‘Survivor: Kaoh Rong’ spotlight: Can Caleb Reynolds ‘beast mode’ his way through the game?

Caleb -

We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage right now when it comes to spotlight Caleb Reynolds versus every other contestant on “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” this upcoming season. Why is that? He’s a reality TV veteran, and we watched him on the “Big Brother” live feeds for months. We know him, how he plays, and the sort of guy he’s like when he gets used to being filmed all the time. We don’t know that about anyone else on the show this season.

As for how that translates to “Survivor,” we’re a big believer that you are who you are on reality TV, and after a certain amount of time the character you’re trying to portray breaks down. Do we think that the man otherwise known as Beast Mode Cowboy will have some goofy moments as he hopes to? Sure. Do we think that he’ll be a force in challenges? Probably. With all of this being said, we still don’t think he’s going to win the game or get that close to the final three … and we’ll explain why below. Let’s just say that we don’t see him overcoming his “Big Brother” mistakes.

Age – 28

Location -Hopkinsville, Kentucky. This is a town located a little bit off the beaten path; while Caleb may be a reality TV star known for spending a ton of time in a house in Los Angeles, there is validity to his country-boy claims thanks to where he lives.

Tribe – Gondol a.k.a. the Beauty tribe.

Occupation – Army veteran. We know that he’s worked as a personal trainer and at Lowe’s before “Big Brother,” and to go along with that he’s been an aspiring singer ever since. The guy’s had a ton of jobs, but in all honesty we’re not exactly sure what he’s done in between “Big Brother” and when this filmed a little under a year ago.

Past “Survivor” comparison – Yes, there is that sort of inevitable comparison between Caleb and Hayden Moss, another “Big Brother” player who went on to play “Survivor.” Aside from that, though, he is almost more of a Colby / Coach hybrid. He seems to value a lot of his honor and integrity, but at the same time loves the nicknames and some of the shtick. He plays to the camera, and does value some of the way in which he is perceived. We don’t think Hayden cares as much about being entertaining.

Things to know – Caleb’s already a very outdoorsy guy, and has done a lot of hunting, fishing, and traveling in addition to being in difficult conditions in the Army. He’s someone that at least on paper should have no trouble surviving out in Cambodia for 39 days.

For those who don’t know “Big Brother,” here’s a quick take on Caleb’s time in the house. He started off being a really great physical force, and became a part of an alliance known as the Bomb Squad with several other people. However, from there (or at least after his crush Amber was evicted) he was ultimately in some ways manipulated to do the bidding of Derrick and some other players, and wasn’t always clued in on everything that was going on. He was a straight shooter, and what was somewhat interesting about his elimination was that there was a little bit of a fear that maybe Caleb would get votes at the end just because he hadn’t really deceived anybody.

Advantages – You would automatically assume that Caleb would be a strategic target because of his reality TV experience; we don’t think that was the case. If you watched his season, you would know that he was at times loyal to a fault and would go along often with a larger plan. He wouldn’t cross you unless you crossed him first. We’d want to work with him at least for a while because we don’t think he’s the sort of guy who wants to spout off a lot of lies.

Disadvantages – Of course, the downside to being on “Big Brother” is that he’s going to be accused of being fame-hungry, and some other players may want some time of their own in the spotlight regardless of if it’s true or not. Perception is nine-tenths of the law. He also certainly has an ego (the belt buckle he’s wearing this time around with Beast Mode Cowboy’s initials on it can be submitted as proof), and because he’s so outdoorsy we could see him in a position where he wants to constantly be the leader. We’re not sure other people, especially on the Beauty tribe, are going to like. He has to check some of his ego at the door and try to be soft-spoken, humble, and a tool for other players. Him being a reality star is an easy reason to get rid of him; he has to compensate for that in ways other people do not.

Prediction – While we’d probably keep Caleb for a while because of everything we mentioned, we don’t really see that happening in the game longer than a few weeks. If Gondol loses early and they just need to get someone out, he’s a little bit of a sitting duck … especially if there’s a general feeling that the remaining players can just link up somewhere else after a tribe swap. Even if they don’t go to tribal early, he’s still someone who will be thought of as a big physical threat down the road and couple be a target because of it.

It’s possible that Caleb has learned something strategically from spending time with Derrick, but we’re going to have to see evidence of it before we can comment on it. He’s a big character, and with that alone he’ll probably be interesting television.

Here’s the one thing we’d say to watch out for: If Caleb makes it to the end and can argue that he was a target from day one, who knows? Maybe he could have a real shot at this.

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