The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
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No. 12 – Jerri Manthey (Heroes vs. Villains)
In terms of multi-season character arcs, arguably the greatest one of all belongs to Jerri Manthey. She started out as the big villainess in her first season, The Australian Outback, but being the villain was a whole different experience back then compared to today.
In 2001, when Outback aired, Survivor was the biggest show in the country, and Jerri became not just the big villain of the season, but one of the most hated and reviled women on television. During her second time in All-Stars, she tried to seek redemption in the eyes of the public, but her journey that season ended with her getting booed off the stage during the reunion show.
So when her third time rolled around on Heroes vs. Villains, almost a full ten years since she first played, Jerri threw off the shackles of her reputation and just focused on playing the game. Not only did she go the farthest out of any of her three games, but she came very close to winning, finishing just outside the final and landing a spot in the Day 38 Club.
We can attribute Jerri’s newfound success to the same reason she was received so much better by viewers: her attitude was that much more bright and cheerful, and she seemed to be free of the baggage of her previous games. Sure, she still gave a good eye roll and got into some minor altercations, but for the most part, Jerri just seemed to relish playing Survivor again, which made it all the more enjoyable to watch.
During the game, Jerri did a pretty good job of jumping from alliance to alliance to secure her safety. She started out on the side of Boston Rob Mariano but soon flipped to Russell Hantz when his aggressive strategizing and crafty idol play turned the momentum to his side, sending Rob out of the game. When her best ally, Coach Ben Wade, followed right after Rob, Jerri turned to Russell’s guidance for the rest of the season, proving to be a pivotal vote on Russell’s side even when some of his other allies were not.
While being one of Russell’s main allies is certainly a lot to handle, it got Jerri almost to the end, and she was only voted out because Russell incorrectly thought Sandra Diaz-Twine was no threat to win the game, so at least Jerri can take solace in Russell’s failure.
In a season full of Survivor legends, Jerri’s role in the overall season arc wasn’t as big as some of the other players, but she still got to have some great moments. She won her first individual Immunity challenge and the family reward challenge and got a hidden immunity idol played on her in one of the most iconic Tribal Councils of all time.
Through it all, Jerri had a smile on her face that was rarely seen during her first two seasons and served as a great capper in her personal Survivor history.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.