Wow what an ep! Wednesday night’s episode of “Survivor: Cambodia” did not disappoint, but that doesn’t mean that a few select players didn’t make some disappointing strategic decisions. It was a great episode for strategy-lovers that had a little bit of everything, ultimately ending in what has to be one of the better Tribal Councils in recent seasons. Yes there was a blindside, but there were even bigger blunders made that have potentially set the entire game on a new course as we go barreling towards Finale, which is now just about a month away.
Don’t read this if you haven’t yet seen the most recent episode, as spoilers are to follow. Get caught up on Episode 8 here.
Andrew Savage was given a brutal exit from the game, not quite as brutal as his last time, but just as jagged of a pill to swallow. And while the episode ended with Abi taunting him (doesn’t she realize that he is now a voting member of the jury? Of course not.) and him flipping her the bird, it also ended in a jovial celebration, visible on the faces of Kelley Wentworth, Ciera and Abi. But should they be happy? Was getting Savage out the right move?
While it was a great play by Kelley to use her Idol when she did, they might have made the biggest blunder yet in who they decided to send home. Why Savage? Savage of course is a strong dude, but his curmudgeon-y attitude wasn’t really winning him many jury votes…was it? He also has a built-in riff with Fishbach and could have been used by the girls as yet another vote to flip the game on its head. Granted, Ciera and Abi didn’t even know that Kelley had a hidden Idol, but Kelley, why target Savage when you could have taken out ANY SINGLE PLAYER left in the game? Savage could definitely have won the game, but as a player, he is much more predictable and therefore, controllable. Now Jeremy? Or Tasha? Those two would have been an even juicier blindside target.
It’s now becoming clear to me that Jeremy and Tasha are running this game, and this Tribal Council might be looked back on as the “one that got away,” or the moment that everyone else’s second chance ended in failure. Targeting Jeremy would have cut off the head of the snake, as not only is Jeremy a major threat to win the game, but he is a much more strategic, sneaky player than Savage ever could be. His removal might have put Spencer back into the wind as well, making him a free agent that might have been willing to switch allegiances yet again in order to continue surviving in the game. A game without Jeremy or Tasha, and Savage would not have had many more plays. A game without Savage however, gives Jeremy and Tasha both a douse of cold water to the face…a chilling reminder that this game is not going to be handed over to either of them…that they’re going to have to step their games up if they plan on talking to a final jury.
So not only was targeting Savage a big blunder, Joe really screwed things up as well. If he is really “Bayon strong” as he claimed, then why tell the girls anything about what his alliance is up to? If he doesn’t tell the girls that the Fishbach blindside was no longer happening, then Kelley probably does not play the Idol…then Kelley goes home with the Idol in her pocket, a double-win for the “Bayon strong” alliance. Joe was over-playing his hand, and he once again showed his strategic-game weakness. Give it up to the dude physically though, holy moley. I mean, these last two challenges that he won were not exactly physical in nature, but Joe had to feel the pressure of needing to win both of them or his game would be over. And he won both of them. Can this guy really win his way to the Final Three? If ever a player could, it would be Joe. Still, it’s unlikely, and now because of his blunder, he lost an ally who just swore on his kids that he’d never write his name down. Ouch.
Jeremy and Tasha are still smart enough to regroup, and they still have the majority alliance with Kimmi, Kelly, Spencer, Fishbach and Joe in their corner. Kelley and Ciera still are hanging around, both dangerous players and on the outside of the majority. What Jeremy said about them this episode still remains true: Nobody will feel comfortable letting them stay in the game for too long. They are too dangerous to be left alone. Now without an Idol, Kelley is truly vulnerable. And oh yeah Abi? Everyone is hoping she stays in the game and sits next to her at the end…but at some point her “extra vote” may be worth taking out, just to take some power and another number away from her stronger allies.
It will be interesting to see how this shake-up ends up affecting the game. Joe and Fishbach are still secret enemies yet they officially belong to the same – now weakened – alliance. Ciera and Kelley are going to have to continue to work their magic in order to stay in the game. Joe needs to keep winning, right? And Kimmi, Keith and Abi continue to float on through. Now wouldn’t that be a popular Final Three! Let’s hope that this crazy-good season doesn’t end with a whimper.
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 Andrew Savage 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.