There was a lot of talk about evolution and redefining the rules of Survivor strategy during Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance. It was not only the players that spoke of this development, but Jeff Probst and the show itself firmly pushed this theme. Whether you believe the game has actually evolved or not, it appears that Survivor wants us to believe it has. With that in mind, let us enter the world of fantasy and cast a potential future season that would push this theme further.
Imagine it is May 2016, Season 32 is heading towards the home stretch, then at the end of the latest episode, Jeff Probst appears on camera and says “Let’s take a look at what Survivor is doing next…”:
“For over 15 years and 32 seasons, Survivor has visited some of the most breathtaking and punishing locations around the world and introduced unforgettable personalities. It is a game that is constantly evolving, and this fall, Survivor is about to evolve once again. 20 of Survivor’s most bold, daring and controversial castaways will return. These 20 players are defined by their ability to think outside of the box and break the rules. One side known for their conniving, manipulation, and mischievousness – the Rogues. And the other remembered for their disobedience, individuality, and defiance – the Rebels. 20 of the biggest personalities will return seeking to reinvent and redefine the greatest adventure game on the planet. Vote now for who you want to see face off against each other for the title of Sole Survivor and the million dollar prize. It’s Survivor… Rebels and Rogues.”
Immediately, online voting polls open for fans to vote for 20 of their favorite past contestants to return to the game. These players were chosen for their roguish and rebellious qualities. The movers and shakers of Survivor that aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd and make bold moves. 32 former players (no previous winners and no players that have played more than twice) selected by CBS and placed into four separate voting categories. The top 5 vote-getters from each category will get to return.
1. A person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or leader.
1.1 A person who resists authority, control, or convention.
1. A dishonest or unprincipled man.
1.1 A person or thing that behaves in an aberrant or unpredictable way, typically with damaging or dangerous effects.
Disclaimer: VOTING IS NOW CLOSED!
Greg Buis, Survivor: Borneo – Survivor players really don’t get much more rebellious than season one’s Greg Buis. Greg not only rebelled against alliances, but he rebelled against production, Jeff Probst, and the conventions of television itself. He slept alone away from his tribemates, he went on lone walks in the jungle for hours at a time; he openly mocked the Tribal Council voting process, and he spoke to an imaginary person on a make-shift coconut phone.
Sean Rector, Survivor: Marquesas – Sean was a rebel right from the very start of Survivor: Marquesas. He was part of Boston Rob’s rebellious outsider clique that blindsided tribe leader Hunter Ellis. But his true moment of rebellion came at the merge, when he refused to play ball with the dominant alliance (unlike his ally Vecepia) and was eventually able to gather the numbers with his fellow outsiders to raise a resistance against the majority.
Shane Powers, Survivor: Panama – even though Shane spent the majority of his game in Survivor: Panama in the majority alliance, he was always a rebel. He was constantly in arguments with his fellow alliance members and not because he was a hateful person but because he genuinely believed in what he was saying and what he stood for. Shane may have very extreme views, but he stands by them, and he wasn’t afraid to air them even if it meant getting cast aside by his own allies – which is exactly what happened.
Cao Boi Bui, Survivor: Cook Islands – when it comes to Survivor characters, they don’t get much more individualistic than Cao Boi from Survivor: Cook Islands. He often found himself as an outcast on his tribes due to his eccentricities and oddball behavior. However, he was also very intelligent and had methods to his madness. He was, in fact, the first person to come up with the split-vote plan in case of an idol play – he claimed that it came to him in a dream!
Randy Bailey, Survivor: Gabon/Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains – the reason why I love Survivor: Gabon so much is because it is essentially a season full of rebels and rogues – which is what makes it so unpredictably entertaining. One of the most rebellious players in Gabon was everyone’s favorite old grump – Randy Bailey. Randy went from underdog alliance to majority alliance, back to underdog alliance in Gabon, but no matter his position in the game he always spoke his mind. Like Shane, he believed in what he stood for.
Troyzan Robertson, Survivor: One World – he may not have been that likable or rootable, but Troyzan Robertson was a rebel in Survivor: One World simply due to the position he was in. Betrayed by his so-called allies, Troyzan made it his lone mission to take down the overlord Kim Spradlin and her all girls alliance. He rebelled against the feminine forces as best he could but was unable to achieve success.
Malcolm Freberg, Survivor: Philippines/Survivor: Caramoan – Malcolm is one of those players that can crossover into both rebel and rogue category. But you have to think about what Malcolm is most remembered for during his two times of playing Survivor. People remember him for overcoming the odds along with Denise in Philippines, and him playing the idols on the Three Amigos in Caramoan. In both seasons, Malcolm was fighting against the power and messing up their plans – that is true rebellious behavior.
Hayden Moss, Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Hayden was able to win Big Brother by sticking with one alliance until the very end. When he started his game on Survivor: Blood vs Water, he similarly got himself into a tight alliance. But things soon fell apart. Heading into the merge, Hayden was on the outside of the numbers. The main reason why Hayden is labelled a rebel is that he convinced Ciera Eastin to turn on the majority and force a rock draw. His ability to do this not only turned the game on its head and shook up the dominating alliance, but it saved him from going home at that tribal council.
