Going into the second episode of Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance, it seems like a line has been drawn in the sand between the new school and old school styles of play. But as we know in Survivor, the game can change at a moment’s notice.
This episode opens at the TaKeo tribe beach. Kelley Wiglesworth tells us that she was devastated by Jeff Varner turning on her alliance at the Tribal Council the night before. She did not want to start off her second chance in the minority alliance. Kelley Wentworth, on the other hand, has been having a much more successful second chance thus far. Not only is she in the majority alliance, but she was also able to locate a hidden Immunity Idol at the first Immunity Challenge. As she sneaks into the jungle to hide her Idol, she tells us that this time around she has to “go big or go home”. Jeff Varner meets up with members of the “New School Alliance” to discuss who will be the next person voted out. He reminds Spencer, Shirin, and Kelley Wentworth that by blindsiding the “Old School Alliance” (Woo, Wiglesworth, and Terry), he was proving his loyalty to the new school players. The new schoolers feel confident that they will remain in the majority along with Jeff Varner and Abi-Maria. Varner however, has other plans. His ultimate targets are Spencer and Shirin, but he will need the help of the old school alliance to take them out. Varner convinces Terry that he plans on going deep into the game with the old school alliance members. Terry tells us that his second chance has to include playing a better social game than he did the first time or he will be voted out. It seems like Terry is on board with Varner’s plan.
It is day 4 and at Bayon, Joe is busy being Joe. Joe was known for being the “golden boy” of his tribe and that made him a huge threat during his first time playing. He dazzles his tribemates by catching fish and making hammocks. Joe thinks that by making camp life easier, the Bayon tribe will have more incentive to keep him around. However, it is too soon to tell if this strategy is actually working. In fact, Stephen Fishbach tells us that Joe being perfect at everything also makes him the perfect person to eliminate once the tribes merge.
Abi-Maria is upset about the First Tribal Council. She received 4 votes and it is very difficult for her not to explode at the TaKeo tribe. She says she doesn’t want to be the same volatile person she was back in season 25. But change is not something that is coming easy to Abi. She just cannot seem to lay low. We see that some of her tribemates find her very abrasive. Spencer says that Abi is a liability. It’s difficult for him to trust her because she seems to snap so easily. Spencer says that trusting Abi with his game is the most frightening thing that he has had to do in all of survivor. Jeff Varner is very eager to work with Abi. The more the rest of the tribe wants to vote her out, the more Varner believes that he can beat her and that gives him more motivation to keep her close.
Andrew Savage endears himself to the Bayon tribe by sharing the story of how he met his wife. It is a very touching moment for most of his tribe, bringing tears to a few people’s eyes. Kass says that seeing Savage speak about his wife reminds her to play the game differently than she did the first time. Jeremy Collins is so moved by Savage’s story that he excuses himself to have a teary-eyed moment alone. When some of the tribe wonders about where Jeremy has wandered off to, Stephen guesses that Jeremy could, in fact, be looking for The Hidden Immunity Idol. This annoys Andrew Savage. He doesn’t like that Stephen is thinking about the game without taking any emotion into consideration. Savage and Jeremy end up bonding over missing their wives. Stephen might not realize it yet, but Andrew has named him as one of his personal targets.
Abi on the Outs
That night, tensions boil over at the TaKeo beach when Abi-Maria overhears Shirin and Peih Gee talking about her behind her back. Abi is surprised to find that the people in her alliance are seemingly the ones who are being the most negative toward her. Abi confronts Peih Gee, and the two begin to argue about their feelings toward one another. Shirin, who has been watching the conflict, decides to walk away and leave her two tribemates to bicker with one another. Peih Gee tells Abi that their personal relationship has nothing to do with their alliance. Peih Gee tells us that everyone is fed up with Abi. After letting Abi how she feels about her, Peih Gee goes back to the shelter with the rest of the tribe, once again leaving Abi-Maria alone on the beach. Abi can hear the laughter as several members of her own alliance seem to take Peih Gee’s side in the dispute. She feels personally let down by Shirin. She wanted to work with her because she felt like Shirin was ostracized during her original season. Terry notices that while the members of the majority alliance are laughing at their own ally, she is down on the beach crying her eyes out. Terry goes over to console Abi. He is able to lift Abi’s spirits and the two create a bond, promising to have each other’s backs. Later, Varner tells Abi that he likes her and would also like to be her ally. Abi feels so good that people are willing to work with her. She is excited to team up with Varner and target the people who turned their backs on her.
Tribal Immunity At Stake
The Bayon Tribes stands on their mat waiting for the TaKeo tribe to arrive. Kass, Ciera, and Stephen are noticeably shocked to see that Vytas has already been voted out of the TaKeo tribe. Jeff explains the challenge to the tribes. It includes climbing over walls, pulling crates full of puzzle pieces, and completing a tough puzzle at the end. The winning tribe is promised immunity for Tribal Council and a reward.
The tribes were pretty close during most of the challenge, but during the pulling portion of the race, Bayon out muscles the other tribe and moves on to the puzzle with a sizeable lead. TaKeo eventually makes it to the puzzle and closes the gap. The puzzle comes down to Spencer and Shirin for TaKeo against Jeremy and Joe for Bayon. Bayon wins the challenge and the reward sending Takeo to Tribal Council for the second time in a row.
Despite having to go to Tribal Council, Spencer feels very comfortable with his position in the game. He feels like he is controlling the game with Shirin and he’s happy he can trust her completely.
New School No More
Jim Varner starts campaigning. He secures Kelley and Peih Gee’s votes against Spencer and Shirin. Shirin doesn’t even have a clue her name is on the chopping block. She goes to apologize to Abi-Maria, but it’s too late. Abi reveals that the whole tribe is targeting Shirin and her closest ally, Spencer. Shirin and Spencer scramble to convince Woo to vote with them, but he isn’t budging. Woo can’t believe that Shirin would have the audacity to try to get his vote, without ever trying to form a personal relationship with him. The writing is on the wall. Either Shirin or Spencer will be voted out at the upcoming Tribal Council.
At the second Tribal Council, Spencer and Shirin are in the hot seat. Jeff Probst points out the similarities between the first time Shirin played and her current situation. In Season 30, Shirin was rescued by Mike Holloway when she was at her lowest point in the game. This time, Abi was at her lowest point and although Shirin was once in that position, she did nothing to come to Abi’s side. Spencer, recognizing that he is in danger of going home, makes one last pitch to the tribe. He says he will do his best to get to know everyone on a more personal level instead of only talking about strategy.
It’s time to cast the votes. Spencer and Shirin reluctantly vote for one another. Jeff tallies all the ballots and in a vote of 5 to 4, Shirin is the second person voted out of Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance. Ultimately, Shirin paid the price for strategizing too hard while neglecting the social aspect of the game.