‘Survivor: Second Chance’ Review: ‘Survivor McGyver’ Shifts the Balance of Power
Recap and review of Survivor: Second Chance – Episode 2 – Survivor MacGyver:
So I’ll be doing the review a bit differently this week. Since I’m out of town right now and need to catch a flight at 5 in the morning, I’ll be writing this live-blog style! All of these were my thoughts as the show was happening, along with details on what, exactly, happened in tonight’s episode. This way, the review is up faster, and everybody’s happy! So let’s get ready for Survivor: Second Chance, “Survivor MacGyver”!
TA KEO AFTER TRIBAL
So Kelley finally finds a moment to open her idol, since the group has been together since returning from tribal. She’s basically orgasmic upon opening the idol and seeing the little trinket. Of course, Kelly Wiglesworth is far less certain of her position, and Spencer even less so, as it appears some of the people in his alliance (with Terry, Jeff Varner and Shirin) are playing way too hard already. For his part, Jeff viewed last night’s vote as a clear message: “Get off your butt and play this game.” To this end, he makes a partnership with Terry, because I guess an alliance of silver foxes is as good as anything else.
Meanwhile, over at Bayon, Joe is trying to become someone who people need to have around, in addition to being someone people want around. This is easier said than done, since it’s clear Joe is a threat, considering his immense likability. He’s basically compared to “Survivor MacGyver” with his crazy fishing and hammock-building skills. Still, things are going better for Joe than they’re going for Abi-Maria, as we get a series of soundbites from her tribe back at Ta Keo about what a massive liability she is, with Spencer expressing outright terror at the prospect of having someone like Abi protecting his interests. Jeff, however, thinks that someone as universally hated as Abi is the perfect ally to potentially win him a million dollars.
Savage tells the emotional story of how he met his wife, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the damn house after he was done with this tale of true love. It even affected Kass, who came to the realization that the chief fault of her game last time was that she kept feelings out of it. But none are more affected than Jeremy, who needs to walk off for a moment alone. He misses his pregnant wife, and he laments missing the chance to see his child grow in her stomach. Back at camp, however, Stephen Fishbach makes a big error in judgment when he asks Savage if he thinks Jeremy has left to go search for an idol. Savage takes a strange amount of offense over this, feeling that Stephen is emotionless for not assuming Jeremy was simply moved by his story. He feels it’s indicative that Stephen is playing this game with no emotion, and he says as much to Jeremy down by the beach. It seems the wheels are turning to get rid of Stephen, although I really don’t see how Stephen was in the wrong for what he suggested. Any time a person goes off on his or her own, the possibility that they’re looking for an idol is always a risk. Granted, it was a bit tactless on Stephen’s part, since he’s just as guilty of doing the same in the past, but I think Savage was way too quick to overreact about Stephen’s reaction. Perhaps because Savage is an old school player from the time before hidden immunity idols were such a big deal, he doesn’t see why some players are vigilant about all the time. I don’t know. But I don’t blame Stephen for being nervous.
HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE ABI-MARIA?
On night 5, Shirin and Peih-Gee talk trash on Abi-Maria, about how she’s lazy and that she’s also crazy. Abi-Maria overhears the comments and walks right into the argument. Things get heated pretty quick, as Abi-Maria gets really defensive, and Peih-Gee gets offended by what she perceives to be Abi-Maria’s passive-aggressive streak. Peih-Gee ultimately goes back to the shelter and tells everyone what happened, and it all devolves into a pretty sad scene in which Abi-Maria is left crying on the beach while all her tribemates laugh at her from the shelter. Terry can’t stand to see Abi treated like this, so he approaches her on the beach. Turns out, Abi initially wanted to work with Peih-Gee because she felt like no one had her back on her season, a feeling Abi could empathize with herself. But now? She finds herself forming a sudden alliance with Terry, who shows himself to be someone who will have her back. Even Terry is surprised at how well he and Abi seem to gel. And it gets even better for Abi-Maria, who wakes up the next morning to find Jeff Varner pledging himself to her cause, telling her she’s fabulous and that he doesn’t want her going anywhere. So yeah, it looks like Abi could be going pretty far, provided she’s able to split the numbers in the Spencer/Peih-Gee/Shirin dynamic. It’s kind of strange how the show has me rooting for her to do just that, considering how much I’ve liked Spencer and Shirin in the past. But it truly felt like no one was even willing to give Abi a chance here before labeling her lazy and crazy. So I wouldn’t be all that shocked if the edit were setting us up for a major turning of the tables.
The challenge involves both tribes racing over several ramps to reach a crate they must pull through a course using only a rope. Once they’ve pulled the crate to the end, the two remaining castaways must solve a puzzle using the rods inside the crate. Reward is a Survivor toolkit, in addition to shelter-improving materials waiting back at camp. Ciera sits out for Bayon, aaaand we’re off!
