Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance Recap
Episode 3 - We Got A Rat
By Jim Van Nest
October 12, 2015

All this has happened before and will happen again.

Hello, good people, and welcome back to Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance! We're up to Episode 3 and all people are talking about is the big tribal switch/split/expansion tonight. But before we get to that, let's do a quickie recap of where we stand right now. Bayon is in pink and they're all just one big happy hammock family, except for Stephen. Everything he says or does seems to backfire on him. I'm quite sure that Savage could come up with some kind of argument for why you should punch a puppy, if Stephen announced himself as pro-puppy. Anyway, Bayon is living large after winning the first two reward/immunity challenges. A tribal switch could be a disaster for this entire tribe, save Stephen.

Over at Ta Keo, they're a hot mess. They keep claiming some sort of old school vs. new school thing, but really, they're all flying by the seat of their pants while Jeff Varner does his best to control everyone. Abi-Maria has reverted back to the Survivor I couldn't stand on Philippines and unless something she says has some sort of major relevance to the outcome of the game, she'll be mostly ignored on these pages. Sure, you can say or do anything you want on this show, but I don't have to spend any time on it.

That being said, Varner has everyone convinced that Shirin and Spencer are evil and need to go. Apparently, Shirin mounted a counter-strike on him, which would explain why she took the walk of shame instead of the much more dangerous Spencer. This tribe needs something to help it get on the winning track. Maybe the split will work out for them. It is definitely coming at the right time for Spencer. If the Survivor Gods love me, they'll somehow figure out a way to get Spencer and Fishbach on the same tribe. Of course, as always, there's one way to find out - let's get to tonight's episode!

We begin tonight's episode at the Ta Keo camp as they return from Tribal. Spencer thanks the tribe for keeping him in the game and reiterates his plan to not be running around all crazy at camp. He tells us that he is really hoping to up his social game to try to earn more days in the game. He says the people who are able to change have been rewarded. As the tribe continues to talk, Terry lets them all know that if they make the finals, the vote tonight will be a feather in their cap - taking out one of the most strategic players he's ever seen. When, exactly did Dietz stop watching Survivor? Terry then tells us that he has found himself on top of the game right now. He has the numbers and he's in a good spot within those numbers. He has his social game and he is on top of the world. Wow - sounds like someone will be REALLY disappointed in a couple segments.

The sun rises on a new day and we get our first Probst Sighting of the episode. As Bayon gets a look at the new Ta Keo tribe, Kass seems surprised to see Shirin gone; no one else seems that shocked. Jeff asks Varner if the vote last night has helped team unity. "Hell yes." Woo agrees and says they're all pumped for this challenge to hopefully get some more team unity. Jeff then asks how Kass how she's holding up. "Great, man, this is the freakin’ love tribe." Jeff tells them all that he's glad they're all happy and everything's going well. Sounds like a good time to change things up. "Drop your buffs."

And there is shock through all 18 people. That HAS to be music to Stephen and Spencer's ears. Meanwhile, Dietz and Savage can't be happy at all with what is happening. Jeff then drops the second bomb; they're switching from two tribes to three tribes. Each person will grab a box and inside it will be their new buff. Six people will end up at Bayon and six will end up at Ta Keo. The other six will end up at a new beach and will have to start from scratch. They'll be given the same supplies to begin that they were just seven days ago and they'll have to rebuild their camp. He asks Savage about this, and Andrew says he's real scared about the shakeup. He tells us that he hasn't had a lot of luck with Survivor twists, so the two to three announcement was not something he wanted to hear. "I don't want to swap." So, everyone takes their package and we wait for the reveal.

When all the dust has settled, the new Bayon Tribe is Jeremy, Fishbach, Kimmi, Monica, Spencer (the Survivor Gods smile on me) and Wiglesworth.

The new Ta Keo Tribe is Terry, Wentworth, Joe, Kass, Keith and Ciera. Um, WOW, that tribe is now stacked.

The new new tribe will be called Angkor; they'll wear yellow. It includes Savage, Tasha, Abi-Maria, Peih-Gee, Varner and Woo.

