Survivor: Cambodia

Episode 13 – The Point of “Know” Return

A reader’s advisory for those who didn’t see my comment last week: Analyzing the editing of Survivor can be a lot of fun and when I started this blog I told you that I would only be using the show itself as my source of information. Most of those who have contributed their thoughts have kindly respected my way of operating. You certainly didn’t have to stay away from all the other sources of information so I expected that some of you would incorporate additional information to the editing. I am thankful that no one has openly reported source spoilers in the comments section because I find that discussing our views is as much fun as watching the show itself.

I have known for quite a while that there was a boot list for this season so I was careful not to navigate in certain waters or to read comments from some posters. Unfortunately, I opened a speculation thread about this week’s elimination and ran into more information than I wanted. Is the source accurate? It looks like it so that prevents me from posting any detailed analysis for this episode. It would be dishonest to present anything as if it came simply from “thoughts about the editing”. Like the Survivors, a speculation thread needs trust so I prefer to be open with you and hope that we can continue collaborating in the future seasons.

Since this is the last episode before the finale, I will describe the different scenes and how the story is progressing but I will not add anything to what I have already written about each player’s chances of winning the game. At least, I am happy that the themes and most of the long term players that we established in the early part of the season have carried us this far and we’ll see how things turn out.

Previously on Survivor:

At the last immunity challenge, Joe gave it his all and lost.

After collapsing, Joe was fighting for his life in the game, but the women wanted the biggest threat out.

Tasha is heard putting the target Joe.

Fearing an all-women’s alliance, Jeremy and Spencer faced a difficult decision.

Spencer is heard saying he is terrified either way.

At Tribal Council, Keith was left out of the loop (we see him voting against Tasha) when Jeremy and Spencer voted with the women, sending Joe to the jury.

Say it ain't so, Joe

With the numbers dwindling and the alliances in short supply, uncertainty is at an all-time high.

I would have titled this episode:

The Point of No Return


Are We We?

Night 32

Abi had the first confessional, something fairly usual for someone who is about to be voted out but who still thinks that they are playing a good game. She told us that Tribal Council was a “spectacle” adding that no one had much compassion for Joe at the moment. To the tribe she said: “Payback’s a bitch. You know what? Good riddance.”

What did Joe do to her? Was it because he beat her at the balance challenge? It must be weird inside Abi’s head.

Kelley was happy to realize that they now all have an equal shot at winning challenges.

Spencer said that he didn’t think about that but they could win challenges now.

Since Spencer will win the next immunity challenges, will he win them all until the end? Spencer could be starting a hot streak, contradicting what Kelley said about their equal odds.

Keith’s confessional: “I was a little shocked. I was left out of the loop. They sent Joe to the house. If you were going to do it, that was a good time to do it. I wish I would have known about it, though. I wanted to get Tasha out of there so I need to get down there and talk to some folks.”

Didn’t he suspect it? It seems impossible that Keith was this clueless. Everyone had been gunning for Joe for quite a while.

Kelley wanted a recap of the votes so Kimmi told her that Tasha got one, two for Abi and five for Joe. Someone corrected her: Six for him.

That is correct; Abi only received one vote.

Tasha’s confessional: “Keith decided to vote for me. I’m going to make sure I keep my eye on Keith because he’s the last person I want the guys to join forces with or some of the girls. Keith just put a target on his back.”

It is interesting to note that it will be Tasha who will deflect the vote away from Keith later on.

Day 33

The music was quite peaceful, pan flutes greeting the morning.

Jeremy offered a handshake to Kelley, saying: “Day thirty-three, Kels.”

Old Allies

Old Allies

She answered: “I know. Good job, baby.”

Turning to Keith, Jeremy said: “Who would have thunk it? Three Hunahpu originals?”

They were all surprised to have made the Final Seven.

I find it hard to believe that this was the first time these three talked about their first season together, but that’s the way it’s is presented.

Kelley’s confessional: “There’s seven people so every decision from here on out could affect your end game. So I’m not closed off to anything. I have to keep my options opened which is what I’ve tried to do this entire game. It’s a good position to be in, but it’s also kind of stressful because what is the right choice? I don’t know right now.”

Jeremy and Spencer were out for what appears to be their new morning routine: The coffee break.

A Cup of Joe

A Cup of Joe

Spencer was deeply concerned while Jeremy had “extreme buyer’s remorse.”

