Survivor is back, and this season has all returning castaways who never won and were not considered entertaining enough to be brought back several times until they did win. Instead, these poor castaways were left with “a relentless nightmare of what ifs” and Probst reminds them that “you all failed in your goal! [losers]." It's as though Probst thinks if he copies Donald Trump, maybe he'll be President someday, too.
Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance Power Rankings
Power Rankings - Week 1
By Ben Willoughby
September 29, 2015
While there may not be many memorable players this season, it certainly sets a record for “most people Probst refers to by their last name." Fishbach! Savage! Dietz! Varner! Wiglesworth! Is Wiglesworth the first female Survivor contestant to be last-named? Donaldson, Cochran, Mariano, Hatch, Culpepper, I think so.
The first person voted out was Vytas, who claimed the vote for him was about “total respect” and nothing to do with him showing the various places around camp one can do thrusting yoga poses and giving the women on his tribe creepy massages. I look forward to Aras rubbing in this humiliating defeat hard.
The tribes this season are Ta Keo and Bayon, named for two Cambodian temples that are actually nowhere near the filming location. Ta Keo is the green tribe with several castaways you probably dislike, and Bayon is the pink tribe with several castaways you’ve probably forgotten.
As we are only one episode into the season and Bayon hasn't even been to Tribal Council yet, these aren't formal power rankings with a number against each player - but they do have a general "first to worst" order.
Varner sealed his fate in Season 2 by jumping off a pole for some peanut butter. From the look of him now, the experience hasn't turned him off PB. Varner did not have a great start to the episode, talking about how out of depth he was, how he didn’t bother with strategy in his first season and how these new school Survivors play so hard and fast. But by the end of the episode, he had worked his way into the swing vote position and picked up an ally who was also on the outs with everyone.
However, I don’t know that Varner made a particularly good choice. He says he gets on a lot better with the old schoolers on Ta Keo, but these natural allies are the same people he voted against. Now he’s on the same side as explosive Abi Maria, oddball Shirin, cut-throat Spencer and idol-holding Kelley, and is very probably out of his depth. Still, he can always flip back - no one ever really burns their bridges while they have a vote at Tribal Council.
Spencer admits he was too cocky in his season, and claims to have done a lot of maturing in the whole year since that season was filmed and this one was! However, the editing suggests he hasn’t learned much more than transparent flattery and it’s possible he picked that up just by sitting next to Vytas on the flight over from L.A.
Shirin wanted to lock down her alliance right away, and made the right move to bond with Spencer, the other Survivor nerd on the tribe. This may be a case of “keep your friends close...," but more likely it is “at last, someone who is excited to go through the strategies from every single season."
Kelley says that her “what if?” is “what if I didn’t play with my Dad?”, so not really related to her gameplay at all. But she proves herself by finding a clue to the hidden immunity idol, and then picking the right moment to collect it unseen - when Joe was just about to get the key on his pole.
Peih-Gee says she doesn’t want to get stuck making the same mistakes as last time. Of course, I’m not convinced even Shirin and Spencer can remember what mistakes Peih-Gee made in her season. Anyway, she’s basically ostracized by people who can’t count beyond five, and now seems to be along for Varner's ride.
Abi Maria talks about all the social mistakes she made in her season and how she’ll try to keep her “Brazilian dragon” in check. You can tell Abi Maria thinks of herself as a Daenerys Targaryen type, but in reality she’s more like Viserys.
And so we see Abi Maria admitting that she likes being a villain because villains have more fun, and then telling everyone how upset she is with Peih-Gee for having her bracelet in her bag. She just can’t keep her nature in check. Others may try and take her along as a goat, but this is a dangerous ploy as she is smart enough to recognize this and volatile enough to do something about it. "You know what happens when you wake the dragon!"
Dietz says [correctly] that his social game was his mistake last time. It doesn’t show much improvement this time, because he gushes to Spencer that his children wrote a dossier for him on every contestant. And then he says that his kids told him to ally with Spencer and doesn't do it.
I never saw Woo’s season, so I never realized until now that he went to San Dimas High. Woo called out the old-school new-school difference at Tribal Council, which is not something you do at the first Tribal Council.
Wiglesworth admits that her first season loss has been poking at her for 15 years. She is certainly looking in better shape than the other returnees from 10 or more seasons past. However, within five minutes of Probst yelling “Go!”, she had already made a strategic error by deciding to swim the entire distance from the boat with the stuff on it to the boat with the rice on it, then getting tired and then being overtaken by younger, stronger players. And now she is 0 for 2 in the Quest for Fire Challenge – will that haunt her for the next 15 years?
Everyone thinks Joe is amazing again, thanks to his fire-making and yoga-leading qualities. Though I occasionally wonder how long it will be before Joe dies in a freak gasoline fight accident.
We’ve seen Jeremy put together a proto-alliance of Savage, Keith, Joe, Tasha and excluding Fishbach, but we’ll see if it actually sticks when it comes to a vote. Also, Jeremy is another player who seems to have gone "one, two, three, four, five... we're good."
Ten years after Pearl Islands, Savage still thinks he’s the bees knees and the only blot on his life is his terrible Survivor loss. However, Savage’s teenage daughters think Joe is perfect, and Savage recalls how he told them “Girls, I’m sitting right here!” That’s... pretty creepy when you think about it.
Tasha says that last time she played Survivor she didn’t want to disappoint her family or church members by lying or cheating. But now her church members are encouraging her to lie and backstab - absolution! She seems to be in an alliance, I guess?
Keith “no foreign yoga stuff! In America, we drink coffee!” says he is going with the same strategy as in his last season, with one or two tweaks. Which is what I would recommend to most Survivor returnees – you’re not going to be able to change who you are, and the other castaways will think you're a huge phony if you try too hard. But in Keith’s case, he had a terrible strategy the first time around.
Ciera, the mom-voter, just doesn’t want to let down America this season. Or the small percentage of America who voted for Ciera to come back out of the small percentage of America who voted in the Survivor Second Chance poll. (I kid, Ciera. I voted for you! Don't let me down!)
Kass is a self-described trouble-maker, but she is planning to stay low-key until the merge and then do the trouble-making. But hopefully we'll see it come out earlier, since she seems to be shut out of the proto-alliance.
All we’ve seen of Monica so far was her feeling insecure because she is a tiny woman.
Kimmi’s contribution so far is telling everyone Fishbach is looking for the idol. Probably because if the vote is not for Fishbach, it’ll be for her.
Fishbach feels out of place because he’s a nerd and there are all these big physical guys on his tribe. Well, it’s Survivor. You have one, maybe two nerds a season. Well, three this time - and the other two are on the opposite tribe. Tough luck, Fishbach! But still - Fishbach, if you can't make fire, at least learn how to break pieces of wood into smaller pieces of wood so there's no montage of you being "the kid who gets picked last at gym." On top of that, everyone already thinks he’s sneaky. Cesternino is going to give him so much crap.
Those are the Power Rankings for this first week. Tune in tonight to see... well, not a lot, according to Next Time On Survivor. But be sure to come back here later for Jim's recap.