Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance Recap
Episode 4 - What's the Beef?
By Jim Van Nest
October 19, 2015

Last name status apparently doesn't mean you get to hang around to the end.

Hello, good people, and thank you for joining me for Episode 4 of Survivor Cambodia. Last week's episode shook up the cast and the show with a tribe expansion from two tribes to three. The swap saved Spencer, helped Stephen move to the top of his alliance, had Joe and Terry bro-ing down at Ta Keo and was another chance for Survivor to put the screws to Andrew Savage.

The highlights of last week: Jeremy found the pink idol, Ta Keo dominated the challenge, Angkor is the new tribe and they suuuuck, Varner is trying to keep his alliance together by any means necessary, Abi is a destructive force like none we've ever seen on Survivor and Tasha (despite putting her faith in Abi) is pretty good at Survivor. Oh yeah, and Peih-Gee became the latest Hurricane Abi victim.

Tonight's episode promises a blindfold challenge and lots of bumps and bruises. Also, commercials over the weekend show us a "Hero Challenge" where each tribe picks one person to run the challenge for the entire tribe. And surprisingly enough, Joey Amazing is NOT part of the challenge. With all that in mind, let's get to the show!

As you would expect, we begin the show at the Angkor camp right after Tribal. Varner tells us that he cannot believe he's still there. He thanks the group and lets them know that he'll continue to be loyal to them, which he tells us makes him sick. Tasha is shown talking to Woo about how she still feels like Jeff should have been the vote and he still should be the vote, which means Woo is very solid in the new tribe. And right on time, the Abi nonsense starts. Nutshell: Woo voted for her, so no one should talk to him. Ever. Tasha did, therefore now she's on the list. Is anyone besides me tired of this? Like, ready to hit the fast forward button tired? Savage is tired of it. He doesn't care for the roller coaster nature of working with Abi. Oh yeah, and Woo is the next to go, says Abi. So there's that. Moving on...

We head over to Bayon on Day 10 and Jeremy is feeling pretty stoked about his hidden immunity idol. He loves it and doesn't plan on sharing. As proof of that, we see Jeremy and Stephen talking about finding the idol. They agree to split up and track it down. Jeremy wants to keep Stephen close, so they are a team looking for an idol that Jeremy already has. Jeremy tells us that he'd be happy to be Stephen's JT out there, if Stephen is good with second place. Cue the credits...

We come back from break to Angkor. Really? More of this. Okay. Savage tells us that the new camp is just a dead zone. No food, no shelter and he can't see to find anything in the cove. This is a nice precursor to Tree Mail, which promises a feast. Woo tells us that he desperately needs some food, but he's not sure that any of them have enough in their tank to pull it off. And with that...

Probst sighting! Everyone gets a look at the new Angkor tribe and no one seems too shocked to see Peih-Gee gone. Odd. Anyway, today's challenge includes a long race out in the water to grab a sandbag. They'll race back and put it on the end of a teeter totter, then jump on the other end trying to land the bag in a net. There are three sandbags. First two to land all three sandbags win reward. For the first place finisher, a full on barbecue with spices, vegetables and sausages. For the second place finisher, a smaller set, some vegetables and no sausages. Third place - got nothin' for ya.

But there's a twist. Each tribe will pick one person to run this challenge, a hero challenge. Probst gives them no time to strategize and goes straight to Angkor. Not surprisingly, Savage will run for Angkor. Also not too surprising, Jeremy will run for Bayon. (I will say, though, that either Spencer or Wiglesworth would have been solid options in this challenge.) Then we get to Ta Keo, where the smart money was on Joey Amazing, but...not so fast. Terry is going to run the challenge for Ta Keo while their best all-around player sits on the bench. We'll have to see if that comes back to bite them. Survivors ready? GO!

They all take off and by about midway through the run out to the sandbags, they all start slowing down. This is gonna be a rough one. Terry and Jeremy are back first with their sandbags and as Probst comments that it'll be trial and error to get the bags into the net, Terry hits on his first try and heads back out for bag #2. Terry's almost to bag two when Jeremy finally gets his first one. Shortly after, Andrew gets his and they're all on bag two.

