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Survivor recap: Survivor MacGyver

Jeff Varner has a taste of power — that he likes a little too much.

Posted on

Monty Brinton/CBS


TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Jeff Probst
Current Status:
In Season

I know you want to talk about the huge shift in alliances and allegiances that sent the power duo of Ta Keo into scramble and survive mode. I understand we need to discuss the theory that Shirin’s game was ultimately undone when she didn’t stand up for Abi, after she complained herself that nobody stood up for her just one season ago. And I’m aware that we need to bow down and worship at the altar of Jeff Varner.

But before we do any of that, let’s pause for the cause to chat about Andrew Savage’s Playboy collection, shall we? First off, can I ask a question? Am I the only one not buying that whole cover story about Savage only having a huge stack of Playboy issues lying around because his “firm represented them”? That sounds about as believable as my middle-school girlfriend from Canada. A super-hot South African model comes over, sees Savage rocking Miss January through Miss December, so of course he makes up some line about it being solely for work reasons. That’s like me telling my wife I need to watch 17 straight seasons of Big Brother “for my job.” Which I totally do. If she asks. Seriously, back me up on this one.

But back to Savage. Hoarding Playboys! “For the articles,” I’m sure. Look, we can make fun all we want, but sometimes after a dude has pushed over a giant palm tree, he just wants to relax with a stack of Playboys. Nothing wrong with that! Savage hunts for Playboys the way Fishbach hunts for hidden immunity idols. Only Savage is apparently a bit more successful at it. So at least if Andrew doesn’t win the million dollars, he still has that treasure waiting for him back at home. Oh, and also his wife. Okay, let’s recap this amazing topsy-turvy episode of Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance!  

Ring! Ring! Hello, Ms. Wiglesworth, this is your Survivor wake-up call. Welcome to the game. We begin the morning after Jeff Varner’s flip to team New School as Wiglesworth realizes that “My alliance needs to get our crap together.” But while Kelley Wentworth is off hiding her idol (so nobody can rummage through her bag and steal it the way Peih-Gee stole Abi’s bracelet), Jeff Varner has another surprise in order.

It seems Varner has gotten a taste of power… and he likes it. “I would like to decide who’s next, now.” And then comes this: “My whole plan with voting out Vytas was to teach the old-schoolers to play this game finally and to set the pace to get rid of Shirin and Spencer. They’re playing too hard strategy-wise. I want to get one of them out of the mix.”

WAIT, WHAT?!? You aligned with them to immediately vote them out? And you voted out one of your alliance members to wake up the rest of your alliance? Does he not realize how loony tunes this is? Have you no respect for numbers, Jeff Varner?!? This game is all about numbers!!!! Honestly, this is one of the craziest things I have ever seen and echoes exactly what Spencer said while voting at Tribal the night before: “Jeff Varner is a crazy person.”

What is he thinking? The chain of events that would have to happen in perfect order to now flip the entire tribe back against Spencer and Shirin is so unlikely it is not even worth calculating the probability of it happening. I mean, it couldn’t actually work, right? Could it…?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Abi-Maria Gomes. Abi likes long walks on the beach, making and breaking day one alliances, and attacking Michael Skupin with flying coconuts. She was perhaps one vote away from going home the night before, but now she just became the most important player in the game. And that is a truly frightening thought. “Abi is an absolute drama queen,” says Spencer who goes on to call her “the permanent liability,” which also sounds like the name of some George Clooney legal thriller that underperforms at the box office yet garners mild-to-moderate Oscars buzz. This fall, George Clooney IS…The Permanent Liability.

“Abi is here to start fights,” continues Spencer. “And this is cancer for a tribe and a deadly cancer for an alliance.” Prophetic words. Where Spencer sees issues, Varner sees opportunity and thinks Abi could be the perfect person to bring all the way to the end. If only he could find a way to separate her from her alliance. If only there was a way to use her hot-headedness against her and the others Varner wants to get out.

NEXT: Flip-flop and you don’t stop