Colleen Haskell, Survivor: Borneo – Greg’s so-called little kitten, Colleen Haskell was right alongside Greg when it came to rebellious Borneo hijinks. Like Greg, Colleen enjoyed making fun of the show. She was witty and sarcastic and really wasn’t too concerned about what others thought of her. But unlike Greg, Colleen tried to put up a fight against the Tagi 4 alliance once she realized how much control they had. She sought to raise a rebellion against the powerful foursome, even if it was too little too late.
Kelly Goldsmith, Survivor: Africa – Kelly G was the sarcastic, killer confessional giver in Survivor: Africa. She became the first person ever to flip on the majority alliance and join the minority to overthrow those in power. Unfortunately, Kelly’s flip didn’t pay off, and she was subsequently voted out of the game. Kelly even has something in common with Greg’s rebellious Final Tribal Council performance, as they both asked the Final 2 to pick a random number to determine who they were voting for.
Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien, Survivor: Marquesas/Survivor: All-Stars – the other member of the rebellion that took down the dominant alliance at the merge in Survivor: Marquesas. Kathy’s entire personality is rebellious. She never quite fit in with her fellow tribemates on the Rotu tribe. She had a different way of speaking, a different way of acting, and a different outlook on life. The fact she flipped on the Rotu 4 and then later flipped again on Neleh and Paschal, proves what a rebellious player Kathy is.
Courtney Yates, Survivor: China/Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains – Courtney actually shares a lot of similarities with Shane. They both spent their original season in the majority alliance, but that didn’t mean they kept quiet and toed the party line. Courtney, like Shane, was very vocal about her likes and dislikes (mainly dislikes). Her main dislike was Jean-Robert, and she made no secret that she wanted him voted out despite her alliance’s intentions. In Heroes vs. Villains, she rebelled against the Russell regime.
Crystal Cox, Survivor: Gabon – “Eat yo rice!” is more than just a hilarious catchphrase, it exemplifies what Crystal is all about. Like Randy, she wasn’t afraid to say what she felt; regardless of whether it damaged her position in the game or not. This is why she and Randy butted heads so much because they are actually very similar character types. They are both rebels that march to the sound of their own drum.
Erinn Lobdell, Survivor: Tocantins – Erinn never particularly fit in with her Timbira tribe on Survivor: Tocantins, and much like Kelly Goldsmith in Survivor: Africa, she was quick to mock them in her confessionals. She opposed the majority alliance throughout most of the game and was always plotting to take them down. First, she tried to form a cross-tribal alliance with Joe, and then after Joe was medecaved at the merge, she saw an opportunity to flip on her old tribe and join the JT/Stephen/Taj alliance – and so she did.
Ciera Eastin, Survivor: Blood vs. Water/Survivor: Cambodia – Ciera plays the game of Survivor fearlessly, and while she hasn’t been able to turn her gameplay into a winning strategy yet, her gutsiness is to be admired. In both her seasons she rebelled against the majority alliance – forcing rock draws, lying about idols, and demanding that people make “big moves”!
Jenn Brown, Survivor: Worlds Apart – there is no denying that Jenn was a rebel in Survivor: Worlds Apart. Her type of rebellion was very much like a rebellious teenager, the type that would get a tattoo to piss off their parents (which I’m sure Jenn probably did). She didn’t really like anyone; she made no effort to appease those in power, and she took glee in ruining their plans. She played an idol and even asked to be voted out so that they couldn’t get what they wanted. Jenn just wanted to have fun and surf, and not be hugged by weirdos.
Jeff Varner, Survivor: The Australian Outback/Survivor: Cambodia – outside of Richard Hatch, there was only one other person in the first two seasons of Survivor that could be classified as a rogue, and that is Jeff Varner. A sneaky player that was ahead of his time back in Season 2, Varner really got to show his roguish potential in his return this year in Cambodia. But even though Varner got a big edit for his four episodes, it still felt like we were only touching the tip of the iceberg when it came to his potential as a great Survivor schemer.
Jonny Fairplay, Survivor: Pearl Islands/Survivor: Micronesia – a man who makes up a lie about a dead grandma is a definite rogue through and through. Jonny Fairplay saw the work that Rob Cesternino had laid down in The Amazon, and he amped it up a level in Survivor: Pearl Islands. Lies, betrayals, manipulation – nothing was off limits to Jonny Fairplay, as he trailblazed his way through the game and made it all the way to the Final 3.
Jean-Robert Bellande, Survivor: China – a professional poker player, Jean-Robert was never able to get a strong foothold in the game in Survivor: China and that’s because everyone knew he was a rogue. Todd pinpointed him as a strategic threat early on, and he was lucky that his tribe was so successful in winning Immunity challenges. Otherwise, his head would have been on the chopping block much sooner. Jean-Robert’s career relies on being able to bluff and deceive and that is the kind of game he brings to Survivor.
Kenny Hoang, Survivor: Gabon – a true Survivor Walter White story if there ever was one. Kenny started his Survivor: Gabon journey as the loveable gamer nerd who was a little socially awkward but amiable. Over the course of the season, he developed into a strategic force that lied with ease to allies and enemies alike, and he took on the ego to match too. He was responsible for many blindsides, before eventually getting voted out himself.
