Richard Hatch won the very first season of Survivor, when after 39 days on the island of Borneo, he beat runner-up Kelly Wiglesworth in a close 4-3 vote. Richard is generally regarded as the pioneer of Survivor strategy; creating the show’s first ever successful alliance – the Tagi 4. Richard and Kelly were closely aligned the majority of the season, along with Rudy Boesch and Sue Hawk.
But while Richard was very self-assured and comfortable with how he wanted to play the game, Kelly became conflicted over the ethics of her game-play and tried to distance herself from the alliance. Despite her moral dilemma, Kelly stuck with the Tagi 4 voting bloc and eventually took Richard with her to the final two after winning the final Immunity challenge. At the Final Tribal Council, Kelly was ripped apart by her former friend and alliance partner, Sue Hawk, and labelled “the rat” to Richard’s “snake”.
Fifteen years later and Kelly returns to compete on Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance. Inside Survivor reached out to Survivor: Borneo winner Richard Hatch to get his thoughts on Kelly’s second chance. So, here in the first of a series of interviews with past contestants, Richard Hatch talks Kelly Wiglesworth and her chances on Survivor: Cambodia.
“What was your overall perception of Kelly’s game in Borneo? Pros and Cons?”
There will never be anything like that original game. Kelly was only 22, but she was sufficiently sophisticated to become a challenging opponent. Unfortunately, she was also sufficiently immature (and Producers were sufficiently irresponsible) to have conspired with production staff to obtain food throughout the game. Granted, Kelly’s cheating was not the only issue with the original production, but the impact of her choices both in the game and later outside the game would have terrible consequences in my and my family’s real life. So if you sense ambivalence or contradictions in my answers to some of these questions, my feelings about Kelly and her game are complicated.
Kelly’s low-key personality served her well in the original series, as did Kelly’s focus on the personal details of those of us with whom she was playing the game. Kelly’s bond with Sue served her well for a period of time, but Kelly was insufficiently experienced to have understood the danger associated with investing trust in someone so emotionally unstable. Unfortunately, Kelly’s physical prowess, particularly in winning multiple challenges near the end of the game, is voided by her having been fed throughout the game.
“How do you think Kelly will change her game on Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance?”
It will be difficult (but interesting) to ascertain how Kelly will attempt to change her game this time around. The difficulty will be related to figuring out the strength of Kelly’s real game without production’s assistance. I expect Kelly will remain interpersonally adept, and in so doing, I expect she will protect herself from being targeted too early.
“Who on the Second Chance cast is Kelly’s biggest threat?”
Kelly will be significantly challenged by Stephen Fishbach, Vytas Baskauskas, Kass McQuillen, Tasha Fox and perhaps even Shirin Oskooi… but I think Kelly’s biggest threat will be Spencer Bledsoe. Spencer has an extraordinary understanding of the game, and he is likely to dupe Kelly into believing they have some kind of bond before blindsiding her. I think Kelly certainly has the wherewithal to blindside her threats, but I’m guessing Spencer will pull the trigger before Kelly makes her move.
“Who on the Second Chance cast do you see Kelly potentially aligning with?”
In keeping her enemies close, I expect Kelly will attempt to align with many of her biggest threats. But the effective Survivor player must be sufficiently adaptable that answering this question with any specificity before the game unfolds wouldn’t be helpful. Kelly (and I) might potentially align with any player given the right circumstances, even Woo Hwang, who couldn’t play Survivor if his life depended on it. Sitting next to Woo at the end would guarantee one’s win.
“What is the major thing Kelly needs to avoid this time around?”
In addition to cheating , Kelly must avoid relying too heavily on any one other player’s trust. Survivor is a game in which alliances, trust, and “in-game” relationships are necessary for success; however, if Kelly confuses her bonds with those made “outside-the-game,” she will fail.
“What is Kelly’s secret weapon to win?”
I think Kelly’s secret weapon might be her ability to retain “outside-the-game” details about her opponents in the midst of playing Survivor. The mental energy required to constantly monitor all “in-game” dynamics is exhausting, but if Kelly is able to play hard while simultaneously “befriending” enough of her opponents, she will go far.
“What kind of animal/player will Kelly be this time – the snake or the rat?”
Despite how I’ve been wronged “outside-the-game” by Kelly’s dishonesty, I encouraged people to vote her into this season. Kelly was 22 when she made the choices she did, and frankly, Producers have significant responsibility (they’ve avoided) for Kelly’s having been able to cheat. My hope is that Kelly will be both snake and rat as necessary “in-game” while maturing sufficiently to shed those characteristics in distinguishing “outside-the-game” ethics.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this interview are that of Richard Hatch and do not represent the views of Inside Survivor.
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