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 as 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
The prolonged notes from wind instruments gave a very languid tone to the music. It suited the moment since most players were still sleeping.I’m Dying Here…[/caption]
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 schoolyard 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 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 schoolyard 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.”
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 voiceover / “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 onto 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 license. 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 two 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 Final Tribal Council 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. Any time 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.
Then we saw Stephen waving good-bye, giving the impression that he could get voted out at the upcoming Tribal Council. Maybe that was a hint for the next time Joe’s future is on the line.
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 balls 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: Okay, 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 ’til 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.”
Kass entered the jury giving the finger to the group.
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.
Kass simply said: “Yes!”
As a 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 a big ass alliance!
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.”
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 Free Agents – These three had been closely aligned with Andrew, so where will they go now?
Kelly: Ever since she joined Savage in Ta Keo, 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 to 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 license 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 Final Tribal Council 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 over 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 is 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 Tribal Council! 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
Abi: 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, Ta Keo 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.