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Parvati Shallow Recaps 'Survivor,' Grades Spencer's Gameplay

The three-time competitor and winner of "Survivor: Micronesia" shares her insights into the CBS show every week on THR.com.

Morgan McLeod
Morgan McLeod

Hey everyone, welcome to The Spencer Show, formerly known as Survivor: Cagayan. 

Since this episode opens on Spencer and follows him through all the action, I will write this recap in his honor. Let’s take a closer look at Spencer’s moves, break them down and grade them. By the end of this recap, Spencer will receive one overall letter grade for his gameplay. That’s right, people. It’s getting real for this brainiac. 

Class is now in session.

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Our episode begins with Spencer berating Kass for flipping sides and voting with her “estrogen.” Uh-oh. We already know that Kass is a loose cannon who needs tons of love and coddling. Having played with Kass from Day One, Spencer knows this better than anyone. He should work on biting his tongue. Lashing out at Kass ensures that he will not be able to smooth-talk her into flipping back over to his side. While I am a fan of speaking one’s mind (it makes for fun TV), in the game of Survivor you need to know when to shut your mouth, especially when dealing with emotionally volatile tribemates. Spencer, you get an F for your post-tribal outburst. 

Reward Challenge:

First of all, this challenge rocks— an underwater see-saw, a balance beam, a giant rope ladder and a stacking puzzle — amazing. Watching challenges like this makes me crave competition. Spencer’s tribe wins. He happily trots off to the Outback Steakhouse and stuffs his face with steak, s’mores, margaritas. With his food coma in full effect, he finally thinks to wipe his grubby hands and luckily finds an idol clue in his napkin. He instantly stashes it in his pocket, unseen by his fellow dining companions. Big time, Spence. 

A+ for sitting in the right seat. 

A- for not using your napkin until the reward was almost over and nearly missing the clue altogether.

STORY: Parvati Shallow Recaps 'Survivor': A Quit and a Blindside

Return to camp, post Outback: 

With the idol clue burning a hole in his pocket, Spencer leaves the rest of his tribemates in the shelter and darts out in the rain to begin his search. I like the enthusiasm, but I think he could have been a bit more subtle. B- 

Woo, our stealth ninja warrior, notices Spencer’s suspicious timing and dances across the water to follow him. Spencer is so wrapped up in gingerly removing his shoes and pants that he doesn’t notice the ninja hot on his heels. He folds the clue neatly in his pants and leaves it on the bank of the river before continuing his search. 

Never leave a clue unattended, Spencer. Big Fat F for this mistake. Big F. Huge. 

Woo is spotted and Spencer somehow forgets to put his pants back on. Woo finds the clue, grabs it and bolts back to camp. Spencer takes chase, but is no match for the ninja. Once Woo races into camp, he rallies LJ, Tony and the rest of his alliance to go out and search for the idol, thus prompting the mad treasure hunt. 

Now everyone is searching for Spencer’s idol. He rallies his alliance mates and even Morgan, “the human pillow,” comes out to look for the idol. A+ for possessing the ability to motivate Morgan. Well done. 

Eventually, everyone loses steam and Woo leaves Kass to babysit Spencer. He continues to dig for the idol and finds it, but he can’t let Kass see that he has it. He begins distracting her with a conversation apologizing for his emotional outburst the night before. She looks away, and he grabs the idol. Sweet! A+ for persistence and stealth.

Immunity Challenge:

Another awesome challenge. This time our players have to stand on their tiptoes, balancing a block on their heads. This challenge is going to take focus, determination and willpower. I have my money on the stealth ninja, Woo, taking the victory. But I am wrong. It comes down to Spencer and Tasha in the end. They both need this win. Tasha looks strong and composed. Spencer looks awkward and in pain, but it doesn’t matter what you look like as long as the other person falls first. And, after an hour and a half of balancing on her toes, Tasha’s block drops. In a shocking upset, Spencer wins immunity! 

A+++

Pre-Tribal Council Strategy:

Spencer has immunity comfortably around his neck and he has an idol in his pocket.  Although he’s not going anywhere tonight, he still needs to do everything he can to keep his allies in the game. Kass is a known flipper; maybe she will flip back and rejoin her old cronies. She desperately wants to believe they’ve all forgiven her. Spencer approaches Kass and tries to sell her on the idea of voting out Tony. The problem here is twofold. 1) Kass hates Morgan and the other alliance wants to vote out Morgan. Kass wants Morgan gone. 2) Spencer already blew up at Kass, and therefore, his position has been weakened. He should have sent Jeremiah to smooth-talk Kass into siding with them. Jeremiah could have pitched a final three with Kass and Tasha, then cut her after the next vote. 

Spencer gets a B for effort. I can appreciate that.

Tribal Council:

Spencer does not play his idol. He does not get voted out. A+

Kass doesn’t flip back and Morgan, one of Spencer’s allies, is voted out. Now he is in a very low spot on the totem pole. We know he’s OK for one more vote. Then he’s got some serious scrambling to do. Who will he side with now? Will he make a play to gain Kass’ vote again? Will he try to turn the others against her? 

All things considered, he’s done well this time. 

Final Grade: B++

I think that’s something his parents can be proud about. 

Class dismissed. 

Tune into Survivor Live on CBS.com for my interview with Morgan at 1 p.m.

Hope to see you there!