Spencer’s confessional: “The last Tribal Council, I took out a challenge beast– I took out Joe and now I have to hope that there is a group of four for me which is the new magic number with seven left. Jeremy and I realized that there very well might be a girls’ alliance that could take us out even though Tasha told me honestly “my ideal final three is you and Jeremy”. If the girls’ thing is real, I have no options and I don’t want to play from the bottom again. It is exhausting; it’s demoralizing. I feel my game slipping away. It’s always a scary thing. I just pray that I can keep it together going towards the end.”

They had to make sure Tasha and Kimmi were with them.

The music was now more stressful, rapid strokes on the violins had replaced the calm flute. Spencer’s comment that he didn’t want to wind up on the bottom again because it’s tough to play that way tells us about the challenge that Kelley will face once again after this episode.

Day 33 – The Reward Challenge

After telling them that they would be spending the night in the temple, Jeff mentioned that Keith had won this challenge before.

Jiffy may as well have told the group that they should get rid of Keith.

Some fun comments:

  • “Spencer just takes off. Hope he has enough rope.”
  • “Nothing is easy on Survivor.”

    Nothing is Easy

    Nothing is Easy

  • “Keith is going to start tossing sandbags. Jeremy does not have enough rope…Big fall.”
  • Jeremy trying to untangle that rope. Rope management coming into play.”

I wonder if “rope” symbolized votes.

Keith won by a big margin.

He picked Kelley first, repaying her for giving him a chance to be with Big D. He chose Spencer next because he missed out on time with his girlfriend.

Unhappy Camper

Unhappy Camper

Jeremy looked upset.

Keith said he didn’t have much logic to his choices and he couldn’t even remember Tasha’s name.

You had written it down just the night before!

Tasha said that she always takes advantage of the opportunity, whether on reward or back at camp. For her, it was time to go to work.

Tasha’s confessional: “I understand that Keith was exhausted, but he couldn’t even remember my name let alone trying to explain his rationale. Is Keith playing up his southern I’m-along-for-the-ride role or is he really that slow?”

Kelley’s confessional: “Keith, Spencer and I get to go on this amazing reward and I’m going to take advantage of these two people that I am with on reward. I mean, I haven’t had a shot at an alliance this entire game and you do want to have an alliance to some degree or at least trust in some people because you have to.”

This stresses her upcoming predicament. Keith will soon be the only one left she can trust.


Everyone agreed that Keith was good in challenges. Kimmi called him the new golden boy.

Tasha proposed voting out Keith and the other women agreed.

Abi then had a second confessional. Here she told us she wanted to make it to day 39 and that many people see her as a goat so she would use those people. She enjoyed watching them scrambling because she was a villain and villains have more fun.

Well, maybe not this time, Abi!

Seeing Jeremy’s hesitation, Tasha and Kimmi reassured him that they wouldn’t do an all-girls’ alliance. Jeremy said he trusted them.

Jeremy’s confessional: “The girls are all saying: “Let’s get out Keith. Let’s get out Keith.” That’s an option, but I have buyer’s remorse right now because we should have kept Joe and gotten rid of Abi. I’m not even mad about not going on that reward today. Listen, I make it on day 39, give me that breakfast and let me tell everybody on that jury why I deserve that million dollars. That’s all I want.”

A quote like this fits very well in a winner’s story. The problem is that others will have strong quotes before the episode’s end.

Tasha’s confessional: “I understand that you want to get to the finals, but the only way to get there is with people that you trust. You can trust me. At this point, I think Jeremy needs to let go a little bit, let me make a move in the game and if the answer is no then I will find someone else. People better get on board or they’ll miss this ship because Fox is sailing.”

Maybe I’m macabre but I found it funny to hear that she is sailing when she will soon come close to drowning.

The Temples

Reaching the grounds of the temple, Spencer said: “The last time we were here, we looked a little bit different.”

According to the theme of his story, Spencer didn’t only look different. He truly was different.

Spencer’s confessional: “I’ve never seen a better reward. Cambodian Temples! It’s amazing to the point that I am slapping myself every two minutes that I’m here, that I’m seeing what I am seeing. Thirty-three days ago, I walked right here with this incredible journey ahead of me and now to come back here and seeing these temples and doing what I wanted to do in my second chance which is show through this game how I have changed and use that change to win; it’s more than the rejuvenation that I need to go through these last six days.”