Jeff makes note that there are four former Bayon members on both the new Bayon and Ta Keo tribes, while the Ta Keos outnumber Bayons on Angkor 4-2. He asks Andrew about this and he gives a really good answer, I think. You can tell by his body language that he hates this. He doesn't want to go and he's pissed off. There's a real good chance he could piss off the majority alliance on his tribe right here, but he does a real good job of not making it personal. He says that he is overwhelmed. He's on the wrong side of the numbers and over the next couple days they have a crap-ton of work to do to build a whole new camp and he's just devastated. So, he doesn't complain about the people or anything specific, but rather about how the numbers shake up and all the work that they will face as a tribe. In confessionals, Joe tells us how stacked his tribe is (um, ya think?) and how he feels like they could take control of this game. Spencer tells us that he feels like he has a second life now and that the Survivor Gods must feel like he deserves another shot. He doesn't plan to waste it. And with that, everyone head back to camp - Jeff has nothin' for any of you, and we have to roll the opening credits.

We come back from break to the new Angkor beach. Everyone is a little dejected as they get to the beach. They do see flint, so they're happy about that. But they have no food and a quick search of the area shows very little bamboo. Like the swap wasn't bad enough, they get another crotch kick when they get to their new home. I have to say, I'm not all too thrilled about the execution of this twist. I like the tribe expansion; I think that's really awesome. But it's not fair at all to these six people who have to start from scratch and, oh by the way, have no food or building materials to work with. How can they be expected to be even remotely competitive at any challenge? Anyway, as everyone starts to split off to see what they can find to set up a camp, Varner complains a little about Andrew. Woo takes this time to state the obvious; they're 4-2 in this tribe. So, please can't we just stay together and vote those two out. It's really simple. Right? RIGHT?? Peih-Gee tells us that the new camp basically sucks and the only good thing about it is that they have the numbers.

Speaking of the numbers, where are Savage and Tasha anyway? We join these two in the jungle and Tasha is laying it out. Someone on that tribe had to be on the outs; they just need to figure out who it is. She feels that she is equipped to come out of this situation ok, it'll just take some work.

We check in with the new Ta Keo tribe for the first time. Baby Monkey Sighting!!! Even better than a Probst sighting. That damn thing is so cute, I want to take him home with me and name him Abu. Sorry, got off track. Everyone hugs and introduces and stuff and Joe and Terry bro-down over how they'll never lose. Terry is SO stoked about his new tribe. Sure, he's down 4-2 right now but he really doesn’t see them ever losing a challenge, so let's party! And party they shall. They're going to have chicken for dinner. No, Joe, no! There it goes. Joe just loves to kill and cook a chicken.

We overhear a conversation between Kass and Ciera talking about how amazing their new tribe is. They both feel good about Keith and Joe and they're thrilled that the got the two strongest Ta Keo members in Terry and Kelley. Ciera tells us she feels like she hit the jackpot. They shouldn't lose, but even if they do, she is in the 4-2 advantage so everything is coming up aces for Ciera. And while Terry loves the new tribe and excited about it, Kelley is being a bit more practical. She knows she's down 4-2, so she's throwing Terry under the bus as much as humanly possible. When asked about an idol, Kelley says she doesn't know if anyone found it, but that Terry and Spencer spent the most time looking for it. This way, if things go wonky and they actually lose a challenge, she hopes that Terry will be first choice of boot and not her.

We come back from break to our first visit with the new love tribe, Bayon. After a small conversation comparing camps, someone named Monica has a confessional. She tells us that they have the 4-2 numbers advantage so she's feeling pretty good about things. Stephen talks about how he is so glad to be out of "Camp Macho," where he was clearly on the bottom. He has a much stronger place in the game now and it's backed up by shots of the Bayon 4 confirming that they're together and won't break. As Stephen tells us that he feels like he's finally safe, we're treated to one more do-do moment of watching him try to open a coconut with a machete.