Terry's back way ahead of everyone else and is looking to cruise in this one. But he misses a couple times and Jeremy catches up. Then, Jeremy misses a couple times and Savage gets back with his second bag and nails it first try. And just like that, Angkor has a lead. Terry is right behind him, though, and heads out for bag three. Jeremy struggles with landing bag two, but he finally gets it and hits the water.

Terry and Andrew get back and Terry jumps first, but goes long. Andrew jumps and nails it. Angkor wins Reward!! Terry misses a couple more times, but his lead on Jeremy was just too big as he finally nails bag three right after Jeremy gets back. So, Angkor gets the big BBQ set, Ta Keo gets the little set and Bayon gets nothing. As we head to break, Andrew tells us how he feels so much vindication with this victory, like he's really contributing to his camp and his tribe.

Naturally, we come back from break as the Angkor tribe enjoys their meal and Andrew is anointed "a legend" by Woo. With some meat in their bellies, the Angkor tribe is now indestructible. Savage makes the point to us, though, that now the tribe knows they can hang with and beat the other, bigger tribes. Um, actually, no they don't. They know that YOU can beat a member of both tribes. As tribes, Angkor still doesn't stand a chance. And let's face it; if Joe had run instead of Terry, Ta Keo would have been eating sausages before you finished the challenge. I mean, I'm happy for the depleted tribe to win and all that. The way Survivor screwed them, they deserved this. But let's not go all crazy with delusions of grandeur over one Hero Challenge victory.

We wake up on Day 11 for our first look at Ta Keo and I have to say, this is one of my all-time favorite Survivor scenes, in retrospect. It's early in the morning and Kass is the only one awake. She's quietly removing beads from her torch and from her bag. The voiceover is Kass telling us about her miserable social game and how she's working on improving it. She knows how to play the game, but didn't do so well playing the people. As she fiddles around with the beads and string, she tells us that she knows that she was the first on many people's list, but she's working really hard to be pleasant and get along with everyone.

As Kass gets all the materials she'll need, Kelley wakes up and sees what she's doing. She tells us that she can't trust someone who nicknamed herself "Chaos Kass." When Kass heads to the beach, Kelley decides to interrupt her little idol building workshop. Kelley approaches, and Kass straight up tells her, "No. Go the other way," and continues on. Kelley knows Kass has something up her sleeve and she isn't falling for it.

When Kass returns to the shelter, she holds out the box her new buff came in and wishes Kelley a happy belated birthday. Inside is a necklace made from Ta Keo and Bayon beads, which Kass says is a good luck charm for today. Kelley even admits that she thought Kass was making a fake idol. I guarantee you that Kass knew EXACTLY what she was doing. She knew how it would look and what people would think. I think this is actually a pretty decent little move here. She showed her tribe with this one gesture that she's not Chaos Kass anymore. She's new and improved. She's a team player...and while Bayon was her first love this season, she's now in love with Ta Keo. She's wicked smart and I'm thrilled to see her finally using those smarts for good.

Speaking of Bayon, let's see how it's going over there. Jeremy asks Spencer how tight he is with Wiglesworth. He answers honestly, "She voted for me. I was next to go." He tells us that being down in the numbers 4-2, he has to do whatever he can to get Kelly under the bus to gain him three more days in this tribe. He tells Jeremy and Stephen that he most definitely would vote for Kelly if he had to. He says that there are people on the other tribe that own her vote - Terry, Woo and Varner to be specific. Spencer is doing his best to let the new Bayon tribe know that he has no one to run back to, while Kelly has a full alliance waiting for her in the merge.

We now join Spencer and Monica (wait, there's a Monica on this season?) at the water hole. He's breaking down the tribe dynamics for her now and she's not buying it as much as the guys were. Even though he's 100% telling the truth, his reputation has her concerned that he'll say anything to stay in the game. She's actually thinking of working with Wiglesworth in order to keep the girls around and get rid of some of the guys. She tells us that her plan is to get rid of Spencer at the first opportunity. Wait a second - did we just go to commercial break with Bayon talking strategy? Are they actually suggesting that a tribe other than Angkor actually loses immunity? Well consider my interest in the next challenge piqued.

