During the pre-season, each contestant is asked several questions in their CBS bio to gather more information for the public to get to know them. The castaways are all primarily asked about their hobbies, pet peeves, accomplishments, why they think they will win Survivor, and which past Survivor players they’re most like. It’s that last question that is the focus of this new weekly feature.
After each player is voted out, I will compare their gameplay to the past Survivor player they mentioned they were most likely to play like. Then, based on that, see if they played like that particular past player, or if they didn’t, could that have helped them improve their overall placement in the game.
This week’s boot, Noelle Lambert, said the Survivor she would play the game most like is Kelley Wentworth.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? I would like to play a similar game as Kelley Wentworth on her second season. Her tribemates didn’t think she was a big threat, but she found hidden immunity idols and created blindsides to further herself in the game.
Whenever someone wins an individual reward, it is almost as if it was a bad omen, as it’s usually the case that that person will be targeted at the first opportunity. Unfortunately for the Paralympian athlete Noelle, that was precisely the case in this latest episode, as no sooner had Noelle won a reward following an impressive comeback that her allies decided to ultimately blindside her.
Even though Noelle had the odds against her from the start, she persevered throughout the game, despite her allies being continuously voted out and her name constantly being thrown out. Following a brilliant strategic move using her steal-a-vote advantage, Noelle was deemed too risky to keep in the game, and her torch was promptly snuffed, leaving her to become part of the jury.
Going back to day one, though, Noelle started on the Vesi tribe and showed her strength and resilience from the get-go. She quickly formed a tight duo with Justine and a side alliance with Dwight, leaving Jesse, Cody, and Nneka on the other side of the Vesi tribe. Vesi won the first challenge, though their luck ran out at the second immunity challenge of the season. Noelle’s first ally Justine was immediately targeted for seeming untrustworthy, and though Jesse considered flipping, he decided to stick with Cody and Nneka, and Justine became the second boot.
After Vesi’s second loss, Noelle had the opportunity to go to a summit alongside Owen and James. She promised both guys loyalty at the merge if they protected their votes to give her an advantage. With this play, Noelle got the steal-a-vote and told Dwight about it as soon as she returned to camp. Nneka later became the target after a disastrous performance at the challenge, and not even her allies could protect her, so Noelle was spared as the tribe went with a “keeping the tribe strong” mentality.
Noelle showed her bargaining skills when she bargained with Jeff Probst for their tribe, flint, which immensely helped the tribe as they won the following two immunity challenges. At the merge, the players had to play for their right to earn their place in the next phase of the game. Noelle was the one to draw the odd rock and was left out of the challenge. However, she still had the chance to win immunity if she chose the right team. Fortunately for her, the blue team won, leaving Noelle as one of the first seven to advance.
At the merge, Noelle started to draw attention as her confidence grew within the game, and she became bolder regarding who she wanted to target and how she wanted the game to progress. She argued that James needed to go home for being a social powerhouse, but this just alarmed Cody and Jesse on how adept Noelle was becoming in making big moves. To weaken her grip within the Gaia tribe, Noelle consecutively lost two allies, Dwight and Jeanine.
In a twist, the final ten players were divided into two groups of five, where each would eliminate a player. Noelle’s group consisted of Owen, Karla, James, and Sami. At this point, Noelle made her most significant move in the game thus far, as she decided to use her advantage to steal Owen’s vote, and with Sami and Karla in agreement, James was dumbfounded as he was unanimously voted out.
On day 19, Noelle and Owen were skeptical of Sami for his “playing in the middle” strategy, but Noelle knew that her choices of allies were dwindling. In a moving comeback, Noelle was able to snatch the win at the next reward challenge, where she got a letter from home and chose Jesse, Sami, and Owen to share. But after Cassidy won immunity, the tribe needed a new target. Ruthlessly, Jesse organized Noelle’s blindside at the upcoming tribal as she was a jury threat.
From the beginning, Noelle showed she was on Survivor to play, and she played hard. She oelle was a force to be reckoned with when it came to challenges. Despite losing her allies, she tried shifting her gameplay to working with anyone to advance herself, and she proved how strategic she was when she led James’ blindside.
Most fittingly, Noelle chose Kelley Wentworth as the past player she would’ve liked to play the game most like. Wentworth is known for making one of the most impressive comebacks the game had ever seen when she played for the second time in Survivor Cambodia. The moment when Wentworth found an idol in the middle of a challenge will always be ingrained in the minds of Survivor fans, as well as when she played it, negating nine votes against her and sending Andrew Savage to the jury.
Wentworth proved to be a strategic powerhouse, an adept social player that navigated several alliances from an underdog position and almost made it to an end while also winning crucial challenges. Had Wentworth made the final tribal council, she would’ve given Jeremy Collins a run for his money.
Both Noelle and Kelley were players that, perhaps at first glance, were not the most stand-out characters, but they used this in their favour and went far, earning the respect of their peers and ultimately being voted out for being triple threats. In contrast, Wentworth was able to mostly downplay her threat level as she reached the final four during her second chance season, and had Noelle done similarly, other targets could’ve been higher on the other player’s priorities lists instead of hers.
Ultimately, Noelle was a jury threat from the beginning, and the one thing that could’ve helped her to advance would’ve been an individual immunity streak. Nonetheless, Noelle will always be remembered for being of the best players this season, and if she ever came back, she could continue Wentworth’s legacy.
- Survivor 43
- Original tribe(s): Vesi, Gaia
- Placement: 9/18
- Survivor: San Juan del Sur, Survivor: Cambodia, Survivor: Edge of Extinction.
- Original tribe(s): SJDS (Hunahpu, Coyopa); Cambodia (Takeo, Bayon, Orkun); EoE (Manu, Lesu, Vata)
- Placement(s): 14/18, 4/20, 10/18
Similarities: Both had strong social games and were deemed targets for their strategic prowess and adaptability. Both Wentworth and Noelle were proficient in challenges, found advantages and/or idols, both reached the merge and jury, and both were blindsided in their eliminations by their closest allies.
Differences: Wentworth has played multiple seasons; Noelle so far has only played once. Wentworth found multiple idols during her Survivor career, while Noelle had the steal-a-vote advantage. Though both played from the bottom as they were continuously underestimated, Wentworth was able to reach the final four on Cambodia, whereas Noelle reached mid-jury. However, Noelle was made the merge in her first go, whereas Wentworth was voted out pre-merge in SJDS. Wentworth also won individual immunities, the only time Noelle won immunity post-merge was a collective immunity alongside other players.