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. 30 – Rodney Lavoie Jr. (Worlds Apart)
If there was an award for the biggest surprise to be in the Day 38 Club, just based on first impressions, it might have to go to Rodney Lavoie Jr., who seemed like a stereotypical muscle-bound meathead who was too loud and abrasive to do well in the game.
After things unfolded, however, it became apparent that what Rodney lacked in Survivor knowledge, he made up for in street smarts, and that’s what he used to get through the season. Rodney put on his hustle pants, and, despite all expectations, he managed to hustle his way through the game pretty darn well.
The biggest surprise with Rodney was that he managed even to get to Day 38 after a rocky start. Never afraid to speak his mind, he would often get into huge arguments with several tribe members, most notably Mike Holloway, who would go on to be Rodney’s arch-nemesis later in the game.
After a while, though, Rodney was able to find some pretty solid footing, and things seemed to be going well. However, his world was rocked right before the merge when his best buddy, Joaquin Souberbielle, was voted out by the hands of Mike.
Pissed off that his bromance had left the game, Rodney swore revenge against Mike, and eventually, he got that chance. When Mike blew up his own game at an explosive Survivor auction, Rodney capitalized on that moment and completely vilified Mike, making everybody else dead set on voting him out.
Unfortunately for Rodney, Mike went on to do what nobody in Survivor history had been able to do and completely beast his way to the end by winning Immunity challenge after Immunity challenge.
Fast forward to the Final 4, and Mike was able to get back at Rodney for all the turmoil he caused by forcing a tie and throwing him into a fire-making tiebreaker, which he ultimately lost. Rodney thought he was going to the end, and even with Mike there too, he thought he had a chance to win. But Mike threw one last wrench into his plans, preventing him from delivering his Final Tribal Council knock-out punch.
While it remains a mystery if Rodney could have actually won the game, chances are he caused too much damage with the same tool he used to advance his game: his mouth. Rodney’s cavalier attitude toward conflict continued throughout, proving himself extremely irritable to not just the people in the game, but the people watching at home.
Worlds Apart is a season known for some unlikable characters, and Rodney was placed well within that group. But for every disparaging remark that came out of his mouth, Rodney fired off a genuinely funny quip and provided moments of levity around camp with some incredibly impressive impressions.
That combination of combativeness and light-heartedness makes for one polarizing personality, which there aren’t that many of in the Day 38 Club. But there Rodney stands, ready to go tip-top toes with anybody who stands in his way.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.