This is the second winning quote of the evening. Spencer talks about a journey, but he goes beyond that journey and talks about winning.

We then saw the Buddhist monk spraying some water on Kelley.

The Monk Picked Kelley also!

The Monk Picked Kelley Also!

This could be a sign that she is the chosen one.

Keith’s confessional: “People will ask me: where’s Keith been for the last thirty days? Is he sitting in a temple in Cambodia or did he just step out of a shuttle back from Mars? I’d say he’s back from Mars because he damn sure isn’t in Cambodia. That’s how amazing this is. It’s very impressive. You just don’t come across stuff like that. I don’t know how you can trump this to tell you the truth.”

The dancers were very impressive indeed.

Welcome to Cambodia

Welcome to Cambodia

Kelley’s confessional: “We got this really cultural experience. I’ll never do that in my life so, out of all the rewards, this was such a great one to win. I haven’t had the easiest go in this game, I’ve been on the bottom a lot so coming for a second chance, I just wanted to prove that I could do it. It’s so close to the end of the game, it’s like: Wow! I’m almost there.”

Asked how things were going back at camp, Kelley was sure that Abi wouldn’t go with Jeremy, Tasha, and Kimmi. She thought they’d be okay with Abi.

Kelley’s next confessional: “Being on a reward with Spencer and Keith, it’s the perfect time to figure out where they are at. I just want to get to the Final Three. That’s the goal in this game.”

While it isn’t as explicit as Jeremy and Spencer’s quotes, a confessional like this has been perceived as a winner’s quote in the past.

They agreed on a Final Three deal.

Spencer’s confessional: “Every time you are at a reward with this few people left in the game, you’re probably going to make a Final Three deal. Wentworth, Keith and I made a pact to go to the Final Three, but it’s too early for me to say that there’s any Final Three that I’m locked in to. If I could choose any Final Three, I would love to be sitting there with Abi and with Keith. It’s a question of making it happen now.”

Can Spencer win after eliminating Abi? This is the question that comes to mind after this confessional.

Keith proposed voting out Jeremy. Spencer said they should do Jeremy second because they would be expecting that move. He added: “I think it would make sense to do Tasha and then Jeremy.”

Spencer’s confessional: “We could use Abi for a number right now, take our four and go after Tasha.” In the middle of the confessional, we heard Kelley say: “I want Tasha gone.” Spencer continued: “We are now very solid so all is well and good as long as that fourth person is feeling good, as long as that fourth person is a sound, rational player who will make a good decision for our group. The problem is that fourth person is Abi who is none of those things.”

Keith had a good laugh when Spencer said that they would wake up on day 38 with Abi.


Tasha wanted to have a talk with Jeremy so she asked Abi for some privacy.

Shoot me now

Shoot Me Now

Tasha’s gesture showed that Spencer wasn’t the only one that had enough of Abi.

Abi’s confessional told us that she wasn’t too pleased with Tasha. She thought she had more to offer than Jeremy.

Jeremy in confessional: “Is Abi a Scorpio because Scorpios are crazy. I’ve got two of them in my house that’s why I drink.”

To Kimmi and Tasha, Jeremy said he couldn’t imagine dating Abi.

Tasha’s confessional: “You have to be careful with everything you say around Abi and I’ve come too far to let Abi-Maria Gomes ruin my game.”

Sitting in the hammock with Jeremy, Tasha switched the vote from Keith to Abi. She told Jeremy that he’d just have to kill the challenges because it would be messy to keep Abi.

Voting out Abi cost either Lisa or Mike a million dollars. Who will lose the money this time?

Tasha’s confessional continued: “Keith is a credible threat, but Abi is very volatile. If I say the wrong thing or make the wrong joke, she could totally screw up my game. She’ll flip in a heartbeat.”

Tasha told Jeremy that getting rid of Abi would be the final big move to make. “If we screw this one vote, we are done,” she said.

Jeremy’s confessional: “Tasha said: What do you think if we vote Abi out? It does give me one less girl that I have to worry about so I like that idea. Tasha is kind of iffy on Spencer. She doesn’t know if he’s going to be a hundred percent. It is a possibility that he could jump ship and just run to tell Kelley and Keith the whole plan and it would blow up in our face.”

The Immunity Challenge

Jeff said that this was the puzzle that no one chose at the beginning of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” season.

Was that the one that was supposed to be really tough? Yes. Jeff we saw how tough it was.

