Welcome to a special abbreviated “holiday edition” of this week’s recap. Being that Survivor aired a double-episode the night before Thanksgiving, please be warned in advance: This recap will not nearly be as detailed or as thorough as normal. But rest assured that next week it will be back to normal. That being said, let’s brush over the main events of Wednesday night’s double-episode of “Survivor: Cambodia,” that – for what it’s worth – was chock-full of drama, surprises and big moves…not exactly what you’d normally come to expect from the Thanksgiving Eve episode of Survivor, or from back-to-back episodes of Survivor in general. Here is my “shorter-than-usual” recap:
Not Your Average Joe. In a nutshell, a lot happened tonight, but once again Joe was at the center…would he continue to win? The evolution of Survivor continued tonight with more “voting block” style moves being made, or as Jeremy said, “Every vote is like a new game.” Returning from camp following the blindside of Kelly Wiglesworth, Joe – who had won three straight Immunity Challenges heading into tonight – knows that the target on his back looms large, and that he basically has to continue winning to stay in the game. And win he did: Joe ended up winning a fourth straight Immunity Challenge tonight, before finally losing the following Immunity Challenge to Spencer.
When It Rains It Pours. Horrible cold and rainy conditions continued in Cambodia, pretty much grinding the game to a halt as the contestants basically spent every waking moment huddled miserably under their shabby little shelter. Fishbach specifically seemed to struggled the most, having stomach issues as well as lingering issues with his feet. Tasha, Ciera, Spencer, Joe and Abi received temporary relief by winning a basketball Reward Challenge that got them out of the weather and under a roof, where they feasted and were entertained by Cambodian circus performers. But when the storms continued to rage, it appeared the show had to step in and do something. Probst – at the first Immunity Challenge of the night – presented them with a choice: If five of them held out a white rock, they would get a fortified new shelter back at camp and a solid fire, but the catch was that whoever held out a white rock could not compete in the challenge. All but Joe and Keith held out the white rock, which meant that they did in fact receive their new shelter, but the limited competition is also what led to Joe’s Immunity victory.
Tribal Council #1. The mood heading into the first of two Tribal Councils tonight was that it was either going to be Fishbach or Ciera as the target. Jeremy once again showed his power in the game, telling his alliance that he really felt strongly that blindsiding Fishbach was a “bad move,” but Spencer and others were adamant about getting him out. In a shocking move, Jeremy – unprovoked – announced that he was going to play his Idol, and then not only played it, but played it on Fishbach. Wow! This move was one that not even Fishbach saw coming, and it was Jeremy going directly against certain people in his so-called alliance…the second straight Tribal where that happened. And it was a game-saving move for Fishbach, because five votes had been cast for him. With those votes being voided, it was Ciera who received the most votes (three), while Kimmi received two. With that Ciera was sent to the jury. To a shocked Spencer (you know, how he always looks at all times while playing Survivor), Jeremy told him, “I will do the same thing for you.”
Aftermath. This move obviously worked to bond Fishbach and Jeremy’s relationship. Jeremy sees him as a loyal ally and does not want him to go, but everyone else saw him as a sneaky, viable threat in the game. Now Stephen, once called a “Survivor Know-It-All,” now admits that he knew nothing about what had happened at Tribal. But remember, Fishbach received an advantage in the game, to steal someone else’s vote and to vote twice at a Tribal, and he planned on using it.
Idol Back In Play. With Jeremy using (wasting?) one of his two Idols on Fishbach, a new Idol was back in play, and during a Reward Challenge, Kelley randomly received a clue to a new Idol hidden under their new shelter (she would eventually find and retrieve this Idol while the others were away momentarily). Fishbach won that Reward Challenge and chose Tasha and Jeremy to accompany him on the helicopter ride/feast Reward. He picked Tasha in an effort to mend his broken alliance with her, and in a move meant to pull them all together, he revealed to Tasha and Jeremy his advantage and what it was. Meanwhile, Spencer (and others) saw who Stephen chose to take with him on Reward, and it made them want to target Stephen even more.
Joe’s Reign Ends. As mentioned earlier, Joe finally lost an Immunity Challenge to Spencer and for the first time in 29 days, Joe was vulnerable (think about that for a moment…quite a stellar achievement). But voting Joe out – which seems like the obvious move to try to get this challenge beast out of the game – was not what was on people’s minds. Kelley and Spencer were once again trying to flip the game, gunning for a second try at a Fishbach blindside. But Abi was starting to pull an Abi, and was being wishy-washy with what she was going to do with her vote. She was potentially the swing vote, so if she voted for Joe, it would unravel Kelley and Spencer’s plans. Fishbach planned on using his advantage, and his plan (along with Jeremy and Kimmi) was to split some votes and vote out Joe.
Tribal Council #2. Another unpredictable action-packed Tribal. Stephen indeed played his advantage, choosing to steal Joe’s vote. This meant Joe would not cast a vote at all, and Stephen would cast two. He voted once for Abi and once for Joe, going along with his voting block’s “split the vote” strategy. This time around no Idols were played. The votes were read – Joe – Abi – Fishbach – Joe – Abi – Abi – Fishbach – Fishbach – Fishbach. Even with stealing a vote and getting to cast two himself, the other still managed to blindside Fishbach. He congratulated them on their move and left the game as the newest blindside victim and member of the jury. Wow!
Analysis. This week, again due to the holiday, there will not be a separate Analysis article on tonight’s double-episode. But check in next week for sure: On Monday, I will have my two exit interviews posted, with Ciera and Fishbach. Then on Wednesday – per norm – I will reflect back on all of tonight’s happenings as part of my Preview article for next week’s episode.
Next Time On…We are shown that the remaining players have made it to the “loved ones” challenge. However, tragedy seems to strike during the challenge, when things are immediately stopped and medical is called in to tend to what seems to be a serious injury, of an undisclosed male…..let’s keep our fingers crossed that this person is OK and doesn’t have to leave the game, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out for sure.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everybody, and again, check back on Monday for my exclusive one-on-one, second-chance interviews with both Ciera Eastin and Stephen Fishbach, and be sure to follow me, @tomsantilli.
Also, be sure to check out one of my favorite Survivor sites, SurvivorFever.net.