the game.”

After taking a deep breath, Kimmi gave us a confessional: “I really need to practice my patience a little bit more because Monica is wearing my patience very thin. A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. Doesn’t she know these things? We don’t need to eat food, no, just leave it back in the ocean or else we are going to deplete the whole entire ocean... You know what? If my biggest problem out here is Monica then I’m doing Ok. Instead of being too emotional in my reactions, I try not to make waves. I just have to remember self-control. I’m older and wiser but I’m not used to having somebody else give me their opinion when it’s not welcomed.”

This scene from season 31 episode five is a lot like a scene from season 2 episode 5 where we had a fight between Kimmi and Alicia over eating too much food but, in a bizarre role reversal, Kimmi was playing Alicia’s role and we have clams instead of chicken. We even had the finger wave!

This Time I'm the one waving my finger!

OK, it happened later in the episode and it wasn’t in Monica’s face but still, that’s the biggest change we’ve seen yet! It nicely set up the upcoming vote. Kimmi is a player.

The Reward Challenge

I was surprised to see so little reactions when Takeo and Bayon saw that Varner had been voted out. Maybe they expected it because of his foot injury.

Yet the biggest surprise was seeing Kelley’s reaction: She smiled as if to show that she wasn’t connected to Varner. Keith certainly noticed it. Whether planned or spontaneous, that helps remove doubts about Kelley’s loyalty.

Terry and Kass sat out for Takeo and it was Fishbach and Wiglesworth for Bayon.

Woo was in the barrel for Angkor, Kelley for Takeo and Monica for Bayon.

Jeff told us that Wentworth was flying through that rope while Monica took a little longer.

He added: “Bayon losing a lot of time by putting Monica in the barrel...Monica once again is very slow for Bayon like it’s a Sunday picnic for the church.”

As Easy as Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Despite Monica’s problems with the bags, Bayon still made it to the skeet ball portion of the challenge before the other teams made a shot. Granted, it had given them a little practice time but Jeremy was probably more responsible for the loss of this challenge yet he got very little blame from Jeff. Takeo and Angkor had made 4 shots while Jeremy only managed one before Spencer took over yet most viewers will think that it was all Monica’s fault.

Spencer quickly tied the score at four all but then Keith made his next two shots. Angkor finished second.

While Keith continues to shine in challenges involving balls, it has to be noted that Woo received very little credit from Jeff even if he did both tasks of the challenge for Angkor.

Jeff noted that it was redemption for Ciera whose tribe had lost this challenge during her first season. To Angkor, Jeff said: “A win’s a win” and Woo quickly repeated it.

Takeo Day 12

An eagle was soaring high over the camp when the winners returned with their reward.

The music was quite cheerful, matching the spirit of the tribe. It could be telling us that this is the tribe that we should support.

The camera was focused on Ciera when they toasted their victory. Will she be the toast of Cambodia? She hasn’t received much attention up to now though.

Terry’s confessional: “Winning has been the elixir. It has been the confidence builder. We got padded chairs, a nice hammock. We got pillows and fresh fruit. It’s like a tropical camping trip. We have all the food we need and if we don’t, we go right to the grocery store out there and we catch some. I’m enjoying myself. This is great!”

When Terry offered a chair to Kelley, she asked where her crown was. Terry offered one symbolically.

Could she be crowned after 39 days? She certainly has a better chance than Terry. His exultation has to be a prelude to a fall.

Joe made the suggestion that they should get some fish and Terry quickly obliged, leaving the group of five to their plans.

Joe’s confessional: “The difference between last time and this time of playing in my second chance is that I am trying to pull in as many people as I can going into the merge (we have a close up of Kelley) situation because I’m still feeling like I’m the biggest threat. I’m definitely playing the first half of the game much better than the last time I played.”

When Ciera talked about their alliance of five, the camera was on Kelley who was deep in thoughts.

Kelley’s confessional: “There’s a solid five with Dietz on the outside. Personally, I have been pushing Terry under the bus since the switch so I really like the group of five minus Dietz.”

Just when Kelley said that she was pushing Terry under the bus, we saw him being almost submerged out in the ocean.

That could be telling us it won’t be hard to get rid of Terry. While this shows that Kelley is a player, the problem is that it makes her look like a villain because Terry is a popular player amongst the numerous fans that appreciate strong challenge competitors and survivalists.

Kass made a good point when she said that they had to keep Terry happy.

Keith’s confessional: “This is a whole different ballgame for me. My problem with my season is that I didn’t hook up with nobody and now I have four of them back there. This is the first time that somebody has come to Keith and said: “Let’s do this with these five people.” Not two people; two people ain’t going to get you nowhere but five? Yeah! It could bring you all the way to the end.”

What can we make of this alliance? Will they be our final five? We have to expect that some still have connections in the other tribes so how will they react when they rejoin? Of these five, I think Kelley, Joe and Keith have the best chance of surviving until the end because they were the ones with the confessionals. Even if she was the one to say that this was the final five, Ciera didn’t get the chance to tell us what she thinks about the group and neither did Kass. It means that they won’t come out on top within this group.

As for Keith, it was interesting to hear him say that this was a first for him. We remember clearly that Jeremy offered him a place in his alliance right off the bat and Keith ruined it by telling everyone that Jeremy had an idol. And if that wasn’t enough, Josh and Reed offered him a place in their group but Keith messed that up by telling everyone to “stick to the plan”. One has to wonder if Keith isn’t as bad for an alliance as Abi!

Bayon Day 12

Spencer and Jeremy were off to a fishing expedition.

Spencer’s confessional: “It seems that the trend is we win immunity but we lose reward. Today, we lost and I was really hungry so Jeremy and I took the boat to get out there and fish. The four original Bayon are still very strong and Wiglesworth and I are on the outs but Jeremy is very, very real. He’s a straight up guy and we can bond and become a close unit that could be a force later in the game. I came into Survivor the first time as a super fan and I would watch these guys like Ozzy and even Joe spear fish and provide for their tribe and I guess I always saw myself as an awkward geeky kid who couldn’t do those things but here I am doing those things. I’m not living Survivor by proxy anymore, I’m living it. It’s like one of those Survivor dreams that I thought of for a long time that I am finally doing. It was a cool moment and I felt proud.”

What do we make of this scene? On one hand, it’s good that Spencer continues to grow and evolve and it would be a great clip to play back at the reunion. On the other hand though, did you see the size of that crab?

Well that's not exactly the "Miraculous Catch"!

If that’s providing for a tribe, they will all starve to death. It’s funny also to consider that the names of Ozzy and Joe come up naturally when we talk of providers; we forget that women like Kathy were good providers also. Speaking of size, I think the biggest catch ever made was by Amanda in Micronesia where she brought a shark back to Malakal.

While Jeremy had a lesser role in this scene, we still heard positive comments about him which is important in a winner’s story.

Angkor Day 12

The first sound we heard was similar to a swarm of locust then the melody kicked in. That was surprisingly tranquil for this tribe. Even the birds enjoyed that moment.

Woo’s confessional: “Second place to us is like first place.” (OK, so that’s why he took Tony to the final 2!) The victory was great both morally and spiritually for us. I’m here for my second chance and I am definitely using my mom as a big inspiration to push forward...To see someone like that, to go through what she did and never give up because she loved us and there was no way she wanted to let us go. To me, that is huge inspiration to keep fighting for what you want. My mom got a second chance so I am definitely playing for my mom and for everyone that voted for me too because without them, I wouldn’t have a second chance to play this game.”

To the tribe, Woo said that his mom suffered a big heart attack and was in need of a transplant.

It took a long time but Woo finally got more substance to his character. Where will this new Woo go? It’s the kind of confessional that makes us think of the family visit but I think it was mostly used to pile more hate on Abi whose reaction certainly wasn’t endearing.

Abi told Tasha and Andrew that she lost her grandma and her aunt. That didn’t get much of a reaction from Andrew and Tasha.
Abi’s confessional: “Woo annoys me a little bit. I think Woo is totally using that story to sway people his way. Sure, he may have had the situation happen to his mom and I feel for him but I had a tendon transplanted in my knee...”

Speaking to Tasha, Abi said that Woo was playing the game very well.

Tasha’s confessional: “Woo and Abi are like night and day. Abi takes everything in me to just be around her. She’s always worried so it takes work working with Abi. Woo? Woo will take walking orders like minutes before going to tribal and he’ll be cool but Abi? She won’t do that. In a merge situation, it’s going to be twice as hard to maneuver with Abi. She’s a time bomb but, then again, she’s kept me in this game. I don’t want to make an emotional decision and cut her loose. I want to make the right decision for my game but, for my sanity, I might have to.”

Just then, we saw Abi trying to maneuver a big branch and she was having as much difficulty with it as the others are having with her!

The Immunity Challenge

It was a challenge taken from last season where Joe’s tribe lost.
Ciera and Kelley sat out for Takeo while Jeremy and Monica warmed the Bayon’s bench.

Everybody had to shoot at least once.

Joe hit a target on his first try. Spencer, Andrew, Wiglesworth and Woo were quick to hit their targets. Keith missed a few times (If only it had been balls instead of sandbags!) but he didn’t have as much problems as Fishbach who actually scored a point for Angkor. Jeff made sure everyone realized Stephen’s big mistake. Tasha and Dietz scored on their first shot. Abi took only one shot before Woo raced to relieve her. Kimmi came up short on her first try and almost hit an Angkor target on her second so Spencer relieved her. Woo scored the winning shot.

Isn’t it funny though that we rarely actually saw a shot from start to finish when it hit a target? Except for Joe and Andrew’s hits and Stephen’s hit on the opponent’s target, we had one camera showing the flight of the sandbag while another showed the hit. That means we can’t know for sure which ones were the actual hits. Sure, it was done to save time but it also could have been done to make some appear better than they actually were.

Angkor won their first immunity while the other two tribes were tied at three targets. Joe hit before Wiglesworth who gave way to Spencer. Before he could make a hit, Keith scored the winning point for Ta Keo.

While they celebrated we heard someone from Takeo, almost certainly Terry, yelling out “It’s better to be the hammer than the nail” which isn’t exactly the mark of a gracious winner.

Asked about their first visit to Tribal Council, Monica said that it would make them stronger: “We will find out who you really trust and where your loyalties lie. I think there’s nothing wrong with going to Tribal Council.”

Stephen gave her a look that meant he thought she was crazy.

You may want a date with Probst but I certanily don't!

Yet, that worked great for Foa Foa who were much more battle tested when they merged with the Galu tribe but it gave us another ironic moment. Monica knew that she had to prove herself in challenges but she sat out most of the time so it was her karma to get voted out at her first Council.

Spencer’s confessional: “It’s become clear that it’s Wiglesworth or I battling to see who goes home. The four original Bayon are very strong and that’s a tough nut to crack. I hope that, at least, some of the bonds I have stick.”

Bayon Day 13

Hanging to the tree, the little monkey seemed scared to death.

Jeremy’s confessional: “There’s four original Bayon and then it’s Wigles and Spencer that are on the outs. So, what I’m thinking is: Who do I trust more going into this game? Do I trust Spencer to go with me or can I trust Wiglesworth.”

Monica said that she didn’t think either had an idol. Jeremy said that he trusted Wiglesworth more but... Stephen interjected “...Spencer needs us more”. Jeremy agreed. All three then agreed on Kelly but you could tell that Monica wasn’t happy.

Spencer’s confessional: “Being the guy on the bottom which I am used to being, I had to crash conversations.” Talking to Stephen and Jeremy by the water well, the three agreed on Kelly. His confessional continued: “I basically wanted to check in and make sure the plan was to vote out Wiglesworth. My instincts as a somewhat anxious guy are to check in, check in, check in to make sure I’m good but these people are looking for loyalty and a lot becomes based on how people feel about you. It becomes paramount that you come off as sincere, calm, confident so it goes against every part of me that loves this game but I have to play it cool.”

Kimmi told Monica that Kelly had to go. Monica mentioned that she wanted to keep the girls numbers up but she said she wanted to stay with the Bayon four.

Monica’s confessional: “I’m not sure that I want to get rid of Wiglesworth. I think that keeping Wiglesworth around may actually benefit my game in the hopes of maybe doing a girls’ alliance.”

Kimmi’s confessional: “We have four original Bayon’s and these are our roots. Now, all of a sudden, Monica wants an all-girls thing. I have no idea where that girl is going and she is going to ruin a really good thing. Monica playing Survivor is just a liability. She is such a loose cannon and she could be a flipper. My whole entire ambition is to get to the end and there are going to be casualties. Monica isn’t playing for the Bayon tribe. Monica is playing for Monica and she will go and step on every single one of us thinking like she owns us. You know what? The joke is going to be on her.”

It’s strange that Kimmi got so upset at the idea of keeping Wiglesworth. Monica was not targeting any of the Bayon four by saying she wanted to keep Kelly and it is obvious that Kimmi and Kelly have a connection. I wonder if Kimmi was actually baiting Monica to have ammunition to take to the guys without appearing to want to save Kelly.

Calling Jeremy over, Kimmi told him and Stephen that Monica was a snake in the grass. She told them about the all-girls plan which quickly got their attention. She said that the three of them had to blindside Monica.

Jeremy’s confessional: “I don’t know what Monica is doing. Why would you go tell Kimmi that you want to keep the girls’ numbers? Why would you do that? It would be cool to see Monica go home off of that.”

The snake was lurking when Stephen told Jeremy that voting out Monica would send a bad message to the other Bayons. Monica would be the first Bayon out of this game and that it wouldn’t be good in case of a swap.

Stephen’s confessional (or should we call it his mini-know-it-all broadcast!) : “Jeremy, Kimmi and I have to decide tonight which way we are going to go and this could have a long lasting impact on our game. If we take out Monica, we are betraying all of Bayon, our original tribe and then who knows what happens if we swap or merge. That might violate many bonds of trust we’ve established. In a sense, Monica and Wiglesworth are liabilities in the same way: You can’t count on Monica at all. She is going to flip and flop all over the beach. Wiglesworth has a lot of ties to old Ta Keo. Getting rid of her now would make a lot of sense. So, it’s hard to weigh which one is more dangerous.”

I thought the answer would have been obvious: Vote out Spencer. By doing so, you don’t send the wrong message to the others, you do get rid of a player that shouldn’t be trusted and, while you temporarily give a numerical advantage to the women, you have Monica all set up for the next Tribal Council. Is it verboten to eliminate a former Cagayan? Since the snake was shown just before Stephen and Jeremy’s talk, I wonder if it was telling us that Monica wasn’t the biggest casualty of the evening. If this does send a bad signal to the Bayon members presently on Takeo, it would be all they need to consolidate their final five and it would send Stephen, Jeremy and Kimmi to loser lodge.

Tribal Council

Seeing the tribe entering the Council area, we only saw their legs and it reminded me of the first time we saw the “Others” walking in the jungle in the early days of Lost! Are these the Others?!

Stephen talked about trust and that it can only be proven with a vote.
Monica agreed with Jeff that it should be between Kelly and Spencer.
She should have seen the looks she got from Jeremy and Kimmi!
Kelly said that she hoped her actions will carry her through to tomorrow morning.

Jeremy said that kind of thinking makes sense but that it is old-school. New school is more frantic, doing whatever possible for right now.
Jeff turned to Spencer as an example of a new school player.
Spencer said that he had a unified solid tribe for the first time on Survivor and that this was the group he wanted.

That impression will only last until the 4th vote that Jeff will soon read!

Jeremy said that it was nice to hear that but that Kelly was loyal and worked hard. He said he would base his vote on loyalty, trust and challenge strength.
Jeff noted that nothing in that differentiates Spencer from Wiglesworth.
Jeremy simply said that we will see what happens then, making everyone, including Monica, laugh.
Asked about the message sent to the other tribes, Kimmi said that the original Bayon 10 were very cohesive and that they would be still good if they send an original Takeo.
With a smile, Monica said that the vote was locked in.

Ironically, it was...

Kimmi said that it stinks to squash somebody’s hopes but that she had to remember it’s a game and to continue on the same path.
Stephen said that strategy is based on emotions. You have to build real bonds to have real alliances.

Isn’t that finally someone saying that there is no difference between social game and strategy?

It was time to vote.

We heard Monica in the voting confessional while holding a parchment with Kelly written on it: “I really hate putting your name down but I think you would do amazing if we let you go any further.”

Kelly voted against Spencer: “Sorry, Spence. You’re a good guy but I got to go with the numbers on this one.”

Spencer voted against Kelly saying: “You invented the phrase I didn’t come here to make friends and yet, you’ve got more than I do on the other side. I hope that I did my job of convincing this tribe that that is the case.”

After reading the votes from Monica, Kelly and Spencer, Jeff surprised them by reading the name on the other three ballots: Monica.

Kimmi could hardly contain herself when Jeff snuffed Monica’s torch. Kelly patted a confused Spencer on the arm.

After snuffing her torch and sending Monica on her way, Jeff addressed the tribe: “Well, if there was any question whether this tribe was playing old school or new school, tonight’s blindside put that to rest.”

The Story

After Varner was called a rat and was voted out because of the message he tried to send Kelly, it was interesting to note that Bayon was worried about the message they will be sending to the other tribes by voting out one of their own. Nobody really worried about seeing Angkor voting out a couple of old Takeo members but this could change. If some original Bayon members lose trust in Jeremy, Stephen and Kimmi, it could turn out a lot like in Marquesas where Gabe’s boot alerted Paschal and Neleh that the Rotu tribe wasn’t as united as they thought. That eventually led to the demise of John’s alliance. You can’t get much more old school than that! Granted, Monica wasn’t the heart and soul of Bayon like Gabe was for Rotu but these players are much savvier than Pappy and Sweet Pea.

Besides the usual drama in Angkor, the story focused on a new alliance that hasn’t been tested yet. Some of the five new allies could be tempted to rejoin their previous friends but with the drama that has been going on in Angkor and the surprise vote in Bayon, it might just be what they need to stay together.

Considering our themes of Rebirth and Karma, Monica’s elimination wasn’t surprising. She told us that her Second Chance would give her the opportunity to show that she can hold her own in challenges. In Samoa, she made the merge with a numerical advantage and wound up in 7th place even if she hadn’t contributed to the tribe’s success. This time, as soon as she failed, she wasn’t allowed to skate any further. Some will say that it should have been that way in Samoa. With that in mind, which characters appear to be on their way to put an end to their nightmares? Which players won’t be able to put an end to their suffering because they didn’t learn or haven’t been able to change? Right now, I think only two of the remaining 14 players can be taken out of contention. The 12 others could still be our Sole Survivor even if some are either lacking substance or giving us reasons to question their chances.

The Characters

Some are showing their Ignorance:

Her failure to prepare a clam and the trouble she had carrying a tree branch symbolized her ineptness in the game. While she has been a key factor in all of her tribe’s votes, Abi doesn’t understand the game and sooner or later her allies will lose patience. Can we say that she’s been lucky that she hasn’t shared a shelter with Kimmi yet? Can you imagine the fireworks?! She said she wanted to “fix her little mistakes” but it seems she’s made even bigger ones. The karmic fruit can’t be too far away.

Terry: In Panama, Terry was one challenge win away from victory: If his tribe had won the final tribal immunity challenge or if he had been able to keep his balance on the lily pads at Final three, he could very well have won the game. It was his celebrations after his wins in the individual challenges that angered the members of Casaya. Because of that, no one wanted to flip to his side because they knew they’d become pariahs. When first Courtney and then Shane considered flipping, it was too late and they were quickly dispatched. This season, Terry is winning all the challenges so he should get to the merge with the numbers. That should mean that he will win, shouldn’t it? His exclamation after the latest victory showed that he still isn’t a gracious winner and his confessionals show that he hasn’t learned to be humble therefore we expect that something will derail his game despite his wins.

Keith: His inclusion in the final five was a lucky break for Keith and it could be just enough for him to make it to the end. However, his confessional showed that he hasn’t analyzed his game correctly: In San Juan del Sur, he had alliance offers from both sides and he messed up twice. Now that he’s been given a third opportunity, he should mess up again. Will it be as comical as the “stick to the plan” line? Maybe not but he will do something to make his allies question his loyalties or his usefulness.

Woo: This episode saved Woo’s chances. It took 19 episodes before we got to know him on a personal level. Sure, we knew he was a guy that had principles but mostly he was an empty character, cartoonish even at times. The scene where he fell out of a tree much like Wile E. Coyote comes to mind. Sharing his mother’s story was very touching but like we heard, it could lead to his downfall if he is perceived as being too sympathetic. His main problem in Cagayan was that he was loyal to a fault so when we heard Tasha say that he is cool with receiving last minute orders, we knew that he hasn’t learned. He’ll walk into Tribal Council thinking that everything is cool but Woo’s name will be on most parchments. It wasn’t a question; I’m not asking who? I’m saying Woo!

Some haven’t made the Right Effort - It’s getting late for them:

Ciera: For someone that didn’t want to wait too long to start playing the game and vowed to leave it all out on the island, we can’t say that Ciera is making much of an effort. She has been coasting up to now. The Final Five deal could work out but, if it does, it doesn’t seem that she will profit from it. Her role can still pick up but it’s been five episodes where she hasn’t given us much reason to think we are following her story.

Kass: She wanted to change the perception that the others have of her and she seems to have succeeded up to now since she was included in the Takeo Final Five alliance. Of course, like Stephen said, trustworthiness can only be proven through the votes and Kass hasn’t gone to Tribal Council. No one should trust her yet. Causing chaos right now would accomplish nothing but can she live in a world without chaos?

Some don’t have the Right Conduct – They will need to do a lot of Damage Control:

Kimmi: I found it very amusing to see Kimmi playing Alicia’s role in the fight she had with Monica. While it was much more subdued, the parallel was enough to make me smile. Not only did Kimmi get to eat what she wanted but, like Alicia, she got rid of the one that was making her lose patience. Kimmi made the biggest change up to now and this old school player made what Probst called a definite new school move. The problem was that she didn’t need to make such a surprising move so early. Monica’s plan could have been beneficial for Kimmi. Eliminating Spencer would not have alerted her former tribe mates. How many of them were aligned with her? We don’t know for sure so maybe keeping Kelly and Monica would have been wiser.

Jeremy: He wondered if he could trust Spencer and Kelly but then his vote showed them that they shouldn’t trust him. In this game, you want the others to trust you while you should trust no one. Jeremy is putting the cart before the horse. His old Bayon allies also have a reason to worry about his word. It will be interesting to see if this move burned any bridges because the others will think it happened under his leadership.

Stephen: There is one very good aspect in Stephen’s presentation. The first two episodes made it look like he was in immediate danger but, like Mike in the last season, his name didn’t even come up when he faced his first Tribal Council. He said that he would either flame out quickly or he’d take control of the tribe. While he hasn’t flamed out, we can’t say that he has taken control of the tribe either. It was Kimmi that took over and decided which way the trio should vote. Stephen knew that it could be sending a bad message but he still went along. What’s more troubling is that he didn’t let Spencer know about their change of plan so not only does he risk losing the trust of the 6 other Bayon members, he did not try to earn Spencer’s trust in return. Some serious damage control can fix that though because Spencer doesn’t have much wiggle room. Still, there should be another switch very soon so Stephen’s conduct will come under scrutiny.

Some have made good Progress:

Kelly: Despite a very quiet presentation, we are told that Kelly is a hard worker and a strong competitor. We certainly didn’t need to see her catching fish with the other two women. That scene could have been reduced to the argument between Kimmi and Monica over the clams. I’m intrigued by Monica’s voting confessional. Kelly could now do amazing since they are letting her go further. She mentioned going with the numbers when she voted against Spencer so someone talked to her. I wonder if she knew what was really going on. Is it possible that Kimmi told her about the plan to vote out Monica but told her to vote for Spencer anyway? That would be extremely wise because it would hide the bond between her and Kimmi. A swap could give Kelly a nice reprieve and she shouldn’t be an immediate threat at the merge so I expect her to go far indeed. We’d like to hear more from her but her calm demeanor could reassure her opponents. She will not be perceived as a strategic threat, she won’t be seen as a rat but she will be appreciated by everyone. Could she then go on a similar challenge streak as the one she had in the original season? She would probably be facing stiffer competition but she is in excellent shape. Hearing Jeff say that nothing differentiates Kelly from Spencer, it made me wonder: Since this vote didn’t come down to Kelly versus Spencer, could we see them competing during the Final Tribal Council? Could the difference be one vote in the end? I would absolutely love to see her come full circle however unlikely it looks.

