Going into “Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance,” Monica Padilla is in a rather unusual position. By this, we mean that almost everyone thinks there is a good shot she will make it far into the game and be a candidate to win. Therefore, is it really possible to consider her a darkhorse contender when almost everyone thinks that she will be a winner? That is something that we’re going to dive into more below in this edition of our daily “Survivor” spotlight series. We’re starting to wind down to the end of these, but we have a few more to get through after this one before we dish out our final predictions of the season.
History lesson – 7th place, “Survivor: Samoa.” She’s probably a player who got overshadowed by everything that was happening around her in this season. It feels like Russell Hantz got practically every confessional all season, and on Monica’s tribe of Galu Russell’s main rival for some time was Laura. She seemed like a pretty smart, strategic player, and we saw a lot of that before she was voted off. We attribute most of her failures in the game to her tribe not being quick enough with some of their idol finds, and then also to them not thinking on the same level that Russell and Foa Foa were. As a solo player, though, she really didn’t do too that much that was bad for her game.
What worked last time – Monica did a pretty good job assembling allies in her first season, and on paper, she was in a really great spot at the merge. Laura was always going to be a bigger target, and she was fine with letting her get most of the attention. She was sharp enough to do well in some mental tasks, and we also saw that she was able to play hard when the chips were down and she needed to try to save herself.
What needs to change – Could she have maybe tried pushing a little harder before she was in grave danger? Sure, but Monica is one of those players this time around who really does not need to change that much. She just needs to form an early alliance, be a contributor in challenges, and then help work behind the scenes to get some big threats out. She has to make sure that people know she is playing the game, but not realize that she is one of the best players until after they are voted out and there is nothing they can do about it.
Potential obstacles – It’s almost reverse-psychology. As we mentioned earlier, Monica’s in a great position on her Bayon tribe because she is not someone who you will perceive as an immediate physical or strategic threat. She could even be forgotten about. However, if you look back at Amber in “All-Stars” or Parvati during “Fans vs. Favorites,” they were very similar players in that regard. She may be targeted just because she is someone who could slip under the radar and go far, and that is something she’ll have to assess out there.
Prediction – While we could see a person or two targeting Monica in the early going for the reason we just mentioned above, we still think that there will be bigger reasons to take other people out on the Bayon tribe in the early going. Monica’s making the merge, and she’ll probably make it to a position that is just as good if not better than her first season. Here’s the problem: Do you really want someone who has a career in law speaking in front of a “Survivor” jury? We wouldn’t want to risk it, since she should be very capable of winning the game.
How well do you think Monica will fare this season? Vote in the poll below, and head over here to get some other entries in our “Survivor Cambodia” spotlight series! Also, you can sign up here to get some further TV news on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: CBS.)