Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance Power Rankings
Episode 9
By Ben Willoughby
November 18, 2015

She earned this moment of self-satisfaction.

Previously on Survivor, “everyone was trying to change their history in the game,” which caused various disappointments and breakdowns. There were more ball-balancing competitions (complete with Probst commentary on the state of Joe’s balls) and more use of the middle finger.

At Tribal Council, Ciera called out the core four of “Jeremy, Savage, Tasha and Stephen or Joe,” and Kelley correctly tipped that the other alliance would be voting for her, and her resulting idol play sent Savage home and made a bunch of other players very relieved that they wouldn’t have to cut his throat later in the game.

And so Survivor’s answer to Mitt Romney is gone. Savage’s farewell speech is all about how awesome he is and how great his strategy was, in spite of his obvious alienation of half the players left in the game, which nicely sums up why I won’t miss him.

Here are the power rankings for this week:

1. Joe

Joe tries to play nice by slapping everyone’s butts at the reward challenge, but his social game is getting antsy. As soon as he hears that Fishbach is trying to get him out, he decides to put together a group to possibly blindside Fishbach instead. Maybe that’s a good precaution, but Joe already knows that everyone is going to want to vote him out at some point, but stirring stuff up within his own alliance will just divide it sooner. Better to play it cool with players like Jeremy “hey, Fishbach’s trying to get rid of me. But I’m still voting for Ciera” rather than saying “we need to get rid of your informant.”

After winning immunity and deciding that he didn’t need to get rid of Fishbach after all, he and Wiglesworth went back to Ciera and Kelly and essentially said, “sorry guys, it will be one of you.” This is a huge Survivor sin, though I suppose that if you’ve been conspiring with some players and then decide not to go through with it but want to work with them again, it’s what you have to do.

Anyway, everyone still wants to get rid of Joe at some point, so he’s #1.

2. Jeremy

Jeremy is not on board with breaking up the group to get rid of Fishbach, but wants to keep Joe around to minimize the attention he gets. He smoothly stick-handled things so that both Fishbach and Joe are kept around just like he wants, but that’s not sustainable over the long-term.

3. Tasha

Tasha’s chances have taken a hit with her closest ally, Savage, eliminated from the game. Of course, I think Savage felt that his closest allies were Joe and Jeremy, so maybe it won’t make much difference.

4. Fishbach

Fishbach was the one we saw reach out to Ciera after she was on the wrong side of the vote, so he is obviously keeping his options open. Fishbach has ambitions and is very concerned “not to be run over by a bunch of bros,” which is why he was able to convince himself that last week was the right time to make a move, but like Joe, I think he could benefit from some patience. There were still 12 players left, so it’s too early to stir things up within your alliance, and if Joe keeps on winning challenges, soon everyone will want to be rid of him without Fishbach's nagging.

Underscoring his reduced status in the tribe, when he got depressed, Abi told him to “get over it” and referred to him as a “Debbie Downer.” It’s a wake-up call when Abi says that you’re harshing everyone’s mellow.

5. Spencer

Spencer barely got any air-time last week, which is unusual for this season, but since his best move is to shut up and go with the flow, maybe that's a good thing. His one contribution was observing to the group that everyone already knows not to trust Fishbach, which simmered everything down and shows he’s aligned with Jeremy for the moment.

6. Wiglesworth

We saw Wiglesworth get dragged along to a couple of strategy discussions last episode, first by Joe to talk with Kelley and then by Savage to talk with Tasha and Spencer. This seems to mean she is allied with Joe, and that she’s not much more than an available vote to anyone.

7. Keith

Keith’s eyes were wide open during the strategy discussion with Ciera after the reward challenge. I don’t think he’s learned much about this game, except possibly “shut up and listen.” He won "happy memories" points with everyone by taking them for a tuk-tuk ride, which is not as filthy as it sounds.

8. Kimmi

I keep waiting for something to happen with Kimmi. She has a kooky, unpredictable personality, and frankly I was hoping for more volatility from her - especially now that she is on the same tribe as Abi.

9. Kelley

Through a lack of options, Kelley has an alliance with Ciera and Abi. Playing her idol last week won her a lot of in-game credibility, but that’s just another reason to vote her out – especially now that she doesn’t have an idol.

10. Abi

I seem to recall in Abi’s first season, she was extra brutal over the first six episodes, then went quiet and then suddenly became hilarious. It’s happening again, and I hope she gets in a few more pointed comments before her inevitable elimination.

11. Ciera

On the bottom last week, we saw Ciera spend all her time “planting seeds.” She clears the air about her “playing the game comment,” explaining that Jeremy, Tasha, Fishbach and Savage do not have plans to break up, and they should start targeting them before they lose the numbers. She repeats this message at the jury, and makes some great cross-eyed expressions when players like Fishbach flat out deny there is a hierarchy.

What she fails to recognize (or more likely realizes, and is frustrated by) is that there are still a lot of players left, and there’s no driving reason to make a move until there are nine players left. It’s better for those people at the “bottom,” like Wiglesworth, Spencer, Kimmi, Keith and even Joe, to wait. The “play with me, I’m an available vote” strategy only works if the people you want to work with actually need your vote.

Plus, if those players make a move now, it will be Ciera’s move and Ciera will get the credit for the outcome. Players like Joe and Spencer don’t want to flip as part of “Ciera’s big move.” They want it to be “Joe’s big move” or “Spencer’s big move.” At this point, I'm not holding out a lot of hope for Ciera.

Next time on Survivor, everyone goes idol hunting and there is a challenge where Probst says “boo-ey” a lot.

Those are the power rankings for this week. Tune in for tonight’s episode and then come back later in the week for Jim’s recap.