Joe: He is right to say that he’s had a better start to this game than in Worlds Apart but we know that his problems will come either right before the merge or immediately after it. Having Keith and Kelley and two other women in his alliance puts him in a very similar position to the one Jeremy had in San Juan del Sur and we all know how that turned out. Who are Joe’s shields? His problem is even compounded because of the three tribes. His group of five will not hold majority at the merge and now that Bayon is fractured, it could hurt him. If there is a split then we would have Kimmi, Jeremy and Stephen on one side, Joe, Kass, Ciera and Keith on the other. The fight could be to see who gets Tasha and Andrew but it figures that the pair has more affinity with Jeremy’s side than Joe’s. Having Kelley on his side could help Joe with some of the original Takeo members but how many will there be left at the merge? There are simply too many questions facing Joe.

Andrew: The opening scene of this episode showed that Andrew can bond nicely with his allies, that he isn’t just a cold hearted, arrogant player. His future seems tied to Tasha and those two could be the key that will decide how Bayon breaks. The problem for Andrew is that Tasha has the superior role. Her confessionals have more substance so it gives the viewers the impression that we are following her struggle, not his. She is the hero while he is her sidekick.

Some have found their Way – These are our Front Runners:

Spencer: After a momentary loss of social grace in the previous episode, Spencer returned to a more human approach even if it went against everything he knew as a fan of the show. One question about Spencer revolves around his fishing expedition with Jeremy: Was it shown to underline his success or where we supposed to see it as underachievement? He did catch a crab but it was too small to satisfy his appetite, let alone a whole tribe. We saw Spencer’s surprise at the outcome of the vote and he knows the game well enough to know that he was played. This chess player has been put in a zugzwang position twice: First, Takeo forced him to vote against Shirin and now Bayon forced him to vote against Kelly. She seemed much less surprised by it and she was even sympathizing with him afterwards. Spencer could be more alone than he ever was. He is an interesting underdog but he failed once in that role. Has he learned enough?

Tasha: She is really playing the game well and, if we are to believe Varner, the viewers are seeing a much more flattering version than what the others are actually seeing on the island. That could be an important sign. If we are witnessing an underdog story, if we are following the winner’s story step by step than Tasha has to be considered the favorite. A tribal switch should get her out of Angkor’s hellhole soon enough and then she will have allies everywhere. They will be anxious to hear the story of how she managed to survive these two Tribal Councils alone with Andrew against 4 members of Takeo and that could tell people that they need to stick with someone as resourceful as Tasha. It could also tell them that she’d have an unbeatable case to present to the jury, maybe not quite as dramatic as the one Denise had in the Philippines but close enough. Will they let her take control? The look she had at the end of the opening scene was one of determination and it made us think that it could be written in the stars!

Kelley: She has been in Takeo for two episodes now, two episodes where she hasn’t faced Tribal Council but she continues to have a steady role. She is literally stealing airtime from Ciera and Kass which is quite surprising. The alliance formed around her and it all seemed so natural even if she was a former Takeo member joining 4 Bayon tribe mates. We know that she is a smart player and we’ve heard the others say that she is strong so she has all the ingredients to make a deep run. In the confessional that she gave after unveiling her immunity idol, she said that she wanted to play more aggressively; she wanted to make the moves that she didn’t make in her first season. In her opening confessional, she said she should have voted against her dad. This season, she is doing just that: She went for the idol even if it was risky. She showed Takeo that she can be trusted when she joined them in booting Shirin. She found a way into the new Bayon alliance and she has pushed for Terry’s elimination. That is particularly interesting since Terry was Takeo’s father figure. In a sense, she is pushing to eliminate her new island “dad” which would give her the freedom she didn’t have in her first season. It could turn her into a villainess but the editors are being careful to show us that she has to make that move against Terry. If the winner is to be hidden behind the big characters then Kelley has to be considered the leading contender because she still has enough presence.

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10-24-15, 06:43 PM (EST)
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59. "RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message:"
What can we make of this alliance? Will they be our final five? We have to expect that some still have connections in the other tribes so how will they react when they rejoin? Of these five, I think Kelley, Joe and Keith have the best chance of surviving until the end because they were the ones with the confessionals. Even if she was the one to say that this was the final five, Ciera didn’t get the chance to tell us what she thinks about the group and neither did Kass. It means that they won’t come out on top within this group.

See, I love that assessment. Well done! I thought it was very interesting that while Ciera seemed to be at the heart of the strategy, she got no confessionals regarding it. I thought Kass commenting about, being nice to Terry was also a variation on how she played last time, not so clinical, but kind hearted.

I also agree that Kelley seems more like a villain, but yet I know she's playing smart. She seems like a villain to me because I do love Terry. He's just so paternal, and I love that about him.

I also agree regarding Keith. Clearly, he had his son and his friends, Alex and whoever else was there. So, he's been in an alliance before. Short term memory?

The size of Spencer's fish/crab was not lost on me either....*snicker*. Those two looked like tweedle dee and tweedle dum. But, it was kind of a Cochran moment for Spencer, and we all know where Cochran landed in his second chance.

hahahaha in the "Second place is like first place to me"! Touche!

In a merge situation, it’s going to be twice as hard to maneuver with Abi. She’s a time bomb but, then again, she’s kept me in this game.

When Tasha spoke those words I know now that it is just a perfect example of how the editors use foreshadowing, as we know now that next week, there will be a mix up into 2 tribes. Will anyone be able to maneuver Abi?

Great observations regarding the IC, especially with perhaps some manipulation as to who scored. For me, I thought Woo was stellar in the RC win AND for the IC win for Angkor. Clearly, their decision to salvage Woo, was the RIGHT one. But, as you noted earlier, we didn't get much from Jiffy regarding Woo and his performance.

Definitely Monica saying, "We will find out who you really trust and where your loyalties lie. I think there’s nothing wrong with going to Tribal Council.", was the KISS OF DEATH for her. And, as you noted Stephen got the nod with the head turn....the knowingest know-it-all did NOT agree.

Kimmi to me seemed a bit whacked. She was solid OLD SCHOOL, wanting to stick to her core original bayons, yet pulled a NEW SCHOOL move. To me, her raising heck about Monica was her wanting to keep someone she really was tied to, Kelly. Kimmi, totally went full force to get Monica out and to keep Kelly, and it worked. While Monica had made the suggestion of an all girls alliance, she totally backed down and agreed to vote with the core 4, and she did. She was not disloyal to the group, so I question why they so vehemently went after Monica. I have to wonder about pre-game alliances, because it seemed forced. I must say I was also surprised to see Jeremy sit out the challenge as well. While they did appear to be trying in the IC, did they just not care whether they lost or not? We may never know. But, the editing is telling us that they lost fair and square with no sign of not trying as hard.

Well, here are my thoughts regarding the characters so far: Spencer and Kass, I think, are playing different games, so far. This is positive for both of them. Spencer's confessional content makes me think he could be our journey player. And, his journey is certainly growing up and maturing. Getting outside of his clinical box and not living by proxy anymore. So, I think he will get far in this game.

Tasha has taken a leadership role, but what will happen when she gets re-shuffled? Her story emerged with her swap to Angkor.

Jeremy does seem like the "go to" guy at nuBayon, but Kimmi was able to steer the boot. Stephen is the right hand man, but like Tasha, I wonder what will happen to Jeremy's right hand man when they are switched up. Will Stephen's new position be threatened?

Kimmi did appear to do just what Jeremy wants all of his alliance mates to do. Come running to him with any sort of a threat. Could Kimmi usurp Stephen for the right hand man spot?

Regarding Woo, his story arc has reached the top. He, as you noted, has finally shown us some substance. He got his hero episode this week, and a nod from the editors. Will this spell his demise? It could. With all of the "if you write my name down one more time, you are dead to me", confessionals from Abi, I can't help but think this is foreshadowing. Woo will write her name down, and Woo will be toast. Abi certainly is a formidable villain this season.

Regarding the Final 5 that we saw tonight, I feel like it's doomed. Alliances revealed and all of that!

Fun thoughts, Michel! Keep it up!

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10-24-15, 08:43 PM (EST)
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60. "RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message:"
You bring up a good point about Bayon throwing the challenge. It would explain Monica's comment and Stephen's hit on the Angkor target which could have been on purpose! Kimmi also came closer to their targets than her own. They did let Spencer take a lot of shots though so maybe the thought simply was: We will not try to win it but if he does then good for him. Maybe the relays were not as crisp as we saw.

They didn't bother throwing a challenge to save Tasha and Savage when they could have been in danger so the question becomes: Could Jeremy have a secret pre game alliance with Kelley? Jeremy and Kelley both started out in Hunahpu and she could have been in danger over in Takeo.

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10-25-15, 04:34 PM (EST)
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61. "RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message:"
Good thoughts, michel. Just so many uncontrolled dynamics that are possible as they have all played the game before, most of them know each other, so much pre-gaming beforehand. I am sure there is a lot to factor in....
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10-28-15, 12:01 PM (EST)
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62. "RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message:"

Loved it!

And a Woo to you too.

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10-28-15, 07:55 PM (EST)
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63. "RE: Episode 5 - Sending a Bad Message:"
I didn't give any analysis last week. Probably because I was a little irritated for being put on the spot. However, when I posted on SS, I gave that exact same interpretation of the final five with those three confessionals. And leading up to that episode, it was already apparent the two featured in it should be the highest finishing two based on the edit so far. Ciera looks like the first one to go but if she gets to merge, Kass is probably it. I think Joe has a better shot than Ciera.

And I think Kass's edit is just that, redemption, she isn't being given any strategic confessionals which leads me to believe she will have her happy moment built up before she goes.

Even if Kelley has had some shady moments, she is nothing like Abi-Maria. She isn't even Joaquin from last year pre-merge. It's not negative enough for her to be counted out and I still have her as the winner.

Episode 5 has been the coming out episode for endgamer that has been the most invisible. Last year, Sierra bashed her old tribe and then got important emphasis after the swap. Jaclyn also suddenly got screentime after the swap. Kimmi has now had this moment although it's not the swap.

As of last week my finish predictions

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10-30-15, 08:09 PM (EST)
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64. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Why am I starting to like Abi? She seemed *fun* last night, huh?
What a winner Abi would make on a second chance season! but we are talking about abi here, and it is hard to imagine that she could remain coherent long enough to take the prize....
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10-30-15, 09:16 PM (EST)
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65. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
I don't think she has a chance whatsoever to win. All she is is a goat. But honestly she's not likable at all. She's still around due to who she's playing the game with.
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10-31-15, 01:58 PM (EST)
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67. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Your comment made me smile! My post should tell you why.
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11-02-15, 06:24 PM (EST)
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71. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
michael, the comment was meant for you you like to hear what "casuals" feel, and although i am not a casual, i felt subtlety manipulated.
In fact, I was sure that Spencer was leaving for loser lodge when we did not see Abi's vote and her crowing over it in the (private) voting both at TC. how could they not show that? because it is not Abi's payoff anymore, she has a bigger story now.
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11-02-15, 07:34 PM (EST)
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72. "RE: Season 31 - Second Chances: The Characters and their Stories"
Likewise, they never showed Boston Rob saying a word about Russell's elimination in RI and look what happened to him.
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10-31-15, 01:55 PM (EST)
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66. "Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor for the Whole Season"
Before I get to the analysis of this episode, I want to say that I was really happy to see the show change its formulaic approach to give us the good news about Terry and his son at the very end. I was grateful to see them dropping the routine to give us this update directly. Some things are more important and it was heart warming to hear Terry call his son the real Second Chance Survivor.

The Recap

Takeo was thriving and had put together a strong five.

The camera was on Kelley when the Final Five was mentioned. She was also on camera when Joe confided that he is trying to pull in as many people as he can.

Angkor was barely getting by...but at the last immunity challenge, they finally won...sending Bayon to Tribal Council.
Back at camp, Wiglesworth and Spencer were on the outs...but Monica wanted to change things up. In reaction to Monica’s idea of a female alliance, we heard Kimmi confiding that Monica is a loose cannon and would flip.

Everything did change at Tribal Council when Monica was blindsided.

In the recap, Jeff didn’t mention Woo’s MVP performance. That had alerted us last week and now we know why. It’s not very good for the Bayon players that Takeo and Angkor were the only two tribes that Jeff described before it was time to tell us about going to TC. It’s as if nothing else mattered for that tribe.

Setting the Tenor for the Whole Season

Takeo Night 13

We didn’t go to Bayon to hear the aftermath of their Council but it was understandable under the circumstances.

Probst was making his way to the Takeo shelter to deliver some bad news to Terry.
When the tribe got the update, we saw Kelley get up and hug Terry. He left after telling them to kick some @ss. Keith said: “Let’s bring this home for Terry...Let’s bring it home for him”

Kass gave the confessional: “I think you have to be a parent to understand how devastating it would be to get a phone call telling you that your child is sick and you need to get home...It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change. I feel for him. He’s a good dad. Hopefully, when he gets home, it’s all good.”

That put quite an abrupt end to the storyline where Kelley wanted to throw Terry under the bus. Knowing that it would end this way, we can wonder if the editors hurt Kelley’s image by showing her mean streak against such a good dad. I think the intent of that story line was twofold: It told his fans that terry had very little chance of winning even if he had stayed in the game and it did present Kelley as a player ready to do everything possible to further her game. As for Kass, it was nice that her confessional was used to narrate this segment but that choice could have been simply because she found the words that production wanted to use. It prolonged her redemption arc in an episode where the devil in her was about to return.
For Terry, now that we know Danny is doing well, I want to recall that he downplayed the relative importance of the parent/child relationship in favor of the husband/wife bond during Panama, depriving Aras and Danielle of their visit with their moms in the process. It seems that this karmic fruit came back full circle to remind him that all family bonds are dearly important.

One last comment about this scene: Keith’s word sounded prophetic: The winner could very well be on this tribe and they will do Terry proud.

The Swap

In a break from tradition, the tribe that had gone to Tribal Council wasn’t the last one walking in to the challenge arena. The reactions to Monica’s elimination were overshadowed by the missing Takeo tribe.

Spencer’s expression told us what everyone thought when they saw the new Takeo tribe.
Savage’s reaction was to say that he’d run to the airport even if he loved this game: “It’s family. It’s bigger than all of this.”
A teary-eyed Wiglesworth said she’d do anything for her child. She felt terrible for Terry.
Ciera said she talked to her husband about what would make her come home.
Joe said that the tribe had the wind sucked out of their sail but that they wanted to do him proud.
Jeremy said that Bayon was a nice little family. Savage said that the Angkor 4 was unbelievably tight and he wanted to continue their little winning streak.

No such luck! Couldn’t they see this twist coming? They probably did but they had to play along...

Andrew’s confessional: “The three most beautiful words in this game for me? Drop your buffs.”

Woo’s confessional: “So I noticed that Savage has Takeo. I was more than pleased because if I had to choose one person that I am closest too; hands down it has to be Savage.”
Watch out for what you wish.

Spencer’s confessional: “There have been two swaps now. There are so many past relationships; I cannot fathom how people could group together. It is a cluster... (expletive)

How about hanging on to their pre-game alliances?

Takeo v3.0 was formed by Kass, Ciera, Woo, Savage, Abi, Spencer and Wiglesworth.

Bayon v3.0 included Jeremy, Kimmi, Stephen, Joe, Kelley, Keith and Tasha.

Here’s some help for Spencer: Since Takeo still has Woo and Abi, the tribe will most likely fracture in between those two. As for Bayon, it looked like it was nicely hand-picked to include last week’s three conspirators on one side, exactly three members of Takeo’s Final 5 on the other and Tasha set up as the arbiter in case they went to TC. Chance is usually well structured in Survivor.

Kass told Jeff that she was happy to have the rice and the chicken but she was apprehensive about Spencer.

This quick strike surprised Spencer and amused everyone else.

Spencer’s confessional: “Kass and I have feuded and, at times, we’ve hated each other so, how I can get along with my arch-nemesis is going to determine how this game goes for me.”

Kass made the first strike and Spencer had the first confessional to explain his point of view. In editing, that is usually a sign that he will come out on top. She provoked the conflict while we heard his apprehensions. That encourages the neutral viewers to take his side while the ones already rooting for him want him to succeed even more than before. As for Kass’ fans, at least some must have thought that she was opening the hostilities too quickly.

On the other side, Jeff went to Kelley, once more the only original Takeo surrounded by 6 original Bayon tribe members. With a smile, she told him that she realized her situation but that she knew some of these people from working together on the last tribe. She added: “I’m excited. I just want to win!”

A Winner's Look

Wouldn’t that make for a marvelous winning quote?

Stephen’s confessional: “The switched worked out perfectly for me, for right now. We have an obvious target with Wentworth but I still have a sense of being at risk because there are a lot of big alpha guys here. That’s terrifying for me.”

The first half of this confessional from Stephen is very similar to the ones that Savage and Woo gave just before. Considering how this worked out for them, can we say it won’t work out for Stephen either? Of course, Bayon v3.0 won’t go to TC but I think this group will reach a showdown sometime after the merger and Stephen looks like it will be its first casualty. Stephen goes deeper than the other two because he understands the tactics of this game. Hearing him return so quickly to this theme of Alpha males is very telling. It made me think that Stephen won’t succeed. The idea of a female alliance already took a hit last week and we know that the strong players want to work together so we should expect some of these strong players to make it to the end.

The Reward Challenge

They were in groups of 7 but Jeff said that the first tribe to three would win. Why not 4 so that it could actually go seven rounds? I’m guessing the challenge went much longer than 3 points but that it was edited down to those rounds only and Jeff’s words were added in post-production. It’s easier that way to make it look like it was a close match up and it also enabled them to show the most interesting rounds.

In a repeat of the Hero’s challenge, Savage went against Jeremy but, by less than a second, he lost this time. Bayon took the early lead.
Next up, Kass went up against Fishbach and defeated him.
That showed us why he doesn’t want to mess with the athletes! Even Kass is better in challenges than our poor Stephen. It was already funny when he tried to run but when he started throwing? Hilarious!
Stephen apologized to his team and Jeremy told him he should have more confidence in himself.
It was then Abi versus Kimmi. Abi turned away thinking she had already lost when Kimmi’s ring bounced off the peg. Her tribe had to yell at her to get back in it and she won the round for Takeo.

We think that the game is over for her but can Abi win this whole thing? We turned our back on her just like she turned her back on the target but what if? Scary isn’t it? Much scarier than any Hallowe’en costume you’ll be seeing this weekend! Of course, she’d have to win by default or something similar but stranger things have happened.

When Joe went up against Woo, Kelley told him to oil up and Tasha approved! Of course, Joe scored on his first toss.

The “sudden death” showdown featured Kelly versus Kelley. While she could have been flagged for pass interference, Kelly won the reward for her tribe.

I like to note who gets credit for the wins so I’d say that Kelly didn’t receive much credit from her team for winning but that could be because she didn’t actually win it so dramatically. What if Takeo won something like 7 to 2? If you only had to play a maximum of 5 rounds, wouldn’t you sit Abi, Kimmi... or Stephen instead of say Keith, Tasha and Spencer?

Andrew’s confessional: “Looking at the complexion of my tribe, I couldn’t be happier. I got Abi and Woo. After what we went through in Angkor we are rock solid and if I can just regroup with my Bayon folks, Kass and Ciera that’s the most perfect equation you can imagine. I’m not going anywhere.”

By inserting this confessional here, the upcoming blindside becomes part of Andrew’s drama instead of being simply Woo’s final moments in the game. This structure had to make us think that Savage was going out the door but he is still in the game and he knows that Kass and Ciera aren’t part of the equation anymore. How will he react? The merger gives him ammunition against the pair.


Spencer’s confessional: “Coming to the new Takeo tribe, I was thinking of the awesome meal I was about to eat but, in the back of my mind, kind of nagging at me, was how in the hell was this tribe going to work out for me.” The camera showed us the danger facing Spencer and its name was Kass. When he asked her about the mood on the camp during the last few days, she said it was smooth because “the four that came over were the less dramatic...” Spencer’s confessional continued: “When Kass and I have to do the seemingly impossible and interact, it was a little awkward, it was a little cagey. Genuinely, I didn’t know what to make of it so I just tried to treat her like everyone else but that’s never worked for me in the past with Kass.”

While this was taking place, we had a shot of the group with Andrew neglecting to interact, looking away from everyone.

Andrew came out of his bubble to tell everyone how happy he was to be out of the hellhole.

Andrew in confessional: “What we went through in Angkor was so traumatizing that having that victory and the food was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. Honestly. It sounds silly but it was an absolutely beautiful moment. (It also gave us a rare helicopter shot.) As soon as I looked at those other six, the first thing I thought was: I got five. Two of my old Bayon and I got my Angkors. Spencer is this wonderful kid. Honestly, if I had a son, I’d like him to be like Spencer: Big heart, super bright. I love the kid but I will tell you this and it will sound very cold: Kass can’t stand Spencer and I’m going to use that to my advantage in the game.”

Kass’ relationships in the game are hard to follow. She may hate Spencer but it seems that Andrew is forgetting that she also has a score to settle with Woo! I wouldn’t have brought Woo in the five especially since Andrew only needed four.

When Spencer went out to clean dishes, Andrew was quick to get down to strategy, asking Kass what she thought they should do in case of a loss.

I always smile when some viewers say that the players shouldn’t leave a group, any group alone because they will talk behind your back. It’s as if those viewers don’t have any notion of the time that the players spend on the island. Sure, if the game was on only 44 minutes every seven days, you absolutely should stay with everyone else. But when it goes on 24 hours a day every day for 39 days, you can’t ALWAYS be together. Sooner or later, someone will leave the shelter and, every time, the others will talk.

Just as quickly, Kass turned the question back to Andrew, simply saying that she was tight with Ciera. He said: “Me, Woo and Abi: Inseparable... Spencer’s got to go.”

Andrew fell in her trap! He just put a noose around his neck as well as Woo’s. “Inseparable” is a word you should absolutely NEVER use when talking about someone else because it automatically puts your interlocutor in an outsider’s position. Andrew would have been much smarter to say: “I want to be equally tight with YOU and Ciera and I can get Woo and Abi to vote with us for now.”

Kass in confessional: “I would love to get rid of Spencer again. I didn’t want Spencer on my tribe. I wanted to play Second Chance without the blood.”

Andrew then told the five that they should tell Spencer that Ciera was going.

Wait? What? Andrew compounded his mistake by telling them what they will tell Spencer instead of asking. Even if he meant Ciera no immediate harm, he was telling her that she would make a credible target; that he very well could have gone after her if Spencer wasn’t there. Anyway, who wants to be the pawn? Ciera was quick to answer that question.

Ciera’s interview: “Andrew says that we are going to send Spencer home and we are going to tell him that it’s going to be me to go home. Me? Hold the phone. It shows a huge sign of where his trust lies. He would rather throw me under the bus than Woo. Woo is not an original Bayon. Whenever you hear your name being brought up, it is never a good thing. I want to be a team player and there are certain times I am willing to take one for the team but this isn’t one of those times.”

In front of the group, Ciera told Andrew that she trusted him.

Ciera played this part very well. Her next move will be more questionable.

Bayon Day 14

We approached Bayon by flying through clouds and Jeremy was first seen behind a cloud of smoke. Whenever I see that image, I am always reminded of the “fogs of war”. It was never truer than when Rupert observed the Villains approaching his camp. He was first seen through smoke from their camp fire and he never really understood those villains and why they kept Parvati. Will Jeremy likewise misread the people on his tribe?

