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. 23 – Jenna Lewis (All-Stars)
Almost every person who stepped onto the beach in Survivor: All-Stars had something to prove, and Jenna Lewis was no different. After being seen as the sweet, young girl who cried about not receiving a video message from home the first time around, Jenna was ready to show that she could game with the best of them.
Over the course of the season, Jenna not only showed off her feisty side; her no-nonsense attitude caused her to take on a more villainous role during the game. While she didn’t win over many new fans her second time around, she did manage to get farther, all while showing some improved strategic chops.
Many of the returning players this season came into the game with an anti-winner agenda, but nobody was a bigger advocate of this stance than Jenna. As far as she was concerned, the winners had had their chance.
Luckily for Jenna, there were two winners on her tribe ripe for the take-down, one, Tina Wesson, she was able to dismiss right away; the other, Ethan Zohn, managed to stick around and made for a good foil to Jenna in the early game. Jenna’s anti-winner insistence, especially against beloved winner Ethan, is what helped establish her as one of the antagonists of the season.
Her reign on her starting Saboga tribe was fleeting, as her tribe was absolved on Day 13, sending her and close ally Rupert Boneham to the Chapera tribe and into the arms of the season’s big bad, Boston Rob Mariano. Having already formed a (life-long) partnership with Amber Brkich, Jenna and Rupert hooked up with Rob and Amber immediately, forming a close alliance that would take them all the way to the final four.
After the merge, Rob became the driving force of the action, organizing all the hits on the people in the minority alliance but garnering all of the blame and backlash from them as well. This backlash was great news for Jenna because as long as she could break up Rob and Amber, she had a shot at the money at the end.
That opportunity came at the final four, with the two pairs set to face each other and all the power in Jenna’s hands. Rupert, the stubbornly loyal player he is, was committed to Jenna at this vote, so she had a choice: force a tie, or jump to Rob and Amber’s side to vote out Rupert. With the threat of the purple rock looming overhead, Jenna ultimately decided to side with Romber and vote out Rupert.
If the tiebreaker had been revealed to be a fire-making challenge, like it would be two seasons later in Survivor: Palau, then maybe this outcome would have been different, and Jenna would have forced the tie, but she shouldn’t be penalized in hindsight. So Jenna went to the final three with Rob and Amber, where they promptly cut her on Day 38.
By this point, Jenna had grown more irritating, whether it was sniping at Rupert for not cooking the right way or just running her mouth too much in general (a common theme across both her seasons). But despite her somewhat negative attitude towards the end, Jenna exited the game with a smile on her face, grateful for the second chance and the opportunity to show she was more than just the mom who cried.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.