Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Cambodia Episode 14 “Lie, Cheat and Steal”

We put the season to bed with a look at the finale, the reunion, and the season of Survivor Cambodia as a whole. It was a great one (the season, I mean. The podcast? You decide).


Purple Rock Survivor podcast: Cambodia episode 14 “Lie, Cheat and Steal” Finale

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In this episode, we discuss:

  • What’s it like for John to converse with the little people after hob-nobbing with the Survivor elite.
  • What made this season great.
  • That insane final six tribal council and how it might rank all-time.
  • Jeremy’s dominant win and how it’ll look better in retrospect.
  • The role of luck in Jeremy’s win.
  • The second best player of the season: Kelley Wentworth.
  • Our new found love and appreciation for Keith Nale.
  • Where things went wrong for Spencer and Tasha.
  • How the season and Jeremy’s win rate.
  • Why our listeners and commenters are the best. The. Best.

Of course, we always welcome your comments. You can leave a comment here, tweet us @purplerockpod, or email us at purplerockpodcast on gmail. Thanks for listening and/or watching!

84 thoughts on “Purple Rock Survivor Podcast: Cambodia Episode 14 “Lie, Cheat and Steal”

  1. Woo-hoo! I’m number 16! Replacement-level commenter! (a list is the same as a ranking, right?).

    Speaking of rankings, I think Second Chance slots just above Pearl Islands, depending on whether you give PI extra credit for being a quantum leap in the evolution of the show (I haven’t seen Race Wars or HvV). But for sure in the top tier, and ranking within the top tier is kind of pointless.

    Hearing my user name spoken out loud for the first time reeeeally makes me wish I had given it more thought (I signed up on Disqus specifically to comment here).

    I’ve been arguing that the right play with the fake idol was for Wentworth to put it around Keith’s neck immediately before the vote 1) to take the agency out of Keith’s hands and 2) to give the others no time to think (in order for the bluff to fail, all three have to realize it must be a bluff, but for it to succeed, only one of them has to panic). I must admit it never occurred to me that the benefit of Keith playing it is that they couldn’t be sure he wasn’t misplaying a real idol.

    Great job you guys. Recap culture really benefits a show like Survivor more than other shows. I’m finishing up Amazon right now and it’s weird not having even very much in the way of archived commentary to read.

    Enjoy the off-season. It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s less than two months until the premiere of Survivor Medivac Island.

    1. To be clear: that wasn’t a ranking of commenters. You’re all number one in my eyes.

      Except that one guy… He know who he is.

    2. Again there is no value to Kelley putting the idol on Keith because if she really had an idol she’d just have played it after the votes. The value would have been either handing it to Keith early and telling him it was real to let him be supremely confident going in and freak the others or making sure one of the others “caught” her with it and again freak them out. A real idol doesn’t need to be flashed at 5 just played.

      1. Yeah, Rob and Josh were really down on the idea that people would wonder why this is suddenly the tribal where Kelley decides to wave her idol around instead of just playing that, but I kind of think that crew is savvy enough to realize that something was off. I mean, Jeremy claims that he’d put the pieces together pre-tribal to suss out that Keith was faking having one, I think he can make that deduction.

        1. Oh I agree with the logic of the situation, and I’m certainly not saying my way was guaranteed or even likely to work. I just think people (including Rob and Josh) are 1) assuming that Jeremy/Tasha/Spencer could clearly think through the logic of it in the pressure cooker of TC, immediately before the vote and with Kelley blustering about “Keith and I are going to be here tomorrow”, and 2) not taking into account that only one of them needed to panic for Kelley to succeed in breaking them up.

      2. Kelley should have given it to Keith, told him it was real and that he should take it out and put it on during tribal to see if any of the three blinked. Then before Keith played the idol Kelley stops Keith and tells him it’s fake. This way they get to “play” it without actually playing it (and embarrassing Keith, which is something Kelley wouldn’t want to do).

  2. I have to dock Cambodia a little for making me momentarily lose interest around the Wiglesworth boot and double episode, I still think the merge came too early, but I’m basically quibbling at this point.

    It’s a top 10 season, I also have it somewhere around Pearl Islands in my rankings, which is just outside of my current top 5 with mostly bad seasons still to watch with the exception of a couple.

    I’ll listen to the podcast and maybe be back.

