It is getting down to the nitty-gritty on “Survivor: Cambodia.” If you tuned in late in the show on Wednesday night, you may have thought that you were watching some weird, French version of Survivor, with all the talk of “we we” (before the comment police get all up in my biz, I know the French is “oui oui.” It’s called a play on words). Or maybe it was just that everyone had to go to the bathroom really bad. But no, this season of Survivor, it is all about the “we,” referring to the “voting blocks” (yeah, I know it’s supposed to be “blocs”) that have evolved Survivor into a strategist’s wet dream this season. Seven players were left heading into tonight, and the stage is now set for next week’s two-hour Finale episode. So what went down during this penultimate ep? Here’s the recap:
Aftermath. “Tribal tonight was definitely a spectacle,” said Abi returning back to camp after the Joe blindside. She seemed quite happy in Joe’s demise, also saying “paybacks are a bitch” and “good riddance” to the challenge-dominating beast. They all joked about how the all have equal chances of winning challenges once again now that Joe is gone. But Keith was left hung out to dry, having not been included in Spencer and Jeremy’s plan to blindside Joe. He had written down Tasha, and she wasn’t all too happy about it. “Keith just put a target on his back,” Tasha said.
Buyer’s Remorse. The next morning, Jeremy and Spencer took a stroll and it seemed that they were already regretting getting rid of Joe. “I have extreme buyer’s remorse,” Jeremy tells Spencer. They both think they are in trouble, fearing that an all-girl alliance of Tasha, Kimmi, Abi and Kelley could now be the unstoppable majority. Haven’t they ever seen this show? No all-girl alliance has ever really been able to stick together (unless Parvati was among them), and Tasha had already confided in them against the girls. Still, paranoia runs deep when its Day 33. “I feel my game slipping away,” said Spencer. How the heck is Spencer still in the game by the way? His whole game has been one narrow slosh down the Slip N’ Slide.
Reward Challenge. The reward was for a trek back to the temples where the game originally started, where they would be blessed by monks, eat a large meal, and get to spend the night under the stars at the temple. Or as Probst described it, “A once in a lifetime chance to do something extraordinary.” The challenge was a rope obstacle course that ended in a bag target toss, a challenge that Keith had won his previous season. It wasn’t a fluke. Keith once again dominated this challenge and upon winning, he got to pick two people to accompany him. He chose Kelley and then Spencer. He came up with some jumbled reason as to the logic of his choices, and while spouting off, he actually forgot Tasha’s name for a few seconds. This didn’t sit well with Tasha once again. She points out to him and to Probst that sometimes staying back at camp away from a reward can be just as beneficial as going on said reward.
Setting Sail. With Keith, Kelley and Spencer away at the reward, back at camp, Tasha, Jeremy, Kimmi and Abi discuss voting out Keith next. Kimmi calls him “the next golden boy” now that Joe is gone, as Keith has done quite well at challenges as of late. Abi likes the chaos around her as she watches people squirm and scramble. “I’m a villain, and villains have more fun,” she said. Jeremy admits in a confessional that he now definitely believes he should not have gotten rid of Joe and should have ousted Abi instead. But Tasha tells him to get over the “all-girl” alliance idea. “People better get on board,” Tasha said. “Or they’re about to miss this ship. Cuz Fox is sailin’.” Later on, Tasha begins to believe they might be better off getting rid of the still unpredictable and crazy after all these years Abi.
Temple Run. Over at the reward, it was rejuvenation and relaxation as the winners soaked up the Cambodian culture. Kelley, Keith and Spencer made a Final Three deal, but who doesn’t with only seven left in the game? Keith mentioned maybe going for Jeremy as the next target, but Spencer says they should take out Tasha before Jeremy. Their plan of course, involves pulling in Abi. “As long as that fourth person is a sound, rational player, who will make the good decisions for the group,” Spencer said. “The problem is, that fourth person is Abi. And she’s none of those things.”
Immunity Challenge. A water obstacle course to retrieve a key out on a buoy, that unlocks a chest back on shore with puzzle pieces. First to solve their puzzle wins Immunity. Jeremy was the first to reach his puzzle, but Spencer blew through his puzzle in record time, winning Immunity. But the scene at the challenge wasn’t over quite yet…
Taking On Water. Remember the Good Ship Fox that was just talking about sailing? It appeared she sprung a few leaks. In a very scary scene following Spencer’s Immunity win, Tasha – who was trailing behind big time and who was still out in the water – began panicking and thrashing about in the water. It appeared she felt she was drowning. Probst quickly called for “safety” and within seconds scuba divers rescued Tasha and pulled her up to one of the large challenge platforms. Just as Joe’s body gave out at the last challenge, it appeared Tasha’s did the same. She just couldn’t swim, her body had had too much. That led to a large intake of water and then she (rightly so) began panicking. The all-too familiar Survivor doctor checked her out and pretty much said she was OK and would be fine. It was another medical scare that, fortunately, did not result in a medical evacuation. With Tasha given quite the scare, the tribe returned back to camp.
Go For the Goat. Trying to get their new voting block in motion, Spencer, Keith and Kelley approach Abi and try to reel her in. But Tasha and Jeremy were in Spencer’s other ear. “It would be a disservice to the fans who voted us on,” Tasha tells Spencer, referring to letting players like Abi and Keith reach the Final Three. Kimmi reiterates, “It better be four frickin’ Abis tonight” (meaning votes of course). Spencer it seems, is the true swing vote this week. And his dilemma? Does he target the strong players or does he go for the goats? “We” were about to see.
Tribal Council. After Jeff got the jury caught up on the latest happenings and Tasha’s scare, things got very silly with the use of the word “we.” Probst picked up on the fact that several people were referring to “we” when talking about their strategies. Jeremy then told him, “Everybody is a part of a “we.”” When asked about how confident they were in their “we,” Keith came right out and said that he felt very confident that his “we” will reign supreme. That’s one “we” short of the funniest line that might have ever been spoken on Survivor. When Probst asked Jeremy how confident he was in his “we,” Jeremy coyly responded, “in which “we?”” Abi then said, “It makes me wonder which “we” I should go with myself. “We” shall see.”
The Vote. Kimmi is shown voting for Abi and Keith voting for Tasha. No Idols were played. The votes were then read: Abi – Tasha – Abi – Tasha – Abi – Keith – Abi. With that, Abi was blindsided, in a 4-2-1 vote (Abi voted for Keith, with Kelley and Keith voting for Tasha). At least Keith never yelled “stick to the plan!” On her way out, Abi said, “Good luck guys. Well played.” Probst summed up Tribal, simultaneously setting us up for next week’s Finale: “Well another blindside is the perfect set-up to what might just be one of the most unpredictable finishes in Survivor history.” Let’s hope!
Analysis. As always, I will post a separate article with my personal thoughts on the game, you can find my Episode 13 analysis here (link will be active once analysis is live and online).
Next Time On…hard to believe, but the Second Chance Finale is next Wednesday! Probst’s voice-over tells us, “This close to the end, nobody is giving up their second chance without a fight.” There is a also a tease of what Keith calls an “epic” Tribal Council, where we see a brief glimpse of Probst at Tribal standing over the voting urn, presumably after having held a vote, and he says, “The first time in 31 seasons…” What could that possibly mean? Wow, it looks like we are in for an explosive, unpredictable finish indeed.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for my exclusive one-on-one, second-chance interview with Abi, and be sure to follow me,@tomsantilli.
Also, be sure to check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, SurvivorFever.net.