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, Justine Brennan, said the Survivor(s) she would play the game most like is Kelley Wentworth and Joe Anglim.
Which past Survivor will you play the game most like? Either Kelley Wentworth or Joe Anglim. Joe was obviously an insane competitor at the individual challenges, but he also proved himself to be a necessary part of the tribe with how resourceful he was. Both were generally likable people to their tribes. It’s necessary to perform things like blindsides in order to keep yourself in the game, but I think Kelley and Joe both played in a lawful-enough way that wasn’t anywhere near as manipulative as other people like Sandra or Tony.
With a longer episode for the second time this season, the tribe dynamics of Coco, Vesi, and Baka were more fleshed out, and we got to see how the players were continuing to adapt to their surroundings and the fast-paced game surrounding them. Several players were the critical POVs from where we could see how each player was starting to align, particularly Jesse from Vesi, Karla from Coco, and Owen from Baka. It is also mainly from Jesse’s perspective that we saw Justine’s game crash and burn in this episode.
From the beginning, Justine formed a close bond with Noelle Lambert, which later became an alliance. Helping out at camp, Justine also managed to build a fire, which turned out to be a double-edged sword for her. Though she continuously showed adaptability at camp and in social conversations, Justine also struck a chord with Cody, who immediately targeted her as unreliable and untrustworthy for no reason other than her occupation as a salesperson (ironically, Cody is also a sales executive). Cody shared this info with his allies, Nneka and Jesse, making Justine’s target grow by the second.
In the second episode, the Vesi tribe fractured itself into two leading duos (Justine & Noelle and Cody & Nneka), with Jesse and Dwight seemingly in the middle. Jesse’s role as a “double agent” was explored as he kept trying to form a twosome with Dwight, though Jesse’s true allegiance seemed to be with Cody and Nneka. Dwight was mainly shown refusing to work with Cody, though not explicitly committed to Justine’s side either. (In her exit interview with Rob Cesternino, Justine explained how Dwight was working with her and Noelle, with Jesse supposedly being the fourth member of their group, which also further explained why the votes broke down the way they did at tribal.)
Justine’s game continued to be attached to Noelle’s, and both were starting to be seen as “inseparable” by the others within Vesi. At the next reward and immunity challenge, Vesi never got their rhythm on and unceremoniously lost the challenge. The Vesi players started to scramble, with Justine and Noelle wanting to target Nneka for an atrocious performance at the challenge. Unbeknownst to them, Jesse continued targeting Justine as he had the weakest bond with her compared to the rest of the tribe, but his “ally” Dwight wanted to eliminate Cody.
Dwight’s wishes, however, were irrelevant as he didn’t even have a vote, previously having lost it at the summit. Cody then found the “beware advantage” and was able to complete the task at hand before tribal, making his vote valid. With Jesse siding with Nneka and Cody and Dwight not voting, Justine’s fate was sealed, and she was promptly voted out of her tribe.
Justine mentioned Kelley Wentworth and Joe Anglim as the past Survivor players she would like to play the game most like. Wentworth and Joe were known throughout their Survivor careers as mainly strategic and physical threats, respectively. Justine’s game was unfortunately plagued with wrong impressions, questionable sales rumours, and a lack of numbers to make a difference within her tribe, rendering her possibilities of outlasting her tribemates that much harder.
In comparison, Wentworth’s least successful game was in her first season in San Juan del Sur, placing her at 14/18, and Joe’s was his last in Edge of Extinction, putting him at 14/18 as well. During these seasons, both players could never fully recover from their “adversities” either or were unsuccessful in swaying the necessary votes to stay. Justine proved helpful at camp and in challenges, though she lacked the social capital that Wentworth and Joe lacked at their most unsuccessful Survivor runs.
It is unfortunate that Justine wanted to pull off a blindside like the past players she mentioned, as who could forget the iconic blindside Wentworth pulled against Andrew Savage in Survivor Cambodia. But in the end, Justine got the short end of the stick and was instead blindsided herself. It is also worth noting that Justine mentioned Sandra and Tony as too manipulative players. However, unlike Wentworth and Joe, both are the only two-time Survivor winners. Perhaps a more cutthroat game from Justine could’ve pulled off a much-needed miracle for herself a la Tony and Sandra, though alas, that too shall remain in the realm of what if.
- Survivor 43
- Original tribe(s): Vesi tribe
- Placement: 17/18
- 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
- Survivor: Worlds Apart, Survivor: Cambodia, Survivor: Edge of Extinction.
- Original tribe(s): WA (Nagarote, Escameca, Merica); Cambodia (Bayon, Ta Keo, Bayon, Orkun); EoE (Kama, Vata)
- Placement(s): 10/18, 8/20, 14/18
Similarities (with Kelley): Both had social connections with their tribes and were deemed loyal, though were seen as targets and/or potentially dangerous to other people’s games. They were seen to be proficient in the survival aspect of the game, as well as performing well in challenges.
Differences: The biggest difference between them was that as Wentworth learned from her mistakes on her first season, she was able to muster better reads at tribal council, using her idol to negate votes against her, whereas Justine was unable to see that Jesse wasn’t working with her (thought she had a small inclination) and was voted out. Both Wentworth and Justine were blindsided when getting voted out (Wentworth in EoE and Justine in Survivor 43.)
Similarities (with Joe): Both were resourceful members within their tribes as they were able to get fire; both were seen as physical competitors and as potential risks as the game progressed; both were also loyal to their allies. Both went through blindsides as well (Joe in EoE and Justine in Survivor 43.)
Differences: Joe managed to reach the merge at least twice, so he was considered a high physical threat above all, whereas Justine was unable to reach the merge or a tribe swap. Joe was also seen as less of a strategic threat, whereas Justine’s tribemates worried about her ability to be manipulative due to her sales background.