“The permanent liability”: Survivor Cambodia Second Chance September 30 2015 recap

30 Sep

We learn at the beginning of this episode that the prior vote was a “flip” by Jeff Varner who evidently planned to vote with Vytas initially. Varner says the purpose of his vote was to “set the pace to get rid of Shirin and Spencer.” Get rid of them by voting with them? Interesting.

Meanwhile Spencer is worried about being allied with Abi, who he calls “the permanent liability.” He notes: “Abi’s here to start fights, and that is cancer for a tribe and deathly cancer for an alliance.”

On the other tribe, Joe makes hammocks for everyone else. He tells the camera that unlike last season when he was everyone’s target, now he’s more a provider. But we soon learn that the others still see him as a target.

Andrew Savage tells the story of how he misses his wife, and some on the tribe are moved to tears. Not so much Steven Fishbach, who makes a strategy-related comment shortly afterward. Savage takes this to mean Steven is a bad person whom he wants to vote out (Savage seems a bit full of himself). By the way, Steven must have some mortal enemy in the Survivor editing room who is determined to portray him as a scheming wimp with zero social game.

That night, Abi, who never turns it off, is back to her old tricks. She hears Peih-Gee  talking about her to Shirin and immediately races over to confront Peih-Gee (behind whose back Abi was talking plenty last episode, you’ll recall). Peih-Gee more or less tells her off. But instead of smoothing things over, Shirin the strategist slinks away, no doubt figuring that any conflict she’s not involved in can only help her (this is more significant than it seems at the time). Peih-Gee tells the rest of the group that the conversation felt good, while Abi sulks by herself and hears the others chuckling about her. Finally Terry feels bad for Abi and comforts her, and he says the next morning that he thinks he now has an ally in Abi (Jeff Varner likes Abi too, but more as a pawn to take along to the finals because nobody likes her).

The challenge involves climbing up the sides of some A-frame structures and back down the other sides. It looks quite difficult as some of the A-frames are large. Then at the end a puzzle has to be solved. Spencer and Shirin do most of the work on their tribe’s puzzle, but they panic each other a bit when there is some conflict. Finally they think they have the pool cue-like puzzle pieces arranged correctly and all jump for joy … but Probst says they don’t have it right. Joe and Jeremy soon think they have it for the other tribe, and they’re right.

But Spencer still feels good. After all, he says soon after returning to camp, “I’m very happy to have control of the game with Shirin.” Now, we’ve discussed many times that anytime anyone on Survivor is heard to say “I’m in control and nothing can stop me” or words to that effect, that person will either be voted out that episode or at the very least experience a major setback. And indeed, we soon find out that everyone else thinks Spencer and Shirin are very dangerous. Jeff Varner says Spencer is the smartest young man he’s ever met, and Shirin is just as smart but also has salesmanship skills. And of course that means he thinks one of them needs to go. He broaches it to Kelly who somewhat surprisingly says she’s on board. She tells the camera that although she had an alliance with the two of them, she has no desire to go against the general flow of the tribe.

Shirin tells us she and Spencer have Kelly, Jeff, and Abi as a strong five, but just to make sure Abi is still solid she takes her on a walk. All of America shields their eyes: will unpredictable Abi tell Shirin off, or reveal what her own new alliance is up to? Well, she more or less does both, and Shirin has no answer except to be surprised that Abi is no longer with her. She tells Spencer that the two of them are screwed, and he gets the exasperated look that he never seems to drop … or have reason to drop! He soon realizes that one of them is going home for sure, and all he can do is to make sure it’s not him to win three more days.

Shirin has another idea: target Woo and flip him around. Unfortunately she more or less accosts him and just blurts out every bad thing that’s going to happen to him being at the bottom of an alliance. It’s very clumsily done … where is Shirin the ace saleswoman whom Varner was talking about a moment ago?

As for Woo’s reaction, he politely observes “I’m not saying I don’t trust you but this is the first conversation you’re having with me.” Shirin shifts into full car-salesman mode: “I will make any deal you want right now.” Even Woo the easygoing surfer just has to say no, he is going to do no such thing.

At tribal council, recent events are discussed, and Abi mentions that Shirin abandoned her, and that everyone was against her and nobody comforted her but Terry. Jeff Probst quickly pounces and observes to Shirin that this is the same thing Shirin said on her season about everyone being mean except Mike … but this time Shirin is the person being mean!

Then Spencer does a bit of campaigning and tells everyone else that if he is kept around he will become more of a people person and show more interest in relationships with everyone (he sounds like a high schooler running for student body president). And Probst points out that this is a repeat of what Spencer said on his prior season when he was trying to save himself!

When it’s time to vote, it is a split vote and Shirin is voted out. We see the same huge sigh of relief we have seen from Spencer many times before.

And on the preview for the next week we are shown that the tribes will be mixed up … but we’ll go from two tribes to three! I believe that might be a first. Spencer certainly needs this kind of switch badly.

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