After fans furiously voted online for weeks, twenty Survivors were chosen to get a second chance at the game they failed at. The group departed immediately after the Worlds Apart finale and we've waited all summer to see what went down. Now Survivor: Cambodia is here and it's full of Jeff Probst's heavy-handed throwback moments to make you remember why these folks deserve a second chance.
Before setting off on their adventure, the survivors take a truck trek through the beautiful sights of Cambodia including jungles, temples, and bustling market streets. Pig head sighting alert, take a drink! It's the ideal time for each person to ponder their past mistakes in flashback form. Eventually everyone is put into boards and brought to sea to come face-to-face with Probst to rehash everything that he wants us to remember for personal narratives. Well mostly Kelly Wiglesworth, who is Probst's second chance obsession since she lost the very first season by one vote. The two tribes are marooned out at sea, getting minutes to ransack another boat for supplies. There's only big ass bag of rice available and it's placed on a second boat, which becomes a swimming race to retrieve the bag. Jeff Probst is almost killed by flying wood, baskets of crapped being tossed overboard, and Woo hugs the big bag of rice he outswam the others for. The game has officially begun.
Bayon seems like a big happy family, building shelter, weaving palm frons, and even being nice to Kass. Similar to his last season, Jeremy begins to acquire his alliance which this time acquires stronger alphas to shield himself instead of all women like last time. The Jeremy group includes himself, Tasha, Keith, Andrew Savage, and Joe (who Savage's daughters are crushing on hardcore). Jeremy's group might be broin' down, but not with all the men as he doesn't trust Stephen. Poor Stephen knows he's beyond screwed since he's a strategic target people want gone, has no allies, and lacks survivor skills. Perhaps his battle to break branches off a tree limb is some kind of deep metaphor. But alas, it just made me laugh. Already feeling pressure to survivor, Stephen sneaks into the woods to search for an idol but he's fooling no one. But overall Bayon is pretty chill which I guess you could attribute to their messiah Joe, maker of fire and leader of tribal yoga. No one can resist a manbun.
Ta Keo gets to work right away building their shelter, which happens to be a group of old school players including Kelly Wiglesworth, Terry, and Jeff Varner along with Woo, Spencer, and Vytas. Valuing shelter is definitely an old school trait, and it's clear there is a tribe divide between old school and new school (AKA schemers). The first Ta Keo scandal happens when Abi Maria can't find her bag to find her tacky bracelet and eventually finds it in Peih-Gee's bag. But credit due, old Abi would've gone HAM immediately but seemed slightly more level-headed (but way more passive aggressive) this time around even if you could see old Abi quickly coming to the surface. While Vytas wants to lay low, his attention-grabbing underwear and constant yoga teachings make him hard to miss. Shirin begins her scheming to target a well-connected Vytas and acquire the numbers to do so. Jeff Varner is like holy crap, this is a different game than season two. Basically, it's shelter people vs. beach people and Varner's in the middle. Beach person Kelley Wentworth takes a big step forward in her game, searching for an idol in the woods and finding the clue. TWIST! The hidden immunity isn't at camp but rather hidden at the challenge with exact instructions on the note how to find it. This challenge is about to get good. But first, an adorable baby monkey climbing a tree!
The first challenge of season 31 is a complete throwback to the very first challenge ever played on Survivor. Both tribes swim with a raft and have to use a torch to light a series of fire to get to shore, then tie a bunch of sticks together to reach a key. In case you don't remember, this plays into Jeff Probst's incessant reminders of Kelly Wiglesworth's performance in season one as she lost this challenge for her tribe back then too. Probst, WE GET IT. The tribes begin their Quest for Fire and what we're most interested in, besides immunity, is if Kelley will go for the idol. The idol is hidden beneath two poles on the raft stand. Kelley totally forgets to make the snatch and then spends minutes tortured over whether to turn around and snag the idol. It's brilliant intense editing as everyone is focused on Wiglesworth and Joe fighting to reach the key, while Kelley is torned about making an individual move. If only she had wizard powers and could be like, "Accio idol!" and it flew to her. Like a BOSS, Kelley finally takes the big step backward and grabs the idol and hides it away without being caught. Bayon wins the first immunity challenge and Ta Keo goes right into Tribal Council with no time to strategize.
Tribal Council time! The pressure to not be first boot is on because no one wants that humiliation, especially since this time lets down your family and all the fans who voted the person back on. Right away, the divide between the old school and new school players is brought up and how much their game styles differ. Not having time to strategize definitely throws things off, but at the same time both sides clearly had targets in mind. The old school/shelter people want to vote out Abi-Maria since she annoys everyone and it's pretty much known that she'll eventually snap. The shelter folks are all about tribe unity and think dumping Abi is smart for them to begin succeeding. Varner is clearly embracing the new way of playing which values mind over brawn and has to make a choice between the sides. The new school way of playing Survivor is how the vote plays out at Tribal Council, as Vytas is voted out in a 6-4 vote.