Not that I’ve seen or heard anybody make one, but I don’t think there’s even one good argument for Second Chance as a non-Top-5 season of all time. I mean, from beginning to end, this was truly a treat to watch.
When your most obvious and boring boots are the last couple, you know you just watched a killer season. And I’m just happy that this was my first one covering here at True Dork Times. It’s pretty simple to write entertaining columns when your source material is damn great.
So before I get to this season’s wrap up, I just wanted to thank everyone who’s been reading these columns each week and the folks who’ve commented. I’ve really enjoyed writing them and talking to so many really smart Survivor fans. I’ll be doing this again next season, so I hope we continue to do what we’re doing and, hopefully, we’ll get more amazing source material to analyze.
Anyway, unlike previous episodes where I’ve applied to theories of communication to the action, I’m going to return to my preview column for this here finale. What do I mean? Well, I made some bold predictions before the season started about where players might place, and I think it only makes sense to revisit those predictions and see how good, or more likely, bad they turned out to be in hindsight.
So let’s get going. These names appear as they did in my preview, meaning, for example, we’ll start with Kass, who I then thought had the worst chance of winning the game. In the comments, let’s talk about your predictions turned out too.
20. Kass (actual place: 13th)
I thought Kass went into the game with literally no chance to win and believed she’d be the first boot. Now, Kass didn’t go directly to tribal, so we’ll never know if she would have been the first boot. But I think this prediction ended up pretty good as Kass was simply not winning this game. I will give her credit, though, she played much better, at least at first, than I thought. But, man, why not eliminate Spencer when you had the chance, Kass? Dumb move.
19. Joe (actual place: 8th)
I know people have taken to talking about how much better Joe played this time around. I’ve been on record as arguing the opposite and I’ll do so again. Oh, sure, Joey Amazing performed exceptionally in challenges and lubed himself up for Tasha to almost faint, but he almost always voted in the minority and besides Savage and maybe Kelly, didn’t make any real strong alliances. He’s great at challenges, though. And he’s been compared to Ozzy a lot, so let me just say please bring Joe back again before you ever make another call to Ozzy, Mr. Probst.
18. Spencer (actual place: 2nd/3rd)
I feel like Spencer was my biggest miss of the season. I thought folks would eliminate him early on simply because he’s strategic and good at challenges. Boy was I wrong. Well, let me take that back: Spencer almost went home early on, but like in his first season, he displayed an uncanny ability to avoid elimination until he finally settled in to a relatively safe spot. You could make a decent argument Spencer deserved to win (until his horrible showing at the penultimate tribal). So good for you, Spencer. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again.
17. Shirin (actual place: 19th)
I totally stand by my Shirin preview. I said that I thought Shirin was the most overrated player entering the game. I was right. She learned absolutely nothing from her first time out and played a similarly bad game. A person with her skillset and Survivor fandom should understand how she has to play to win. She doesn’t. And she got an early boot. Hopefully she doesn’t return without severally altering her game.
16. Jeff (actual place: 17th)
After reading pregame coverage, I thought Jeff played too hard before the game even started. I think that’s exactly what happened: He burned too brightly at the beginning of the game. I just don’t think you can win going so fast, so quickly. But, on the bright side, I think we’ll definitely be seeing Jeff Varner again. And that’s a great thing.
15. Abi-Maria (actual place: 7th)
Originally, I wrote, “I think Abi-Maria might actually go far. But she’s not winning.” This was spot-on and obvious. I’m still surprised she wasn’t dragged to the end. Unfortunately, her decent showing provided her with tons of screen time and means we’ll definitely be seeing her on the next inevitable “Heroes v. Villains” season. Sadly.
14. Vytas (actual place: 20th)
Sorry to do this again, but I wrote: “I also think his confessionals showed an arrogant strategist who too transparently looked out for only himself. These players have seen the seasons. These players will remember. These players will ditch Vytas before the merge.” Again, I was pretty much right on. (Please allow this me right now because as we get closer to the end of my predictions, I won’t be so accurate. For my ego, let me quote myself occasionally? Sorry.)
13. Stephen (actual place: 9th)
I thought Stephen would be targeted early because of his strategic reputation. And while that sort of happened, I think I totally underestimated Stephen. If his vote-taker actually worked, he may gotten really far this season. Hopefully, if we wants, Stephen earned a chance to return.
12. Ciera (actual place: 10th)
Ciera seemed to be playing a perfect game pre-merge. And then came the Woo vote. When it happened I criticized her and I’ll do it again: She played for the Big Move™ and not to win. If she sat back for a bit longer and let the game come to her, she could have won. I thought she play too fast right out of the gate, so I was definitely wrong about Ciera. But hopefully, if she returns (which I think she will), she’ll play a little more slowly.