Keith and Kimmi were arguing over by the fire. When Kimmi dropped the fish in the fire, Keith told her: “You’re done, you’re done.”

No one should be surprised to see Keith outlasting Kimmi after this!

Resting in the hammocks, Kelley was talking to Joe who told her she’d have to do some work. She said she knew she was in trouble. Joe added: “You are the easy vote. We need to find a way to keep you here. You’re stronger than Stephen and Kimmi. That’s the one biggest pitch, I think.”

Joe’s confessional: “After the tribe swap, strategically, I am in a good spot. I got an original alliance of Bayon and, over at the Takeo camp, myself, Kass, Ciera, Kelley and Keith all kind of made a pact. So I want to keep Kelley around so that I have numbers at the merge.”

One could say that this confessional is as troubling as Woo, Andrew and Stephen’s but I think it is important that it was removed from the immediate flurry of the swap. This gives the impression that Joe took the time to stand back, analyze the situation properly and come up with a good plan. We all know that his confessional could have actually been recorded BEFORE the other three or at the same time but the timing of the presentation is the determining factor. The other three spoke immediately as if without even thinking. Look what happened to Woo and Andrew already!

When Joe talked to Kelley, we saw her face through the hammock which could symbolize that she is well protected in Joe’s care.

On the other hand, when Joe mentioned Keith’s name we saw him laughing out loud. It was as if he was laughing at Joe’s pact. Will Keith stick to the pact. Does Keith know what a pact is?

Kelley’s confessional: “I know I’m the easy vote, like I am not oblivious to it, but I do have an immunity idol and if Joe wants to protect me, I’m going to hide behind him as long as I can. I mean, Joe thank you.”

When she said that, we saw Joe talking to Stephen and it made me wonder if, like Stephen with JT, Kelley could wind up hiding behind Joe for too long. I think this pair should last to the end but I’m not certain who will profit more. Kelley’s story has fit the themes very well as far as I read them but I could be wrong. Can Joe win even if he doesn’t change much? If they all want to hide behind him then the jury will only see him.
Tasha, Joe and Stephen were talking about their first vote. Tasha said that they should stick with the original 6 Bayon. Joe said that Kimmi could be their first target because of the challenges.

Stephen’s confessional: “The old Bayon is all saying let’s stick together. Joe is saying no, let’s keep Wentworth and target Kimmi. He is already trying to get our core alliance to turn on each other. So Joe is actually flipping on the Bayon alliance. This is Survivor; you got to take action.”

Stephen revealed Joe’s plan to Jeremy. The fireman didn’t like that. Stephen told Jeremy that he didn’t trust Joe and that he would be happy to lose him. Jeremy didn’t want to do Joe first though.

While this exchange was taking place, we saw Stephen through the hammocks netting.

Contrary to Kelley who was being protected by the net, this image gave the impression that Stephen was being trapped by it. The reason for the different symbolic interpretation is simple: Joe was talking positively about Kelley at the time while Jeremy was thinking that Stephen was bugging.

Jeremy’s confessional: “Stephen is definitely digging his heels and he wants Joe out but I need a shield. I need Joe around as long as possible. I do not want to be the biggest guy out here.”
Stephen’s confessional resumed: “At the reward challenge, Jeremy was telling me that I should have confidence; that I should believe in myself. You know what? I am putting everything into winning Survivor. That doesn’t manifest itself in challenges. I know that I am not good in those. I’m good at other things. In terms of the strategic moves, this is what, to me, this game is about. It’s about the social strategy. It’s about building alliances and maintaining alliances and targeting the right person at the right time.” (Kelley was shown sitting behind Joe when Stephen said this, a possible indication that Kelley should be Stephen’s first target.) Stephen then pitched the same plan to Tasha. He asked her if it was a mistake to move so soon against Joe. She said that it would be. Stephen continued his soliloquy: “If I can’t get my alliance to make the move with me; I have failed. You don’t get a lot of shots taking out your major competition and what actually works me up... (He begins to choke up here) I can’t believe the idea that I would be missing this...Oh! my god! It’s so silly. I would miss my second chance. I put so much into it the last time but I still came up short. I’m putting so much into it this time...and the idea that I would come up short because I couldn’t get my crew to take the shot that we needed to take. I’ve been kicking myself for so many years for not getting rid of the golden boy the last time. To just wait for the game to come to you and then let it pass you by. That would be a real loss for me; to not take control of the game when we had the chance. It would be such a great move. This would be THE move that set the tenor for the whole season.”

This confessional is set up as the cornerstone of Stephen’s story. It connects with his original comments about taking charge of his tribe. He hasn’t flamed yet but he’s still seeing it as a failure if he doesn’t get his way immediately. He should realize that there isn’t a real urgency, that there is still plenty of time to act but it’s very possible that he will pay for missing his opportunity. WE could be hearing this sense of urgency because Joe will indeed outlast Stephen. As for this episode, Stephen fell in the same trap as Monica, thinking his best move would also correspond to Jeremy’s best move.

The immunity Challenge

Jeff told us that they had the gross food eating challenge 14 times over the years.
1st round – Two Crispy Tarantulas: Woo and Spencer beat Tasha and Kimmi
2nd Round - Two Giant Water Beetles: Jeremy and Keith won over Savage and Ciera. (It would have been huge redemption for Ciera according to Jeff)
3rd Round – Pig Snout: Fishbach and Wentworth finished before Kass and Abi.
4th Round – Fried Frog: Wiglesworth defeated Joe, surprising everyone.
5th Round – Pig Brain: Kimmi wished Woo “bon appétit”! (That’s the Kimmi we remember!)
6th Round – Fried Scorpion: Jeff said it would be an amazing Second Chance story if Ciera could win it for her tribe but Wentworth beat her. Ciera, once again, came up short. She told Jeff that she felt bad for letting them down but she was proud of herself for going as far as she got.
7th Round – Baluts (Spencer and Stephen were both repulsed): Tasha easily defeated Kass

Now either Takeo threw this challenge or, more likely, there were many rounds that weren’t shown. Why would Takeo return Ciera and Kass to the table for the last two rounds instead of Savage and Spencer?

Tasha grabbed the immunity idol while Jeremy grabbed the remaining balut as take out!

Ciera was either annoyed by seeing Jeremy showing off or she was disgusted to see anyone eating that for fun.

Kass in confessional: “Tribal Council tonight and I would love to get rid of Spencer again and if he was the first person whose name I wrote down I would be more than happy to write a sad face on his card and send him on his way: Spencer Bledsoe, zero percent chance of winning this game.”

Kass had just told Jeff and the viewers that she was sorry to have let her tribe down so this animosity was rather poorly placed. We know she doesn’t like Spencer but the method is as unsavory as that balut.
Takeo Day 16

Woo had a confessional where he said they were all going to vote against Spencer. He was happy to finally be in tune with this game!

Poor Woo. Very few players have been out of the loop as often as he in his two tries.

Savage was the first to lie to Spencer, telling him that Ciera was their target.

Spencer’s confessional: “I am kind of on the outs as far as being in the know but I’ve wanted to play with Savage this whole time. I think he’s a really good guy, someone that I can trust.”

Well that tells us that Spencer isn’t the greatest when it comes to reading people.

Savage’s confessional: “It’s unbelievably hard for me to put up Spencer like this. He’s a great kid but nothing is getting in the way of my second chance. Tonight, everyone is voting Spencer, he’s voting Ciera. This is going to be one of the most unexpected, devastating blindsides in the history of Survivor. I mean business. This is my second chance; I’m not getting a third chance. This is it.”

I’m not sure but I think there will be less fanfare during Savage’s last few days on his retirement tour, then there was during Jeter’s last trip around the league! This vote must have been devastating for him, probably even more than for Woo who must have been able to forget as soon as he grabbed some food on the buffet in Loser Lodge. His reaction should be very interesting especially since he will soon rejoin Tasha.

With the little monkey looking down on them, Kass and Abi listened to Ciera’s plan. She wasn’t a comfortable pawn. Kass agreed that Andrew’s suggestion was weird.

Ciera’s confessional: “I definitely had a wakeup call when Terry went home. It’s my second chance, it could be my last chance and I want to go full on so I can go home to my family and say that I gave it my all.”

Kass said she wanted to get rid of Spencer but Ciera said it would be dumb to keep Woo over Spencer.

Ciera told us she didn’t trust Andrew yet she went after Woo instead. If this hadn’t been right before the merger then it wouldn’t have been so bad but, like Stephen said, you have to take action. Andrew will become much more dangerous than Woo could ever be. He’ll be reconnecting with Tasha who probably has her own entourage by now. This brings me to an interesting observation: Wasn’t it strange to see Abi-Maria standing there and not say a word? They were talking about someone that she wanted to eliminate very badly but she stayed quiet. Is she learning? There was this huge story centered on Abi’s feud with Woo and, on the day he finally leaves, she doesn’t even have to make a scene. I have to guess that Ciera and Kass had to go after Woo instead of Savage only to secure Abi’s key vote. She would have balked at the idea of booting Andrew so soon but not Woo. Could her silence be a hint of good things to come for her? Having made it to the merger, Abi has crossed her danger zone and no one left hates her. Could Abi...? I don’t even want to write the end of that question.

Kass’ confessional: “So Ciera wants to get rid of Woo. I didn’t want to play with Spencer. I was glad not to be on a tribe with him all this time and when everyone said that we should do Spencer first, it was almost being served up to me but then you have to step back. Is there a better use for Spencer right now?”
The two went for a walk on the beach.

The cloud formation told us that this won’t be the safest road for Kass. She is heading for stormy weathers.

Spencer said: “I really like Savage.”
Kass countered: “Interestingly, Savage said: Why don’t we go for Spencer? We’ll tell him it’s Ciera.”
Spencer was shocked.

Spencer’s interview: “If what Kass is saying is true; that Savage is considering me as a target, I’m left trying to figure out where to run.” After she told him about the plan to blindside Woo, Spencer added: “I guess I’m bunking with the devil tonight. I might have to play with Kass.”

War-like drums accompanied Spencer on his walk back to camp.
While he was walking back to camp, Kass played the comedy to Woo, saying she was finally getting her revenge on Spencer Bledsoe.

If I had been in Woo’s place, I would have asked myself: “Didn’t she already get her revenge on Spencer during Cagayan’s Final 4? Wouldn’t she be out for revenge against me since I voted her out?” In a sense, it’s weird that Kass’ feelings about Woo were never mentioned.

Kass’ confessional: “There are two ideas floating out there: Savage, Wiglesworth and Woo think that Spencer is going home and Spencer, Abi and Ciera believe Woo is going home. I have the opportunity to write down Spencer and say goodbye. As I sit here right now, I could still do that if I wanted to because of how the votes are. It’s my first tribal of my second chance. Which Kass is coming? Is it “Calm Kass” or is it “Chaos Kass”? The little angel and the devil are each on my shoulders. Spencer! Woo! Calm! Chaos! It’s there! What is going to happen? I don’t even know.”

Tribal Council

Andrew said he had been working on his social game, trying to identify the players that were loyal.
Spencer said he was seeing people as people.
Woo said he was ready to be more cut-throat.
Kass talked about all her connections and troubles.
Savage said that he never saw “Chaos Kass” in the original Bayon. She had been loyal and loving.

The rattlesnake sound effect was heard, underlining that mistake.

Ciera told Jeff that navigating people is her strength. She mentioned Andrew’s bond with Woo and how it affected the battle between her gut, her heart and her mind.
Andrew said that hearing his name mentioned didn’t affect him because he didn’t have any doubts about this vote.

I’d say he was tempting, even daring Chaos Kass!

Ciera said that this was the scariest part of Tribal Council because they all had plans. She added: “Somebody’s plan is not going to work out.”
Spencer said that they all had confidence but that the snuffer would take care of that.
It took only 1 vote against Woo to shake Andrew’s confidence. Those votes would soon pile on and Woo was eliminated 4-3.
Spencer said thank you to the people on his left.

The camera made it look as if it was addressed to Abi even if Ciera was also sitting on Spencer’s left.

When Woo turned around after setting his torch in front of Jeff, he smiled and said: “blindside!” Savage could only raise his arms palm up to plead his ignorance.

After putting the snuffer back to rest, Jeff said: “This season, the game is being played at a very high level which means you are going to have to continue to adapt your game if you want to make it to the end.”

The Story

While Ciera and Kass made the big move that Stephen was hoping to make, we have to wonder if the tenor of the game that was set will favor them. There was a big undercurrent of “Missed Opportunities” in this episode which could come back to haunt the players that were making the decisions. Stephen wasn’t able to make his big move against Joe. Kass and Andrew didn’t get rid of Spencer. Ciera didn’t strike at Andrew, the player that she didn’t trust. Kelley survived her supposedly arduous situation in Bayon. It’s very likely that one of these missed opportunities will have a comeback win. Besides Spencer, who obviously wanted this result, the only other player who got what she truly wanted was Abi-Maria and hasn’t she already been setting the tenor of the whole season?

Making a Case for the remaining Characters

Kimmi: It’s not easy to make a case for Kimmi because it’s difficult to assess the only move she’s made in the game. Many think her move against Monica was a spur of the moment decision made only for the good of the tribe. We could say that she wanted to solidify her alliance with Jeremy and Stephen but was she ever really in their plans? I think that the relative invisibility of Bayon early on didn’t help us understand Kimmi’s move. She called Monica a loose cannon and feared that she would flip on her so it’s probable that Kimmi heard Monica throwing out a new plan every day. But even if eliminating Monica was Kimmi’s best move, we don’t have any long term story lines for her. She doesn’t appear to be in the long term plans of her allies and she doesn’t tell us about her own plans. The best thing for her case was that the move was presented positively; Probst even called it a great example of new school tactic. Nothing could be better for Kimmi’s chances.

Kelly: The image we had at the very end of Tribal Council probably told us all we need to know about Kelly.

I was so happy to see her back but she has been exasperatingly quiet. She is right back to where she was after the first Tribal Council; completely out of the loop. On the other hand, we heard Jeff at the gross food challenge say that she was using a completely different strategy than the one used by Joe. Joe is all flash and that makes him a huge target. Kelly, with her meditation routine, will remain calm when everyone around her becomes anxious. We have heard that she is a hard worker and that she is good in challenges and that there was nothing to differentiate her with Spencer. Probst’s comment sounded like something that a jury would have to debate. If she makes it to the end, it will be with Spencer. If she does, then a few challenge wins could earn her the victory that came so close on that very first season.

Keith: He is in the Final Five that was announced and he is having fun just rolling with it. Being from Louisiana, he should know how to let the good times roll! This season is being played on such a high level that the votes may create a lot of animosity on the jury. Up to now however, all the booted players have accepted their elimination graciously. We should expect that it will continue this way and that the jury will reward a good tactician which doesn’t favor Keith.

Abi: She has gotten rid of everyone that was against her and she didn’t wait for episode 6 to set the tenor for the whole season. There are very few remaining Takeo members so there’s very little reason to consider her as a ticking time bomb anymore. We didn’t hear a confessional from Abi when the vote turned against Woo so that could be telling us that she has finally found a way to fix her mistakes. For the very first time, she got her way without making it personal, without creating a scene. In fact, Abi may have gone along with the two other ladies only because their move spared Andrew. I know it sounds strange but Abi could make it to the end. It would explain all the debate that surrounded her early on; some wanting her gone immediately, others wanting to keep her to the end. If she makes it, it could turn out exactly like it did for her during the reward challenge: Someone will open the door and she could win by default. (I have to give you something to scare you on Hallowe’en!)

Stephen: He is showing us his passion for the game and he is using some proven tactics to make it to the end. He is in a solid alliance with most of the members of Bayon and he knows that he needs to take action when someone threatens his game. The problem is that we were shown the emotional Stephen instead of the clinical one. He hasn’t taken control of the game yet and we heard Jeremy say that he was bugging. He missed an opportunity to get rid of Joe before the merger so we have to think he will regret it. If he is to make it to the end, he will have to find new allies but Jeremy and Tasha have so many connections that it will be hard for him to find a group to lead.

Andrew: He made some grave tactical mistakes in this episode, particularly by announcing that he was part of an inseparable trio. That should have made him the immediate target but, for some reason, he was spared. Now that he has made it to the merger, he should be able to regroup with some solid allies. He loved it when Probst told them to drop their buffs so imagine his pleasure when he reads the news that they are getting new buffs once more! Kass showed her hand too soon so he now has proof that she isn’t loyal. He won’t make the same mistake twice. His game depends on reconnecting with Jeremy, Joe and Tasha. Since all these strong players have made it to the merge, they should form a dangerous alliance. If he navigates his way to the end, his difficult days on Angkor would make for a solid case to present to the jury.

Ciera: She hadn’t been featured a lot before going to her first Tribal Council but she still had some visibility, including a repetition of her introduction confessional at the start of episode 2 and the camera angle that presented her as the toast of Cambodia! When she got to Tribal Council, she didn’t waste time. She did exactly what she promised she would do: She made a big move. Even more than that, she told her interviewer that she was inspired by Terry’s family crisis to move into action. Knowing that he had this confessional in the can, any editor would be inclined to keep her quiet before then to drive the point home. The problem from my point of view is that she didn’t go after Andrew. That could come back to haunt her. However, because of Kass’ reputation, she probably won’t be the first to come under fire. If the tide turns against the two conspirators, it could give her some time to adapt and find her next big move. It seems that she will have to continue making those big moves if she wants to make it to the end. Will she be able to get rid of her opponents while retaining their votes? That is her dual challenge and she doesn’t have many players on her side. For example, despite his gratitude, Spencer is more likely to go back to Jeremy’s side than to stay with Kass’ ally.

Kass: The nice lady took out the claws! Her story keeps growing and it could be more than a simple redemption arc. In an episode where she narrated Terry’s family emergency and how it affected everyone, she decided to put an old rivalry aside to flip the game on Andrew. She has become a much more sympathetic character without losing any of her scheming abilities. This time, the move wasn’t done out of spite but it could have been done more for show than by calculated design. Andrew’s confidence during TC could have influenced her to cross a line that she didn’t want to transgress so soon. How could she resist?! The move against Andrew’s ally would have been sufficient if it had come well before the merge but now she may regret not going after the head of the snake. Andrew’s story of these events will certainly interest Tasha, one of Woo’s friends, Jeremy and Joe who should unite against her. If Kass can survive this onslaught then she could become the favorite to win the whole thing. But can she? It’s funny that the merger, which created Chaos Kass in the first place, could be the very thing that cuts her game short this time. It would be her Karmic fruit.

Jeremy: While we had hints that Jeremy could be lost in the fogs of war, it could have been used only to show the confusion caused by Stephen’s plan. Luckily, Jeremy didn’t have to make the trek to tribal Council and decide which way to go. Now that he has made the merge, Joe becomes much more valuable to him than Stephen. As long as Joe is around, Jeremy is safe. His idol would give him another cycle of safety after that. He has to like his chances if Joe makes it to Final 6 or 7. That will probably only happen if Stephen leaves earlier. Jeremy does have options but Bayon’s fracture will force him to choose sides early on. If he makes it to the end then we have to remember his early quotes about being more focus and doing this for his family. None of the feuds are directed at him so he can make a calm, rational decision. The main problem is that he could hide behind Joe for too long or that Kelley, who is also hiding behind Joe, may push Jeremy under the bus before too long. He may also forget that Spencer is still around. He missed an opportunity to get rid of the more dangerous player when he eliminated Monica. There are some pitfalls on his road to the end, enough to shake him out of that hammock.

Joe: With everyone lining up to hide behind him, Joe has very few predators lurking in the bushes. Stephen is a major hurdle but we saw that Stephen was trapped, unable to move into action because Jeremy and Tasha have other plans for Joe. If all his allies hide behind him, the jury will only see Joe. He won’t have to oil up to attract their attention. Can Joe pull it off? Kass and Ciera’s big move could attract some immediate retribution at the merge but that would still leave him far from the end and it would force him to find a new Final Five. Could he decide to go with them instead? The five won’t have the numbers for a while so it could be dangerous. They’d have to include people like Abi and Spencer to gain the numbers against Bayon’s other faction. Stephen thought that the tenor for the season would be set by eliminating Joe but I think it will be set by watching how Joe aligns at the merger. He was part of the group that have to make Terry proud so I doubt that they all get voted out but can they stick to the pact?

Tasha: She had a very quiet episode but she was still very visible during the immunity challenge, winning the key round. Her contribution in camp was to tell Stephen that his plan to move against Joe would be a mistake. She will be in a great position at the merge because she will reunite with Andrew and will have Jeremy and Joe also on her side. She appears to have gained everyone’s trust which is vital if she plans on back stabbing everyone. Her main problem is that we’ve been shown that Tasha has a soft spot for Joe. She does like to see him working out. Could this attraction distract her from the goal? Now that the mirage of Bayon’s love tribe has been exposed, their fracture in full display, it will be very interesting to see what Tasha decides to do. She has some very interesting cards to play at the merger.

Spencer: Even if Ciera and Kass stirred into action, the episode was still mostly about Spencer’s plight. His five confessionals added a lot of substance to his character as did his interventions during Tribal Council. He may have been blind to Andrew’s scheme and that could be an indication that he still is lacking in social awareness but he escaped that close call. Mostly, he got Kass to pass on a great opportunity to get rid of him. Despite his gratitude at the end of TC, I don’t think Spencer would hesitate to get his revenge. After all, despite all the talk we heard about Kass wanting revenge on Spencer, he is the one that was done wrong. She flipped on their alliance in Cagayan and she won the challenge that eliminated him. It’s a good thing that we heard him mostly talking about finding a way to “bunk with the devil” rather than wanting to go after her. It could be a case of good things coming to those who wait. With all the dangers he has faced already, Spencer would have an easy case to present to the jury. It would be fun to see him facing the jury with Kelly Wiglesworth. What would differentiate them then?

Kelley: This marked the 4th episode in a row where Kelley didn’t go to Tribal Council yet her story continued to grow. This is very important to note for someone who wasn’t a star at the beginning of the season. If Kelley was going to go out with a whimper, she would have been ignored. She could still be receiving the “last Takeo member standing” edit but it feels more than that because there is very little importance attached to the original tribes this season. With all the swaps, it simply isn’t the same as LisLis being the last Kucha standing. Kelley is now closely tied to Joe and should profit from his connections after the merger. There seemed to be a connection between Kelley and Tasha during the challenges. Something that is natural between team mates could translate into bonds in camp. Like Joe, Kelley will have to decide if she sticks with Kass and Ciera or goes with Jeremy, Andrew and Tasha. The merge episode should tell us a lot but it comes so early that many intersections will have to be crossed before we get to the end. While I like the chances of many players, much more than usual, I feel that Kelley is in the best position because of her consistent edit. Let’s see if she can match it with an equally good game.

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11-01-15, 03:24 AM (EST)
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68. "RE: Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor for the Whole Season"
Usually the last pre-merge episode forshadows a boot. In this case, it's forshadowed four.....Kass, Savage, Ciera, and Stephen. The most important being Kass. She got a lot of negative attention this episode and a lot of screentime they did this for one reason:giving her enough material before she leaves. She's got one foot out the door and she is a historically important castaway.

As if that's not enough, she got big confessionals in four of the five segments. She gets the evacuation confessionals regarding Terry, she gets the post-IC confessional(which btw no boot that episode has gotten so far), and pre-TC confessional. She talked about wanting Spencer out three different times and boots Woo with her wanting him out for revenge or her Takeo alliance with Ciera not shown, making her look bad. And the last two of three post-IC confessionals went to the merge boot. And in SJDS, while Dale got the post-IC confessional where he went that episode, the one before that was Julie worrying about the rain and she was the merge quitter. That season the same episode boot was getting that confessional every other episode.

What I will be looking for in the merge episode is who ends up shining like Keith, Jaclyn, Carolyn, Rodney and Mike did in theirs. Carolyn and Keith both got closing confessionals right after the first segment and were basically the standouts of their respective episodes. In Cagayan, so was Kass. Each of these players finished 3rd, 4th, and 2nd. They don't win. I have a feeling that Tasha will be delivering this episode and the closing confessional in the first segment, signifying she won't win either and cementing her third place finish(continuing that rotation).

