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. 28 – Kara Kay (David vs. Goliath)
Friendly, athletic, attractive, and charming, Kara Kay has all the attributes needed to succeed in Survivor. Her journey through David vs. Goliath bore that out, gliding through the game with relative ease, so much so that she reached Day 38 without a single vote cast against her, an impressive feat to be sure.
Yet, Kara wasn’t able to get over the Day 38 hump, and it wasn’t just because she lost the fire-making challenge. Throughout the season, Kara had a couple of opportunities to make a play to push her into a power position, giving her more control over her destiny. Instead, she sat back and decided to let the game play out in front of her, which still yielded positive results, just maybe not the one that she hoped for.
Starting out on the Goliath tribe, Kara spent a good chunk of the season in a quasi-showmance with Dan Rengering, a good-hearted but kind of doofy player. Dan had a leaky mouth, which was a mixed bag for Kara. Sometimes it was a good thing, like when Dan confided in Kara about his idol. But other times, he would make promises involving her without getting her take on the matter.
Kara and Dan were split up for a while after the tribe swap (although maybe this is where the seeds of her post-island romance with fellow Goliath Alec Merlino began) and got a brief reprieve from Dan’s antics. But she was thrown right back in with him at the merge, and when Dan’s best brochacho, John Hennigan, was blindsided, it brought the Kara and Dan relationship to a boiling point.
John’s demise sent Dan on a rampage, swearing up and down he would get revenge for his buddy, which made Kara uncomfortable and pushed her to consider getting Dan out. Ultimately, she couldn’t pull the trigger and decided not to oust her friend. However, a group of conspiring Davids did so anyway, taking out Dan in the very next round through a slew of savvy advantage plays.
After Dan’s dismissal, the game revved back up into a David vs. Goliath battle. Kara was wedged snugly within the Goliath side, with her new main allies being Alison Raybould and Mike White. Through some adept play, the Goliaths whittled down the Davids to just one, Nick Wilson, leaving him, Kara, Mike, Alison, and Angelina Keeley in the final five.
Nick, Mike, and Angelina would eventually reach the final three together, thanks to a tight bond developed on post-swap Jabeni. Still, Kara had an opportunity to bust that group open at the final five. If she, Alison, and one of Nick or Angelina (Nick was immune), got together to take out Mike, that would have at least given Kara one solid ally, in Alison, to go to the final four with.
Instead, Kara joined up with the Jabeni 3 to take out Alison, failing to seize on an opportunity. She paid the price the next round when she lost to Mike at the final four fire-making challenge, ending a solid Survivor run.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.