When Spencer comes over to help, we hear from the young lad for the first time on his new tribe. He once again states his goal of trying to connect with people on his new tribe. He still feels it's the main thing lacking from his game. So we see him in conversation with Jeremy. He's talking about issues with his girlfriend back home and when to say the "L" word. What's crazy here is that in trying to relate to someone on a personal level, Spencer is actually doing the perfect thing for connecting with a guy like Jeremy. Jeremy strikes me as a guy who likes to take the young guy under his wing and mentor him. He seems to enjoy passing on his experience and knowledge to a kid who's legitimately asking for it. And that's exactly what is happening here. I don't know if Spencer realizes it or not, but he's actually developing a social game. Jeremy tells us how much he likes Spencer and enjoyed talking to him. He says that he doesn't know how long they'll keep him, but right now Spencer is in no danger on this tribe.

As the clouds and storm begin to roll in, it's time to check back in on Angkor. When we get there, the whole tribe is tucked under their makeshift shelter except Varner. He's out on the beach with both middle fingers pointed to the sky having a little Lieutenant Dan meltdown. He hates this place. After what seems like a while under the shelter, Peih-Gee makes the casual notice that Abi-Maria is nowhere near as wet as everyone else. Of course, she's in the middle of the shelter with people blocking the weather from all directions. And Peih-Gee doesn't even say this in a mad or accusing tone, just kind of an observation and conversation starter. Well, sometimes that's all it takes.

Abi takes it as an attack and quickly starts looking around for backup from someone else. It's just same ol’, same ol’. Tasha, of course, notices this and figures there might be bad blood between our two hyphenated ladies. She tells us that she plans on using every minute of what's left of the day to try to make a new plan - which leads us to a Tasha and Abi conversation as they weave fronds. Abi asks about the dynamic of the old tribe and Tasha lets her know that she and Savage are "golden" with the main alliance in the Bayon tribe, and that she can guarantee Abi a place in that alliance when the eventual merge happens. Of course, that's all Abi needs to hear, she's ready to jump ship. She is quick to dance with the first person that tells her she's pretty. I can't stand her on this show.

The next conversation we see is Savage, Tasha and Varner. Andrew talks about how he really wants to make the jury this time, since he just missed it his first time around. So Tasha is talking numbers with Jeff. She mentions the divide on the other tribes and if they lose, she can guarantee that the Ta Keo people will be going home. She says if that starts happening, Jeff is going to need them if he wants to stay in the game after the merge. Jeff tells us that Savage and Tasha are offering him the jury and frankly, he's not that impressed with that offer. He wants to yell at them that they're on the bottom and are in no place to be promising anyone anything. He goes on to say that he's watching them running up and down the beach and he's worried that they may get to Abi-Maria or Peih-Gee, so he needs to do whatever it takes to keep them intact.

We come back from break to one of the most amazing sunset shots I've ever seen - beautiful colors and a lone tree shadowed against that incredible sky. Only Bayon could have a view that amazing. Stephen is talking about the numbers advantage that they have, but he's worried about the idol. He says as much to Jeremy. He tells us that his concern about the idol is that one of the minority could find it. He seems to truly see the idol as a community property now and if anyone in his group of four could find it, he's good with that. He feels it could be a great bonding item for his new alliance.

So, the Bayon 4 head out to try to find an idol. We get several shots of everyone looking around, scanning everywhere - in every funny looking tree, under every weird looking rock and in anything that looks like it could be a good idol hiding spot. Jeremy lays out the frustration of looking for the idol. He has no idea where it is and is starting to wonder if it exists at all. As an aside, I love Jeremy as a storyteller. He's very emotional and everything he says has such power behind it. He's a great mouthpiece for the season. Despite the fact that they are searching as a group, no one is around when Jeremy unearths the package that they've all been searching for. He tells us that he's been waiting two seasons to find this thing and that, of course, it's not an idol. It's a clue to the idol. And all he has to do is wait until 18 people are around him and he can grab it at the next challenge. But he's gonna make it work and bring that idol home.