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11-02-15, 11:44 AM (EST)
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69. "RE: Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor for the Whole Season"
LAST EDITED ON 11-02-15 AT 11:47 AM (EST)

Thanks so much, Michel, for bringing all of your assessments and observations to all of us. Stellar! Nice observation of Kelley in Jiffy's recap! And, interesting that you mention how her treatment of Terry, did make some of us feel like she was a sort of villain. Even though I knew that she was a "good player", I felt that way myself. I thought it was interesting that she was the first one to jump up and give Terry a hug when he told them he had to go.

More softening of Kass' character from last time with her confessional regarding the sudden emergency with Terry's son. And, nice observation of Keith's last words to him.

For me, Terry was blindsided in the biggest way possible. I think ALL of them out there felt for him, and it reminded them all that this IS a game, and what really matters is back at home. I am so happy that Terry's son is getting his second chance. I still am reeling from the fact that Woo mentioned his mother's heart transplant the day before Terry is removed from the game for the same thing. What are those odds, that they capture Woo's inspirational and second chance story, which then becomes Terry's story as well? Talk about coincidences! I thought CBS handled it all very well and thrilled they touted organ donation at the end! Looking forward to seeing Danny at the Reunion!

At the RC gathering, it was Spencer that registered Terry's absence first. Then nice comments from parents; Savage, Wigle, and Ciera, while we see Keith wipe away tears. But Joe brings it back to the topic at hand, this is a game and it goes on. I wish they had called on Jeremy, who we know is so sensitive regarding his family, especially now with Val pregnant. He dodged a bullet.

Then, Joe sees the swap coming, and they all drop their buffs. They were indeed surprised, I thought, this time. Woo told us how happy he was that his number one was with him, Savage.

Tribes are reshuffled, and the RC takes place. Abi, wins one for her tribe, making Savage proud I'm sure and underlining his prior thoughts that she WAS better at challenges than Varner. Stephen....UGH! Highlighted big time, for not being good at challenges, Kass even beat him. Wigle WINS it all for them, by beating the strong, Kelley!

Interesting at the RC was Jeremy's vehement scolding of Stephen after his not so stellar showing. "Have confidence in yourself, we do!" I couldn't help but wonder about that. Does Jeremy and the rest of that tribe have confidence in Stephen? I don't think so. As a viewer, I don't have confidence in Stephen.

Spencer, as the odd person out of his new tribe, gave us a lot of narration of events. His biggest question was how was he going to fit in with his arch nemesis, Kass. We see Spencer changing and adapting and trying. I love that shot you took of the tribe around the picnic with Andrew facing out. He's arrogant because he thinks he's in control and the alpha captain of the ship. And, it also underlines that Spencer is indeed in the mix and socializing!

Then to hear Kass' perspective, she does want to get him out, she didn't want to play with "the Bledsoe". But, we see that it's Ciera that is the one that directs the boot. I agree that Savage played that horribly when he said that they could all write Ciera's name down, and as you further pointed out, how he told Kass that he, Woo, and Abi were inseparable. That is NOT how you pull in your old Bayons! Ciera noted, Hold the phone! She is willing to take one for the team but this is not one of those times!, then we saw the "Takeo team minus Spencer", put their hands in and go, "1 - 2 - 3, TAKEO!"

Most of Savage's confessionals were all about how wonderful it is to swap, 3 favorite words, drop your buffs! He talks about how he's got 5 out of the 6 people with him, and sorry Spencer, I love you like a son, but I have to use Kass' animosity toward you to get you out, and he's 100% confident in his vote tonight. This was all to show us how naive he is, and how wrong he was. It set him up to be as blindsided as Woo was. The old school players, Andrew, Woo, and Wigle, mixed with new schoolers. Chalk one up for the new schoolers!

Then switch over to the Bayon 3.0 tribe. I loved the little spat between Keith and Kimmi, and Keith told her what would happen if she did something, and she proceeded to do it, and then Keith was proven RIGHT! Damn it, Kimmi, you're done!
Loved that, and I do wonder if it's foreshadowing!

You describe the banter over at camp Bayon very well. Kelley gets a positive edit wanting to WORK with Joe, while Stephen gets a negative edit for wanting to get Joe out. I have to comment here about all of the editing Stephen is getting because for me, as a fan, his edit is pathetic and heart-breaking. And, with all the emotion he's showing, for me, this is his last straw breaking. Stephen is shown NOT playing the cards he's dealt. He's shown to be so emotionally and mentally fixated on taking out the golden boy of this season, Joe. Here is what was on the screen when he spoke of taking out the golden boy....

The hatchet was focused on first with Joe in the background, then the focus moved from the hatchet to Joe!

I wonder if Stephen closes his eyes at night, does he see JT? He is clearly rehashing his mistake in his first game so much, that's he's blinded to any other strategy, and it makes him look like a fool.

He doesn't really try at challenges, last time he shot the other tribes target, he looked pathetic in the challenge in this episode, he's being yelled at by his "alliance-mate". Stephen, as a know it all, should know that when you try to convince someone of voting someone out and they are adamantly against it, then chances are they are aligned with your boot choice too! Stephen is just so socially un-aware, and now he's crying over spilled milk. He's still trying to win Tocantins, and is not mentally present in this game. Stephen, for me, is a dead man walking. I think his comments in a confessional were: I’m good at other things. In terms of the strategic moves, this is what, to me, this game is about. It’s about the social strategy. It’s about building alliances and maintaining alliances and targeting the right person at the right time. I don't see Stephen good at alliance building here, or their maintenance, and he's fixated on one move. He's not patient, he's pushing too hard, and it will come back to get him. Joe is much more socially ingrained in this season than Stephen is. One of the hallmarks of a good player is the ability to roll with it. I think the editors contrasted Ciera's game play with Stephen's game play in this episode. Ciera finagled a big move eloquently, while Stephen is shown as just inept. Clearly, it was Ciera spearheading the direction at camp Takeo, and she got Kass and Abi to go along. She got Kass to orchestrate it with using Spencer.

We saw Kass set up Spencer as the tool to accomplish the task, and it benefited both of them. Kass appears to be Spencer's saviour here. But, when the girls were talking in their group discussion, we heard Kass say to Ciera and Abi, I want Spencer out before the merge! So, now that we have the luxury of knowing that the merge is coming next week, we have a preview of what to expect. Kass will gun for Spencer full force. So, the conflict between Spencer and Kass is delayed, and I like your thoughts on it. The cloud formation foretelling that it won't be a good move for Kass. I agree.

Kass also got the last confessional before TC, regarding which Kass will show up tonight, angel or devil. Calm or chaos? Well, we saw which one she pulled out, now what kind of ramifications will she face next time?

I also noted Spencer seemingly saying "Thank-you" to Abi. Strange, I thought. Will Abi and Spencer be in cahoots later, will Abi call on Spencer to save her at one point?

My thoughts:

Now that Kass and Spencer are playing with each other, this is going to be a continuing conflict. In the first round we hear that Spencer has to figure out how to play with her, noting that last time it didn't seem to work, and in the end he has to bunk with the devil and play with her. She, on the other hand says right off that she wants him out, she does not want to play with him, but she decides that there is a better use for him. At this point, I see the starring role that Spencer has had. But, I also see that Kass has been, so far, given a kinder and gentler edit as well. But, I recall the first confessional that Kass had: We all have a little devil in us. I was a bit of a trouble maker in my season. Chaos Kass! She lives somewhere deep within me, but if I don’t change; someone is going to take me down. I kind of like my legacy thus far! I like the chaos. The only thing that needs to change is their perception of me and then, when the merge comes and I’m there, all hell will break loose.

All along it was Kass' plan, in her second chance, to be the calm Kass until the merge. Well, on the eve of the merge we see her true colors emerge. And, Jiffy tells us that next week, she's here to stay. I can't help but think that this conflict is going to come front and center, and if Kass goes, it will be Spencer, our star of this second chance season, that puts the final nail in Kass' coffin. Will Kass be proven wrong, that there was NOT a better use for Spencer, and that she made the fatal error?

Ciera: She emerges this week. We hear that she and Kass are tight. I think that's a good choice for Ciera, she's gotten herself a nice shield with Kass. But, will Kass make herself too big of a target? Once her shield is gone, what will Ciera do next? She did commit to F5 with Joe, Keith, and Kelley as well. Did they commit to her as much?

Who will have a bone to pick with Ciera and Kass, next week? Savage. He was taught a new school lesson by two new schoolers, and blindsided in a big way. What will he do? We know he has other alpha friends on the "other side", namely Jeremy, Joe, and especially Tasha. But, Joe and Keith are in an F5 with Kelley, Kass, and Ciera. Will he learn from his mistakes, or will he just want revenge. If he just wants revenge then he will NOT be the winner.

Stephen, as I noted above is not long for this Survivor: Second Chance. He's still fixated on his first chance.

Kelly Wiglesworth: giving her astute comments regarding family, and winning the RC for her tribe, yet we hear NOTHING from her in confessionals??

I see Jeremy and Kelley wanting to hide and ride with Joe, and they BOTH have idols, so I think Joe, Stephen's golden boy, has legs for this part of the game. But, will he get to the family visit like he states he wants to in his first confessional?

Jeremy and Kelley getting consistent sound and vision through the show = Good!

Tasha goes back into seen but not heard? Keith and Kimmi are now in the same boat, and Keith is one upping her, haha!

Abi: Flying under the radar for once. But, I have a feeling that she had far more to do with Woo as the target then we were shown. It was edited the way it was for a reason. Regardless, Abi was not seen or heard stirring up trouble, and that is a positive sign for her for now. Also, positive sign that Spencer is seen thanking her after the vote. But, so far she is the main villain of the show. Is the new villain, the devil, Kass, upstaging her at this point?

Great comments, michel. As always, I thoroughly enjoy them all!

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11-02-15, 05:56 PM (EST)
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70. "RE: Episode 6 - Setting the Tenor for the Whole Season"
I really enjpy reading your comments also, FP.

Great vidcap with the hatchet. I saw it during the episode but it didn't really connect for me but seeing it now, I guess it was to tell us that Stephen missed. He was trying to get rid of Joe but the hatchet armlessly lodged itself in the tree instead.

Abi is a mystery for once. Will she stay with Ciera and kass or will she pull a "Varner" and go back to Savage's side? We know that the two warring factions will be headed by Andrew on one side, Ciera and Kass on the other but where does everyone else fall? That's the mystery of this merge. Like you, I think Chaos Kass could have shown her hand one round early.

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11-07-15, 03:38 PM (EST)
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73. "Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
The Recap

Sixteen days ago, twenty former players started their second chance to play the game they love...

Jeremy’s confessional: “I just need to go through this again. I’m back for some redemption.”

...And they all came with baggage from their past.

Stephen: ‘I feel exactly like I felt the last time: Out of place in a tribe. A Fishbach out of water again.”

Some even have a history with each other. (The “Brains” trio is shown and Spencer’s Tribal Council comment about Kass having zero chance of winning the game is heard)

Spencer in confessional: “Kass and I have feuded and we’ve hated each other.”

And with redemption on the line...

(we see Kelley grabbing her Hidden Immunity Idol right under the Outwit Outplay Outlast banner) was clear that the game would be played hard and fast

We then saw Savage taking a hard fall during a challenge, and after we had Kass’ confessional: “When the merge comes, all hell will break loose.”

The Bayon tribe agreed to stay strong.

Jeremy’s confessional: “We have the stronger group....

(Tasha is shown doing a dance) We can really move on in this game. We just have to stay together and get each other’s back.

But after a twist on the game, the former Bayons were forced to make new deals.

Kass, Ciera, Keith, Kelley and Joe are pictured to be an alliance to Final Five.

Joe’s interview: “I’m trying to pull in as many people as I can.”
Everyone was shocked when Terry left the game...but they were even more surprised by a second switch.

Kelley’s comment at the challenge was replayed: “I’m excited, I just want to win.”

The new Bayon proved to be the stronger tribe and they won the last immunity challenge.

At the new Takeo, Spencer was the odd man out.

Savage’s confessional: “Tonight, everyone is voting Spencer. I mean business.”

But Spencer and Kass put aside their past differences.
Kass in confessional: “I didn’t want to play with Spencer but can I use Spencer right now?”

At Tribal Council Kass saved Spencer, blindsiding Woo and shocking Wiglesworth and Savage.

This season-long recap is not as straightforward as the last few that we heard. Since Jeff summarized the events of the last 16 days, it stands to reason that the winner’s story was part of it. We simply have to look at the players that were part of his narrative: Jeremy, Spencer, Joe, Kelley, Stephen and Savage but last two weren’t presented in a positive way so it seems safe to dismiss them. Tasha is a little less evident since we saw her dancing and Jeff talked about the history of Cagayan’s “Brains” tribe and we saw her winning the last challenge but since she wasn’t named and we didn’t hear from her, I think we can exclude her. We certainly would have heard about her difficult days in Angkor if it was part of the winner’s story. That leaves us with only four contenders.

It’s really strange that Jeff said Kass saved Spencer when most of the work had been done by Ciera. Another oddity is that Kelley’s idol was shown but not Jeremy’s. Looking at the summary more closely, we see that Kelley and Spencer’s role really stood out.

- Kelley was featured taking possession of the idol when Jeff talked about playing hard and fast. We saw that she was part of the Takeo Final Five and we heard her saying that she just wanted to win.

- Spencer was part of the history in Cagayan, we were reminded of his precarious position in the new Takeo and we heard that his truce with Kass saved him.

Compared to those two, Jeremy and Joe’s stories were fairly superficial and showed us that they were in very good positions. Jeremy was part of the strong Bayon alliance and was moving on in this game while Joe has pulled in many players to his side. There has been an underdog theme built during the pre-merge and neither of the two strong guys fit in it. That means we have two top contenders. Who will come out on top tonight?

It’s Like Day One Again

Takeo Day 17

The scene started in the morning so we didn’t get to hear the immediate fall out of the vote.

Savage woke up, looking at the tribe’s torches under the pouring rain.

The camera lingered on the unlit torches suggesting that it was a sign that the winner isn’t in this tribe.

Kass was telling Abi that the great thing about second chance was the many layers of relationships.

Andrew’s interview: “It was a very tough night for me. I go to Tribal; I thought it was a lock. They didn’t include me and they are incredible liars. I thought I could read people pretty well...” He shakes his head. “These folks are professionals.” To the group, Savage said that he would have liked it if they came to him. Kass said the vote wasn’t personal. It was just about red flags. Savage’s confessional continued: “I feel the most betrayed by Kass. I thought she was really strong with the Bayons but after last night, she became a Takeo. I’m not going to go down without a fight. (Bleep) them. Piece of (bleep).” He showed us a big smile. Talking again to Kass, Ciera, Spencer and Abi, Savage said he was a loyal guy and that he had their backs from day one and that he just wanted them to take him to the merge. We heard more of Andrew’s interview: “There’s a merge coming. If I have to bite my tongue, act like a wimpy little non-leader, under the radar kind of guy which is the antithesis of me, I’ll do it. I need to get to that merge.”

Spencer asked Andrew to give him his word that he wouldn’t go after him again. Andrew offered him his hand and said he wouldn’t write his name down again.

We know that Savage makes the merge but his arrogance suggests that it won’t be as easy as he thinks. Spencer on the other hand showed us that he can make peace immediately. Compared to his feud with Kass which lasted a couple of years, he regained Savage’s trust immediately. Now Spencer will be able to write Savage’s name and eliminate him at some point. Savage’s promise not to write his name again probably includes FTC just like when Alicia told Boston Rob that she would never write his name so Spencer won’t have his vote.

Spencer’s interview: “Savage is feeling foolish and he’s feeling guilty because he got caught red-handed trying to blindside me but I’m going to have to make peace because I am making relationships this time that have saved me.” To the tribe, Spencer said: “It took seventeen days but I finally have a group.” Kass said they should have done this in Cagayan. Spencer continued his confessional: “Kass and I went against each other in Cagayan a lot but, this time, I actually have to rely on Kass. I truly have changed and progressed in this game and that’s why I’m here today.”

Given this confessional and the replay of Spencer’s TC comment in Cagayan, it would stand to reason that there is zero chance that Kass will vote for him in the end.

Bayon Day 17

Kimmi and Keith were carrying tree mail.

The producers had to find a way to give them airtime so they told them to get mail.

The message told them to go down to the end of their beach and wait for visitors. Kelley was surprised, doubting it could be a merge at 13.

Tasha in confessional: “I’m a fan of Survivor. This early? It couldn’t be a merge. It’s usually nine or ten people. If it is a merge situation, my “Brains” tribe from Cagayan would be back together with myself, Kass and Spencer. We have some good history to work together but we have some bad history too so I’m really nervous. ”

Tasha didn’t seem to doubt that Kass and Spencer would both be there which is a bit surprising considering Andrew’s plan to eliminate Spencer.

Takeo Day 17

Kass read the message that would send the tribe to live on the other beach.

Ciera’s confessional: “Does this mean a merge. I am really nervous that with Savage who is really disappointed that we lied to him. It makes me nervous to take somebody like that to the merge.”

Kass told Ciera, Abi and Spencer that they had to stick together and that they would need to find a crack.

Under pouring rain, Andrew was jubilant: “Let this twist be something beautiful: A beautiful merge. My dream is to make the merge. I suffered. I am praying to the Survivor gods stronger than you can imagine that today is something good like a merge and I am back with my Bayon brothers. Please, please, please.”

His prayers were answered...for now!

The Reunion

The Bayon tribe looked much more enthusiastic than Takeo. We saw Bayon welcoming loudly their counterparts, raising their arms to greet them. In comparison, the other tribe looked lethargic. It could be what happened because Takeo had a longer trek so they could have been really tired or the images could have been selected to make the tribes look very different. If the editors did choose to show them this way then that is another hint that the winner was in the happy tribe.

Joe’s confessional: “We head over the hill and all of a sudden, I look out and I see this little tribe of Takeo and I’m thinking thirteen? There’s no way it could be a merge. It’s such a big number.” Reading the note, Keith let everyone put to rest memories of Thailand and Gabon, confirming it was a merge feast. We saw Joe exchanging the first high five with Savage...

(note that the hug that Tasha was about to share with Abi was cut out of the show at the last second)

... Joe’s confessional resumed: “We’re all excited but oh, oh! There are a lot of people here. Once you make the merge, you know, things are about to change. All new game, game on, it’s like day one again. It’s dangerous but it’s fun.”

After throwing the Takeo flag to the ground, Andrew shared a hug with his Bayon “bro”, Jeremy. When the thirteen players raised their glasses for a toast, the camera was focused on Spencer. Then Kass raised her glass to “the thirteen best losers ever” and Stephen agreed. Kass is the newest loser; can Stephen be far behind?

Kelley’s confessional: “I’m so excited. I am freaking out. I didn’t make the merge the last time which was my goal number one so at least making the merge this time is like: OK, I’ve hit one step of where I want to be but I want to push through and I want to get to the end. There’s one winner. One person gets the million dollars at the end of Survivor and I came here to play.”

This confessional is more than what we usually hear from a Journey player. It’s a lot like Parvati’s confessional about playing in stages during Micronesia. Placed immediately after the reunion, this confessional really stood out.

Kelley asked about Woo so Kass gave her the details of the vote. Kimmi was impressed to hear Kass say that she worked with Spencer. Kass added: “In a bizarre twist, Spencer left his fate in my hands and I did not abuse it.” Kelley said: ‘That’s crazy guys. Wow!” Spencer added: “Chaos Kass: My saviour.”

Kass in confessional told us that she thought Spencer would trust her now that she saved him.

Stephen in confessional: “I was just sitting there like primed. You know; I was ready to pounce because everyone knew that as soon as that feast broke up, it was going to be chaos. You got to hit the ground running in new school Survivor. You need to make an alliance of seven right now to get the majority for this first vote.”

The players shown getting right down to business were Andrew, Jeremy, Kass and Kelley.

The two Bayon guys went over to the hammocks like in the good old days.

Andrew’s confessional: “I’m the happiest man alive right now. I’m back at my home, my original home: Bayon.”

Andrew told Jeremy that he was scared by how fast and how stealth they were. He added: “They could have six or seven of them coming after you and me and we would never know. It’s Bayon versus Takeo and we need our seven.”

Jeremy counted them out: “It’s you, me, Tasha...”
Andrew asked: “What about Fishbach?”
Jeremy answered: “He’s down with us and Kimmi is down with us. We could pull in Wiglesworth.”
Andrew replied: “We have Wiglesworth. That’s six.”

Andrew’s confessional: “Wiglesworth has told me that she has my back. She wasn’t in the original Bayon but Wiglesworth is hugely loyal from what I can tell. We need seven. So, from a numbers stand point, I have to do everything I can to go after Joe, just to reconfirm that he would like to be part of the Bayon.”

I wonder if Wiglesworth will betray the Bayon boys. It would help if we heard her talk once in a while but I feel she will play a big role somewhere down the road. What if the final three is Spencer, Kelley and Kelly, three original Takeos? It looks unlikely right now but it would complete the underdog story.

Andrew told Jeremy that what they would do in the next two days would lay the foundations for the next two weeks.

Just then, we saw a spider reaching an insect caught in its web. The image was clear: The foundations won’t be as solid as Andrew and Jeremy think. There will still be dangers lurking.

Kass and Kelley were doing their own count. Kass said that Abi was good because she knew she couldn’t win. (That’s something that makes me go Hum...) She also said that Spencer was with them meaning they had seven. Kelley figured they were good.

Kelley’s confessional: “Right now, I am working with Kass, Ciera, Keith and hopefully we have Joe because, when I was back at the old Takeo camp, we had made a Final Five deal. Kass thinks we have Abi but then I have Spencer and Joe who are a little bit of a wild card. I do want to talk to them to see exactly where they are because I need to be sure if they are on board. It’s pretty clear right now that Spencer and Joe are going to be the power players who are in control of this game. This is it: It’s so important.”

It was Jeremy, Andrew, Kass and Kelley who hit the ground running. Both sides were confident they had the numbers but Kelley wound up on the wrong side. Does this mean that Jeremy and Savage are on the winning side? It looks like it would be too easy for them. Jeremy’s role suffers from his close association with the arrogant Savage. The big guys won the first battle but the war isn’t over. Kelley said that Joe and Spencer controlled this vote and she was right. Despite their plans, Jeremy and Andrew weren’t really in control and their absence from the Tribal Council discussion underlined that. Even if we didn’t hear Kelley’s reason to vote against Chaos Kass in the end, I think it’s important that we knew she was going to talk to Joe and Spencer. If this was like day one, the most important thing was to get to know everyone’s position and it seems like she aligned with them.

Orkun Day 18

In the old days, we used to hear the players talking about the name to choose for the merge tribe. They used to take it seriously. Even Jeff took an interest in the name, asking them about it the first time they met. Then we had a few names like Dabu, Nobag and Murlonio leading to our disinterest. Soon, Jeff wouldn’t even ask them about the new name. We would still hear the players talking about it though but now the editors finally realized that we don’t care. Who came up with that name? What does it mean to them? It doesn’t matter anymore.

Joe was doing some yoga on the beach when Andrew approached.
Andrew’s interview: “I was doing the numbers last night and it made me realize that it’s critical that I reconnect with Joe face to face and just confirm how strong our bond is because we need him. My pitch today is that we can do this: Just stick together, we’ve got the numbers. It’s really, really very simple.”

Andrew explained his plan: Jeremy, Tasha, Kimmi, Stephen and Wiglesworth would vote with the two of them. They would be able to figure it out once they get to day 30.

Joe’s confessional: “Savage is really playing this game with his heart and he’s really wearing it on his sleeve and I think that I can trust him but I had a plan back with Takeo so I’m not limiting my options in this game.”