  3. Not sure if this has been discussed but I think Jeremy’s move to play the idol for Stephen was his winning move not because Stephen stays but because Ciera goes. If Stephen goes then Joe is voted out the next week the first time he isn’t immune leaving Tasha, Jeremy, Spencer and Kimmi Vs Kelley, Keith, Abi and Ciera at the final 8. Who knows what happens with the idols after that, maybe no votes at final 8 and Spencer flips voting out Tasha forcing Jeremy to play his 2nd idol to vote out Ciera at final 7 leaving Jeremy and Kimmi vs Kelley, Abi, Keith and Spencer at final 6 where Jeremy goes home.

  4. I’m pausing at the point where Andy is talking about the things Spencer should have said at final tribal, because those are the things I expected him to be saying when I was bullish on his ability to run circles around Jeremy there. I’m taking solace in the fact that, in his blog, Stephen gave evidence that I was right to predict that Spencer would be really compelling and articulate and Jeremy would struggle a lot (although I can’t fault that final speech, that was masterful on Jeremy’s part). But… I thought jury sentiment would be a lot closer than it was, and given where things lay, 1 evening was not enough to counteract the previous 38 days.

    ETA: Also the things John said.

    1. Also, anyone who thinks Jeremy won just because of that final speech – ugh, no, you are wrong, don’t say these things.

      1. I think the only thing that final speech did was ensure it was a shutout. Before that I think there was maybe a 10-15% chance that Kass would have given Spencer a vote A) to make sure Tasha came in third and B) so she could lord it over Spencer that it was her vote that gave him second place.

        With that final three Jeremy was going to win with a sizable margin no matter what.

          1. Huh. I had the feeling if he had given the right answer to her question she might have voted for him. Guess my Chaos Kass radar is off.

            Also I felt like she had more beef with Tasha than Spencer.

          2. Yeah, the Kass/Spencer feud this season seemed to be a non-starter, whereas the Kass/Tasha feud just erupted. Especially since Kass could have voted Spencer out and didn’t, and while Spencer did vote Kass out he appeared to take no joy in it and said he would have saved her if he could have convinced enough people to switch.

  5. For the record: I don’t think Andrew Savage is the world’s biggest sexist. I’d say he’s about average to slightly above average levels of sexist for a man of his age and social class. It’s just that that still happens to be super duper sexist.

      1. I don’t know sharcules, you are sounding pretty arrogant, and Andrew Savage taught me that arrogance is bad.

        1. I can’t believe we forgot to talk about Savage’s question at final tribal! I loved it so much.

          1. My favorite part of the Rob C podcast with David Bloomberg this week was where David said during the finale after Savage called Spencer arrogant, he tweeted “Andrew Savage calling someone else arrogant is hysterical” (or something like that) and he said it was his most liked Tweet ever.

  6. And as to the last segment, the naming of names, it exemplifies everything I love about this place. You guys can choose to believe or not believe this, but, although I don’t necessarily listen to you guys first, because Rob’s resources mean he generally posts before you can and I have places to go and listening needs, if I realize you guys have posted before I finish RHAP I pause and switch over to you guys. Because you guys are fun, and I think part of that is the way you’ve inculcated a sense of community that makes this feel like a discussion between friends.

    So in the spirit of the naming of names, thank you John, Andy, Emma, Matt, and Mark for making this place possible. It’s been a ton of fun. See you next season.

      1. I don’t agree that it’s sounds less special. You’re part of the panel here because your view of Survivor clicks with what John and Andy are doing. Why shouldn’t you be excited about the perspective they’re bringing?

          1. Unless I’m reading it wrong I think Emma’s talking about the part where I prioritize listening to you over RHAP, so… it may actually be worse coming from you.

          2. And then I’m deep into deep holiday vacation drunk and I realized that this is maybe self-deprecating sarcasm so now I’m just gonna kind of ramble because you guys already realize that I’m an awkward drunk. Anyways, Andy and Emma are both awesome, as are John, Matt, and Mark.

    1. I will never have any issues with coming in second to Rob. I met him at the finale after-party, and he was incredibly nice. He ended up talking to me and my wife for a good 15 minutes or so. And I congratulated him on his success and making a living out of this, because he’s earned it and deserves it.

      I may actually even attend a live Know It Alls next season, just to cross that one off my Survivor-related to-do list. If anyone else here plans on going, let me know.

      1. I’ve never posted before here. I listen to most of the major podcasts (along with others) regarding survivor because I have a two hour drive each way to work. I found yours fairly recently (started late last season).