11. Terry (actual place: 15th)
It’s hard to comment on Terry. I truly wonder how this season would have been different if Terry didn’t have to leave. While he was on the outs a bit with this tribe, that was a temporary situation and at the merge, he may have faded in the background enough to do some damage. We’ll never know. And while he’s not great TV, I hope Terry gets another shot at playing Survivor. He’s a good guy who should go out on his own terms.
10. Peih-Gee (actual place: 18th)
Is it weird that I don’t remember Peih-Gee’s game at all? In a great season filled with many memorable players, I actually remember Peih-Gee the least, by far. But when I think about it, the fact that she couldn’t get along with Abi at all probably changed the way this game was played.
9. Kimmi (actual place: 6th)
Oh, Kimmi. I underestimated you. If you could have been a wee bit more discreet, your Big Move™ might have actually made you $1 million, or at least a second-place finish next to Kelley. Great thought, but it didn’t work. I wonder how this all plays out if Kimmi doesn’t snitch on Monica and Spencer gets the boot at that vote. A very different game plays out, I bet.
8. Kelly (actual place: 11th)
Did Kelly actually play in this season? I mean, I remember her a bit, but I feel like I may have hallucinated that. I thought she had a chance, but I was wrong. More importantly, I think Kelly’s time on Second Chance showed viewers and producers alike that they can’t just bring back any classic player, no matter how popular they were at the time. Mandatory screen tests, Probst. Mandatory screen tests.
7. Andrew (actual place: 12th)
I thought Savage actually could have won this game before it started. Boy was I wrong. I guess I didn’t remember Pearl Islands enough. Savage was way too arrogant (pot, kettle, black at final tribal, my friend) and would never have won any vote even if he miraculously made it to the end. I was very wrong here.
6. Kelley (actual place: 4th)
I thought Kelley could be “a real contender,” but never did I think she’d play as well as she did. Kelley barely got any air time her first season and comes out of Second Chance, I would argue, as the big star of the season. She’ll be back and, I think, she could actually win the whole thing next time.
5. Tasha (actual place: 2nd/3rd)
Tasha played an understated good game, one that I think will be totally underrated in the future. And, you know, that’s what I wrote about her Cagayan time too. I guess that’s the key for Tasha next time around: She needs to play a little more visibly, while also not dominating a group and making herself a target. It’s a tough job, but all she needs to do is look at how Kelley performed this season.
4. & 3. Keith and Woo (actual place: 5th/14th)
These two played exactly as expected: People (besides Abi) liked them and they had no chance to win the game. I thought that, sitting next to the right people, either could win the game. I was dead wrong. These two were goats through and through. Neither has the strategic acumen to win a season populated by veteran, smart players. Not going to happen. Neither can win this game, ever. I sure hope we see Keith try again, though.
2. Jeremy (actual place: 1st)
So close. So very close. I thought Jeremy could win this game. I almost put him at No. 1. I so with I did. I would look very smart right now. Great game by Jeremy. I thought, until Spencer’s horrible showing at the final four tribal, that Jeremy would come up short, though. Spencer seemed to play a better game until that point, and the Kimmi situation clearly proved that. But we viewers didn’t see Spencer’s “social” game much and we know Jeremy played an amazing, amazing social game, one only rivaled, in my opinion, by Earl and Kim. I think Jeremy has the tools to win again, actually.
1. Monica (actual place: 16th)
Oh Monica, maybe it’s because I loved seeing you in a bikini, but I totally overrated your game. I honestly thought Monica would play Kelley’s game. And I was so badly wrong. Now I know Monica didn’t get much time on the island and her boot off probably ended up being a horrible, horrible move by Kimmi and Stephen, but she was also basically invisible (unlike Kelley, for example) and badly misunderstood her relationship with Kimmi. This was a horrible pick on my part. Poop.
Well, that’s it. Not bad predictions, but not great either. I hope you all have a great holiday season and, again, thanks for reading all season. Besides the comments, let’s talk again just before next season, when I’ll return with a preview of all people I have no idea how to rate. Good times.
Pat Ferrucci started watching Survivor when episode two of Borneo first aired. He’s seen every episode since. Besides recapping here, he’ll be live-tweeting this season from the Mountain Time Zone. Why? Because nobody cares about the Mountain Time Zone except when they want to ski. Follow him @patferrucci for Survivor stuff and tweets about anything and everything that enters his feeble mind.