Survivor: Cambodia

Episode 4- Evolution and Change

The Recap

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

The new Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo 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 Tribal Council, 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 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 Ta Keo 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.”

Where did that thing go?

Where did that thing go?

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. Okay, that was one challenge win. Big deal! Their performance in the very next 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 seafood. 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 hellhole 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 backward 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. Who Cares? Such a Snoozefest

Yawn. Who Cares? Such a Snoozefest!

It was a Hero Challenge:

Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo 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.

Buff-o-Matic

Buff-o-Matic

 

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 Ta Keo 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 pounds 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.

Ta Keo 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 gameplay 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 Ta Keo 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.”

Now that's an idea!

Now that’s an idea!

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 Ta Keo. 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.

Sneaky Sneaky

Sneaky, Sneaky

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.”

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 Ta Keo.

Varner was Angkor’s caller, Kass got the job for Ta Keo, 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 Ta Keo back in this challenge…Joe with a full on sprint. Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo 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.

Varner tastes like Chicken

Varner Tastes Like Chicken

 

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 anytime 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 bitch!” 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 Tribal Council 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 “Ta Keo-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 confessionals 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, ethical conduct, a need to improve and following 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, “bernique1!

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 just when 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 Ta Keo 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 out 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 that 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 Lil in Morgan. He didn’t handle them properly, but 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 outgoing 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 evolution and change:

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.  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.  Maybe Tasha is planning on unleashing the furor that is Abi on the unsuspecting members of her original alliance!

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 for 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 gameplay 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 that 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.

1 Pronounced Bear-nick: It is a French slang word used to say “nothing” with a touch of disappointment.

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