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. 29 – Matty Whitmore (Gabon)
While not the worst player in the Day 38 Club, Matty Whitmore may be the unluckiest, undergoing both a rough start to the season and an extremely rough finish.
In a season with multiple swaps, Matty was the only player to remain a member of the Fang tribe, one of the most dysfunctional and abysmal tribes in Survivor history. Then, near the very end, with a spot in the Final Three in sight, the rug was pulled out from under him when his “closest ally”, Jessica “Sugar” Kiper, forced a fire-making tiebreaker at the Final Four.
Through it all, though, Matty maintained a positive and cheerful attitude during those bleak times. Seemingly just a typical California surfer dude-type on the outside, Matty’s laid-back demeanor proved useful in the game, as he was able to go with the flow when the tides started to turn against him.
At the first tribe swap, Matty was on the outs, but his chill nature allowed him to ride out that portion of the game. He didn’t have the same luck after the second swap but got himself a stay of execution after single-handedly winning Immunity for his tribe. That win sent the other tribe to Tribal Council, the aftermath of which prompted a reaction from Matty that helped contribute to the greatest Survivor gif of all time.
That huge response from Matty further illustrated how honest of a guy he was. Always wearing his emotions on his sleeve, he reacted genuinely in any situation he was in—game or otherwise. Whether staring in awe mere feet away from an elephant or breaking down in joyful tears after proposing to his girlfriend during the family visit, Matty exhibited raw emotion throughout his entire time during Gabon, which made him a fun person to watch.
In the game, Matty was almost always a number at the majority’s disposal rather than the one calling the shots. However, that genuine quality of his proved useful towards the end when Sugar, one of the most emotionally volatile people to ever play the game, decided that she wanted to play with honest, genuine people like himself and Bob Crowley, rather than the “snakes” that were on the other side.
If not for Susie Smith winning the final Immunity challenge, Matty would have been sitting in the Final Three with Bob and Sugar with a great chance to win. Unfortunately for him, Susie did win, and Sugar decided she liked Bob just a little bit more than she like Matty and forced the tie to give Bob a shot at staying.
Bob went on to win the fire-making challenge, sending Matty out of the game and into the Day 38 Club, ending one of the wildest rides any Day 38 Club member has ever had.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.