        As for know it alls, I would love to go when KIA is in NYC. I live in the area but not in the city but my husband is not into Survivor and neither are my friends or coworkers so I’ve skipped the others (plus its late at night and getting back home is a pain and I’m getting old and cranky…). If you did a meetup, that might be great.

        1. First of all, welcome! And I don’t know how big the meetup would be (though I know a few people here who might be interested), but if I end up going I’ll try to put the word out so other PRP listeners/readers can all get together.

          Your commute sounds absolutely brutal, by the way.

      2. I’d like to add that you are my first Survivor podcast, because of you I went looking for RHAP. I like RHAP, it’s a different thing with more resources but if I haven’t listened to a Survivor podcast and both are available I listen to you first.

      3. If it becomes a big group thing, I’d consider going — I’m too socially awkward to go by myself 😉

    2. Hearing that someone is going to “name names” is usually a bad thing but this time it was great. Makes me feel bad about only posting on the AVClub summaries. I’ll have to split my focus on both sites next season.

  7. Love you guys too! Although I thought I was supposed to get a shot in this season. Jeffrey never called me back…

    1. Sorry, SEP. I should really write these things down. The issue is that I often don’t know what I’m going to say until I say it.

  8. Great analysis guys. I think you are dead on about the anticipation that put the Old School players at a huge disadvantage. I think Kimmi hasn’t been thinking about Survivor and been desperate to go back since the day she was snuffed in Australia, where as Varner wanted vindication, Savage is burned by the outcasts, Stephen is thinking about what if he’d just got rid of JT. I feel that she had much less pressure on this game, it was almost the first time she played the game, as Australia was an experience more than anything else.

  9. Also guys I fear I left my post-it note with a list of weirdest and most awkward promo photos on my desk before I left for the 2 weeks I’ve booked off.

      1. I’ve got 2 weeks off, celebrated Christmas on Saturday as my brother is out of town and I am just hanging at my mother’s house bothering her for the rest of the week.

      2. If you guys are still interested in the idea of guest posts I have an idea for an off-season thing that would generate… copious amounts of material.

        1. We’ve decided that all offseason posts will have to be titled “Survivor Amanda Kimmel Joe Anglim nude sex tape uncensored” in order to boost SEO. So were you thinking along those lines?

          If you have an idea you want to pitch and don’t want to post it in the comments, just send it via email (purplerockpodcast- gmail) or to one of us on Twitter.

  10. I think what Jeremy did that was smart but is possibly why some people aren’t giving him enough credit is that he played a low-key game in a season where people came out swinging. Players were taking each other out leaving Jeremy without blood on his hands. A lot of his competition were putting nice shiny targets on themselves while Jeremy stayed in the shadows and streghthened his social bonds. It was a great strategy for a returnee season.

    A great end to a great season of podcasting guys! I am even looking forward to the next injury prone season because the podcast and commenters here will make it fun even if the season is awful.

    1. I wouldn’t call it a low-key game, but rather a shield game. Ally yourself with bigger threats (physical, strategic, and social-game). Be above average but not the best at all aspects of the game. Lead from behind. It’s an excellent strategy, particularly if we’re in a post-Vlachos/Holloway period where people think they need to run around making big, splashy moves to win. Off the top of my head I’d say Todd, Denise, and maybe Tyson all played shield games to an extent.

      1. I agree it’s an excellent strategy, I’m just calling it low-key because its not a flashy style of game play; it’s subtle.

        1. Maybe it’s hair-splitting but I think of a low-key strategy as what Sandra and Sophie did. Keep the target off of you, maintain good relationships with future jury members. That strategy works well when there’s one person running roughshod over the game but pissing everybody off (Fairplay, Russell, Coach).

          1. I guess my definition of low-key is a little broader than yours but I get where you’re coming from. Jeremy was certainly very “present” in the game; people were aware of him as someone who was a leader of the alliance.

  11. I have been kicking around this idea for couple days, I’m not really convinced by it, but I think it’s an interesting possibility to discuss:

    Is it possible that Spencer was the villain of this season and he wasn’t edited that way because of how popular he is with viewers?

    1. Excepting the truly repellent and hateful Coltons and Dans, I’m not sure Survivor villainy exists apart from the edit. It would certainly have been possible to present Second Chances as the story of Spencer being an arrogant weasel, but I don’t think that possibility alone makes him a villain. I agree that his popularity contributed to his positive edit, but it was also helped by Spencer’s work crafting a nice, positive growth arc for the producers.

