‘Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance’ Review: ‘Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart’ Predicts Doom for the Men

Recap and review of Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance – Episode 12 – Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart:

The voting bloc strategy has been one of the more controversial aspects of Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance, as more traditional alliances have fallen by the wayside in favor of temporary bonds of necessity. And yet, “Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart” suggests that the game hasn’t really changed that much. A physical threat is still a physical threat, and such threats become a priority when you have the opportunity to pull the trigger on a blindside. So even while the voting bloc strategy could be viewed as a misdirect, intended to conceal the larger, looming threat of a mythic all-girls alliance, it’s still working as a method of leveling the playing field.

So it was finally the end of the road for Joe, who was voted out after losing his second consecutive individual immunity challenge. Ironically, it was Joe’s passion to stay in the game that proved to be his undoing, as Joe ended up going too hard in the immunity challenge and ended up passing out from exhaustion. While he ended up being cleared to return to the game by the doctor, he’d already lost immunity to Keith, in a challenge that involved balancing a statue on a length of pole (Wentworth also earned an immunity necklace, making this a big win for the vets of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur). With Joe on the chopping block, he began to scramble by suggesting that Abi-Maria, of all people, is the biggest threat remaining in the game, since everyone wants to go to the end with her. I appreciated, at a certain level, that Joe actually fought for his place in the game, rather than roll over and accept that he was the obvious vote. However, it became pretty clear early on that his choice to target Abi was a misfire on his part. After all, if he’s right in his assumption that everyone would want to go to the end with Abi, then why would he think anyone would actually be on board with voting her out?

Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance - Episode 12 - Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart

Credit: CBS

Of course, it’s easy for me to play Monday Morning Quarterback from the safety of my living room, but it seemed the play should have been to target a different male in the alliance, particularly once word of an all-girl alliance got out. There was a serious argument to be made for why someone like Spencer, Jeremy or Keith should be eliminated: for much of the game, Jeremy has been a key figure in directing each vote; Spencer has shown he’ll work with anyone to get to the end, which means he’s not a dependable number for any of the remaining alliances; and Keith is nearly as big of a challenge threat as Joe, to say nothing of how well liked he is overall, offending virtually no one on the jury up to this point. If Joe could have gotten the girls on board with voting out one of the other three guys, tribal council might have gone down differently. Then again, nothing might have changed, since it would have been pure folly for the other castaways to vote out anyone else but Joe, considering what a consistent physical threat he’s been throughout the competition. The tragedy of Joe is that, realistically, he can never win Survivor, no matter how many times he plays. He’s too likable and he’s too big of a challenge threat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cast of second-time players or complete newbies, no cast in their right mind would ever let Joe get to the end. And so it is that Joe goes home in eighth place.

Joe Anglim voted out of Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance

Credit: CBS

However, one of the big stories of tonight’s episode was the potential million dollar decision in deciding to get rid of Joe. Spencer himself notes that he could very well be making a game-winning or game-losing choice in his decision to vote out Joe, since this now leaves the girls in the game with a majority. Wentworth, Abi, Tasha, and Kimmi can now take control of the game, and steamroll the guys by just voting them out one-by-one. Sure, Jeremy has an immunity idol no one knows about, but that can only buy him so much time. That idol won’t matter, nor will any immunity wins, unless he can turn the game around to where he regains the majority. Spencer could have gone along with Joe’s plan to vote out Abi, and he probably could have gotten Jeremy and Keith (who ended up throwing a random vote Tasha’s way) to go along with it too, and maybe we wouldn’t have the potential female alliance poised to control this game. But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. There is no clear choice for Spencer and Jeremy to make in this situation. On the one hand, Tasha did come straight to them with the rumors of the all-female alliance, and she voted with them to get rid of Joe (although, to be fair, that’s also what the all-female alliance ended up doing as well). So there’s no guarantee that Tasha is even on board with the all-female alliance. And if that’s the case, why take the risk of Joe going on a challenge run by leaving him in the game? On the other hand, what if Tasha decides to go along with the all-female alliance? Getting rid of Joe could cost Spencer the entire game. It makes me wonder how good of an idea it really was to get rid of Stephen last week. Then again, if it hadn’t been Stephen, it would have been Joe, and we’d be right back in the same spot with four guys and four girls. Either way, the result is the same: a guy likely goes home this week, leaving Tasha in a power position to either stick with Spencer and Jeremy, or flip to join the women. In essence, the game is in Tasha’s hands right now, and the move she makes next will determine how her game is ultimately perceived by the jury.

'Survivor Cambodia - Second Chance' Review 'Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart' Features Potential Million Dollar Decision

Credit: CBS

That said, it wasn’t all drama, as we still got some truly heartwarming moments as a result of the loved ones visits. Jeremy learned the child Val is carrying is a boy, while Joe’s father opened up to him emotionally, in ways he hasn’t before. We even got to see Dale Wentworth again, separated from the context of being That Guy Who Torpedoed His Daughter’s Game. I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t deeply moved by Spencer finally telling his girlfriend he loves her, and Abi and her mother declaring they’re each other’s best friend. I love the family visits, and it provided a welcome ray of sunshine smack in the middle of all this scheming and double-dealing. Granted, Wentworth winning the reward kind of gave away the budding female alliance, as she took Kimmi and Abi-Maria (and also Joe, but that felt like more of a pity pick than anything else). Not much talk came up about Wentworth’s idol, but the fact remains that it’s still in play. And that could be a huge advantage if the all-female alliance comes to pass, as it could potentially be used to keep the women in power at camp. If used correctly, Wentworth has a hell of a case to make for the million, should she make it in front of the jury. And for a season with such savvy players as Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance has had, that’s really saying something.

But what did you think of Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance Episode 12, “Tiny Little Shanks to the Heart”? Sound off in the comments!

And for more on Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance, watch the deleted scenes for last week’s epic, two-hour show!

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