Kelley was doing some connections herself, asking “Spence” to talk to her. Both were overwhelmed by the number of players.
Kelley’s confessional: “I haven’t been with Spencer for a very long time so I wanted to check in with him to make sure that he would potentially want to work with me.” She told him that she trusted Kass, Ciera, Abi and him more than Tasha and Savage. Spencer said he wasn’t sure about Joe and Keith. Kelley reassured him that Keith was “100%’ absolutely.”

The editors have given Kelley the opportunity to expose her plans during every segment since the reunion and it certainly isn’t only narration. We are hearing what she plans on doing to advance in the game each step of the way. It’s certainly worrisome from a game point of view that she first threw her lot with Kass and Ciera but we know she voted against them in the end. I’d would have liked an additional confessional exposing her change of plan but that would have killed the suspense of this episode.

Spencer’s confessional, part one: “Right now, there are two warring groups and apparently Joe and I are smack dab in the middle. Joe is a guy I wouldn’t mind sticking with, swinging with and I could even make a move with him down the road.”
Sitting on the beach with Joe, Spencer said his alliance were only a day old. Joe said that it sucked adding that since he hadn’t gone to Tribal Council he hadn’t tested his alliances.

Spencer said that there was a Bayon group headed by Jeremy, Tasha and Stephen. The second part of Spencer’s confessional was inserted here.

Spencer’s confessional, part two: “Joe and I were talking through who is aligned with who so I tried to put things in “Joe language” and say: “Alright Joe; it’s like a football play.” We have a line in the sand and we have this person and this person and this person.”

He drew a diagram in the sand like kids playing football. Spencer said that “there’s a five that you can count on here and I think there’s a five that you can count on here, so we are kind of in the middle.”

They agreed to watch each other’s backs.

Compared to Kelley who had three interviews during these key scenes, Joe only had a confessional right after the reunion while Spencer’s came at the very end when the lines had been drawn. What is interesting is that with 5 players on each side it leaves us with THREE in the middle and Spencer did draw 3 circles in the middle representing himself, Joe and who else???

I would venture a guess that the unnamed 3rd person in Spencer’s plan was Kelley! After all, he had just talked to her and she directed him to Joe.

The next day, it was raining and it led to a funny image:

The tribe was huddled in the shelter so even if some hated each other, they had to stay together. Well except Keith who slept in a hammock with no cares in the world.

Stephen had a poem to share with everyone. It was “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. He recited:

"Then world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things

Judging by the facial expressions, the reactions were mixed. While the intention was noble and the delivery was good, why would Stephen show off like this? It made him stand apart even more from the others. For some reason, it made me think of Coach who used to monopolize the attention like this. Granted, Coach was talking about his own grandeur but still...

Kass had a confessional: “I feel that there is a “bro-down” going on in Bayon. They are all together and I think I have the most connections and I am the most likely to pull in the numbers we need to go against the Savage, Jeremy, Stephen clan going on over there.”

The insects crawling around the carcass of a beetle told us she wouldn’t be successful.

Tasha and Kass had a talk about the confusing situation.

Tasha in confessional: “I had a conversation with Kass and it felt like she was fishing for information but I figure Kass is working with Takeo so I thought I’d give her a bogus story about my alliance. Kass was the reason for me going home the first time I played. I put my trust in Kass and what did she do? She flipped and this is second chance and there is no way I will allow Kass another opportunity to ruin my game.”

She told Kass that she didn’t think they were Bayon strong. She admitted that she was tight with Jeremy but she wasn’t close to Stephen. When Kass asked if Bayon was no more, Tasha answered: “I would say no.” She said she was going along with the group.
Kass in confessional: “I was trying to talk to Tasha and I was telling the truth but I don’t think I got the same sincerity. It was very clear: She doesn’t trust me, she never trusted me. She’s still hung up on Cagayan. This is our second chance, this is it. Don’t mess with my second chance.”

Orkun Day 19

It started with Kass’s confessional : “I know Tasha can be a firecracker and I’m definitely ready to rumble. It’s really the original Bayon that are going to run this show unless someone here is ready to upset the apple cart. God forbid that it’s Chaos Kass that actually does that.”

Kass and Tasha were sitting on the beach looking back at their conversation from the previous day, agreeing that it didn’t go well. Tasha denied saying that Bayon was no more, adding she wouldn’t tell Kass anything because she doesn’t trust her. Looking at her, Kass said: You didn’t learn from your last time.” Tasha said she did learn; she learned not to trust Kass. Kass drew a line in the sand between them, saying “game on.”

While Tasha was right not to trust Kass, it seems that she was still fixated on Cagayan. The phrase: “You didn’t learn from your last time” is a killer. At least, Tasha corrected Kass but with a very narrow angle. She doesn’t trust Kass but what about the eleven others?

In confessional, Kass said she would use what Tasha said against her in front of her “little allies.”

The two women addressed the group, trying to sway the tribe their way. Kass said she was going to vote against Tasha.

Ciera in confessional: “Tasha walks in with Kass and it created chaos around camp about how people are treating each other. I can use that to my advantage. There’s definitely a strong group of old Bayon so I wanted to plant a little bit of doubt and break them up. I will lie to them and see how that plays out.”

To the group, Ciera said that Savage and Woo made comments that they would go after Jeremy and Joe. Jeremy really didn’t look worried. Savage immediately said that it was a lie. While Ciera was talking, we saw that Kelley was listening and she didn’t seem too happy hearing these things.

While we never heard Kelley’s reason why she voted for Chaos Kass in the end, it seems obvious that she jumped ship after hearing this conversation. Her expression told us she couldn’t believe she was associated with anything so crazy.

As CTGirl pointed out in the ECST, she looked like she was sucking lemons. From a game perspective, we quickly saw how this little ploy worked for Ciera: It killed her chances to gain votes. Spreading lies about other players should always be done in private, not in public where everyone can see the pathetic attempt for what it truly is. Paranoia eats alone so don’t serve it to a group.

Savage in confessional: “Tasha and Kass were going at it when suddenly Ciera was saying something about me. Dude, you just woke up a raging bull. You got a really nasty, rabid two-headed dragon right now that is wreaking havoc in our beautiful little tribe and we’re going to take one of the heads and just lop it off.”

The Immunity Challenge

Joe won.

Ok, there were some interesting comments:

As soon as the tribe arrived Ciera told Jeff that there was a lot of chaos in camp so it would be nice to have the necklace.
When Jeff revealed the necklace, the camera went to Joe who said it looked fancy and the next person in the center of our screen was Kelley.

Joe won the first so does this camera work suggest that Kelley wins one down the road?

Jeff said that this challenge first came down to a showdown between Spencer and Tasha and that she won immunity so it would be second chance opportunities for Kass and Spencer.

Stephen dropped after just a few seconds. Keith, Ciera and Kimmi didn’t make it to round 2. Abi was out one second into the 2nd round. Kass, Kelly and Kelley soon followed.
Five players made it to round 3. Savage was the first out and he was followed by Tasha and Jeremy. It was down to Joe and Spencer leading Jeff to comment on Spencer’s second chance to win this challenge. He came up short. Joe showed good sportsmanship by not celebrating but by congratulating Spencer instead.

It took a while before Jeff called Joe over to give him the necklace so maybe there was a challenge from one of the players and Jeff had to go to a booth review!! Maybe all the scoring plays are automatically reviewed these days. We couldn’t have another “laison” now could we?!

Joe in confessional: “Big decision tonight. I’ve been put in a spot where myself and Spencer are big swing votes and all I know is that I am glad that I have the necklace because it’s going to be one hell of a tribal.”

It has to be noted that Joe only mentioned himself and Spencer as swing votes, leaving Spencer unnamed third party out of this.

Orkun Day 19

Savage in confessional: “First immunity challenge; I wanted to win. I wanted to make a statement. You have all these young studs; I just wanted to show that I can hang with them. But Ciera and Kass didn’t win immunity. The ring leader was Kass with Ciera right behind her. They are coming up with lies that are almost believable and that’s what so dangerous about them but, from my perspective, I would rather have Ciera go. I will never forget what Ciera did and, in my mind, she’s done. For this vote, I’d rather have Ciera go. She is dangerous. For me, she is public enemy number one and she has to go.”

At the water well, Savage pushed the idea to go after Ciera first. Stephen, Joe and Wiglesworth were much more inclined to vote against Kass which seemed to pain Andrew.

There was some interesting camera work around that well, the view lingering for a long time on the cover of the well and its decoration. Could that be an idol similar to the one we had in China? Is anything written under it?! As for Savage, I wonder if he will suffer because the others didn’t go for Ciera like he wanted. She certainly is going to go after him now and the vote may turn in a different direction the next time.

Joe in confessional: “At this point, the majority wants Kass and sometimes it’s best to go with the majority because Kass is almost a little ruthless and a little bit haphazard and that scares me.”

Jeremy and Spencer sat down to talk. Jeremy said he was thinking Kass and he repeated it when Keith joined them.
Spencer in confessional: “I’ve been conflicted about which way to go but I feel the numbers going where they are going and not stopping to wait for me. Kass was the only person on the last vote that was willing to vote with me and even though I want to save her, I’m not sure I can.”

Jeremy’s confessional: “It looks like everybody is voting Kass but Kass could have an idol, do you know what I mean? It’s always good to split votes.”

Really Jeremy? While a safe tactic at times, it’s not exactly fool proof. Splitting the vote always opens the door for a minority to win the vote by gaining just one member. This was Jeremy’s only confessional in this key episode and it didn’t really paint him as a smart player.

The tribe agreed to put five votes on Kass and four on Ciera.
Keith on confessional: “I hate to say it but if they want Kass gone, I’m down for it. She stirs up a lot of bickering and at this point I just as soon let her go.”

Back at the shelter, Kass, Ciera, Abi and Kelley were observing the group.

Kass gave a confessional where she said that she should have anticipated this. Realizing they would split the votes, Kass wanted to find five people to go after Tasha.

Kelley was in the huddle with Kass, Ciera and Abi, talking about reeling in Spencer to vote out Tasha.

Ciera’s confessional: “Being second time players, we understand that they could be splitting the votes and after the huge blow out fight this afternoon, there’s a good chance that it could be me going home tonight. Ideally, I would love it if Kass could get Spencer so that we could make a move before it’s too late.”
Kass told Spencer that Ciera, Abi, Wentworth and her were voting Tasha and that they could get her out if the others split their votes and Spencer joined Kass’ group. Spencer agreed with Kass.

Spencer in confessional: “There will be a split vote tonight between Kass, Ciera and Tasha. My decision tonight is going to determine who goes home. I always saw Tasha as a friend but Kass and Ciera actually had my back and saved me. My luck has truly turned around. I have never been in this position before to influence the game.”

Tribal Council

Joe and Keith had to get their torches for the first time.
Going back to her comment at the challenge, Ciera said the situation was chaotic. It was crazy beyond words.
Kass said she wasn’t playing the chaos game this time. This comment surprised Tasha who didn’t know where to turn. Kass even told Jeff that Tasha was at the center of the chaos.
Tasha didn’t even want to play that game.
Joe smiled and Keith enjoyed the cat fight.
Ciera tried to help Kass but Tasha put her in her place.
Ciera said she was worried about guilt by association.
Joe said that it was the first vote after the merge and that some people were afraid to jump to one side or the other so that the easiest vote was between Kass, Ciera and Tasha.
Ciera tried to give a lesson to everyone about going for the jugular and not settling for 6th, 7th, 8th, or 9th. She even said that they weren’t playing the right game. She felt that they were scared to play. She wanted to win and it wasn’t fun to play with people who don’t want to win.

Besides Abi, her pedantic approach didn’t impress anyone. The way it was presented, the time the editors gave her to express her point of view gives it importance. The edit is still presenting Ciera as a smart player even when she isn’t.

Spencer explained that the best play was different for different people and the play could look very different the next day.
Jeff said that this was different than having a tight 5 or a tight 6, that it meant tonight’s vote was only tonight’s vote.
Fishbach made the comment that it was so strange. He asked: “What typical merge has three small women as the presumptive boots? Things are changing in the history of Survivor strategy. I think we are seeing an evolution in the way the entire game is played.”
Spencer said he wouldn’t be surprised by any change.
Ciera disagreed, sticking to her numbers game.

It was time to vote.
Ciera voted for Savage.
Abi and Kass voted for Tasha
Kelly, Jeremy, Joe and Spencer voted for Ciera
Kelley, Keith, Kimmi, Savage, Tasha and Stephen voted for Kass.

When Kass got up to get her torch, Ciera told he she was sorry.
Jeff sent them back to camp saying the rest of the season should be a wild ride.

The Story

Kass’s elimination at the merge was probably the event that inspired the editors to use Karma as a theme for this season. It really was perfect symmetry: Chaos Kass had come to life in Survivor at the Cagayan merge so it was her Karma to see her game end at this merge. She really made a terrible mistake last week when she showed her hand one round too early. At least that’s the way it was presented. It’s very possible that Kass never stood a chance and that Tasha would have used the first opportunity to eliminate her. Bayon simply didn’t go to Tribal Council when they were both on it in its first version.

This brings us to the following: Was this vote an evolution in the game as Stephen suggested or was it simply the result of the early merge combined with the annihilation of the Takeo challenge threats? The three remaining big guys were aligned from day one so they weren’t going to target each other right away. This vote, as evidenced by Keith and Joe having to grab new torches, was a typical first tribal boot: Eliminate the irritating player that doesn't fit.

The start of Act II quickly put aside the Takeo Final Five alliance, the Bayon alliance of “Bros” taking over instead. However, we saw that Spencer and Joe controlled this vote so the geometry of the group is still fluctuating. Savage may want to group to stick together but his beautiful tribe’s days are counted.

The Characters

Kimmi, Keith, Kelly: There isn’t much to say about these three players. They are simply going along for now, trusted allies that vote with the group. The only difference between the three is that Kelly isn’t an original Bayon but she is accepted as such. It makes me wonder if that will prove fatal to the Bayon boys.

Abi: Her silence last week held some promise but there had to be a follow up this week to explain her change. Instead, we got more silence and that told us that Abi isn’t going to be a factor down the road. Tasha was supposed to be Abi’s closest ally but she voted against her without even an explanation. The editors even cut the footage a second before the hug they were about to share at the reunion. Abi’s role has been reduced to nothing.

Savage: Things are going well right now for the “happiest man alive”. Savage would like to show these young studs that he can compete but he should worry about the tacticians instead. By his own words, this game is being played above his head and he can’t read the others very well. He was unable to convince his allies of the need to get rid of Ciera and I expect he will suffer because of it. A group will soon use her vote to get rid of him. This merge smiled on Andrew but the rest of the game should be much less friendly.

Stephen: Even if he is in the game, it looks like Stephen is more like a commentator than a competitor. He told us that the players were about to pounce after the feast but we never saw him getting into the act. At Tribal Council, he talked about the evolution of the game as if he had already returned to his weekly podcast. Stephen is waiting to make his move but it could turn against him.

Ciera: From the players’ point of view, it looked like Ciera was in over her head when she tried to flip the game. Very few were actually buying her salad. However, she was saying what Jeff wanted to hear during Tribal Council so we have to give her words more importance than they deserve. According to her, those that went along with the Bayon boys weren’t playing to win and that certainly doesn’t bode well for Spencer who may have made the crucial mistake of turning his back on the two that had just saved him.

Tasha: If the only thing she learned from her first season was not to trust Kass then Tasha is in for a rude awakening. Despite the hardship she endured in Angkor, the season’s recap focused on her happy days in Bayon. It seems that it was Tasha’s mission to get rid of Kass so good for her but there’s still a long road ahead and she just ran out of story material.

Joe: A merge at thirteen isn’t ideal for a player like Joe. It means too many opportunities to go to tribal Council without the necklace. It was good that he had options at the merge but it would have been better if he hadn’t been forced to choose sides immediately. Joe can’t rest on this one move. He will need to change the dynamics and not let Andrew and Jeremy decide on everything if he is to make it to the end. The problem is that most everyone else will also want him gone.

Jeremy: He had a very strong pre-merge and the recap nicely highlighted his game up to this point but then he didn’t get a strong merge episode. His position in the tribe meant that Andrew and Spencer had to talk to him but both times it was their confessionals that we heard. Jeremy’s only confessional was to present the idea of splitting the votes, an idea that almost backfired. His close association with the very arrogant and happy Savage is not a good sign. His position at the top of the Bayon alliance isn’t either considering the underdog and karma themes of this season. Jeremy’s biggest hope is that he isn’t on anyone’s radar. Ciera tried to paint him as a target but no one has told us that they are considering eliminating him yet. His tactic of using shields is working...for now.

Spencer: He has played a very big role up to now and he may very well have all the ingredients to be this season’s winner. He didn’t seize his second chance during the challenge as Jeff pointed out but that isn’t very troubling. We’ve seen big changes in Spencer and they were never more evident than when he shook Andrew’s hand at the beginning of the episode. Spencer does have allies for once and he also has options. The problem is that the edit indicated that he made a mistake by eliminating Kass. The confessional he gave just before Tribal Council put the decision in his hands and that is what matters here even if his vote wouldn’t have made a difference in the end. According to Ciera, it was as if he wasn’t playing to win. His reply to her challenge didn’t have the same impact. He was right to say that the best play will be different at the next Tribal Council but Ciera demanded immediate action. He will probably pay for sending Kass to the jury. We already know that Andrew will never write his name again!

Kelley: If this was only about analyzing the edit then Kelley would be an easy pick for Sole Survivor. The recap included her comment about wanting to win even if there was no need for it. She was shown playing hard and fast when she grabbed the idol during a challenge when the same image could have been used to advance Jeremy’s story and she gave us confessionals at every step of the way after the merge. The only problem is that her game didn’t match her edit. She was on the wrong side and we didn’t hear her at the very end of the episode to explain why she changed her vote. We have no idea if the others, Spencer and Joe in particular, knew what she was doing. If they think she was the one that voted against Savage for example, they will not trust her. On the other hand, by not telling us why Kelley voted along with the group then she wasn’t really part of the group of players that Ciera said weren’t there to win.

I will assume that she talked to Spencer and Joe after the blow up created by Ciera and Kass and that the three agreed to go with the Bayon Boys for now, waiting for the right moment to make the big move and that it will carry her to the end. After all, big moves offer much more chances of success at final 9 than at final 13!

If we look at the original tribes, we had hints that the winner was in the original Takeo when Terry said that eliminating a very strategic player like Shririn would be a feather in the cap for anyone making it to the finals. We had another hint that the winner was in the new Takeo when Keith said that they had to make Terry proud. As for the third edition of Takeo, we saw their torches drowned by the rain. The merge presented the newest Bayon tribe as the more enthusiastic one, the one that looked more fun. If those hints point to the winner than the only player who was in all three tribes is Kelley.

This was the merge episode but we had so many players making it that I don’t feel confident enough to make an official pick. There are still big questions to answer but if the trend is maintained then Kelley will be our Sole Survivor.

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11-09-15, 03:30 PM (EST)
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74. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
As always, I love reading your analysis every week Michel!

FWIW, In a podcast with Survivor Fans Joann, Kass said that the third person was Keith. Keith was going to follow Joe whichever way he voted. Makes sense. Keith is a non-entity this season.

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11-09-15, 06:53 PM (EST)
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75. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
Thank you for the information, CTGirl.

The fact that the player was unnamed still leaves the door open for us to think it was Kelley. Maybe the was the intent of that scene. After all, the editors showed us Keith saying he was voting against Kass while Kelley's vote against Kass was unexplained. In effect, she was the last one to swing from the minority to the majority.

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11-10-15, 06:03 PM (EST)
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76. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
Late to the party, busy week!

I love your comments regarding the intro! Especially noting those that are recapped, and seen in the intro are significant candidates for the winner. I agree, when you put it that way, that the winners story is indeed part of the recap. I also liked how you hone it down to 6, then place them in a hierarchy as the last two sound bytes were more negative, Stephen's and Savage's.

Regarding the underdog story, I see Spencer as the star of that story, as he's been on the bottom and in the minority on many of his tribes, while Joe has been with numbers everywhere he's gone, and he's won everywhere he's gone. Regardless, excellent light you are shedding on the essence of this story! Well done!

I also loved that you noted the symbolism at camp Takeo with the unlit torches, inferring that the winner is NOT at that camp at that time. Very interesting observation!

Andrew's comments regarding being blindsided by the professional liars, I had to chuckle. He seemingly thinks so much of his own ability to read people, but he was so easily fooled, and we all saw it. Then to berate the "wimpy, little, non-leader, the antithesis of what he is"....the gall, I thought. He is judgmental and narcissistic, and it's quite clear. Andrew is becoming someone that I am rooting against, and I never saw him quite this way the last time he played. Funny how he commented that he held the most against Kass, but later, when Ciera went to work spinning lies to kick it up, he changed his tune and then held her in his cross hairs. Ugh.

At this point, I rule out Andrew as a possible winner. He's going through the game with a horrible social approach, and he must be quite a turn off to many out there. No.

Nice observation with the toast when Kass toasted to the 13 losers and then Stephen was seen.

When Jeremy and Andrew went away at the merge, I note that they considered the following people with them:

Andrew/Jeremy: Tasha(#1), Fishbach, Kimmi, Wigglesworth, and they need to make sure that Joe is with them. These are the people that Andrew and Jeremy consider as their closest allies. The alliance, revealed.

Then Kelley reveals her numbers:

Kelley/Kass, Ciera, Keith, Spencer, Joe, and Abi. She needs to confirm with Spencer and Joe...

I agree with you regarding some that I would have liked to have heard more from, namely Joe and Kelley. Joe was solidly aligned with the Bayon bros, and then when he went to Takeo, he had a final five. This is a very big deal for him, because he's going back on his word to one group by committing to the other group.

Kelly as well. She's always shown to be with the wrong side of the numbers, yet when the vote comes, she's voting against what she was shown doing, and we are not shown why or how that comes about. But, I do think it makes her like a "Sandra Diaz-Twine" type of player. AS long as it's not her, she's in. And, we all know where Sandra ended up!

EXCELLENT observation of Spencer and his football diagram with 3 in the middle. I agree, that third person must be Kelley. It's starting to appear that Kelley and Spencer are very tight, while she wants to stick with Joe as a shield. Perhaps, Spencer wants to work with Joe for the same reason, and perhaps that Kelley has urged Spencer to do so? Spencer and Kelley clearly are in the category of alliances that are NOT revealed, so kudos for picking up on this! j

I have to say though that I didn't particularly like the way Spencer talked down to Joe with the football diagram. He came off as arrogant as well, imo.

Stephen's poem recitation was just awkward. Coach was delusional and takes himself so seriously, while Stephen just is awkward. And, the snapping of the fingers, what's that all about? It just seemed weird to me, like they are tolerating Stephen, and he's so out of tune with them.

Kass recognized the "Bayon Bros", and thinks she can pull the numbers she needs, but we see that she doesn't have those that she thinks she does. The conflict between Tasha and Kass is raised. It steamrolls.

Kass stated the obvious that it would be the original Bayon that would run this show, as so many Takeo's had already left pre-merge, but it was Kass that considered herself to be OUT of that alliance, or was she ever really in it? She was ready to upset that applecart. Then, Ciera really hits hard with her lies regarding splitting up the Bayon boys. I have to give Ciera credit, she's playing to wreck havoc and I personally thought it was a hoot! But, nice observation of Kelley! If Jeremy was a paranoid type, that could have been really fun to play out.

As you noted, Joe got the confessional after the IC, and then Savage got the next one, where he stated: I wanted to win. I wanted to make a statement. You have all these young studs; I just wanted to show that I can hang with them. But Ciera and Kass didn’t win immunity.

I took this as foreshadowing that he could win the next IC, and then hopefully, once he's won one, can get voted out next!

Then, the rest of his confessional: I would rather have Ciera go. I will never forget what Ciera did and, in my mind, she’s done. For this vote, I’d rather have Ciera go. She is dangerous. For me, she is public enemy number one and she has to go.”