During the race, it’s actually pretty close, since there are three pyramids each tribe must clear. People get tired pretty damn quickly, in fact, and some even take some pretty hard falls, with Jeff Varner losing his balance after making it to the other side of one of the pyramids. It’s neck and neck as they get to the puzzle portion, with Spencer (who tagged in for Kelley) and Peih-Gee teaming up to solve the puzzle, only for Shirin to lose control, shouting instructions and generally acting far crazier than Abi-Maria ever has. Shirin basically tags herself in to finish the puzzle, putting Peih-Gee back on the placement mat, and while she makes a ton of progress with Spencer, their solution is incorrect. Shirin and Spencer lose so much time celebrating prematurely that Joe and Jeremy are able to complete their puzzle just in the nick of time, leaving Ta Keo devastated, and facing yet another tribal council.
BAYON WINS IMMUNITY/REWARD! TA KEO IS HEADING TO TRIBAL COUNCIL!
On the way back, Jeff reveals in a confessional that one of either Spencer of Shirin will be going home tonight, which he views as poetic, considering how it seemed as though they were on top of the world earlier.
GOING WHERE THE NUMBERS ARE
Spencer doesn’t want to go home, but he laments having to lose Shirin now. Jeff, however, isn’t so certain who he wants to send home, saying Spencer and Shirin are two heads on the same snake, with Spencer being a hugely intelligent, strategic threat, whereas Shirin is all of those things, plus she’s emotional. “She’s a saleswoman,” Jeff says, and this is the pitch he takes to Kelley, telling her that one of the two need to go. Kelley wouldn’t have gone in that direction at first, but now she needs to go where the numbers are, a sentiment that’s shared by Peih-Gee. Shirin, meanwhile, decides to save face from last night’s cruelty towards Abi-Maria, and apologizes for not sticking up for her. Abi doesn’t particularly appreciate the sentiment, saying she was made to feel a fool, and that Shirin basically has no chance of getting her loyalty back. Shirin freaks out and takes this news to Spencer, whose priority suddenly becomes making sure that he gets another three days on this island. Shirin pleads with Woo to vote with her and Spencer, saying he’ll be kept around for challenges and nothing else. But Woo is offended that Shirin thinks he’d just drop his alliance and jump to their side when they’ve never approached him before. Ultimately, Shirin and Spencer both, separately, reveal in confessionals that their only move tonight may be to vote for the other person. This affects them both, but particularly Spencer, who breaks down when talking about how he might have to vote out the one person he really wanted to play with. That was surprising. I wonder what it was about Shirin that made him want to team up with her so badly.
Spencer and Shirin start off by talking about what a hard time they’re having, in a way that’s similar to their first experiences on the show. Abi explains the reason she’s against Shirin, noting that Terry came and rescued her when Shirin didn’t. Probst points out that this is almost verbatim what happened to Shirin last season, as she was picked on and then was rescued by Mike (who would go on to win the game. So…good luck, Terry?). Spencer admits he might be a target tonight due to having talked too much about strategy, and not enough about getting to know people. Spencer pleads with the tribe to give him another chance, saying that he will change, and that this isn’t about forming alliances, it’s about forming connections. The tribemates are nodding their heads, but I feel as though Spencer might be dooming himself with this speech, because I’m not sure any of these people believe it. Shirin gives a similar speech that’s received with similar coldness. I legitimately have no idea who’s going home. As the tribe gets up to vote, we see that Spencer and Shirin each vote for each other. Every other vote, however, is a mystery.
Jeff Probst tallies the votes…
SHIRIN is voted out of SURVIVOR: SECOND CHANCE!
On the way out, Shirin tells Spencer to “give’em hell,” while Spencer thanks the rest of the tribe for the second chance once Shirin is safely gone. I would argue this was the right move, honestly. Say what you will about Spencer’s strategic acumen, but he has a lot to offer to the tribe at a physical capacity, without being the emotional liability Shirin is. Her overly emotional style of play is difficult to work with, I feel, and that could cause problems when things don’t go her way. Spencer is prone to emotional outbursts himself, but I feel he’s far better at keeping himself in check when he needs to. It’s a shame it had to come down to these two already, since I genuinely like both players. But the nighttime argument with Abi-Maria, and its immediate aftermath, proved to be the big turning point in the shifting balance of power. Ultimately, I thought it made for a fascinating episode, and an intriguing cautionary tale about not overlooking anyone, even if they’re generally the most disliked person in the tribe going in.
But what did you think of Survivor: Second Chance, “Survivor McGyver”? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on Survivor: Second Chance, watch the deleted scenes from last week’s season premiere!