Jeremy and Spencer had the early lead with Kelley and Keith close behind. Jeremy soon pulled in first, everyone else falling way behind. Keith and Kimmi had big falls. Tasha started struggling before reaching the water and then she had a belly flop when she entered the water.

It was Jeremy and Spencer in the lead, Keith and Wentworth right behind. Spencer soon took the lead. Kimmi and Abi went passed Tasha who was now really struggling at the buoy. Spencer then took a big hit, enabling Jeremy to catch up. This challenge would show “what they were made of,” said Jeff. Jeremy started on the puzzle first, but it didn’t matter: Spencer only needed 15 seconds to figure it out.

Jiffy to the Rescue

Jiffy to the Rescue

That’s when Tasha needed help. The staff members were quickly there, the doctor joined her on the platform and Jeff made his way by boat.

I have to be in that Shot!

I Have to Be in That Shot!

The players on shore looked worried but Tasha was soon on her feet.

I look good in a Cape

I Look Good in a Cape

Back on shore, Kimmi told Tasha that she scared her. Tasha said she scared herself.

After a moment, Jeff said: “Shall we finish the other part of this story which is a massive win by Spencer.”

With Jeremy and Keith providing shade for Tasha, Jeff mentioned the camaraderie within the group but that one was about to go.

Keith’s confessional: “Tasha almost drowned… That’s how fast something like that can happen but Spencer and Kelley, we talked about it on the reward. We need to reel Abi back in and that’s four. Then it’s bam Tasha, bam Kimmi, bam Jeremy. We are sitting at four! Easy!”

Because of the placement of this confessional, I thought Keith could be the one going at this point.

Day 35

Abi was the first to comfort Tasha when they got back to camp.

I wonder if Tasha’s misadventure influenced Abi’s vote. Did Abi feel so sorry for Tasha that she couldn’t vote against her?

Tasha’s confessional: “At the immunity challenge, my mind is saying swim, live, and I feel like I’m drowning, just taking in water. It was very scary for me. I’m already not like the greatest swimmer…The ocean is just a different animal and I lost it.” She took a walk to clear her mind while her confessional continued: “At this point, I am so nervous about tonight because I suspect that maybe Wentworth, Keith, and Spencer bonded on the reward. So, I need to make sure that Spencer is still with Jeremy, Kimmi and myself because Abi must go.”

Right after that, we saw Spencer, Keith, Kelley and Abi saying that they were still voting against Tasha. Abi said she felt good about that.

She didn’t look too convincing.

In confessional, Abi said that being there was the only thing that mattered. She was starting to be proud of her résumé and she was thinking about who she was going to bring to the end.

As if it would ever have been HER choice!

Changing Colors

Changing Colors

A chameleon slowly came into focus and we saw that it was Spencer who was changing “colors”.

Tasha was talking to Spencer and Jeremy: “Here is the plan: We cannot let Wentworth, Abi and Keith make it to the end. That would be an abomination.”

“In this season, right?” asked Spencer.

Tasha agreed: “Maybe another season you’re gonna like take a goat. This season it would be a disservice to the fans who voted us on, to all the great strategy and the blindsides. It has to be Abi.”

I found that Tasha was being very sanctimonious here.  Doesn’t she realize that fans voted for Wentworth, Abi and Keith also? Or is it that she thinks HER fans are the only one that matter. Her words are particularly unsavory considering they had just eliminated Joe. They weren’t thinking of the fans then and they wouldn’t have been able to do it without Keith’s effort. We’ve seen many hypocritical players, but this remark was an abomination to use her word. Personally, I think Keith, Kelley and even, in some weird way, Abi did more for the enjoyment of this season than Tasha who has mostly been “under the radar”.

Spencer put out his hand, saying: “To Day 39 guys.”

Spencer’s confessional: “I’ve had control of my fate for a long time in this game and I don’t want to give it up. So, tonight, going into tribal my two options are: Go with Kimmi, Jeremy, and Tasha and target these weak players (Keith is shown sleeping in the hammock and then Abi walking alone in the woods) who everyone wants to drag to the end, like Abi. My other option is to go with Wentworth, Abi, and Keith and take out the big guns and pray that I get to the end with these dream goats. (Keith and Abi were shown once again for good measure). It’s the breaking point now. It’s the Final Seven. It’s a point of no return.”

Isn’t it funny that Keith was called the new “Golden Boy” and the “Dream Goat” all in the same episode? Which is it?