This is funny, because once Ciera involved him directly in the lies, he's zeroed in on her. I took this part of the confessional to be misdirection, because Andrew was fickle, first he wanted Kass, now it's Ciera. I don't think Andrew's edit is moving in a positive direction.

I got the impression that Jeremy got the confessional regarding the question of whether or not Kass could have one, because HE has the HII. I just associated this confessional coming from the one that would be considering it.

When the votes were split 5/4, they still would have had the numbers even if Kass had played an idol. So, I saw the suggestion to split the votes as smart.

I didn't know what to make of Spencer's last confessional, about finally being in a new position to influence the game. Is he getting a little confident, OR, is he just happy to be in this position? I am leaning toward the latter!

Clearly, this is a different game when, as Stephen noted, the smallest women are being targeted at the merge? (Kass and Ciera). So chalk one up for Jeremy's plan, and for Joe's. Regardless of what was edited, I still recall how in the beginning of the season with all of the pre-game interviews, that Kass was public enemy number one. Was she spared until now because she had the good fortune to be on the stronger tribe? Did Tasha, among others, have it out for her from day 1? As we have noted before, this is a season where they have all seen each other's games so we don't know how much that affects their choices out there.

I totally agree that it could be a fun game to watch down the road, as Spencer drew his diagram for Joe, as you pointed out, there are 3 people in the middle! If those three people decide to go against the "Bayon Bros", it could get fun! I would love to see Andrew Savage served up on a platter. *snark*

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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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11-10-15, 06:42 PM (EST)
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77. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
Thank you, FP.

You wrote: "the snapping of the fingers, what's that all about?"

I think it's an old beatnik habit that they used instead of clapping.

The "three in the middle" comment has drwan a lot of attention over at RHAP with some saying that Wiglesworth was the 3rd. CTGirl wrote that Kass said it was Keith.

I think the most confusing thing is that Bayon wasn't a group of 5 as Spencer mentioned but six as you pointed out: Andrew/ Jeremy/ Tasha/ Kimmi/ Stephen/ Wiglesworth. Kelly never acted like a swing vote and she voted exactly how we expected. Maybe Spencer didn't want to present it as a 6-4 division because then Joe could have decided to flip to the six without Spencer, but 6-4 corresponds more to what we had been shown.

Keith could have been the one that Joe and Spencer had in mind but since he told us he was going to vote against Kass his vote wasn't a surprise. Kelley's vote against Kass wasn't expected and it made her swing to the majority. I hope we'll see what she has to say about it in the next episode. So, in effect, despite who was the third, Kelley took that spot with her vote.

I like the idea of Savage leaving after winning one immunity. His sense of entitlement is making me wish that Bayon fails and that's a shame because I like Jeremy, Kelly, Kimmi, Stephen and Tasha. It can't be good for Jeremy that he's associated with this season's jerk, two completely invisible characters like Kelly and Kimmi and someone so out of place as Stephen. Even Tasha wasn't particularly likeable in her fight against Kass, a player who had a redemption edit.

Speaking of Kass, do you expect anything to come from the birthday gift she made for Kelley? We've still haven't seen anyone making a fake idol. Was that just a throwaway scene?

As you pointed out, the three in the middle can still count on three non-Bayon players (Abi, Ciera and either Keith or Kelley) so the 6 Bayon players could be in for a big surprise. Isn't it funny that Jeremy, the one counting on Bayon's alliance, has gone to two TC where original,Takeos were available to boot but he booted two Bayons instead? The previews indicate that it could soon be three out of three. I certainly don't see Keith, Kelley or Kelly leaving and who would waste a trip to TC on booting Abi right now?

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11-11-15, 00:05 AM (EST)
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78. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
All great points, michel.

Regarding Keith, Kass said that Keith was firmly with Joe. And, that would make sense because they have been together since the beginning.

I don't see Wiglesworth as a possibility, she is firmly with Savage, I think. I think Wentworth was the best choice myself, but there is an argument for Keith. Kelley is the one that is staying hidden in regard to her alliances. We don't know exactly where her true allegiance lies. I suspect Spencer could be someone she's tight with, and definitely she has plans with Joe....but, it's funny how we see her go with one group then jump ship, she's done it twice now. I would love to see someone, other than Sandra, employ that strategy and make it to the end!

Regarding Jeremy and his association with Savage. I don't see it so badly. I see it as his strategy that he mapped out on day one. Savage is a tool for Jeremy, someone that can be a shield and a target bigger than he is. Just as Joe is. Just as Tasha is. Let's see if he has enough shields to make it to the end. Regarding his affiliation with Kimmi and Stephen, they are there to fore warn him of anyone coming for him. Kimmi has already proven herself. They are also two people that Jeremy probably feels he could beat as well.

Finally, I think that birthday bracelet for Kelley served to show us how she'd changed from Chaos to Calm Kass. A kinder, gentler, more compassionate Kass! I can't wait to see ponderosa where Kass is QUEEN!

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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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11-11-15, 05:46 PM (EST)
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79. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
Well, we did see someone use Sandra's strategy and win before we even knew Sandra. The player that originated the "anyone but me" strategy had to be Vecepia. She was just a bit quieter about it.

Jeremy's strategy is working great but I worry that he is associated with players that aren't presented positively. Even Tasha looked mean and short-sighted in the latest episode. The fact that they toned down Abi once she aligned with Kass and Ciera tells me they really wanted us to pull for them. 

Speaking of Abi, can anyone tell me why she voted against Tasha? Weren't they best buds in Angkor?

It's possible that the birthday gift scene only served to present a nicer Kass but it had so much potential. Kass saying that she wasn't good enough to make fake idols was even heard while we saw Joe standing in front of her. It seemed clear Joe would be making fake idols...

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11-12-15, 09:52 AM (EST)
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82. "RE: Episode 7 - It's Like Day One Again:"
Great comments, michel! Now we see why we are meant to root for Abi, Ciera, and Kelley! WAY TO GO GIRLS! Love that they pulled off an Andrew Savage blindside!

Also, Joe can "still" make a fake idol! He may just do it next week, or that scene could have been there just to remind us that while Kass couldn't make one, Joe certainly could and did. But, I like thinking he may try to do it again!

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11-11-15, 11:09 PM (EST)
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80. "Score 1"
Because west coast has not seen it yet I won't say names but the first show on I pretty much called who would outlast who between those two. I'll say more after the show.
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11-12-15, 03:08 AM (EST)
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81. "RE: Score 1"
Now that its over, I was referring to Savage vs.Stephen. The first show gave this inclination that Stephen would outlast him. However, Stephen did not take him out, while he was being targeted.

It goes all the way back to the chopping wood he was doing a bad job at the first show. Stephen's more enlightened, good or bad, edit saying he outlasts. The wood chopping saying he won't take him out. Then comes the Jeremy factor. On episode 2, Stephen said that Jeremy was looking for an idol and someone(Kimmi?) reiterated that to Savage, who talked about wanting Stephen out again. Then, the Stephen and Jeremy alliance happened and sure enough in this episode, when Savage made his strike at Stephen, his bullet was dodged by JEREMY, who unbeknownst to Savage was Stephen's closest ally bringing his main arc(old fashioned strong guys alliance against weaker players) to a complete close resulting in him going as a result.

Also, last episode, Savage said the two headed dragon would have one of it's heads lopped off, not both. I said in my time to vote thread yet didn't vote for him, that the last episode was forshadowing a Savage boot. And that's what happened.

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11-12-15, 08:41 PM (EST)
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83. "Boots building up/surprising endgamer"
Since at this point the endgame imo has already been determined by the early edit, the most important edits to bring up are the ones who are about to go based on edits.

Stephen-This past episode, Stephen may(key word) have the biggest forshadowing boot to come. His arc to bring down Joe did not happen and now Joe knows about it. Savage needed to go to fulfill that part of Stephen's arc. This arc with Stephen and Joe now rises to the surface. Stephen talked about slicing Joe's neck at the merge. The first time Joe loses immunity he's gone if Stephen is still around. But Stephen's at the stage of the game where it's time to boot a major narrator. However, the other one who has it possibly.......

Joe-We know as soon as he loses he's likely gone, and recently he's been getting more confessionals. He talked about wanting Stephen out last episode. The battle of Stephen vs.Joe comes to an end next week.

Ciera-This has been going on a few weeks now. Ciera's had a Shirin moment in the edit and clearly its a matter of time before she goes but while she's almost gone, she's avoiding the biggest boot impending edit so far each episode.

Keith-And here is where my endgame prediction takes a down turn. Keith has gotten confessionals for two straight episodes now after not getting but two episodes with confessionals in his first six episodes. But out of everyone on this list he's likely to be around until maybe f8-7 as his is extremely light and behind Ciera who doesn't appear to be the next to go.

Kelly and Kimmi so far have been looking good into the merge with Kimmi getting one random reward confessional yesterday. But she's had nothing the previous two episodes. Kelly has been too quiet and I don't think she gets to the end. Even Jaclyn and Sierra had to speak at some point before the merge. Kelly has said nothing(in confessionals). I think she will get something in a episode before her boot ep.

With Abi being quiet in her past three episodes, her early edit was supposed to be pre-merge but the merge has happened and she isn't getting a narrative edit either. Obviously she is now this season's "idiot"(Dan and Jon), and may finish in the position that has recently been the coveted position for dumb players(6th place). Apparently they blew her edit up early only to quiet her down now to make sense for her going further than many thought. Also, her alliance with Kass's side took away a lot of the hate many had for her(I still don't like her) and I am guessing the producers knew this would soften her edit.

What should be known, is that with Savage's ott edit and Abi on the side of the alliance they want us to root has given even more proof on top of a lot as it is that Tasha does not win this game since she was with Savage and she was with Abi and let her get away.

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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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11-14-15, 01:39 PM (EST)
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84. "Episode 8 - The Game is Always Changing:"
The Recap

While Jeff told us about a season of Second Chances, we first saw a bird catching an insect then, in quick succession, we saw images of Joe, Savage, Spencer, Kelley and Stephen.

Jeff said that everyone was trying to change their history in the game.

We saw Kelley grabbing the idol and heard her confessional: “I just want to do everything that I didn’t do the first time. Go big or go home.”

Spencer’s confessional: “I am making relationships that have saved me.”

Stephen, crying during his confessional: “I have been kicking myself for not getting rid of the golden boy the last time.”
At the merge, everyone was battling for numbers.

We saw Kelley with Kass and then Savage with Joe.
Stephen’s confessional: “You got to hit the ground running to get the majority for this first vote.”

For Joe, the number one priority was winning.

Back in camp, Kass was in trouble and looking to make a big move. Kass told Ciera, Abi and Wentworth that they could get Tasha voted out with just five votes.
At Tribal Council, Ciera was on board but not everyone was ready to pull the trigger....

(Spencer was shown when Jeff said this)

... Leaving Ciera, Abi and Wentworth on the bottom.

Showing Joe, Stephen, Savage and Kelley at the beginning of the recap is easily understandable: This episode first appeared to be the final battle between Joe and Stephen but when Joe won immunity and Jeremy put a stop to plan to eliminate Stephen, the vote centered on Kelley and Savage. The interesting part was that we also saw Spencer and heard that he has been successful in gaining the necessary connections to stay safe. Spencer’s role was quite minor but his opening confessional tied in nicely with the last one he would have in this episode while he voted.
As for the previous vote, Jeff’s recap told us that Kelley’s vote against Kass didn’t matter. It didn’t save her from being on the bottom with Ciera and Abi. At least they are still fighting.

This Game is Always Changing

Day 20

The prolonged notes from wind instruments gave a very languid tone to the music. It suited the moment since most players were still sleeping. Stephen had his eyes open but he looked almost like a corpse.

Wearing her glasses, Kelley, on the other hand, looked pensive.

Jeremy and Savage were the first two shown. Savage was telling Jeremy that their plan was brilliant and was executed to perfection. Jeremy agreed.

Savage’s confessional: “The last Tribal Council was unbelievable. My first goal in Survivor was to make the jury and wow! I did it. It’s not often in life that you have these huge dreams that you carry for years and years and suddenly it happens. Now, it’s day 20 and my job is to keep my alliance solid, kind of old-school and just stay the course. Pick off the Cieras, Abis and Wentworths. I know they are planning a big move. I can see it in their eyes and the trick is to figure who they are planning to vote out and offset it the best we can.”

Well, it was Andrew’s Karma to make the jury but not to go much further than that! The guy wanted to play an old-school type of game and he got blindsided by the archetypical new-school weapon; the Hidden Immunity Idol. It seems this should have been the week when Jeremy thought of splitting the votes!

Jeremy interjected that Ciera’s plea to play the game was “just to go after the guys. That’s all that is.”

They left each other after Jeremy said: “It’s going to be a good day today.”

Savage’s arrogance is beginning to run on Jeremy, tainting his image. Since his alliance has all the appearance of a boys’ club, he shouldn’t be surprised to see women coming after them. He may think that it would be a good day but he was in for quite a surprise.

The next scene opened up with ants marching quickly on a tree trunk, telling us that something had disturbed the colony. Then, we saw a lone ant meeting another as if the two were scheming away from the group!

We then saw that our two “scheming ants” were Ciera and Stephen.

Ciera told Stephen that she expected to receive votes but that the game was always changing.

Ciera’s confessional: “At this point, I’m on the bottom of this totem pole so I’m throwing whatever I can throw and get somebody to catch on to it. I think Stephen wants to make big moves and I just think he’s waiting for the right time and it’s all about convincing Stephen that this is the right time.”

After Stephen told her he was looking to set up things for later on, Ciera said that she would make a move against Joe if it was only up to her.

Stephen’s confessional: “Ciera is obviously in a bad position but we actually have one thing in common: We are both going to make the moves that we need to make to get ourselves in a winning position. Ciera wants to flip this game on its head and I do too. I don’t want to sit around and be run over by a bunch of bros. It’s time to do something; it’s time to go after someone who is a real threat to win this game”

Savage, Jeremy and Joe were shown when Stephen mentioned being run over by the bros but it’s still strange that Stephen chose this time to go along with Ciera. Like she said, it was all about finding the right time and while the time was pressing for her, it wasn’t for Stephen. He should have waited to see the outcome of the next Immunity Challenge before agreeing to anything. When Joe won it, Stephen quickly wound up on the hot plate. That being said, it would have been a good idea for Ciera to propose an alternative in case Joe won that immunity. Savage wasn’t a threat to win the game but he was a solid number for Joe so Stephen could have gone along. Stephen wouldn’t have voted against Jeremy but his reaction could have told Ciera that they needed to target him so she should have proposed his name.

The Reward Challenge

Jeff reminded us that the first time they did a paddling challenge was in season one and Kelly, the river rafting guide, lost to Gervase, the guy who couldn’t even swim.

The school yard pick ‘em led to the following teams

- The Green team had Joe, Keith, Kelly, Kelley, Ciera and Kimmi
- The Purple team had Jeremy, Savage, Tasha, Stephen, Abi and Spencer.

I guess the green team had a woman captain while the purple team’s captain was male, most likely Jeremy or Savage. Joe would have been the top draft choice on everyone’s board so we can assume that the green team picked first. The purple team’s captain must have then have picked who was available between Jeremy and Andrew. Keith would then likely be the next one picked followed by Spencer for purple. That would mean that Wiglesworth was picked ahead of Stephen! Either Kimmi or Kelley was the next picked by green (the other was most likely their captain) while Tasha went to purple. Ciera and Abi would likely be the two that no one wanted.

If it did go this way and Kimmi was the green team’s captain, maybe the vote went against Wentworth because she was considered stronger than Tasha. Would Tasha, out of jealousy, have been the one to suggest it? No, I’m not saying this is what happened. I’m just showing the type of fun we would have if the show was smart enough to show us the school yard picks.

After a rough start that included Keith almost falling overboard and their boat going so much off course that they rammed the purple team’s canoe, Kelly took charge of the green team and they started paddling in unison.

Maybe ramming into them wasn’t an accident! It’s always a good idea to give a scare to your opponents at the start of a challenge! It makes them hesitate.

The Green team started pulling ahead at the top of the course and they used their edge to ram into the purple team once more, Joe using the opportunity to push them so far off course that they had to go in reverse to get back on course! Keith and Joe did a good work retrieving the crates. Their team reached shore before the purple team had even reached their last crate.

Joe then carried a crate by himself to the tower and Jeff let us know about it: “That is how you do it on Survivor.” The team started stacking their crates before their rivals reached shore.

Jeremy also carried a crate on his own and Jeff commented once more “Jeremy... doing the work of two people.” The purple team caught up, Stephen even thinking they had solved it first but Jeff denied it for him: “No, no, you have repeating reds. Fishbach thought he had it but he’s wrong.” When Jeff announced that the green team had won, we heard Stephen say: “I wanted this so bad.”

Jeff addressed Kelly, saying that a Second Chance season gives you the opportunity to get rid of the things that have haunted you. “Does this get rid of that memory of losing to Gervase?” he asked.
Kelly said it felt awesome.

Jeff sent them on their way wondering what this would do for the strategy.

Stephen’s confessional: “The thought of Joe and the girls being on the reward together is terrifying because I want to get rid of him. This gives them the chance to get in his head and that could ruin everything.”

The Reward

Kelley had the first confessional: “Getting to the reward, they drove us in on...I don’t know what they’re called! They were these bike things. We walked into this cool little café.”

Kimmi shared her thoughts: “I was so super excited. It was my first time ever going on a reward with food on either season so it was super special for me. It gave us a little glimpse of what life is outside the game for a little while.”

Ciera’s confessional: “Rewards are extremely important. It gives you the perfect time, in a relaxing scenario, to talk strategy. When people have a second to relax a little bit and then you hit them with it then maybe they can see the light of day. I really look at it as an opportunity to plant a few more seeds and build a few more relationships. / The discussion described below was inserted here while the confessional continued in voice over / “At this point, I have nothing to lose so I’m fishing. I’m letting that line out and waiting for anybody to take the bait, hoping that somebody out there is playing the same game I’m playing.”

Ciera explained her comments of the previous Council. She explained that she had been part of a tight group but waited too long to make her move. She mentioned Jeremy, Tasha, Savage and Stephen as a group that wouldn’t break.

Joe in confessional: “I’m with Bayon. I proved my loyalty to them and they know I’m riding with them but Ciera // is right. I know that they are tight, I know they don’t want me with them at some point. People are only going to be loyal so long and myself, I’m only going to be loyal so long. It’s just a matter of making sure that I make a move at the right time with the right people.”

Everyone agreed that Stephen was smart and would make a move.

I put two hash marks between “Ciera” and “is right” because there was a clear difference in sound quality between the two parts of Joe’s sentence. The words “Is right” were definitely spliced in. We will soon see Joe and Wiglesworth talking to Kelley Wentworth about making that move so Ciera’s seeds took hold but the plan didn’t grow to maturity in time for this episode. Will it come to fruition during the next cycle? It seems that Joe’s future in the game could depend on it.

Keith just wanted to have fun. He was going to crank that tuk-tuk (or to-tos as he called them) and take it for a spin. Joe told him that he shouldn’t drink and drive but that didn’t stop Keith.

Keith’s confessional: “We don’t have any beach in Louisiana that you can roll up on to so this is a once in a lifetime deal. Here I am, riding a tuk-tuk on a beach in Cambodia with my buddies, hauling them around like a taxi driver. I should get my Cambodia driver’s licence. That would be something slick. You call, we’ll haul. Just call me up and I’ll come get you.”

The scene ended with the sound of women laughing.

Finally we had a fun scene, my favorite of the season so far. We used to have 2 or three such scenes per episode now I feel lucky that we had one in the first 8! While it was meaningless on the surface, it had some very interesting leads. Will Keith’s buddies really hop on and will he drive this group all the way to the end? Kimmi only seemed interested in the food but Kelly and Joe looked to join in the fun.

Camp Day 20

A melancholic air was being played on the piano, warning us that this scene wouldn’t be as much fun as the previous one. While Keith’s buddies were having a fun trip on the beach, Stephen was bad tripping in camp.

“I can’t deal with it; I’m having a real low moment” he told the group. Abi, of all people, told him to get over it.

Stephen in confessional: “Typically in Survivor, I tell myself: The reward doesn’t matter but for some reason, this loss today, the loss of food, the loss of a chance to bond, this loss of energy for later in the game, has really set me off.”

Wisely, Spencer said it felt great for a moment and then it was over. Stephen said that he lost his season partly because of bonds made during a reward. That seemed to surprise Jeremy who said: "Oh! You think they are bonding over there?” (Stephen was probably talking about the episode 9 reward when JT bonded with Brendan and Debbie, securing their FTC votes.)

Stephen’s confessional continued: “The people I need to make a big move are out there on the reward, bonding with Joe. Joe is the enemy: That could be terrible for me. That’s my nightmare: To see it pulled out of my grasp again by some stupid food reward challenge.”

This was supposed to be the season that would put an end to the nightmares but Stephen keeps revisiting the same dark place over and over again. It’s as if he doesn’t realize that they are at Final 12, not final five.

Sitting on the beach, Stephen told Jeremy that he didn’t want to waste days voting out Ciera and Abi when there is a real threat in the game. Jeremy assured him that it wasn’t going to happen that way.

Well, Jeremy was right: It didn’t happen that way at all!

Jeremy’s confessional: “Since day one, Stephen has been trying to get Joe out and I was reluctant because I look out on Joe as a shield. Every time Joe wins, it keeps getting that bull’s eye bigger and bigger on his back. So, the first time Joe loses, he could be going home.”

Stephen’s confessional continued: “This all goes back to losing to JT. I don’t want to be the guy that gets pulled to the end as the goat so that means I need to get in the front seat and drive.”

Stephen then talked to Spencer about his plan to boot Joe. Spencer was willing to play ball.

Spencer’s confessional: “Stephen wants Joe out and he’s doing what he needs to do to get it done. Anytime you go into an immunity challenge, whatever it is, Joe is a good bet to win so you’d be crazy not to vote him out the second you get a chance.”

Next on Stephen’s agenda was Tasha. He asked her if she’d be willing to blindside Joe. She said that it was a possibility but Savage heard them talking about it.

Andrew’s confessional: “Today, I heard Stephen trying to put together a blindside of Joe. The scheming, lying deceit is disgusting because I got a great alliance with Joe. I love the guy so he’s not going anywhere and if I have to go toe to toe with Stephen; bring it on!”

This scene showed us that Andrew learned a valuable lesson from Sandra during his stay in Pearl Islands. Like her, he got an earful by spying on other players. The problem is that he missed out on the most valuable lessons that she could have taught him!

Camp Day 21

The music featured a xylophone that gave a conspiratorial tone to the scene.

Savage had a talk with Joe about the conspiracy forming against him while we saw Stephen walking back from the ocean. “We got a problem” said Savage, “Stephen is diabolical. He keeps throwing your name out.”

We had a screeching sound effect which was probably taken from some bad horror movie's soundtrack. Then we saw Stephen waving good bye, giving the impression that he could get voted out at the upcoming TC. Maybe that was a hint for the next time Joe’s future is on the line, that it will be Stephen going instead.

Joe’s confessional: “This morning, Savage told me that Stephen is gunning for me. No surprise; he’s a smart guy and I know I’m a threat. I knew this was coming but I didn’t expect it so soon.” Andrew promised Joe that he would never write his name down. Joe’s confessional resumed: “At this point, I trust Savage. I feel like he is looking out for my best interests but if Stephen has rallied the numbers to vote me out, if I don’t win immunity, I’m gone.”

The Immunity Challenge

Since this had been featured in San Juan del Sur, it was presented as a chance for Jeremy to get redemption. He had been the first out in his first try. For Keith, it was a chance to make a statement since he won it the last time.

Kelley and Ciera dropped their ball almost immediately. Wiglesworth also lost her ball quickly. That meant Jeremy wasn’t the first out but he soon followed them to the losers’ bench. Abi was the next one out, followed by Stephen. When Savage’s ball dropped, he gave it the finger. Kelley found that hilarious.

