Three episodes in, and we have already witnessed our first big tribal shake-up. So who are the winners and losers following Wednesday night’s “Survivor: Cambodia” player swap that saw us go from two tribes to three? Well obviously, only time will tell, as there can only be one real winner. But in the short-term, the mix up definitely was a clear boost – and a clear boon – for several players.
Don’t read this if you haven’t yet seen the most recent episode, as spoilers are to follow. Get caught up on Episode 3 here.
We know that Peih-Gee obviously did not benefit. She seemed to be in a tight alliance with Woo, but as was revealed tonight, did not have many other close allies in the game, so it was just a matter of time for her. It’s too bad that she couldn’t put her frustrations with Abi aside, because even when she got skeptical of Abi tonight, had she adopted the “as long as it isn’t me” approach, she would still be in the game and Varner would not be. That strategy is one that works: It won Sandra the game, twice.
Peih-Gee’s blindside speaks more to the domination of the original Bayon tribe – or perhaps about the horrible dysfunction of her Ta Kao tribe – than it does about her as a player. As it stands, we now have seen three original Ta Keo members booted from the game, so original Bayon outnumbers original Ta Keo 10 to 7. The new Bayon and Ta Keo tribes look like their next boots will both be former Ta Keo, and now that Savage and Tasha have infiltrated Angkor, Woo’s days seem numbered if they return to Tribal Council once again. What this means is that the original Bayon tribe could be on its way to permanent and complete extinction of the former Ta Keo.
Abi continues to show why fans voted her back on the show. She delivers drama wherever she goes and she has definitely made things a bit more interesting. She is a compelling player in that, on the surface, many might say “she could never win the game!” That might be true. But several people would want to take her to the end. Because she is often by herself, she continuously becomes that “one extra vote” that could make the world of difference to someone else’s game. But in her own way, Abi actually is loyal to those that know how to treat her and handle her. For example, if she would have stuck with Terry, or would re-team with him at some point, I don’t believe there is any scenario in which she would backstab him. She is loyal, but a high-maintenance ally. For those willing to put in the time though, she could be quite valuable.
Varner on the other hand, is becoming an increasing liability, despite thus far being the “all-star” of this all-star season. Rumor has it that we did not even see the half of what was described as his “emotional meltdown” following the Immunity Challenge. Who knows what went down or what people now think of him? He has likely lost the trust of Woo and we know that Abi would vote against him as well…she almost did tonight. So Varner doesn’t really have anybody. What is interesting is that Woo is on the bottom, but he is so much more like Savage than Varner is. The more time spent with Savage in the game, the more likely Savage may just decide to bring Woo in and cut Varner out. Varner has been the one talking about how the game has sped up, but he is now moving at light-speed…it’s thrilling to watch, but he needs to reign himself in if he wants any chance of lasting.
Elsewhere, I’m surprised there wasn’t an immediate connection between Fishbach and Spencer. They are very similar in that each struggle socially, each are super-fans and each love their strategy. They also were both on the outs of their tribes. I find it hard to believe that they wouldn’t see each other as being of the same ilk, and would maybe try to form a “know-it-all” alliance of some kind. Maybe they will, but nothing in tonight’s episode suggested that as even being a remote possibility. But Spencer’s budding friendship with Jeremy might just save him over Kelly Wiglesworth, who at this point has not really shown that she has much more game know-how as she did when she pioneered the game back in Season 1.
Jeremy finding an Idol puts him as a front-runner to make a deep run in the game. He was at the center of a very strong alliance on his old tribe, and currently sits in a majority alliance on his new tribe. He now has an Idol in his possession. And if the fates would align and he would team up with Kelley – a former cast mate and tribe mate of his during his previous season – that’s two Idols, paired with two physical, social and strategic threats. Talk about a power couple.
Who do you think made out the best after the shake-up? Who is in danger? Sound off in the comment section below!
My last thought tonight is on Terry, who was jumping for joy this episode and brimming with confidence. He looks to be the first one booted from his tribe, given that Kelley has an Idol in her possession and they are the only two in the minority. He may be proud of his social game, but it isn’t good enough to crack an alliance with people like Kass and Ciera.
Please check back (or subscribe at the top of this article), because you will not want to miss my exclusive one-on-one exit interview with Peih-Gee tomorrow (up by Thursday afternoon). So join me tomorrow and be back next week for another Episode Preview on Wednesday morning followed by another full Episode Recap and Analysis Wednesday night!
Be sure to check out one of my favorite Survivor sites as well, SurvivorFever.net.