This is not going to be the typical prediction-based blog I have been doing over the course of the season. We are heading into a massive three-hour finale with four tribal councils and lord-knows how many game-changing variables. Just making my power rankings for the week was arduous. If you want to know how I think,the players will place, check out those.
For this blog, I am going to discuss how I think this season’s top six treated their second chances and how they will be remembered.
Jeremy: Cambodia has been Jeremy’s opportunity to be the player he wanted to be in San Juan Del Sur. He wanted to play with players, not just recruits who had only seen the show once or twice. He didn’t want to have to worry about his wife getting voted out; he wanted to be a strong, independent player who shaped the social atmosphere around him to work in his favor.
Creating tight relationships with his most valuable allies, even using his idol to save one of them, and maintaining good terms with just about everyone he came in contact with, Jeremy not only stayed on the right side of most votes; he led many of them. Except for Wentworth’s idol play and Fishbach’s elimination, Jeremy was always in on the play. He effortlessly made us cry with touching confessionals but always had his head in the game. Jeremy has proven himself an “all-star” and done what he tried so badly to do in Blood vs. Water II whether he wins the million dollars or not.
Kimmi: I consistently placed Kimmi towards the bottom of my power rankings for many weeks back during the first half of the season. I thought she was the easy first boot for Bayon if they lost a challenge. I thought she might be a liability for challenges or a bit of a loudmouth that rubbed her tribe the wrong way. And then…
And then Kimmi rocked this season.
Despite not being in the same shape as her allies, Kimmi was never a liability. We can criticize the decision to take out Monica at the one tribal council Bayon went to, but it proved that Kimmi was willing to maneuver outside her comfort zone. It showed that, regardless of the severity of them, she was prepared to make moves even if it meant voting for someone she had been with since day one. The women’s alliance (part Deux) never actually came to fruition, but that moment between Kimmi and Kelley showed that Kimmi could shop around, and her allies still wouldn’t cut her out for it. She had their trust. She collaborated with the right people and had a vote success record equal to Jeremy.
Kimmi has, by no means, been an incredibly active presence this season. That said, she has blown past my wildest expectations for her, and I think she will be remembered for how loved she was by the entire cast (maybe sans Monica) and just how much she improved as a player and seems to have matured as a person.
Kelley: A lot of people were pissed off when Kelley Wentworth got onto the season. She was somewhat invisible in San Juan Del Sur, overshadowed by her father and characters like Missy and the Christy brothers. Kelley didn’t really get a chance to be this big threat she was getting hyped up to be and ended up being a casualty of war, and to many, undeserving of a second chance.
But, like Kimmi, Kelley has done far more than just improve on her standing or earn her spot in Cambodia throughout the span of the season. Kelley has been a focal point of the action as well as one of our primary narrators from the start to the finish. She has played hard and refused just to be a passive piece of another player’s game. Like Jeremy and Kimmi, Kelley has had a very successful voting record, only finding herself on the wrong side of the vote in two instances. It should also be noted that Kelley has survived eleven votes against her via one of the most exciting hidden idol plays in recent Survivor history and an attack on the “witches coven.”
Up to this point, right outside of the finale, I would say that Kelley has made the most of her second chance compared to anyone else this season. She went from persona non grata with potential to the smart, savvy, snarky front-woman of the season and if you like her or not, I think everyone will remember what she brought to Cambodia.
Keith: With his second chance, Keith has solidified his place in Survivor history as one of the greatest comedic relief characters ever cast. It has been a long time since I have been able to show friends a clip of the show, which they have never watched, and have them laughing hysterically at the antics of a character. Of course, I am referencing Keith’s tuk-tuk theft auto in “You Call, We’ll Haul.”
Do I think Keith can win? No. I believe the jury wants to give the million to a player who very clearly demonstrated their strategic and socio-political prowess throughout the season. That said; Keith has not played a bad game. Sure, he hasn’t been on the right side of the votes at all times, but no one has voted for Keith except Abi-Maria on the night she was voted out. Despite having reason to think otherwise, people inherently trust Keith for whatever reason. On top of that, he has been a successful challenge competitor, never attending tribal council during the pre-merge portion of the game and beating out the force that is Joe for individual immunity. He may have been the second oldest guy out there, but Keith has been no pushover.
I believe Keith will be one of the most talked about and quoted characters of recent Survivor history. What a guy to end up on a show like this.
Spencer: Like Kimmi, I expected Spencer to leave the season far earlier than he probably would have been happy with. The target on his back coming in, for whatever reasons, was big enough to see from space. And yet, be it by his genuine attempts at creating emotional relationships or simply the grace of the Survivor gods, Spencer survived. He played from the bottom until he could finally get a stable footing in the later half of the game and has since taken control of his own destiny rather than having to leave it to the whims of Chaos Kass or Abi-Maria.
From Cagayan to Cambodia, Spencer has become a walking embodiment of how the social game of Survivor is so impactful on the outcome rather than the straight numbers. All “robot Spencer learns how to love” jokes aside; he has put in a serious effort to become a respected and well-positioned player going into the finale. Win or lose; Spencer has proven to be one of the most consistent players of the Second Chance cast. After a season like Worlds Apart where the image of the “superfan” was somewhat tarnished, players like Spencer (as well as Kelley and Jeremy) have provided fantastic examples of how doing your homework and knowing the game can help get you to the end. I think Spencer will be remembered as one of the smartest and most game-savvy younger players ever to play. If it doesn’t work out, I can see Spencer getting a third chance.
Tasha: I think Tasha is one of the few players whose second chance may have harmed her overall Survivor reputation rather than helped it. Tasha controlled the disaster that was Angkor with skill and has managed to avoid being in danger throughout the merge. Still, Tasha has only voted for the eliminated castaway three times since the merge, having her vote negated twice by hidden idols. Tasha wanted to become this ruthless, villainess-type player, but instead had to resort to going along with whomever she thought was in the know.
Tasha has not been making decisions; she has been taking last-resort options ever since the tribes were merged. Unfortunately, I think her desire to play a more merciless game resulted in a nasty attitude and several of her tribe-mates viewing her as a fake. Tasha has been a supporting character in much of the season’s most important strategic moments, but it was never with the social charm of the motherly Kimmi or comedic relief Keith. She kept grabbing for the reigns, but other players already had them tightly grasped.
I think Tasha will be looked back on as a player who approached her second chance as an opportunity to recreate her image, but instead began to fall by the wayside when it mattered. I think many will end up preferring the fierce competitor Tasha of Cagayan who commanded her tribe-mates to play the game they signed up for, rather than the “pray for forgiveness” Tasha from Cambodia that became somewhat hard to take seriously as a threat in the game.
Thank you so much to anyone and everyone who read one or all of my articles here on Inside Survivor throughout the season. I am sure we had our disagreements, but I hope these posts got your mind moving, and your imagination fired up. It was a pleasure writing for you, and I’m sure my words and your eyes shall meet again soon! Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@JacobDerwin) to follow my live tweets during the finale of Survivor: Second Chance!
[Credit to SurvivorAddict for the GIFS]