‘Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance’ episode 2 review: How one mistake changes the game

Abi-Maria -

Last week, “Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance” delivered with a heck of a fun premiere, one that contained some new game elements (an immunity idol in a challenge), and then also a few nice throwbacks to the first season. Vytas was voted out, and that was probably the worst part of the episode since we saw it coming from a mile away.

So where do we go from here? The story began tonight with Jeff Varner doing what he does best: Being ridiculously entertaining. He’s already playing all sides, but we do buy what he’s selling a little bit when it comes to him still wanting to work with the old-school players. Here’s the rub: Unless he manages to get someone else on his side to vote against either Shirin or Spencer, what does it matter that he wants to work with Kelly, Woo, or Terry? He needs another vote to get the 5 -4 majority. We do wish the show would just tell us the real reason why he flipped at the last tribal council: He didn’t want to be in a tie vote.

Over on Bayon, we got this huge emotional story about how Savage met his wife, which was surprisingly tear-jerking given that there wasn’t really any element of sadness to it other than that they spent some time apart. (This is what the game does to you when you are tired and hungry!) Jeremy went away for a minute to cry it out, and Stephen suggested that he was off looking for an immunity idol … which then got Andrew more convinced that he has to go. What we’re seeing so far this season that is interesting is that while the old-school players do need to adapt, the same can be said for the new-school players to the old-school game where relationships and loyalty matter.

Abi-Maria’s latest fight – Hey, look! Varner may have his number now in Abi, despite so many people voting against her just this past tribal council. The real credit for the switch, though, does have to go to Terry Deitz, who openly admitted that his social game stunk and he had to work on it. Him speaking with Abi after an argument between her and Peih-Gee where most of her so-called “alliance” was laughing with her was a way to change the game, and target someone who obviously just treat her as a team mascot.

The immunity challenge – Is it a surprise to anyone that Bayon won? Other than Stephen, there is almost no story arc over there that suggests that someone could be in danger of going home. The Ta Keo tribe is a mess, and while we tend to enjoy watching a mess, it does not typically last long. Varner was convinced at this point that Spencer or Shirin would be going home, but here is the issue with that: There’s a lot of time left, and Kelley Wentworth has that immunity idol that nobody seems to know about. If someone tells her the target, she could use the idol and save them in the game.

The aftermath – Had Abi-Maria kept quiet to Shirin about the plan, we could’ve had a true blindside of either her or Spencer. We know that both of these two are serious game-bots, and we respect that. We’re the same way. However, at the same time there is clearly a fundamental flaw to their game that allows them to continue to be in this position. They are wonderful in coming up with strategies, but they seem to struggle at times with relating with people emotionally.

Basically, tribal council became Shirin and Spencer trying to pitch why they should stay in the game. We would’ve kept Spencer, mostly in the event that you need some challenge strength with Vytas gone. Apparently, the team felt the same way. Shirin’s a super-smart person and a true fan of the game, but fell victim to not being in the right place at the right time. There is a superficial parallel there between this and “Worlds Apart,” but to compare the content of the two would be horrible and wrong. This is just a case of her, at least seemingly, of her not realizing that being there for someone in a vulnerable moment would cost her the game. Episode Grade: B+.

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