With three tribes in the game, they each have their own story:
- Ta Keo 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 the 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 tribemates, 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 okay. 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! 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 few reactions when Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo and it was Fishbach and Wiglesworth for Bayon.
Woo was in the barrel for Angkor, Kelley for Ta Keo 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.”
Despite Monica’s problems with the bags, Bayon still made it to the skeeball 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. Ta Keo 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.
Ta Keo 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 her a chair, Kelley asked where her crown was. Terry offered one symbolically.
Could she be crowned after 39 days? This could be a big hint. 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 was 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 on 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 superfan 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? 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 locusts 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 Ta Keo 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 many 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.
Going back to last week’s hero’s challenge, it was interesting to see Woo, Joe and Keith acting as the heroes this time. They were the ones that raced up in relief of their teammates, not Andrew or Terry. It told us that those two don’t always insist on being the hero like some suggested. They can let someone else have that role.
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 Ta Keo, most likely 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. 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 Ta Keo, it would be all they need to consolidate their final five and it would send Stephen, Jeremy and Kimmi to loser lodge.
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 Ta Keo.
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 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.”
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 Ta Keo 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 her 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 three of the remaining 14 players can be taken out of contention. The 11 others could still be our Sole Survivor even if some are either lacking substance or giving us reasons to question their chances.
Some are showing their Ignorance:
Abi: 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. At one point, he won’t have immunity and the others won’t wait to give him a third chance.
Keith: 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 Ta Keo 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 tribemates. 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, but also 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 the 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 Ta Keo 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 were 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, Ta Keo 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 afterward. 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 then 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 Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo member joining 4 Bayon tribemates. 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 Ta Keo 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 Ta Keo’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.