TV Review: <i>Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance</i> (31X12) “Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart”

In a backstabbing and challenging game like Survivor, there is always one moment every season that brings the heart back to the players: Family visits. No matter what remote location the castaways are living on or which player they hate at the moment, their hearts grow three sizes that round and everything is brought to a standstill. Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance featured that special moment this episode and welcomed back a few familiar faces to the game of Survivor.

After last week’s double blindside of both Ciera and Stephen, the castaways were reeling from the last minute change of pace. The “voting block” strategy continues to strike and it’s leaving more victims in its path! The strategy, while flexible as an initial idea, shifts the target to multiple players and eliminates someone based on who has the most votes–not if they’re in an alliance. Certain players like Kelley Wentworth and Abi-Maria have survived a few rounds longer due to this strategy, since some of the majority alliance members, like Spencer and Jeremy, are using the additional numbers to target their threats. The voting block is the real power move this season.

Joe is lucky that the voting block strategy was on his side the last round. For the first time in weeks, he lost the individual immunity challenge and was at risk of being voted out of the game. Many contemplated voting out a big threat, but players like Spencer and Jeremy had a bigger axe to grind. They pooled the voting block to blindside Stephen and utilized Joe’s vote to make that move happen–its effectiveness worked out in their favor. However, now that Stephen is out of the game, Joe’s usefulness could be limited within the majority alliance. The target continues to grow on his back and the whispers keep on coming. Though, that will have to wait until after the reward challenge.

The family visits came early to Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance. While most experienced their first visit to a Survivor set, a few of the returning players had a loved one visit who had already played the game. Jeremy and Kelley, who played on the same season (a blood vs. water season), had their loved ones come back to the game and cheer them on. The chance at being reunited with a loved one is the perfect motivation to win a challenge and gain the prize; after weeks of being malnourished and exhausted, this challenge, as well as the final immunity challenge, is the one the castaways compete the hardest to win. While only one castaway can win the main prize, all were winners in seeing their families again. Jeremy even got to find out the gender of his new baby!

The game, however, can never sleep. After days of deliberation and debates, the group potentially split into two real alliances. The Tasha/Spencer/Jeremy set and then a girls alliance to offset the other group. Both contain the real power player in the mix: Tasha. As a member of both alliances, her decisions can sway the rest of the game and determine which alliance will be the one left standing at the end. However, before both groups are coming to win immunity, they must work on their biggest obstacle.

After Keith and Kelley pulled ahead to win double immunity this week, the group was split between the easy vote of Abi-Maria or taking out a big threat like Joe. Both had their merits and benefits toward why each should be walking out of the game. Abi-Maria could easily slip by and make it to the end as the “goat” of the season (someone who has no chance of winning jury votes). Joe, on the other hand, is a challenge beast and a threat that could make it to the end based on physical prowess alone. He also is a big social threat who could pull votes to his side. Both are dangerous, but the vote ultimately comes to whoever is sitting on the side of the voting block.


Joe’s luck, unfortunately, ran out. The players couldn’t ignore his physical abilities and threat status–the longer he stayed in the game, the more chances he had to win another immunity challenge to survive until the finals. Joe is the golden boy, the favorite, the challenge winner and the social son. He has the making of being a Survivor winner. This combination alone is a dangerous mix which could ruin someone else’s chances at the prize.

While fans are still upset that Joe is gone, the remaining players should be commended for making a big move. Fact: Only one person wins Survivor! There are favorites and then there are threats. If anyone was playing the game, they wouldn’t want someone like Joe to be around. Being a powerful challenge threat and an all-around nice guy worked to his disadvantage. There was nothing he could do.

What did you think about this episode of Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance? Share your comments below.

Rating: 10/10



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