TV Review: Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance (31X07) “Play to Win”

Another twist has arrived to shake up Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance! At a whopping 13 castaways, the current two tribes on Survivor have merged to become one. This is highly unexpected in a Survivor season. Normally this type of twist wouldn’t be seen until only nine or ten players remain competing for the prize. It’s one of the largest tribes the series has seen. But in a season of second chances, these castaways need to learn the new tricks of the trade.

Survivor Cambodia Merged Tribe

A new merged tribe means a potential of new possibilities. The game is entering past the halfway point where the players compete as individuals instead of teams. While that’s well and good for the final prize, alliances still reign supreme in determining who wins at the end. Every castaway will be heading to Tribal Council and taking part in every vote. Unless they hold the safety of immunity, their number could be up at any moment – and “Play to Win” proved just that.

Every alliance created from each Bayon, Ta Keo and Angkor tribe were put to the test. Minutes after arriving to their new home, the newly formed tribe began to establish the numbers. As Stephen Fishbach pointed out, being in the majority alliance of seven guarantees safety from the hardest vote in the season. How someone adapts to the post-merge week affects how long they COULD survive the next few weeks and which alliances will make it to the final rounds. It became a whirlwind of alliances, figuring out which partnerships were strong and which were merely for show.

This moment in Survivor is a great testament to a player’s social skills. With every tribe swap and new alliance made throughout the season, the number of connections (whether long-term or short) continues to rise, but the time is sometimes short. When the players are finally reunited together, the relationship could continue growing or it could end. Castaways like Jeremy and Andrew thrived in this moment when the tribes reconnected. The relationships they made with the “Old School” Survivor players held true for most of the season and with the friendships of newer players, like Joe and Spencer, it gave them easy access to creating the majority alliance.

Survivor Cambodia Andrew Jeremy

Unfortunately for the remaining players, it became a numbers game of who would go. Plucky Ciera and Chaos Kass emerged as the top two candidates the majority alliance wanted out of the game. Kass causes a lot of drama (in their words, she thrives in chaos) while Ciera is a smart threat who isn’t afraid to make big bold moves to advance her own position. Both castaways, from their point of view, would be the best and easiest option for having a safe vote. Even with all the last minute campaigning from the minority alliance to turn some votes, the Old School majority alliance held the power. But who was the unlucky person to go this time around?

Chaos Kass couldn’t shake her pre-season image. Her second chance proved fruitless as her reputation for loving chaos, destruction and irrational moves eclipsed everything she did in her new season. All the connections and the new friendship foundations she created meant nothing in the end, except for a few alliance members. Everyone sought the opportunity to get rid of a threat and those she burned in the past, like Tasha and Spencer, enjoyed the chance to strike back. Even when she tried, Kass couldn’t mend the bridges she previously set on fire in her first season.

This week in Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance, as well as Kass’ vote off, should serve as a lesson for future players, both new and returning. Regardless of any alliances made in the first few weeks, the game shifts almost immediately when the tribes merge. In the past, the tribe with the most players would simply “Pagong” the other tribe (the act of systematically voting off the minority tribe), but now it’s more advantageous to create a whole new alliance that serves a better purpose. It can help eliminate potential threats and position a player farther up the totem pole towards winning the game.

Survivor Cambodia Kass voted out

Kass’ vote off is a lesson in past mistakes. Even if a person returns for another go at the prize, the actions they made in their first season (or second, or third) aren’t forgotten. People do remember everything and sometimes fear that history could repeat itself. A smart castaway must always be aware of their reputation, the changes they need to make, and to be on guard if the same problems could hurt them again in the future. Kass had the potential to create a new legacy, but the past reared its ugly head during a tough week that kept everyone on shaky ground.

What did you think about this episode of Survivor: Cambodia – Second Chance? Share your comments below.

Rating: 7/10

Justin is a fun-loving twenty-something living in downtown Toronto, Canada. He’s an avid TV buff, movie fan and gamer. In addition to writing for The Young Folks, he has contributed to EW's The Community, Virgin.com, ghostwritten for The Huffington Post and The Globe and Mail, and he runs his own blog, City Boy Geekiness. When he's not writing about his latest favorite guilty pleasure, he's working in the Comms and Social Media field. Follow him on Instagram & Twitter: @JustinMC16.