The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 33)

Photo: CBS


“You Call, We’ll Haul”

Cambodia – Second Chance, Episode 8 (Air Date: November 11 2015)
by Ian Walker

A tuk-tuk ride along the beautiful Cambodian shoreline, more flipped birds than you can shake a Bayon branch at and an idol play for the ages. This was the episode that shot Survivor: Cambodia into the upper echelon of Survivor seasons, going from a pretty good all-star season to a pretty damn great all-star season.

And it all starts with Kelley Wentworth.


Wentworth was the ultimate Second Chance story, after barely having a story her first season. She came into this season ready to play big and bold, best exemplified in her daring snatch of a hidden immunity idol in the middle of an ongoing challenge- a Survivor first. Unfortunately, that bold play hadn’t yielded a power position, and here at the Final 12, she finds herself in a very familiar position: at the bottom of the pecking order. With her witches coven alliance in tow, she’s looking for any crack she can wedge herself into, hoping somebody will jump over to her to make a big power move; but nobody’s budging.

A big move was brewing, however, just without Kelley. In the great Savage-Fishbach conflict of 2015, Andrew Savage had declared war on all “wimpy little non-leaders,” and wanted Stephen Fishbach gone. Right beside him was Joe Anglim, the amazing white whale to Stephen’s Captain Ahab, so it was easy for Savage to convince Joe and several others, including Kelley and her group, to get Stephen out. It almost looks like it is going to work, but along comes Jeremy Collins, who says “nuh-uh” and puts the kibosh on the plan.

That’s where everything stands heading into tribal council, with the crosshairs off of Stephen and back on the three witches. Wentworth laments how nobody would make a move with her, while the other players just nod politely, thinking she’s about to go home.

But when it’s time to read the votes, Wentworth doesn’t go home. Instead, she whips out her hidden immunity idol and hands it over to Jeff, sending shockwaves and mouths agape amongst both the other players and viewers at home. She returns to her seat and proceeds to watch Wentworth vote after Wentworth vote bounce off of her, sitting there triumphantly like a real Survivor boss. When that first non-Wentworth is flipped over and revealed to say “Savage,” it was the perfect capper to an instant classic moment, as Wentworth achieved full badass status and Savage received the comeuppance that was coming to him with a snuffed torch.


The victim of the idol play being Savage couldn’t have been more perfect. Throughout his time in Cambodia, Savage had descended into pure caricature, always preaching about morals and integrity while displaying a complete lack of self-awareness. His child-like tantrums and pouting made him an excellent villain that was easy to root against. That he was eliminated again due to a game twist – albeit this time a well-established game twist – just like in Pearl Islands, only helped make the moment that much sweeter. Savage’s middle-finger to Abi-Maria Gomes after her sarcastic “You made the jury!” was a glorious closing to a top notch tribal council.

On top of all of the deliciousness that this episode has to offer, the absolute cherry on top is the sheer joy of watching Keith Nale drive a tuk-tuk. Sorry, all of you “Stick to the Plan” fans, this is the definitive Keith Nale moment. From the first utterance of “to-to” to him cruising along the beach with his fellow castaways, it’s all further proof that Keith is one of the most genuine, enjoyable human beings not just in the history Survivor, but in the history of mankind. He birthed the episode’s title (quite possibly the best one in show history) and gave us one of the purest moments of happiness that’s in our hearts for years to come.

Now, come on, there’s no need to be like that Savage!


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Written by

Ian Walker

Ian, from Chicago, Illinois, graduated with a Communications major and an English minor and is now navigating adult life the best he can. He has been a fan of Survivor since Pearl Islands aired when he was 11 years old, back when liking Rupert was actually cool.

14 responses to “The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 33)”

    • I’m kind of surprised too. Considering that Wentworth nullified the most votes in Survivor history plus the fun ‘to-to’ scene which gave us a bit of a reprieve from the normal drama, I thought at the very least it would crack the top 20. But I’m still excited to see how the rest of the ranking will go.

    • I would have ranked it much higher too. It’s one of the few episode that left me feeling ecstatic when came the end credits. The actual episode ranking isn’t very important to me though as long as the episode is mentioned and analysed.

  1. I thought this episode will be a lot more higher than #33…maybe around 10?
    But maybe saying it just because I´m so much #teamwentworth…:D still an awesome article ;))

  2. This seems very biased towards newer seasons. I could easily name episodes from Amazon, Pearl Islands, or Africa that are top 50 material. Then again, we are only eighteen episodes in, so I’ll reserve my judgement.

  3. This episode and Stephen’s boot were my favorite episodes from Cambodia, so is that it for the season? Episode 2 was pretty fantastic but I don’t see it placing higher than these other two. The F6 TC was insane but the rest of the finale wasn’t anything particularly special compared to other finales we’ve had.

  4. Surprised at the high ranking of this episode! There are several Cambodia episodes that should be on this list. I hope to see more…Wentworth really went for it in Cambodia, she was amazing to watch it made me very happy I voted for her. The opposite of Savage. I was really happy and pulling for him until he made a return of whiney, entitled, asshole status a la Pearl Islands.

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