Over the course of the past few years, we have campaigned rather hard at times for there to be a season of “Survivor” geared all around people who have played the game before, we for some reason or another did not make it particularly far — the “Second Chance” players. Many of these people were either taken out due to a bad twist, injured while playing the game, or simply not with the right group of people. When you have the potential for great entertainment, why just leave it in the past? While a player like Russell Hantz brings nothing new to the game anymore, there is still an infinite amount of possibilities with some of these players since we barely saw them play the past time they were on the show.
While at one point a year ago it seemed as though this season could very well happen, a new twist has thrown a bit of a wrench into the plan — Redemption Island. Thanks to this, pretty much everyone is already getting a second chance to play this game. Therefore, you have a pre-merge player like Matt getting to stick around for over thirty days. The show has tried to even play up this “Redemption” theme by bringing back two former castaways per season — Russell and Rob were the two from this past spring, while this fall the rumors are centered around Coach and Ozzy.
So is there still a place for a “Second Chance” seas now? Certainly, but the Redemption theme does make us change our minds a bit about what a “Second Chance” player should be. Rather than just have a cast of solely pre-merge players, perhaps we should look at this idea for a future season based surely around people who need Redemption — a sort of “Ultimate Redemption,” if you will. (There are not too many post-jury players worthy of a second chance who haven’t already been brought back, but there are a few.)
Of course, in order to make this theme work we would still need one guideline — nobody can have played this game more than once already (even if Jenna Morasca does deserve Redemption), and there’s no room for quitters on this list. Also, we’ve left our Russell Swan since the nature of his evacuation from the show probably prevents him from being considered again.
So with that, let’s get to some speculation for an ideal cast.
The victims of ridiculous twists
1. Aaron Reisberger, “China” – The victom of a tribal swap. He was too good of a physical player, and thus dumped before the merge.
2. Ace Gordon, “Gabon” – He was a memorable villain cut out before his time, and a tribal swap (and Sugar being flaky) cost him his chance.
3. Andrew Savage, “Pearl Islands” – The ridiculous outcast twist ruined his game.
4. Billy Garcia, “Cook Islands” – Dividing the tribes up by race made him an outcast from the get-go.
5. Kristina Kell, “Redemption Island” – If she hadn’t bee forced into dealing with a returning player (in Boston Rob), she had an immunity idol and the skills to make it far.
6. Michelle Yi, “Fiji” – She made it a few weeks into the jury, but a shocking twist and tribal council made her one of the most undeserving boots ever.
7. Silas Gaither, “Africa” – The original tribal swap victim. The numbers never gave him a chance, and he was too strong a player to make any in-roads.
8. Tina Scheer, “Panama: Exile Island” – Like with Billy, a twist that gave her a small tribe made her a sitting duck to be eliminated.
9. Tracy Hughes-Wolf, “Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites” – She was probably the best strategic player on the Fans tribe, but she was ultimately overwhelmed after a tribal swap in the numbers.
10. Wanda Shirk, “Palau” – Considering that she left before even getting a tribe, she’s barely even a contestant.
The victims of their own mistakes
1. Bobby Mason, “Exile Island” – He never should have gotten drunk in an outhouse.
2. Candace Smith, “Tocantins” – She was an entertaining character and a strong competitor — but she also made Coach paranoid and was sent packing.
3. Cao Boi Bui, “Cook Islands” – Like many people on this tribe, his biggest enemy was himself. He ran his mouth, and was ultimately eliminated.
4. Erik Reichenbach, “Micronesia: Fans vs. Favorites” – He made it further than anyone on this list, but giving away his immunity idol may have very well been the numbest mistake ever in this game.
5. Gina Crews, “Marquesas” – Gina’s mistake may have actually been being too loyal — and Jeff Probst has spoken repeatedly about his admiration for her over the years.
6. Kelly Bruno, “Nicaragua” – Maybe this time, she will learn to be a bit shiftier and not just rely on an alliance. (Granted, not having NaOnka on the tribe will probably help.)
7. Marissa Calahan, “Samoa” – If she had waited rather than just being quick to take out Russell, she could have blindsided him a few weeks in — and thus made for a great game.
8. Mike Skupin, “Australia” – While it’s hard to call his injury a “mistake,” he ultimately has become the contestant that left before the merge that people are still begging to see again.
9. Rob Zbacnick, “Thailand” – He made have made it further if he actually made an effort to be nice. (Fancy that.)
10. Stephanie Valencia, “Redemption Island” – Her biggest mistake? Joining forces with Russell, and then not doing a particularly good job of making friends after he left.
If you could come up with your own list of castaways most in need of redemption, who would you choose?