Following Jeremy

Following Jeremy

Spencer was also shown following Jeremy as they left the clearing at the moment we heard him say that he didn’t want to give up his control of the game. In the picture, he was the actual follower. Is that how it will be perceived in the end?

Tribal Council

Keith first talked about the great reward.

Spencer said that it was the kind of reward that connects the players to the country they are visiting. He also mentioned the talks he was missing back at camp.

Tasha talked about her rough day.

Jeremy said it was a scary moment.

Spencer said that any event has an effect on the game, good or bad.

Asked about numbers, Kimmi said “we” had been wondering if “we” had enough numbers to vote one way and have a back-up plan in case an idol is played.

Jeff noted Kimmi’s use of the pronoun “we”. He asked Keith about it.

Keith said that the vote would get them back to where “we” needed to be.

Turning to Spencer, Jeff noted that Keith also talked about “we”.

Spencer said that he was a member of “Club We”.

Jeremy said that he saw five voting blocs during the day. He added: “There were five “wees”. Everybody is part of a “we”.

Tasha said that people were keeping their options open but that they could be missing the opportunity to lock in something that would bring them to the end.

Keith was confident in his “we”. He was ready to vote.

Shaking his head, Spencer said that he was admiring Keith’s confidence. He said that he was worried despite having the necklace.

Asked if he was confident about his “we”, Jeremy returned the question: “Which “we”?”

That impressed both Kelley and Jeff.

Abi said that such an answer was exciting and it made her wonder which “we” she should choose.

In the end, she would be the only one without a “we”.

Abi voted for Keith.

Keith and Kelley voted for Tasha.

Tasha, Kimmi, Jeremy, and Spencer formed the “we” who voted together against Abi.

It looks like “we” wasted an opportunity. The whole time Jeff read the votes, we never had a close-up reaction from the jury members, only one quick shot of the whole panel in the middle of the process and they had no expression on their face at the time. We still didn’t see the jury when Jeff made the final call and Abi got up to get her torch. The only interesting reaction came from Kelley who was trying to figure out what happened. We only had another quick image of the whole panel when Abi walked in front of them. The lack of focus on the jury tells us that they weren’t impressed by the evening’s main event.

Jeff said that this new blindside was the perfect set-up for one of the most unpredictable finish in the history of Survivor.

He was the only one excited about this Tribal Council, but he is paid to be excited. The camera followed Kelley as she grabbed her torch and walked out of the council area. Kelley and her idol could be the only variables left before that final vote.

The Story

I found it extremely funny to see how quickly the idea of a women’s alliance was dropped. Kimmi didn’t even get a confessional to let us hear her thoughts when she found out that Tasha was rejecting her “big move”. This opens up the door to many Karmic fruits in the upcoming days:

  • In Cagayan, that women’s alliance never came to fruition because Trish, Jefra, and Kass didn’t want to go with Tasha so it was quite fitting to see that it was Tasha who turned it down this time. She certainly would have profited from that alliance in Cagayan, but she was never given the chance. Here Tasha had the option clearly in hand but she found it too abominable to follow that route. She would have probably profited from it this time also.

  • In SJDS, Jeremy introduced himself as a man who had a good rapport with women and he made his first alliance with the women on his tribe. This season he feared the women so much that he voted against Abi to eliminate that threat. Maybe this vote should be the one that gives him buyer’s remorse because, to the jury, it looked like a wasted opportunity.

  • Spencer played a very strong game and he reached the crucial moment in the game with all the cards in hand. Since Kelley agreed to vote against Tasha, Spencer didn’t choose the other option because he was scared of the “women’s alliance”.  It seems that he really bought into Tasha’s mentality that it would be abominable to actually play the game. If Spencer loses the jury vote he will have only himself to blame.

I found it really irritating to hear Tasha talk about the disservice they would be doing to the fans by letting Wentworth, Keith and Abi make it to the end. She should be thinking about her game instead of thinking about fan reaction. If they play for the fans then this is all worthless. May as well forget that it’s a social experiment, give the fans the final vote and call it a “beauty” pageant.

This season is coming to an end and I hope you will enjoy the final episode. I reached the Point of “Know” Return so I will not elaborate on each player’s perspective for the final episode. This season has been dominated by players from Cagayan and SJDS which must make production really happy. That makes me wonder if production played a role in that domination like they did in Cook Islands, Heroes versus Villains and Redemption Island.

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