Keith, Joe, Spencer, Tasha and Kimmi made it to round two. That’s when Kimmi’s luck ran out. Despite her determined look, Tasha was next to drop. The three guys made it to round three where Spencer dropped out. Keith and Joe made it to the 4th round which involved balancing two balls at once. Despite his experience, Keith finally dropped a ball.

Joe’s confessional: “Thank God I won immunity. I know my name is being floated around everywhere so let’s go get Stephen because he threw my name out there. We need to get him out.”

Camp Day 21

Stephen’s confessional: “I am so frustrated. I have been working on getting Joe out since the game began and once again he wins freaking immunity. It’s like Moby Dick: Joe is my white whale and I’m Ahab on my crazy maniacal quest to get Joe and he keeps evading us.”

Moby Dick didn’t end well for Ahab.

Savage told Joe that he’d talk to Jeremy about getting rid of Stephen.

Joe’s confessional: “Voting out Stephen could be a very big move but for me it’s simple: Stephen is throwing my name out there so we need to get rid of him. I’m going to use the three girls that are on the bottom to do it.”

Out by the ocean, Joe talked to Kelley and Kelly about the vote, telling them that Savage wanted Stephen out. Kelley was pleasantly surprised to hear that. With admiration in her voice, she told Joe that he was being evil.

Kelley’s confessional: “Ciera, Abi and myself, we are on the bottom so I thought that I was totally screwed then, out of nowhere, Joe tells me: “Hey! We are going to blindside Fishbach.” I’m like: Fantastic! Love it!” Joe assured her that he was writing Stephen’s name “no matter what.” Kelley’s confessional continued: “This is huge and it’s true. I have an idol but I don’t want to have to use this early in the game if I don’t have to.”

Kelley informed Ciera of the new twist: “Fishbach: Total blindside. Joe said I’m writing Fish tonight and Wiglesworth said the same.”

Ciera said she was fine with that as long as it wasn’t her or Kelley.

Savage talked to Wiglesworth and Tasha first, telling them that Stephen wasn’t loyal to Bayon. Before they could agree on anything, Jeremy joined them, asking what was up. He was surprised when Savage brought up the new plan.

Jeremy’s confessional: “Savage, now he wants to take out Stephen because he’s been trying to get rid of Joe. I feel that would be a bad move for me because Stephen has been with me for twenty days. I’ve been building trust with him so I want Stephen to come with me far into this game. Once the big guys start going after each other, I want to have all the bullets.”

Spencer had now joined them. Jeremy explained his position to Andrew: “Here’s the thing: I don’t want to let those girls keep going.”

Spencer chimed in: “I feel like we know what he wants to do and he’s not going to be able to do it without us cooperating.”
Jeremy said they could start trimming the fat on their side after getting rid of one more girl.

Savage rallied to the group.

It’s quite ironic that Savage wasn’t voted out because he was gunning for Stephen but because he actually stopped gunning for him!

Andrew’s confessional: “As a lawyer, I pleaded my case and I’m used to getting what I want and I didn’t so I’m disappointed but Jeremy made a valid point: Those two girls are dangerous. We just have to figure which is going home tonight.”

Tasha was the one to tell Joe that they weren’t going to take out Stephen even if they didn’t trust him because it was too soon to create a divide.

Joe’s confessional: “I’m thinking: Ok, it’s going to be Stephen, I’m just going to reconfirm with everybody but apparently Stephen has more connections in this game than I realized.”

That should have been an indication to push harder to get him out.

Joe and Wiglesworth told Ciera and Kelley that the news was “no bueno”. Wiglesworth explained: “Savage was all for it. Somebody has got something deeper with Fishbach.”

Kelley figured she was the target but Joe said he didn’t know.

Kelley’s confessional: “One minute we were going to blindside Fishbach and the next thing I know that plan has totally fallen aside. Joe will not grow a pair of (balls) so he’s dead to me. But the great thing about Tribal is that it’s not over till it’s over.”

The three women talked about their vote wanting to write the same name whether it was Fishbach or Savage.

Ciera’s confessional: “I’ve been begging these people to wake up and play the game but I’m with a bunch of people who don’t want to make moves so at this point, I am scared for my life. I guess I’m hoping for a miracle at Tribal Council.”

Tribal Council

Kass entered the jury giving the finger to the group.

So predictable!

Asked about her comment at the last Tribal Council, Ciera said it was the same thing on a different day as far as people fighting for their spot in the end game.

The camera showed us Joe and Tasha at that moment, a terrible sign for both.

Kelley surprised Jeff when she said that there were four people running the game.
Jeff figured that the eight others should therefore be able to topple that four.
Kelley agreed but said the problem was that no one was willing to make a move.
Jeff asked Ciera to make a big move by naming the four.
She said it was Jeremy, Savage, Tasha and Stephen or Joe.

Stephen and Joe were surprised to be named but Kass looked pleased.

Put on the spot by Jeff, Jeremy said that the statement was four people running the show but that Ciera gave five names. “They don’t even know who is running the show” he added.

Jeff pointed out that it really didn’t matter if they knew or not, that the important factor was what they believed.
Joe agreed, saying that perception is truth. He was glad to be wearing the only safety in the game.
Savage tried to deflect things by saying that they were making decisions as a group.
Ciera had heard enough from him.

Like us, Jeff noticed her reaction.
Ciera said she couldn’t believe anyone was buying that. She thought that it was time for those on the bottom to wake up.
Spencer said people were waiting for someone to flip or to see an idol come into play. Spencer said that he didn’t know if there were any idols or if they had been found.
Savage said he was fascinated by Ciera’s plea but that she was only saying that because she wasn’t in the alliance.
Ciera said she just wanted people to fight for their spot in the game.
Stephen said that this was happening because after all the swaps, this season was being played differently than the first 30.

Funny coming from a guy who is replaying season 18!

Ciera countered that by saying there’s always someone at the top and someone at the bottom.
Kelley said that the easy vote would be Abi, Ciera or herself. She added: “Someone came to ME today and said: “I want to make a big move.” I didn’t go to them.”
Jeff said that meant the group wasn’t as tight as it appeared. He asked why she wasn’t naming that person.
With a smile, Kelley smartly answered: “What if I’m here tomorrow and I have to work with them.”
Notice how production cleverly sat Kelley between Joe and Stephen. You could tell Stephen was getting nervous when she said that someone was making plans with her.
Joe compared the situation to playing chess without knowing which pieces were on the board.

It was time to vote.

When Wiglesworth walked pass her, Kass shook her head, indicating she wasn’t impressed with the former Borneo player.

We saw Kelley Wentworth looking at her bag.

In the voting confessional, Spencer was heard saying: “I would have tried the same play you made if I were in your spot. Luckily, I’m not.”

That was an extremely interesting comment since we know he was referring to the person whose name he had written down, Kelley.

Kass gestured as if she didn’t like the smell of Savage when he walked by her.

Those two must have had a grand time alone in Ponderosa!

Kelley was the last to vote and no one looked nervous...yet!
Jeff asked if anyone wanted to play an idol and, after the requisite pause, Kelley reached for her bag. “You know what, Jeff,” she said, “I may be on the bottom but I’m not ready to go home.”

You should have seen Jeremy’s eyes! Actually, you can: Here’s his reaction in case you missed it:

It was his turn to be bugging out! The fact that they showed Jeremy before Savage is also very interesting. The idol certainly did not hurt Jeremy as suddenly as Andrew but it still could be more painful.

We also saw Ciera’s surprise. She told Spencer that she didn’t know that Kelley had an idol but that it was her favorite moment.
When Kelley came back to her seat, Kimmi applauded, Ciera gave her five and Spencer showed the move received his seal of approval.

Spencer was probably remembering how he wasted his idol in Cagayan.

He had idol-envy.

Kass simply said: “Yes!”

As juror, Kass is speaking on our behalf.

Jeff said that it was a real idol and that votes cast against Wentworth would not count. He proceeded to read her name nine times.

Now that’s an alliance with a lot of fat!

The players had been waiting anxiously for the tenth vote and Jeff slowly revealed it:


Ciera and Kelley exchanged a fist bump while Kass almost jumped out of her seat!
Andrew’s reaction was to say simply: “Unbelievable.”
To the group, Kelley said: “I’m loyal to the people that I’m with, you all.”
As Andrew left, Abi said: “At least you made it to the jury”.


Andrew gave her the finger.
In the end, Jeff said: “Tribal Council centered around: “When is somebody going to make a big move. Turns out it was tonight.”

The Story

So much of this episode revolved around the battle between Joe and Stephen that it felt like a damp squid when Joe won immunity and Jeremy put the brakes on the idea of getting rid of Stephen. Despite this, we still had a huge climax. As viewers, we should be thankful that Kelley had the “go big or go home” attitude. In this game however, there is a problem: You can go big one time and go home the next.

The episode clearly showed us the divisions within the big alliance. Jeremy and Savage were close, maybe not as close as the story presented them, but close anyway. Despite that, they each had their clique within the big alliance. Kimmi, Stephen and Spencer are closer to Jeremy than they were to Savage while Wiglesworth, Joe and Keith (by association with Joe) were closer to the attorney than the fireman. Tasha was a particular case: Her days in Angkor brought her close to Andrew but I have a feeling that, if push came to shove, Tasha would have chosen to side with Jeremy. Maybe she wouldn’t have made that choice at Final 5 when some players’ hate for Savage would have made him more interesting, but certainly at Final 9 or 7. What will happen now that Wiglesworth, Joe and Keith have been given free agency? At first, I thought it was a mistake to have eliminated Savage, a player that was willing to turn on one of his own, but I think it was a very good move. It could have broken Bayon in two. Will Kelley get rewarded down the road or was it her last hooray?

Spencer said people were waiting for someone to flip or to see an idol come into play. That could signal that the game will change now that an idol has been played. For those that think the story isn’t simply about Bayon marching to victory, that is our best hope.

The Characters

The Free Agents – These three had been closely aligned with Andrew so where will they go now?

Kelly: Ever since she joined Savage in Takeo, Kelly had been riding on his side. The reward offered her a new ride and she certainly seemed to be enjoying it. Does she know how close she was of being voted out when she was with Jeremy on the second Bayon? If so, she could be inclined to follow Joe in his fight against Stephen. She was right with him and Kelley when they first talked about that big move.

Keith: He has been by Joe’s side for a while now and he will certainly continue to follow him. It’s funny that many players talked about being in the driver’s seat but it was Keith that grabbed the engine and gave the group a free ride. How far will that ride carry them? Did this vote kill all their momentum? Keith told us he doesn’t have a Cambodian driver’s licence so how far can he go before being stopped?!! Well, maybe just long enough.

Joe: He should have been there when Savage tried to rally the troops against Stephen. Either he would have been able to counter Jeremy and Spencer’s arguments by saying his game was on the line or he would have realized who was in deep with Stephen. Not that it’s hard to figure out since Jeremy has been with Stephen from the start. Joe needs to put all his energy in getting rid of those two and not just Stephen. He missed an opportunity but Kelley’s idol has given him another chance. Savage would have been a vote against Stephen but not against Jeremy so it’s better for Joe down the road that Kelley stayed. The problem was that the camera showed him during Ciera’s comments at Tribal Council, painting him as a non-player. Kelley’s comment that Joe wasn’t very determined reminded me of a similar one that Amber made during “The Australian Outback” about Colby. She told us that the cowboy was easily swayed and we all saw to what extent she was right during that season’s FTC and in his subsequent appearances. Joe flat out said that he was voting against Fishbach “no matter what” but it seemed that wasn’t enough. It should lead to his downfall. Even Keith’s tuk-tuk didn’t have a seat for Joe because he had to hold on for dear life on the back step. Symbolically, that told us that Joe will never be safe but aligning with the girls gives him a better chance.

The Core Four – They could be our Final Four...if the game doesn’t change:

Kimmi: She really seemed more interested in her drink than in what Ciera had to say during the reward. She joined Keith for the ride but it’s doubtful that she would make a move away from Jeremy. I think she would be completely satisfied by making it to the Finale since it would be a huge improvement on her first appearance. She looks like someone who is more interested in the experience than the game and Jeremy is offering her a chance to live it to the end. Her plea to the jury would be that no one expected her to be there, she could even expose her pre-game alliance with Varner to show how much she had to adapt but I doubt it will earn her enough votes.

Stephen: In his fight against Joe, this round was a draw but it seems that Stephen will call that a loss because it brought Joe one step closer to the end. More than anyone else, Stephen is reliving his nightmares and he is trying much too hard to correct what he sees as his big mistake. In the end, he’s lost the trust of everyone but Jeremy. The fireman’s coat may not offer Stephen enough protection if the group’s flames turn once more against him. If Jeremy realizes that Spencer could be just as useful to his cause as Stephen has been then he could decide that he doesn’t need the heat. The start of the episode showed us a “dead” Stephen lying in the hammock and later we saw him waving good bye to everyone. I think the end is near for this “walking dead” character.

Tasha: She was also shown as someone that wasn’t willing to play the game but she is in a great position inside the main alliance. Showing her as a non-player therefore told us that she doesn’t stand a chance to win in this group, that her only chance to earn votes would be to make a move against them. Working to make a move in Cagayan was very exhausting so Tasha may prefer having her own free ride to the end. Jeremy is offering more than a tuk-tuk: His ride his in a limo. But will it run out of gas?

Jeremy: Savage could have caused Jeremy many problems down the road but the two seemed to be going hand in hand. Inevitably, they would have reached a point of conflict. Jeremy was smart not to mention that he agreed with Stephen’s plan to vote against Joe and he was lucky that Spencer came to his rescue by saying they controlled Stephen but the Joe-Stephen conflict isn’t over and that could deeply trouble the Bayon group. Jeremy’s character suffered from his close association with Savage so maybe this vote will enable him to be seen in a better light but we can’t forget that it was Jeremy who decided that they needed to split the votes when it was very risky and that he didn’t bother following up on that idea when it was much simpler...and much more necessary! A 5-4-4 split isn’t the best way to go because the other side only needs one vote to ruin the plan. A 6-3-3 split is much safer and would have rid the alliance of Kelley.

I have to wonder what went through Jeremy’s head when he saw Kelley’s idol. He knew his group, had put 9 votes on her. NINE! It seemed that Jeff would never reach the last one! He therefore knew that a single vote could have ended his game, that two would have certainly done the job. Why didn’t he play his own idol just in case? He took a big risk and got lucky. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he didn’t play his idol because he didn’t bother bringing it to TC! That would make it dumb luck.

People were ready to eliminate Spencer when we saw that he couldn’t read Savage correctly so they should be the first to say that Jeremy should be taken out of contention after being completely fooled by Kelley. The camera even made sure that his expression of surprise was the first one showed. I’m not ready to take him out of contention though: Jeremy could be our winner because his edit is very solid. I’m still not quite ready to say he will win it though. I will need to see how he handles the conflict between Joe and Stephen first.

The Three on the bottom

It’s becoming clear that Abi has been kept off our screen in favor of her alliance mates to make that group friendlier. Still, her two short comments in this episode were hilarious. It’s always funny to hear a drama queen telling others to get over their problem and she knew exactly how to rub it in Andrew’s face!

Ciera: Her role is gaining importance but it seems that she is serving Jeff’s interest instead of her own. Whenever she talks about the need to make moves, it feels like she is parroting Jeff’s pleas. It’s easy to see why she is production’s favorite. Doesn’t she see that Jeff does it for ratings but that the other players don’t give a damn about ratings? I have to say though that, in this case, she is right. An alliance of nine is simply too big at this stage of the game and someone will have to decide between Stephen and Joe. Could Ciera be our winner? Her story has picked enough steam that we can’t completely discard her chances. That Tuk-tuk had room for her.

Kelley: This episode showed us that she was the impact player we predicted from the start but she reached her zenith much earlier than I thought. Her whole story could have been pointing to this single event, not to anything more down the road. More than anyone else, she will need a safe ride over the course of the next few Tribal Councils. If she calls on Keith and Joe, will they still be ready to haul her to the end? She certainly did everything she could to stay in the game. Like she said: “Go big or go home” but now what? She still has a chance to make it to the end because an alliance of nine cannot survive its own weight but the road will be much bumpier than during that thrill ride on the Cambodian beach.

The Forgotten Threat

Spencer: Back in episode two, some players worried that they couldn’t let Spencer go any further because he could win the game. At the time, Takeo decided to get rid of Shirin before him, thinking they could get to Spencer next but Bayon didn’t get the message. Jeremy doesn’t see him as a threat. Instead he has adopted him in their midst. He is so trusted that he was central in the discussion that involved eliminating Stephen. Spencer pointed out that Stephen was a smart player but that they controlled him which leads to the following: Who is controlling Spencer?

I think it was very telling that the episode started by letting us hear Spencer say that he has made the connections that have kept him safe and later we heard him say that he would have made the same move that Kelley made if he had been in her position. That shows us just how far he has progressed. He didn’t need to scramble, didn’t need to wait for anyone to make big moves. However, we know that Spencer is a smart player so he should find a way to make it to the end now that Jeremy’s limo is giving him a ride. They may want to let him off a few blocks away but Spencer could find a way to hijack their limo.

Will Spencer be our Sole Survivor? In my opinion, he has taken a good lead on everyone else but I’m still hesitant. This Tribal Council should have deep repercussions so I have to see if there will be any other collateral damages inside the Bayon alliance before deciding.

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Flowerpower1 1318 desperate attention whore postings
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11-17-15, 11:44 AM (EST)
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85. "RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always Changing:"
So many astute observations and insights, as always, Michel! I loved the picture of Kelley reacting to Savage giving the finger at the IC! She's is a ball buster for sure, and her reaction at TC was even better! So happy that she's enjoying the turn of events! But like you, I worry that she's peaked a little too soon, but with confessionals in every episode, I think she has a little more to her story.

With Savage's first confessional being all about his goal of making it to the jury made me think at the time that he could INDEED be going home! So many times the DAWS themselves give us the facts, we just need to listen to them! In contrast to Kelley's reaction last week to making it to the merge, she renewed her vow to WIN! She's not taking her eye off the prize so, we'll see! She's still here, and Savage is toast!

Ciera is grasping at anything that presents itself, I have always appreciated her game play. Stephen tells us that he's game for the big move and it's time to do something to take out a real threat to win this game. I wonder what he really thought of Savage being blindsided? Secretly, he had to be thrilled, as Savage was the biggest threat to Stephen! But, Stephen was way off regarding who would make that big wasn't himself or Ciera, it was Kelley!

At the reward, Kimmi had a fluff confessional, I had to wonder if she went back to Jeremy and Stephen/Tasha/Savage and told them all about Ciera's calling everyone's attention to the fact that they are a tight four and it could be time to make that "big move", while they have the numbers?

Joe is now also contemplating making a move with the right people at the right time. All the talk of big moves was broken up by comic relief, Keith. Who is clearly NOT thinking about big moves. So I have to wonder will Keith outlast all of them? Keith uttered that hilarious chuckle of his, which always makes me laugh!

Back at Camp, Stephen was seriously depressed over all of the people he would make a big plan with, as they were bonding with the target of his plan, Joe. He went on to tell everyone that they reason he lost the first time could have been because of ties and bonds formed on a reward. I LOVED Jeremy's reaction when Stephen started talking about his loss the first time.

All of a sudden he totally perked up, and with a mouth full of food, and asked incredulously, Oh, you think they are bonding over there? Jeremy showed us why he needs the knowingest-know-it-all with him to the end, to enlighten him! It was as though Jeremy never considered that.

Then we see Jeremy tell us that Stephen's persistence to get Joe out stands to reason because every time Joe wins, that bullseye on his back gets bigger. Then Stephen points out that he doesn't want to be the goat. Yet, in this season, the editing that he is getting is pointing to just that, Stephen appears to be a goat indeed! He's so fixated on the big move to take out Joe, so much so that Stephen's big move will be his demise instead. We see Savage telling Joe just what's up. This conflict is extremely ripe for conclusion.

But, since Kelley noted that Joe doesn't have any balls, will someone other than Joe make the move to boot Stephen, say one of the girls or all three? I clearly see Joe winning the conflict with Stephen because Joe is seen as social and likable, while Stephen is shown as not connecting socially and being awkward. Kelley saying Joe has no balls creates doubt, however.

I loved seeing how Jeremy felt about Fishbach, finally. I really had doubt as to his relationship with Stephen because of Savage throwing shade on him regarding Jeremy looking for the idol when he was upset about missing his family. I, personally, was encouraged for Stephen.

With Tasha telling Joe, "none of us trust Stephen, but we don't want to take him out and create a divide so soon", makes me wonder what and who she's really loyal to? Jeremy? Is she truly with Stephen? I thought she was more aligned with Savage, so if she's with Savage she probably is anti-Stephen. Would she vote Stephen out at this point? I have to wonder. Is she more with Joe? I think so, but she's the most with Jeremy? Perplexing to me. We don't hear Tasha's thoughts when she is with her Bayon Bros. It's always their perspective.

One important thing I noticed was when the girls found out that the plan had changed and that Stephen was off the table, and they knew that it was going to be one of them, they all decided to vote together for either Stephen or Savage. NO MENTION of Jeremy! Stephen was always Joe's choice and a way for them to dodge being targets. Now that Savage is gone, it's still a viable option for them to go along with Joe to target Stephen.

Ciera got the last confessional before the TC, she's still praying for miracles. I can't help but feel she's dodged a bullet twice now, will she be the next casualty?

I loved this episode because it fooled us! When we recall all the times that Kelley has been shown getting the HI at that first challenge, and then to see it again in the intro, it was foreshadowing. Also, all of the confessionals regarding, "I just want to do this....". It makes me wonder about Ciera for next time, praying still for miracles at TC. Lucky for her, however that Stephen and Joe are both still around to resume their conflict.

Spencer, YES, he's really looking good! He's able to go with the flow and let the others start fighting for their lives!

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michel2 1341 desperate attention whore postings
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11-17-15, 05:09 PM (EST)
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89. "RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always Changing:"
Thank you for adding your thoughts, FP. You wrote:

"With Tasha telling Joe, "none of us trust Stephen, but we don't want to take him out and create a divide so soon", makes me wonder what and who she's really loyal to? Jeremy? Is she truly with Stephen? I thought she was more aligned with Savage, so if she's with Savage she probably is anti-Stephen. Would she vote Stephen out at this point? I have to wonder. Is she more with Joe? I think so, but she's the most with Jeremy? Perplexing to me. We don't hear Tasha's thoughts when she is with her Bayon Bros. It's always their perspective."

I think you've put your finger on the crux of the matter. Both Tasha and Abi have gone silent and it's particularly puzzling in the case of the woman from Cagayan. Abi, I figure, tis being kept quiet so that we don't hate the three girls, but why Tasha? I think she would have preferred to go with Savage in the long run because he isn't as well liked as Jeremy. I'm thinking that she said she didn't want to have a division so early because it would have forced HER to choose a side.

The Stephen-Joe conflict is hard to read. I thought Stephen would lose for sure but, like you pointed out, Jeremy is firmly on his side. I saw that there is a lot of speculation that Stephen goes for the game advantage. I wonder if it will turn everyone against him. He would share the info, wouldn't he?

Jermey: Winner or not? He has a lot of supporters over at RHAP even if he isn't given much substance. He is now listening to Spencer's advice so it does seem that he will act too late to get him out just like we speculated when those two first bonded. He doesn't follow up on his own advice to split the votes and he is completely caught off guard by Kelley's play yet the same people that were saying that Spencer couldn't win because he didn't read Savage correctly are still on Jeremy's bandwagon.

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11-17-15, 12:29 PM (EST)
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86. "RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always Changing:"
Great recap, Michel. I echo all what FP said.

Fortunately there are no snitches.

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11-17-15, 04:54 PM (EST)
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87. "RE: Episode 8 - The Game is Always Changing:"
Thank you, Kingfish,

As for snitches, I heard from different players that Joe actually told Kelley she was going home. Is it snitching though since it was done to soften the blow, not to sell out the alliance?!

