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. 13 – Kelley Wentworth (Cambodia)
Not only was Kelley Wentworth an underdog to get to Day 38, but she was also an underdog to get onto this season in the first place. As one of the 32 names on the ballot to decide the cast of Survivor: Cambodia, Kelley seemed like a longshot to land a spot, considering she was an underedited pre-merge boot her first season.
Through some aggressive campaigning, however, Kelley made the cut, making the trek to Cambodia ready to take advantage of her second chance. Throughout her 38 days, Kelley showed that she did indeed have the chops to play the game, and while she didn’t play perfectly, she more than made up for that in sheer grit and determination, living up to the underdog moniker that seemed to fit her so naturally.
Kelley, much like her fellow second chance competitors, hit the ground running as soon as she hit the beach, forming bonds left and right with anybody she could talk to, but she also engaged in some sneaky (sneaky) activities of her own. During the first three days, she discovered a clue to the hidden immunity idol, a clue that would force her to retrieve the first idol ever hidden within a challenge. Watching Kelley gauge the right moment to snag the idol, while in the midst of her entire tribe, was an exciting Survivor first to watch, and one that bore fruit for Kelley.
Having that idol, and not telling a soul about it, proved to be extremely valuable for Kelley later on. Although she had managed to avoid Tribal Council for most of the pre-merge, she was still in a tight spot come the merge and looked to be a goner come the final twelve round.
However, when the majority alliance least expected it, Kelley whipped out her idol and canceled all nine votes that were cast for her, setting a new Survivor record for votes nullified by an idol (a record that remains unbroken). That move sent a message to all of the other players that Underdog Wentworth was here to play.
After that small victory, Kelley was able to finagle her way into a couple of “voting blocs” for the next couple of rounds, but she still could never find her way into the majority. No matter how hard she tried, and she tried a lot, she could never find people that wanted to commit to her until the end due to her underdog momentum becoming too dangerous for the other players.
It looked like her game would finally flame out at the final six, but, thanks to another hidden immunity idol, she managed to save herself yet again, causing the infamous “no votes” tribal council to take place. After squeaking past that vote, Kelley snagged an Immunity victory at the final five and was one challenge away from finishing one of the greatest underdog stories in Survivor history.
But, unfortunately for Kelley, she dropped the ball and was unanimously voted out by the majority alliance. Although she didn’t win, Kelley’s journey this season proved that you could be a pre-merge boot in one season and then come back and kick butt in another season and that you should always keep fighting until your torch goes out.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.