Ace Gordon, Survivor: Gabon – with his shaved head and British accent, you could picture Ace Gordon as a rogue in a terrible B-movie, and hey, his performance in Survivor: Gabon wasn’t too far removed from that. He was arrogant and smarmy and was quick to tell the world how skilled he was in social manipulation. He often boasted about how he had Sugar in his pocket, which made his blindside by her even sweeter. Ace didn’t last long enough to reach his full rogue potential, but it would be a disservice not to include him on this list.
Erik Cardona, Survivor: Samoa – Before the season, in his pre-game interviews, Erik Cardona talked proudly about being a womanizer and how Survivor was his chance to live out of his dreams of being a con artist. But Erik never really got the opportunity to show off his roguish qualities because of the Galu tribe’s winning streak and his early blindside at the merge. However, there was potential for Erik and his sneakiness, as we saw when he tried to blindside Monica. Given a chance out of the shadow of Russell Hantz, perhaps he could shine.
Marty Piombo, Survivor: Nicaragua – the man that lied about being a Grandmaster of Chess for no other reason than… well, because he could, and he knew he could make people believe it. Marty was a rogue, and he revelled in playing that role. He was cocky and brash in his confessionals. He orchestrated the boot of coach Jimmy Johnson, and he put together a strong majority alliance in the early game. But eventually his rogue-like behavior caught up to him, and he was voted out.
Peter Yurkowski, Survivor: Philippines – it doesn’t get much more roguish in Survivor than planting an idol clue in somebody’s bag and causing a full on argument between two separate players. Peter had huge rogue potential in Survivor: Philippines but we only began to scratch the surface before he was voted out early in the merge. Also, Peter not only aligned with the Brazilian Dragon Abi-Maria, but he dated her! What a rogue!
Deena Bennet, Survivor: The Amazon – tragically forgotten amongst casual Survivor fans, Deena was the female equivalent of Rob Cesterino in The Amazon. She was a powerful player with an impressive ability to get people to trust her. Deena wasn’t afraid to turn on an alliance if it benefited her game, as we saw with Shawna, and as she later planned with Alex. Unfortunately, Deena didn’t have the chance to become the true rogue she was destined to be, because Rob saw how dangerous she was and blindsided her before she did him.
Ami Cusack, Survivor: Vanuatu/Survivor: Micronesia – Ami led a dominant all-female alliance in Vanuatu that was almost Kim Spradlin-esque at times. However, unlike Kim she couldn’t keep her troops or manipulation in order long enough. Ami is definitely a rogue, she uses others to get what she wants. After a disappointing run in Micronesia, she is someone that could hugely benefit from a third chance.
Twila Tanner, Survivor: Vanuatu – Twila would do anything to win Survivor, including swearing on her own son’s life and going back on it. She took a lot of heat for that at the time, but these days, with celebrated winners like Tony, Twila’s gameplay would fit right in with modern Survivor. She flipped on alliances; she told lies, and she would work with people she hated if it would advance her game. Twila was definitely out for herself, and it is a travesty that she hasn’t been asked back already.
Natalie Bolton, Survivor: Micronesia – the last surviving fan in Fans vs. Faves, Natalie’s roguish behavior was the definition of dishonest and unprincipled. She used her wits and charm to manipulate the men and is most remembered for tricking Erik Reichenbach into giving up his Individual Immunity necklace to her before subsequently voting him out.
Stephanie Valencia, Survivor: Redemption Island – anyone that actively aligns with Russell Hantz by choice is a true Survivor rogue. But Stephanie also had a rebellious side. She was very angry and outspoken towards her fellow tribemates about what she perceived as their short-comings. Always the odd-woman out on her tribe, she tried desperately to fight for her spot but her time was cut short.
Andrea Boehlke, Survivor: Redemption Island/Survivor: Caramoan – Andrea played a relatively passive game in her first season but upon her return, in Caramoan, she took a more aggressive approach to strategy. She put together a majority alliance and even sub-alliances within that majority. Her roguish qualities come from her ability to turn on an ally (like she did to Corinne and attempted to do to Brenda) and her manipulation to get information (like her flirting with Eddie Fox).
Alicia Rosa, Survivor: One World – there is no doubt that Alicia Rosa was a villain in Survivor: One World. While she spent the majority of her game within the dominant alliance, her main roguish behavior came during her brief partnership with Colton Cumbie. She was also planning to use Tarzan on the side as a pawn until Kim fumbled her plan.
Kass McQuillen, Survivor: Cagayan/Survivor: Cambodia – you don’t get the nickname #ChaosKass for anything, and you can’t cause chaos without a little roguish behavior. At many points during Survivor: Cagayan, Kass stated that she didn’t have an alliance, she was doing what she felt was right for her, which definitely puts her in the rogue territory. Kass would probably say she is more a rebel, as she rebelled against those who underestimated her. There is certainly some crossover there, but overall Kass is more rogue than rebel.
We will reveal the results of the vote in a couple of weeks time.