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11-17-15, 05:00 PM (EST)
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88. "One other thing...."
I do have to add that with the talk of Stephen saying he didn't want to be the goat that gets dragged to the end, I do feel that that is just what the editing is apparently doing? Idk? With all of the "I've got to get the golden boy out", referring to Joe, I can't help but wonder if he won't realize that the golden boy all along was his BFF, Jeremy. And, history will repeat itself once again. Could Stephen be the goat at the end?
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11-17-15, 08:07 PM (EST)
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90. "RE: One other thing...."
I mention this in another thread. Also we already heard Jeremy said that he would be Stephen's JT.
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11-17-15, 08:51 PM (EST)
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91. "RE: One other thing...."
LAST EDITED ON 11-17-15 AT 08:51 PM (EST)

Yes, that linear game is certainly possible but I hope Bayon will fracture. The early episodes gave us hints that the winner was in Takeo.

I really found Jeremy was being very condescending when he said: "I’ll give you second place if you are happy with that. I’m not happy with second place". That confessional would be better if Jeremy finishes second, maybe with Spencer beating him out.

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11-17-15, 09:17 PM (EST)
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92. "RE: One other thing...."
The early episodes gave us hints that the winner was in Takeo.

ohhhhh! Please refresh our memories, michel! I would like to review what kinds of hints, that's intriguing! You can link me to the spot?

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11-17-15, 11:49 PM (EST)
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93. "RE: One other thing...."
Just a look at who's still left from their original tribes:

Original Takeo = Kelley, Spencer, Abi, Kelly
Original Bayon = Joe, Jeremy, Ciera, Keith, Tasha, Stephen, Kimmi (with the two most recent boots also being Bayons, Kass/Savage)

I'd concur with that assessment - I'm seeing Kelley, Spencer and Jeremy as the only plausible winners at this point (2 Takeo, 1 Bayon).

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11-18-15, 05:34 PM (EST)
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94. "RE: One other thing...."
Bayon was practically absent from episode 2 with only one scene telling us that Andrew didn't like Stephen and that Jeremy was missing Val.

In episode three, before the swap, Terry told the tribe that getting rid of one of the most strategic persons he ever met would be a feather in their cap for anyone of them who makes it to the actual finals.

Then, in Takeo v2.0, there was Keith's comment that they had to make Terry proud.

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11-19-15, 06:39 PM (EST)
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95. "Ep 9 quick thoughts"
Hey folks, I used to post under the name 'television' for some time, but didn't bother re-signing up after the takeover/crash thing because I commented infrequently anyway. But I've been reading since then and have been pretty intrigued by the editing this season, so I figured I'd rejoin.

I'm so intrigued by this episode... curious about how it will affect the rest of the game, but also how it was portrayed. Stephen really moved front and centre this ep, and I can't make heads or tails of his edit. It's been mostly negative, or he's been portrayed as naive, eager, etc. But then, he's been the one pushing the 'evolution' theme that Jeff firmly endorsed in this ep; and although he's been talked about as a target, he hasn't been wrong on a vote yet (HII bounce aside). I remember the first time he was on, his edit was uneven to begin and took awhile to warm up. But then, he lost that one. What's his story this time? Is he an overeager, overthinking strategist that's going to paint himself into a corner? Or is his constant scrambling keeping him a step ahead of the game, like a nerdier version of Tony?

The scene where he was trying to convince Spencer and Jeremy was the most interesting to unpack. He talked about 'voting blocks', how the game was evolving, but they seemed super skeptical. Then, though, they DID do what he said. We heard Spencer saying that forecasting this move and its effects was tougher than any math problem he'd done, but he did it. Is that painting Stephen as smarter than Spencer, who's already been described as one of the smartest strategists ever? We also saw Jeremy parroting Stephen's talk of 'voting blocks' at Tribal, which is pretty significant when something is repeated at Tribal, because that's where they usually put things for emphasis and ultimate truth for viewers. And then Stephen's game theory got the Jeff seal of approval by being his recap to send the tribe home, and the viewers into thinking about next week. Obviously it's in Probst's interest to push a theme that the game is evolving, as if fans believe that, their interest won't grow stale. Beyond that, as fans who want something to happen other than boring Pagonging, this 'evolution' thing should be pretty exciting. I could see why the show wants to push it, and if Stephen gets the narrator's seat as being the architect, that bodes very well for his endgame. Is the editing evolving as well? It felt to some degree like this episode flipped things upside down.

HOWEVER... it still all feels pretty underwhelming. Spencer and Jeremy's reluctance could have been highlighted not to build suspense for the boot, but rather to foreshadow that the move will backfire. Spencer suggested it could ruin his game, Jeremy questioned the timing of it, and they could very well be wrong. I could see Jeremy sitting at the end with someone like, say, Wentworth, and having an unexpectedly bitter jury not buying the 'voting blocks' talk and instead giving a spite vote against the guy they trusted who turned on them. This would all line up with what a more traditional editing analysis leads me to think - after last week, I wondered if Kelley had peaked too soon, because despite the buildup as her as a gamer with million dollar quotes, I didn't see how she could realistically make endgame. With this week, it all makes sense a bit more.

Still, they didn't show Kelley or Jeremy or Spencer orchestrating the boot; this was Stephen's master plan, and more significantly, all 3 other players followed him in it. And despite his missteps and ineptitude, he's also been given the chance to be self-aware in his confessionals; he said early that he would either overplay his hand and go out early or make it far (don't remember the exact quote; I'll have to look it up in this thread in a sec). He has been in danger of overplaying, especially with his 'hustle' this episode, but it hasn't backfired on him. And with Joe, he said Joe was like his white whale, but it could be more like his red herring, since now everyone wants Joe out and it's obvious he'll go when he doesn't win immunity. Did they set it up like that so Stephen's long-gestating idea will give him credit when Joe leaves, even though everyone wants him out? It's plausible that he could be getting an edit like Tony, or maybe even more like Mike, who made mistakes but was allowed to show his self-awareness in confessionals.

I still think the most likely thing is that Stephen's story is wrapped up in pushing the 'strategy evolution' idea, and not in winning; he could be like the guy who invented rotisserie league baseball (ie. fantasy sports), who came up with the idea but never won his league in 25 years of playing. He still seems like more of a coach (or a Coach?) than a player. Kelley's winning edit and Spencer/Jeremy's 'maybe winning' edit makes me believe a likely scenario is the one I described above, where this move backfires and makes people bitter towards those seen as orchestrating it, which would pave the way for a Wentworth win over either of those two and/or Stephen. But after this week, a Stephen win isn't impossible. With a double episode next week, that would suggest that the first boot isn't very suspenseful, and so that would lend support to the idea that Stephen's move doesn't backfire immediately. As well, if that betrayal created drama that was important to the game, I'd imagine it'd be highlighted in the preview. Maybe this DOES turn things around for Stephen. Wouldn't it be ironic if Jeremy, who said he'd be Stephen's JT, was the one who was living in the past and didn't see how the game had evolved for someone like Stephen to win, even against his new JT?

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11-19-15, 07:13 PM (EST)
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96. "RE: Ep 9 quick thoughts"
Welcome back television! I was able to get into my account when the craziness happened and although I read this every week, I rarely post!

I'm interested to see how they phrase the orchestration of Kelly's boot next week during "Previously on Survivor..." and who they give credit to for it. Could give us a clue as to how the season will go.

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11-21-15, 06:12 PM (EST)
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98. "RE: Ep 9 quick thoughts"
Hello television, I really liked reading your in depth analysis os Stephen's story. I have much the same questions that you do as you can see below.

The quote you were searching came at the end of day one where Stephen said: "Either I am going to be totally in charge of my tribe or I’m going to dramatically overplay and flame out really quickly.”

He hasn't flamed out and he is taking control but that doesn't mean he isn't overplaying.

This season is a tough nut to crack!

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11-21-15, 03:37 PM (EST)
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97. "Episode 9 - That was Bad@ss"
Previously on Survivor

After the merge no one was taking their second chance for granted…
Stephen in confessional: “You got to hit the ground running in new school Survivor.”
Two immunity idols had already been found.
We saw Kelley and Jeremy grabbing their idol and we heard Jeremy saying that he loves it.
Joe continued to win and Wentworth, Abi and Ciera were on the bottom, fighting to stay alive.
We heard Ciera talking first to the girls: “I’m so tired of their half-assed plans” and then in confessional: “I’m going to be throwing anything that I can throw hoping to get somebody to catch on to it.”
At Tribal Council, it was clear that the game of Survivor had evolved...
(That was underlined by Stephen’s comment that there wasn’t a hierarchy)
...and Wentworth decided to take the game into her own hands...
(We see Jeremy’s shocked expression and Spencer’s approval)
...Putting an end to Savage’s second chance.

This summary sides with Ciera’s point of view that no one was playing to win. The “official” version of the story is that “They” only have half-assed plans while the girls are fighting to stay alive and Kelley took the game into her own hands. This forces us to question the future of all the players in the Bayon alliance. In this version, the editors, using Ciera’s words, are portraying them all as incompetents. Of course, Kelley needed to play her idol to stay in the game and eliminate Savage so the women’s victory came at some cost. Despite losing a member, the alliance still appeared strong so they couldn’t be that incompetent...yet. This episode would give us more clues.

That was Badass!

Night 21

Expressing their admiration, Spencer said: “#HiddenImmunity idol”, Jeremy added: “Freakin’ Wentworth” while Stephen concluded: “That was epic.”

Kelley apologized for getting a little worked up. Jeremy said that it was badass.

Isn’t it interesting that the three guys that expressed admiration would also be the same ones to vote with the 3 women in the end? This makes me wonder if they were planning something already.

Kelley in confessional: “I was going to explode at Tribal Council. Holy Smokes: “Hi! I’m Kelley Wentworth and I just idoled Andrew Savage out of Survivor Second Chance. Thank you! I feel like I’ve come so far from Blood versus Water to where I am now here.” We heard Ciera’s comment at this point: “Great play by Kelley Wentworth.” Kelley’s confessional continued: “I feel like I’m a different person. I wanted to take risks and make moves. It’s like the best feeling I’ve had out here in 21 days.”

Talking to Joe, Kimmi said: “It has to be one of those three girls next time because you can’t let the three of them all of a sudden become friends with Tash and Jeremy. Nope! Now we have to break up the little witches’ coven.”

Stephen heard that and commented in interview: “Kimmi is calling Ciera, Wentworth and Abi the three witches and it’s just like the three witches from Macbeth who are stirring their cauldron: “Boil, boil, toil and trouble. Abi is boil, she’s hot at it. Ciera is toil: Let’s make a move, let’s make a move!” And Wentworth is trouble; she’s bringing out idols. I don’t want to be like King Duncan who gets killed in the night. I want to be the one doing the killing in the night. Those witches are brewing something epic but how do I get the witches to make the potion that is right for me?”

Macbeth killed Duncan after being pushed to do so by Lady Macbeth. While Macbeth became king, he and his lady both became mad. While Stephen brings up real classics, he doesn’t select the ones that end well for the character he wants to play. What, if anything, can Macbeth tell us about the outcome of Survivor Second Chance?

Day 22

Keith, Stephen and Jeremy were out by the ocean, still talking about Kelley’s idol.
Stephen realized that the idol was coming back so they all went searching.

Jeremy’s confessional: “Savage going home screws me. I had another man that nobody really liked and I knew that was like a shield for me but, even though I trust Stephen and I have one idol to protect me, I need two idols because they are coming after me. I got to look, I got to bust my behind again. Oh! my God!”

Jeremy seems really fixated on keeping guys around, so much so that it feels like a woman could surprise him.

Keith and Tasha were by the water well while Joe looked around the strange looking tree near their mail box.

Joe’s confessional: “I got to find that immunity idol because now people are really going: “OK, Joe has won two immunities, he’s got to go. He loses; he’s got to go.” I spent thirty minutes today looking for the immunity idol that is going to be crucial to my survival. I just don’t know where it is.”

Thirty minutes Joe? Don’t exert yourself too much. If only he nad spent a little more time looking in that tree. He must have been kicking himself watching Jeremy later at that same tree.

Abi had a pressing matter so she interrupted Joe’s search!
Abi’s confessional: “I run into Joe looking for an idol because he knows he is in trouble and he’s getting nervous. I love it.”
After doing what she had to do, Abi told Kelley that she caught Joe looking for the idol.

Kelley’s confessional: “It’s like there’s this group of eight that is voting together supposedly but there is paranoia within the eight which is great for me. I am so hoping that people are finally ready to get this game started. Come on, my Lord: Please! Let’s have a big move at the next Tribal.”

We saw Joe after Kelley said this making it obvious that he had become her target. We have to make note that Kelley had two confessionals in that opening segment. After that move at Tribal Council, one was expected but two is a way to put the spotlight on a player. Even the first confessional could have ended after she told us that she has come a long way since Blood versus Water. Adding the rest presents her as a player to watch, one that will make some important moves.

The Reward Challenge

Jeff reminded us that this challenge was done in Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty and that both Tasha and Spencer lost with Spencer being the one doing the puzzle.

For once, we heard how the school yard pick worked:
- Tasha was a captain and she selected Joe, Spencer, Stephen and Ciera.
- Wiglesworth was the other captain and she selected Jeremy, Keith, Wentworth and Kimmi.
- Abi was not selected and the poor thing had no chance at reward.

I put the players in the order I suppose they were selected. Since Joe was in Tasha’s team, it stands to reason that she had first pick, leaving Jeremy available when Kelly made her pick. With the next to last choice, Wiglesworth probably had Wentworth, Kimmi, Ciera and Abi available so she picked Kelley instead of Kimmi, her ally. (I can be fairly sure of this because I doubt Ciera would have been picked by Tasha if Wentworth was still available.)

Wiglesworth’s team soon fell behind and never caught up. Joe quickly went through the maze with his key while the teal team was still trying to figure where to put the poles.

Spencer and Ciera worked on the puzzle, turning the challenge into “one of the biggest blow-outs in Survivor history” according to Jeff.

When the teal team finally went through the maze, we heard Jeff say: “Jeremy is down with a big hard fall. Kelly also takes a fall.”

Kelly will soon take a fall that will hurt much more than this one. Will the same happen to the Cambridge fireman?

Spencer released the flag before the teal team could reach their puzzle box. Jeff mentioned that it was redemption for Spencer and Tasha.

Keith could only spit.

When the purple team left, we heard Wentworth say: “Bye guys have fun.”

With his team heading back to camp, we heard Jeremy’s confessional: “We weren’t even close. It was embarrassing. It was like this whole day is a waste of a day for me. This is a bad one. Last night was bad; Savage went home. Today is bad. It goes up and down; today’s a down.”

The contrast between Kelley’s positive attitude and Jeremy’s negativity is quite notable. It’s rare that we see such negativity in a winner. Even when Earl had to endure the terrible conditions in Ravu we heard him saying that he will soldier on. Tony had his down moments but I don’t recall a similar confessional. This is more like Rodney in Worlds Apart.

The Reward

Now that the clues to the idol aren’t given to the winners but can simply be grabbed in a tree, going on reward has a big disadvantage.

Joe in confessional: “We had an amazing reward: Massages, a fresh shower and food. Food in this game is so valuable: It keeps your mind right and keeps your body right. Going into an immunity challenge, it gives you a competitive edge over everybody else. We have a little more in the tank.

Ciera’s confessional: “There’s definitely strategy going into a reward. It gives you a little bit of alone time with a different group of people that maybe you wouldn’t get in camp.”

While Joe took his shower, Ciera asked Spencer, Stephen and Tasha if they were going to talk strategy at all.

Stephen’s interview: “As the game goes on, you have fewer and fewer votes and you need to use every one of those votes strategically. Wenthorth, Abi and Ciera, they are working harder than our alliance because they are desperate. So, those are the ones that deserve to be here.”

We have to note Fishbach just told us that Wentworth, Abi and Ciera are the ones that deserve it more than those in Stephen’s alliance.

In the middle of Stephen’s confessional, we heard Ciera talking to the group: “I know you are close to Jeremy but if you go to the end with Jeremy; you don’t win.”

That seemed to catch Tasha’s attention and it also must be noted. Ciera’s comment sounds a lot like what Malcolm said about Denise.

The second part of Stephen’s confessional: “In this season of Survivor, everyone sees the hierarchy and everyone wants to flip it on its head. So, to play this old school game where we are in an alliance of five and that five has a four within it and a three within it and a two within it: It’s not going to hold. It’s going to get dissolved.”

"Macbeth and Lady Macbeth" were shown when Stephen mentioned this.

These two will certainly cause a lot of chaos. I suppose that many torches will get snuffed because of the bond between those two.

Tasha asked Ciera what she thought of Wiglesworth.
Ciera said that she’d also win because she is smart, she has that first season thing going and she’s talked to everybody.
For anyone who says that a “bad edit” doesn’t exist, who think that players are invisible because they don’t have anything to interesting to say or present, then this remark is for them. Wiglesworth talked to everybody and was considered as big threat to win as Jeremy but we haven’t seen any of it.

The third part of Stephen’s confessional: “I think there are voting blocks that make sense for the moment and the next day that could be completely out the window. I think this is moving much faster and very different than the game has ever in the past.”

Day 22

The women were preparing a big meal.

Jeremy’s confessional: “I’m pissed off that we lost and not that we just lost but because we lost by so much. We got crushed. But, with only five other people, they are cooking and talking and everything, they are going to let me go and be alone. I went and looked for the idol.” He found the clue at the bottom of the tree near their mail post, the tree where Joe had been looking when Abi came running. “...It was just staring at me.” The clue told him to go along the same trail they took for the merge. “It wasn’t a great day today but things are looking up...As soon as the moon went down, the team that won came back from their spa treatment and usually everybody is in the bed, ready for bed so I was like: This is going to be so easy, I’ll get up and they aren’t going to be watching me. But this was ridiculous. Everybody was by the fire, hanging out. No one ever does this, it was crazy. Finally, I told them that I had go to the bathroom because that food messed with my stomach. I just made a dash for it; I just took off. It’s pitch black, there are rocks, there are trees, I don’t know what’s out there, there are snakes and everything... I see a torch.

From a distance, I see a little glow so I took off after it. Idols, this season, there are no two idols that look the same. Hanging from the lantern was this beautiful thing. With two idols, I can be a little more aggressive. This is Val’s idol. Val is my wife, Val is my best friend you know; I can’t keep it bottled up anymore: I’m doing it all for her. I just want to make her life a little easier, I want to make Jay and Kim’s life a little easier and I want to make my next child’s life a little easier. I don’t even know if it’s a boy or a girl and that has been bothering me a little bit. I know that people are after me and I got figure when I can use these idols. I got to use them at the right time. I just want Val to win, you know, she deserves it more than me, you know.”

Imagine! Now they have lights telling the players where to look for “Hidden” Immunity Idols. Soon it will be neon signs! This was a much better confessional for Jeremy. Some may say that he is thinking about his wife and family too much and that it will distract him for the game but I don’t think this was the intent of this scene. Jeremy is presented in such a way that he would make a very popular winner. I’m a little tired of all these strong guys that find idols and walk on to an easy victory but many fans love that story. When Jeremy found his first idol he said he would bring it home and now he says this is Val’s idol. That makes me think he won’t play either idol but it seems unlikely that he will be voted out with both idols in pocket. It could be that he doesn’t need to play either idol or that he gets voted out after they expire.

Day 24

The wind instruments introduced the kooky musical theme just when Stephen walked into view.

Stephen spotted Joe and Kelly talking by the ocean.

Stephen’s confessional: “Joe and Wiglesworth, I think, are super close. They have a little bit of a brother-sister thing happening there or an aunt-nephew, I don’t know. Some sort of relationship that is developing and I’ve been nervous about it.” Kelly told Joe that she trusted him, Kimmi and Keith but not the three girls. Stephen continued: “They have sort of a shared arrogance about how awesome they are. I’m tired of the way this game is going. There are huge threats in this game and everyone is too timid to make a move. My second chance is about having a game of my own that I can point too and say: These are the moves that I made. So, I want to build something with the three witches. They are on the bottom and they are desperate to make a move.”

I don’t think the viewers share that view of Kelly and Joe. Kelly has been much to hidden for anyone to think that she has been arrogant while Joe’s good nature has never been questioned by the audience. Therefore, it seems that Stephen gets more blame than credit for this move. His three witches had to make a move but he didn’t really have to. That makes Wiglesworth the victim of Stephen’s ambition.

Stephen wanted to talk with Ciera, Wentworth and Abi about his plan but he started by saying that they didn’t trust each other and they shouldn’t trust each other.

Stephen really started on the wrong foot with that approach. So much so that he didn’t know where to go from there. Luckily, Ciera saved him from his predicament.

Ciera said she was up for anything, adding that they would write down whatever Stephen wants them to write down. She asked him if he wanted to eliminate Joe. Stephen said that everyone wanted to boot Joe but that there were other power players like Wiglesworth. Abi interjected that Wiglesworth had relationships with everyone and she was nice to everyone. “Her social game is on point.” “I’d get rid of Wigles” said Ciera.

The editors hid Kelly’s great social game very well. It’s a bit strange that Stephen only named Wiglesworth as a power player. Did he name others like Tasha and Jeremy? Those are certainly power players that Stephen will need to eliminate at some point.

Ciera’s confessional: “Abi, Kelley Wentworth and myself are very clearly on the bottom. Kelley Wentworth pulled out that immunity idol and booted Savage out. Now it’s like people are a little bit scrambled, they are coming to us and they want to talk and it’s just funny because where have you been the last twenty days?”

People could ask the same of Ciera who had been fairly hidden for a large chunk of those twenty days but, in reality, the onus was on Stephen. Continuing the recap’s theme, the editors are telling us that the Bayon players weren’t really playing.

The Immunity Challenge

Spencer and Tasha had both participated in this challenge before but both had lost (to Woo).

It started to rain just when the challenge got underway.

Woo had won that challenge using “toe-shoes” and it seemed to give him an advantage. I wonder if production decided to make it a rule that the players had to be bare foot because Kelley had been wearing the same type of shoes but wasn’t using them in the challenge.

Eight minutes in the challenge, Jeff said that success in the game is often dictated by making the right decision at the right time. Jeff released buoys and said that the first player to touch his buoy would get an advantage in the game. The players were faced with a dilemma: Racing to the buoy meant giving up a chance at immunity but gave them a chance at the advantage.

Quickly Stephen and Spencer jumped in and the race was on. Surprisingly, Stephen won it! Jeff remarked that could have been the million dollar decision that Stephen needed to make. He added that nobody else took the bait and we saw Kelley with her eyes shut, as if wondering if she made the right decision. Stephen said he made the decision immediately while Spencer said he was one millisecond too slow.

Like the last time, the transition to the top proved costly for many players: Wentworth, Jeremy, Ciera, Kimmi and Tasha fell almost immediately. It was down to Keith, Abi, Wiglesworth and Joe. Abi looked like a statue out there. A struggling Joe looked worried.

Abi had a lowest center of gravity so that must have helped.
Keith lost his balance just before the end of the second round. With Joe wobbling on his perch, Jeff mentioned that he was still up there: “It doesn’t have to be pretty on Survivor.”
Keith greeted that by spitting.

Then the players had to transition to stand on one foot and it proved too difficult for Wiglesworth: She never found her balance so Jeff had to disqualify her.

With her butt getting cramps, Abi fell in giving Joe his third immunity.

We saw Kelley expressing her frustration when she realized that Joe would be safe.

That tells us she wasn’t kidding when she said he was dead to her.

Jeff handed a piece of bamboo to Stephen with the advantage hidden inside.

Stephen’s commented: “It was amazing! Jeff Probst said Stephen wins! He didn’t say “Stephen wins immunity” but this was the next best thing. Tonight, this freakin’ Wigles thing is happening. I don’t care how it’s happening but it’s happening and maybe I break out my advantage.”

Day 24

The rain hadn’t let up during the players walk back to camp. They all looked miserable.

Abi said that Joe will be winning immunity forever.
Kimmi in confessional: “Joe won immunity which is fine because I really need the witches to start getting voted out bec