And we come back from break to a Probst sighting! Guess I won't have to wait too long to find out if the Bayon tease actually happens. Today's challenge is a rough one. One caller will direct the rest of their blindfolded tribe around a course with huge puzzle pieces scattered around. They will have to find their pieces and bring them back to the starting point one at a time. Each tribe has 16 pieces in varying sizes, but all weighing in at least 50 pounds. Once all of the pieces are collected, they'll use them to put together a 3-D square puzzle. First two tribes to finish win immunity and are safe from the vote tonight. The third tribe has a date with Probst at Tribal Council where another person will be voted out of the game.

First up, Monica for Bayon and Ciera for Ta Keo will sit out of the challenge. Next, the tribes choose their callers. Jeff will call for Angkor, Kimmi for Bayon and Kass for Ta Keo. When the challenge starts, it's a complete cluster of yelling and insanity. As pieces are starting to come back, it becomes obvious that Keith needs a hearing test. He's like 10 feet away and can't hear Kass screaming right at him. Meanwhile, Terry is just walking in circles with no directions at all. At some point, Angkor is leading with 11 pieces, while Bayon has 10 and Ta Keo only 7. For Ta Keo, Joe has decided to go off on his own and is grabbing pieces by himself, while the other tribes are using two and sometimes three people to carry pieces.

As Jeff talks about the physicality of this challenge, we get a montage of people running into pieces, dropping pieces on each other, and tripping over pieces. It's amazing no one has been med-evac'd yet - which brings to mind how stupid this challenge really is. Spencer took a huge fall and looked like he could have been seriously hurt. What happens if he's med-evac'd right there and they lose their most popular player over a stupid blindfold challenge? It blows me away that they're willing to risk it just one season after a player got her head cracked open on a very similar challenge.

Anyway, while I've been soapboxing, Joe has put Ta Keo in the lead with 15 pieces while the other two tribes have 14. As we see Savage roll a piece right into Spencer's shin and ankle, Ta Keo gets its 16th piece and begins work on the puzzle. Angkor is right behind and then Bayon. Everyone is working on their puzzle now. It's a cube that has their flag design on it, so it's not a difficult image, just difficult in scope as the pieces are very big, very awkward and very heavy. It's about a gazillion degrees in the middle of the day with no shade at all. So, everyone is pretty well tapped out.

Amazingly enough, though, the Bayon tribe fights through all of that and with Spencer's leadership, they finish the puzzle first and win immunity. After a couple minutes, Ta Keo is making good progress and Angkor is lost. In fact, they pretty well stop working on the puzzle and just sit and wait for Ta Keo to finish...which they do. Angkor will go back to Tribal Council one more time. After being asked about it, Savage sums it up pretty well by saying he put everything into this challenge and he's just spent. He can hardly even think. And you can look across the tribes and everyone seems to have that same feeling. (To confirm this - you should check out some of the secret scenes that CBS has posted where just about everyone comments that this was the hardest physical challenge they've ever done on the show.)

We come back from break to the Angkor tribe, naturally. As they get back to camp from the challenge, Varner has a very pronounced limp. During the puzzle portion, he dropped one of the pieces on his foot and apparently did some damage. As Savage is lamenting yet another loss, he asks Varner about his foot, and apparently the pinkie toe took the brunt. Tasha tells us that she and Savage seem to have fought their way from the bottom to the top of this tribe, but when they're relying on Abi, it's hard to feel comfortable. She and Savage confirm with each other that Varner is the one that has to go.

We join Varner and Woo on the beach discussing how it's one of them tonight. Jeff says that now that Abi has flipped, there's not a lot they can do. He tells us, though, that he does have a chance to stick around again. He has never voted for Abi and has always been with her, so he's hoping maybe that will get him another couple days and send Woo home tonight.