And with that, we have an Immunity Idol AND a Probst Sighting!! I really do appreciate the way they are highlighting the location of the idols at these challenges so that we, as an audience, can keep an eye on them. So Jeff brings them all in, shows off the second immunity idol and explains the challenge. The tribes will push/pull a cart through an obstacle course collecting three big chests of puzzle pieces. Once they have all three chests, they'll need to disassemble the cart to get it through another obstacle. On the other side, they'll put it back together, take it over a rough course and then finally, two people will be able to work on the puzzle. First two tribes to complete their puzzle win immunity. He then lets us know that this was the first challenge on the Cagayan season and that the Brains tribe (Kass, Spencer and Tasha) all failed miserably on it. Since they are all split up now, he says that two of them will get their redemption on it. One, unfortunately, will not.

With eyes on the hidden idol, the challenge begins. The idol is stuck on the third of the three chests. Setting this up, Jeremy has set himself up as the guy to unlock the locks on the chests. Ta Keo, by the way, has all three chests...the other tribes only two. As Bayon gets to the third key and chest, Jeremy takes his spot at the chest, grabs the idol and then receives the key to unlock the chest. Doesn't skip a beat, and no one sees him at all.

By now, Bayon has taken the lead on Angkor with Ta Keo still way out in front. Ta Keo is the first to take apart their cart, get it through the obstacle and put it back together. They are first to the puzzle portion of the challenge. The other tribes are now neck and neck. Joe and Kass take the puzzle for Ta Keo. Peih-Gee and Tasha start their puzzle at the same time as Spencer and Monica. Kass and Joe are killing it; I see no way that Ta Keo can lose at this point. Angkor and Bayon are still neck and neck when Jeremy takes over for Monica to work with Spencer. And here is where they start to make their move. Angkor is falling behind. As they struggle, Ta Keo places their last piece and they win immunity. Bayon is now on their third section of the puzzle with a slight lead on Angkor. Bayon is down to five pieces, while Angkor still has 10.

Despite a great effort from Woo for Angkor, the lead was just too big and Bayon wins immunity, sending the new Angkor tribe to Tribal Council. Normally, this is where Jeff would send everyone back to camp, but Varner seems to have an agenda before they go. He is trying to mouth a message to Wiglesworth over at Bayon. We watched this back several times and the best I can come up with is that he told her to go to "Kimmi and Monica."

Couple things here. First, whichever camera person noticed Varner and zoomed in on him as he mouthed his message, that's quality right there. Second, why would he say anything to her when her tribe isn't going to Tribal? That was so dumb for a guy who'd been playing such a strong game up to this point. Unfortunately for Jeff, the camera person wasn't the only one to see him, Tasha notices and quickly puts her arms up and gets between him and Wiglesworth, exclaiming, "We got a rat." Knowing he's busted, you can see the concern come over Varner's face as Jeff takes to the task at hand of handing out a couple immunity idols.

Of course, Probst has to ask what happened. Varner tries to do damage control but he only makes it worse. He points out that everyone is trying to make deals and points them out. Woo notices that, like always, he's the last to know about anything and Varner seems to be doing it again. And faster than Mike Holloway can decide not to take a letter from home, Jeff Varner went from being large and in charge to the most likely to be booted tonight. Wow. You never can predict when a front-runner will completely blow up their own game. Amazing!

As we come back to Angkor camp, Andrew tells us that he felt certain he was the first to go, but then Varner melted down at the challenge and now he may have the ammo he needs to save his own neck. The first people he talks to are Peih-Gee and Woo, reminding them that if they take him out, they're in serious trouble with the physical parts of these challenges. He makes his pitch to them about why they should dump Jeff over him. Woo tells him that he and Peih-Gee need to have a conversation and they'll let him know.

Peih-Gee admits he made a great case. Woo seems to be on board with the plan to dump Varner. Peih-Gee is a little more calculating. She's not sure she wants to turn on her alliance so soon and you have to take desperate people and what they say with a grain of salt. As Jeff gets comfy in the shelter (to take a nap, I guess), Tasha remarks that what happened today was not good. Abi says Varner needs to get over the old Ta Keo people and she plans to vote for him. And here we go again. Three episodes, three alliance changes for Abi-Maria. Honestly, I can't even go through this again. Every time she speaks, I want to punch a kitten.

