Parvati Shallow Breaks Down 'Survivor: Second Chance': Idol Magic

Season 31 of the CBS reality show features returning castmembers who were chosen by viewers.
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The cast of 'Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance'

Parvati Shallow is a 'Survivor' champ and three-time competitor on the show. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.

"I'm hoping for a miracle at tribal council." — Ciera Easton

Ciera, Abi and Kelley Wentworth have to find a way to pull magic rabbits out of their coconuts after losing their mama bear, Kass, in last week's episode of Survivor: Second Chance. The ladies are now working from a severe numbers deficit, but they are not willing to go down without a fight. I admire their tenacity, and I believe their willingness to fight for each other will pay off. Cut to Ciera and Stephen walking along the beach discussing a new target — Stephen's enemy number one: Joe. 

No matter how juicy Joe is to watch, Stephen is right. Joe is a huge threat to continue to win challenges, and if he makes it to final tribal, he could easily charm the jury to give him the win. I hate to admit it, but if anyone else stands a chance to win, they must vote out Joe. 

So far, Stephen’s nerdy, non-threatening persona has allowed him to play second fiddle to Jeremy's leadership. Now, however, it appears Stephen is ready to make his move, and he wants to get the ladies on the bottom to help him out. Losing the reward challenge breaks his sweet little poet heart, and he feels like he's missed a huge opportunity to bond. Stephen knows a lot about the game. He made it all the way to the end in Tocantins, and since then, he's made a career out of talking strategy. He understands that winning this game comes down to how well a player can develop relationships. Rewards offer fresh locations that allow people to open up to different types of conversations and ways of thinking. Ciera is whip-smart and gets this fundamental truth; she seizes the moment to talk a little strategy. She’s planting seeds that may bear fruit by the next tribal council. 

Side note, how cute is Keith tuk-tukking around the beach? You just have to love this guy. 

Back at camp, Stephen is also hustling to get people to agree to the Joe blindside. Unfortunately, Savage overhears Stephen’s pitch to Tasha and vows to crush the Fish. Savage loves Joe like his firstborn son, and he will do whatever it takes to protect him, including blindsiding Stephen. This is all playing out like a Shakespearean drama, and I am into it. 

The only thing that matters for Ciera and Stephen’s plan to work is this: Joe cannot win immunity. But we know he will, and of course, he does. So now the game is back on. Savage and Joe are now working together to get rid of Stephen. When Stephen’s number one ally, Jeremy, walks up and sees Savage swinging in the hammock like a Machiavellian prince directing his army, Jeremy pops a squat right by Savage's ear. He tells Savage no. It won't be Fishbach tonight. And just like that, we see who's really wearing the crown. 

Tasha quickly runs to Joe to let him know the plan to vote Fishy is off. It's fascinating to me to watch the interpersonal dynamics. Why are some people connecting so deeply? We're not seeing how the bonds have been developing, and that makes it more difficult to understand why people are so fiercely loyal to certain people. I'm sure some pre-game alliances must be coming into play at this point. No matter, I love that Jeremy put the smack-down on Savage, but now I'm worried about the fate of our three fair maidens: Abi, Ciera and Kelley Wentworth. It's now a question of which lady the majority alliance feels is the biggest threat. 

They choose Kelley Wentworth, and rightfully so. This girl has been my pick to win the game since day one. She's super smart, physically strong and despite having an idol burning a hole in her pocket, she's playing a very subtle, adaptive game. At tribal council, the girls know it's one of them. Kelley's got her idol. Will she play it? What if the majority splits the votes like they did last week? They have the numbers and could easily go 5 for Kelly and 4 for Ciera just in case one of them has an idol. 

"You know what, Jeff." I'm dying! Kelley plays her idol in epic fashion. 

I’m shocked that they don't split the votes, and when Kelley plays her idol, they're all shocked, too. 

It’s a beautiful move and brings Kelley to the forefront of gameplay for this season. She's wearing the crown tonight, and I hope she can maintain the power she’s gained and swing some of the others toward her side. I’m concerned that she has now showed her cards, and people will start to realize how much more dangerous Kelley is than they ever imagined. 

Until next week, I’m so proud of Kelley. 

For a more in-depth strategy analysis and my thoughts on what's to come, click here.

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