There it is, ladies and gentleman, the adorable baby monkey climbing a tree. I love that frickin' monkey. And his cuteness is SO needed when I'm stuck with a final act chuck full of Abi-Effing-Maria every week. For my recap's purpose, this is actually kinda nice. Anyone who reads this thing every week knows I'm um...wordy? Anyway, this week I get a break on all this pre-Tribal game because I'm not going to recap the Abi nonsense. I'll sum up. "We want to vote out Varner." "But Woo voted for me." "Varner can't walk and Woo can win challenges." "But Woo voted for me." Rinse, repeat, rinse repeat. Let's just get to Tribal, shall we?

We get to Tribal and the first topic is the injury to Varner's foot. He says it's pretty bad but he keeps thinking about the people who voted for him to be here and that helps keep him focused. Jeff asks Woo if this injury is a reason to vote Jeff out of the game. He says that he and Varner are on the bottom, so the injury could help him stay in the game. Savage admits that it would be better to keep Woo for the tribal portion of the game, but he's not sure he wants to have to go against Woo in the individual game, so it's something to think about.

Woo jumps in to mention that the merge isn't happening yet, and they still have several immunities left before then. And he's right. I mean, they're at 17 right now; they'll probably merge around 12. That's four votes AFTER tonight. If they dump Woo now and keep Varner, they can just count on spending every single one of those votes at Tribal.

We seem to have gotten to the point where Varner and Woo are going to make sales pitches as to why they should stay. Varner pumps loyalty, that he’s never voted for Abi and that he is not a physical threat to anyone any more. He really hits hard on how loyal he is to Abi, which should really make Savage and Tasha nervous as hell. Woo mentions his strength and his loyalty. And for crying out loud, his loyalty cost him a million bucks last time around - why is this even up for debate?

But of course, he voted for Abi; therefore, he must be dis-loyal. Actually, Woo missed a golden opportunity to end the debate right here. All he had to say way, "Tasha, Andrew - you've seen how I play and you have my loyalty. My loyalty is with you two NOT Abi. So, there's three of us - let's just vote together and end this and let Abi do whatever she wants." But Woo isn't that quick on his feet. He's learned a lot since the first time; this is true. But he still has so far to go. Seriously, now...if they keep Varner and dump Woo, this tribe will deserve all the losses and misery they'll get. I love me some Varner and he's been great TV so far, but he has to go at this point. Well, actually, Abi has to go, but since that's mind-bogglingly NOT going to happen, Varner has to be the vote here.

With all that, it's time to vote. We see Woo vote for Jeff and Jeff vote for Woo. We see no other votes. Let's tally them up, shall we? First vote: Jeff. Second vote: Woo. Third vote: Jeff. The fourth person voted out of Survivor Second Chance, Jeff. Wow! Color me shocked! I honestly thought they were going to hang themselves on this one. Good for them. Varner was absolutely the option here. If they want to have ANY chance to win a challenge, they need every bit of Woo's strength.

Again, I hate to see Jeff go as he was fantastic this season, but it was the smart move for the tribe. I'll say this though: this tribe desperately needs a Cesternino. Someone who will gather everyone and say, "Look, we're all trying to play the game here and one person is completely off the reservation. She won't make up her mind until the absolute last minute and she'll flip at the drop of a hat. Let's get together, vote out the wild card and then play the game." Instead, I'm stuck watching Abi-Maria Television every frickin' week. I should also point out that one of my Final 4 is now out of the game. DOH!

Next time on Survivor: I have no idea what's going to happen. Keith seems to have a new Final 5 alliance on Ta Keo (remember, he was part of Jeremy/Savage/Tasha/Joe back on Bayon). Woo could end up dead to Abi-Maria and Kimmi is pissed at someone over on Bayon. In a way, I kinda like it when there's not too much shown in the previews. With that in mind, I guess I'll meet y'all back here next week so we can talk about it. 'Til then, take care!

As always, like the column? Hate it? Wish it contained more Abi-Maria? Let me know on the Twitter! @vannestjc