So, with that in mind, I'll sum up. Abi wants Varner gone. After this conversation, Peih-Gee wants Abi gone. So Peih-Gee goes to Tasha and Savage and tells them that she's done and she wants Abi gone. She wants them to vote with her and Woo. Savage tells Abi about this conversation, so now Peih-Gee is now her target. Amazingly enough, the only thing that seems to be certain is that none of Andrew Savage, Jeff Varner, or Miss Foxy Tasha will be going home tonight. Incredible. As they head to Tribal, Tasha is blown away that all of a sudden; she went from the bottom to the one making the decision on who will go home.

We get to Tribal and after Savage and Tasha light their torches, Probst goes right to the tribe swap and what it was like to be down in the numbers. Savage was devastated about the swap, the numbers and the crazy amount of work he was looking at. Probst fast forwards to after the challenge and Varner's meltdown. Varner claims to have been so weak from hunger and lack of sleep that when Tasha called him a rat, he just lost it and doesn't even remember exactly what he said. Um, yeah and Philip Sheppard has dry mouth that makes him unable to pronounce people's names. Not buying it, Jeff.

Tasha really took exception to Jeff trying to talk to someone on the other tribe. Probst asks him if he feels like he's going home tonight. He says that people manage to get away from things all the time and wouldn't it be crazy if didn't even get one vote tonight? He goes on to break it down that he's heard Abi, Peih-Gee and himself as possible boots tonight and that somehow Savage and Tasha found their way from the bottom of the heap to the top. Peih-Gee and Abi both give little speeches about why they should stay and once again, Varner says he has no idea what will happen tonight, but that Savage and Tasha will be the deciding votes. And just like that, we seem to be down to Abi-Maria vs Peih-Gee. It is time to vote.

We see Peih-Gee's vote for Abi saying she's wanted her out since day one and hopefully it will work this time. We then see Abi's vote for Peih-Gee saying that she talks too much and needs to shut her mouth. If you could see me, my eyes are rolling out of my head as if I was suddenly possessed by Eliza. And that is all we see; let's wait for Jeff to tally the votes.

Once he does, the first four votes are split, two for Abi-Maria and two for Peih-Gee. Fifth vote - Peih-Gee. The third person voted out of Survivor Cambodia is Peih-Gee. As she puts her torch down for Probst to snuff, she turns around and says, "Woo, good luck." So, in case Abi wasn't sure who her other vote was - she definitely knows now. And Woo does not look happy. He looks even less happy when Abi turns to him and says, "Second time you write my name."

Congratulations Angkor, you made the absolute worst decision you could have possibly made tonight. Especially you, Tasha. You may look back on this moment as the moment you lost the game. You might not...but I'd put the odds at 60-40 that you do. In case you're not sure what I mean, look at Abi's history in this game. She makes bonds and alliances with women and then, as quickly as she made the alliance, she breaks it and slits the throat of the girl she was aligned with (or tries to). There was the huge blowup with RC, which was reportedly bad enough that RC declined the chance to be part of the nationwide vote when she learned that Abi was going to be a part of it. Abi ripped apart one of the sweetest people to ever play the game, Lisa Whelchel. And then this season, it was Shirin and now Peih-Gee.

Ultimately, she looks for a man to protect her as she pulls out the claws to take out the women. Look how easily she was swayed away from Varner and over to Peih-Gee. So, the next time she feels the need to switch alliances, she won't be voting for Savage. She'll be coming for Tasha. Who knows why? Does she even need a reason anymore? At what point do people get sick and tired of her nonsense and just ship her ass back to Brazil and start playing this game? SO frustrating!

Anyway, let's get to the "Next time on..." segment. Angkor is in misery as there seems to be no food, fish or relief anywhere in sight. We also get a preview of a blindfold challenge and all of the bloopers and injuries that come with it. Included are Wiglesworth running face first into a huge block, Tasha getting pinned under a block from behind and a block coming down hard on Spencer's shin and ankle. Hopefully, none of those injuries will be serious. Either way, be sure to keep checking Box Office Prophets for Ben's Power Rankings, and then come back next week to see if I can finally get my relief from Hurricane Abi. ‘Til next time, take care!

Like the column? Hate the column? Are you Abi-Maria and now that I've **ed with you, I'm dead? Well let me hear all about it on the Tweet box: @vannestjc