Parvati Shallow Breaks Down 'Survivor: Second Chance': It's Time to Take Action

Season 31 of the CBS reality show features returning castmembers who were chosen by viewers.
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Parvati Shallow is a 'Survivor' champ and three-time competitor on the show. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.

Wake up, people!! When your friends are all getting blindsided around you then you must know it’s time to take action. That’s right, Kimmy, I’m talking to you.

The episode starts with Spencer and Jeremy taking a nice morning stroll down the beach, coffee mugs in hand. This is how you do business in Cambodia after all. Why should it be any different on Survivor? Seriously though, these guys have coffee?? And coffee mugs!? What I wouldn't have done for a cup of coffee out there. Ethan Zohn is right, these new school players get all the luxuries. 


Anyway, Spencer is doing his best to regain Jeremy’s trust after blindsiding Fishbach. It’s not working. Jeremy is smart and he’s been leading this group since day one. To be left out of the loop and have his closest ally taken out right from under his nose is a slap in the face. You better believe this guy will retaliate. 

Fishbach’s blindside appears to have also woken our sleeping beauty Kimmy. For the first time since the show began, we see Kimmy take some action. She’s feeling unsafe and sees an opportunity to secure a women’s alliance. 

This is a bold move from Kimmy. She’s been tight with Jeremy since day one, and she knows how close Tasha and Jeremy have become — especially since they shared that reward together a few days ago. Kimmy is taking a big risk talking to Abi, Wentworth and Tasha about aligning and voting out the guys. We all know how Survivor tends to reward bold moves, and I am excited to finally see Kimmy get strategic. It was only a matter of time and terror. 

Now that we’re in day 30, we’re in the home stretch. For the past 30 days, these contestants have been tested in every way. They’ve been battered by rain, starved, frozen, bitten by bugs and ocean creatures, pummeled by twists, shake ups, swaps, and betrayed by trusted allies. Don’t you think it’s time to give these guys a break? 

I think so. 

Jeff, on the other hand, loves to make Survivor contestants sweat. It’s like it’s his job to mess with these people. Oh, yeah — it is his job. 

Ok, then, go ahead Probst, make them all cry. 

Probst easily has all eight of our battle hardened contestants in a puddle of their own tears by announcing that their loved ones are here. One by one, we watch the troops weaken. Jeremy breaks down when his wife Val shows up and whispers in his ear about the baby she’s carrying in her belly, “It’s a boy.”

Ok, now I’m weeping. I love these family visits, and I’m so glad Survivor shelled out the cash to fly loved ones out this season. It’s so worth it to see the players have a brief moment to drop their guards and feel love melting their icy hearts, just a little.

Spencer shows how deeply this second chance has affected him. He catches his bubble-gum adorable girlfriend Marcella in his arms and tells her he loves her for the first time ever. She nearly rips his clothes off right then and there. I wonder if Jeff had to intervene in their make out session: “Ummm ... Spencer, it’s cool that you’ve finally sprouted a heart, but we’re gonna need to keep this rolling.”

Kelley Wentworth performs like a champion and wins the coveted family reward challenge. This entitles her to invite four more people and their loved ones to a barbecue on the beach. She selects: Keith, Abi, Joe and Kimmy. Bummer for Tasha, Jeremy and Spencer. 

Kelley’s selection may be based on who she likes the best in the game: Keith, Abi and Joe plus a bit of strategy in taking Kimmy. If she is serious about forming a girl’s alliance, however, Wentworth makes a critical error in not choosing Tasha. Tasha is now left out of the fun, doesn't bond with the rest of the girls and sits in the shelter commiserating with the other outcasts: Spencer and Jeremy. 

This doesn't bode well for the all girls group. But, it could be just the thing to keep Joe in the game another day. 

Joe is still in the hot seat. Because he dominates the majority of challenges and he’s playing a good social game this time, he’s target numero uno. He needs to win immunity to ensure his safety. 

Joe is up against a group of extremely hardcore competitors, who are not going to be easily beaten. For this immunity challenge, the contestants have to hold onto a pole and balance a wooden statue on top of a platform, all while staring directly at the sun. I call this the ‘burn your eyeballs and cut off the blood supply to your brain’ challenge. Sounds fun, doesn't it? 

Immunity goes to the last female standing and the last male standing. Kelley Wentworth wins for the ladies, leaving Keith and Joe to battle it out for the boys. 

These two are focused, eyeball dead set on the statue in the sun, necks crammed backwards. I don’t know how they manage to maintain their focus with Probst shouting on about how much bend they’ve got in their 16 foot poles. Now, that’s a lot of pole. 

All of a sudden, Joe crumbles to the ground, dropping his statue and losing the challenge. When he doesn't stand up right away, his tribe mates start to worry. Medical rushes to the scene. 

They take Joe’s vitals and inform him that he’s worn himself out to the point of complete bodily failure. He’s playing so hard that his body just shuts down. 

When Joe gets up and Jeff crowns the winners, Jeff takes the opportunity to rave about how great it is that these players are all pushing themselves to the breaking point. I see this as a little pep talk for our exhausted, depleted gamers, but I think it’s a little too much. This is a game, and pushing yourself too far can have very long-term damaging effects on your body and mind. 

Sometimes, you have to know when to ease off. Joe doesn't have the ease back button, however, and right away he hits the guys with a plan to vote off Abi. Joe says that keeping Abi in the game will secure her spot in the finals. She can’t win, and everyone wants to take her to the end. 

It’s not a very convincing argument coming from the single greatest threat to win the game. Little does Joe know that Tasha, Jeremy and Spencer have already agreed on a final three pact, so his argument for ditching Abi doesn’t hold much weight. 

What does scare Spencer and Jeremy is the idea of an all girls alliance destroying their chances of making the finals. Could that be enough to get them to keep Joe in for one more vote? 


Joe’s Survivor: Second Chance days are done, but before he begins his walk of shame, he turns to the guys and ominously bids them good luck. 

Joe’s departure leaves the door open for Kimmy’s female alliance. 

Will it play out? If Kelley’s idol has anything to do with it, absolutely it will. 

Only time will tell. 

For my full, in-depth analysis, click here.