      Ultimately I did not get the impression that Spencer was shut out because he committed an unforgivable moral crime. Rather, he was shut out because everyone like Jeremy, and Spencer couldn’t come up with a good reason that anyone should prefer him over Jeremy.

      1. With some rare exceptions (Dan Foley at the Worlds Apart finale, Drew Christy in his boot episode), I don’t get the sense that the producers are putting their thumb on the scale to portray anybody a “villain”. They want compelling television first and foremost, and Colton, Abi-Maria, and Kass are nothing if not sources of compelling television. That they come across as villains is just a by-product.

        Plus, villainy is in the eye of the beholder. Is Savage a hero or villain? Who is the hero and who is the villain between Dawn and Brenda? Did Jeremy shamelessly exploit his wife’s pregnancy? Did Russell get robbed twice because of idiotic, bitter juries?

        1. Villain might have been too strong. Antagonist is probably more accurate. I’m just thinking that a lot of his moves, like voting out Fishbach, are the sort that are usually portrayed negatively.

    2. I think I recall Malcolm saying that in his first season he was thinking/hoping he’d get edited as a villain, but production had different ideas. I imagine that same sort of logic applies to Spencer and Joe; you only edit them as villains if it’s really necessary to advance the narrative. Otherwise, you keep them golden and give the fans what they want.

  12. On RHAP a listener suggested that if Keith had been allowed to vote for himself on the revote then he, Kelly and Kimmi could have voted for Keith and forced another tie, this time between Kimmi and Keith. Then the only possible choice to draw rocks would be Tasha, everyone else being immune or the tie votes.

    This was such a crazy one-in-a-million occurrence, but do you think players should be allowed to vote for themselves?

    1. That was indeed an interesting point about how it would actually be in Keith’s self-interest to vote for himself. But I came to the same conclusion they did–allowing people to vote for themselves opens up a huge can of worms just to solve a problem that has only a minuscule chance of ever coming up. Plus Survivor doesn’t want to give the players another avenue for creating a tie. The whole point of turning the rock draw back on the people who didn’t get votes is to make the rock draw as undesirable as possible (the real-world logical thing to do in a deadlock would be to make the vote-getters draw rocks).

  13. I’m only about 2/3 through the podcast (kids are off from school already… damn responsibilities!), but I was thinking about John talking about the energy of being at the finale, and the fact that most of us watch at home quietly and not in big group settings — would it be worthwhile to consider having a finale party amongst ourselves somewhere? I don’t know where you all live, but I’m in the NYC suburbs and it’d be so much fun to watch with like-minded fans who just enjoy a good show 🙂

    1. I don’t think my brother makes fun of me so much as that he’s actively disgusted, but I think that’s partially because I got his girlfriend into it.

    2. If I end up going to the NYC Know-It-Alls this coming season, I’ll try to make sure to let everyone know. That way, if you happen to be in the area (as you, Woozah, and possibly other are), we could potentially meet up there.

  14. I am sorry to post some snark after he expressed all his mushy, nice feelings about us, but Andy really needs to be more carefull when talking in the micro: there is a bunch of times be he is inintelligible.
    And stop complementing Spencer’s “maturity”. As someone who’s 27 and hangs with a bunch of people in their early twenties, he isn’t super mature for his age. Your expectations are too low. It’s almost condescending to us the young folks.

    But it’s been a good season, and its’ been nice listening to your podcasts. so thanks for that

    1. This only serves as reaffirmation of my strongly held belief: Don’t have feelings. That’ll teach you, Andy! Do you see how the youth don’t appreciate it?! (I kid. Snark is always welcome here.)

      As for Spencer’s maturity, is it possible that you’re just hanging out with equally mature 20-somethings? (Note that your theory that our expectations are too low are not mutually exclusive with this theory; it’s possible both that we have low expectations and that you and your friends are more mature than average.)

    2. I know what you’re talking about with my bad vocal habits. I’m aware of the problem, but often make it anyway. Here’s hoping 2016 is different.

        1. Actually, that’s a different problem. When I rant, I wave my hands and hit the table. Which causes much bigger audio problems. So I’ve had to move the mic to the side to fix that issue.

          When I set up my podcasting studio, I’ll make sure to get a hanging mic. Note: I will never have a podcasting studio.

  15. Finally got a moment alone to listen. Just wanted to say thanks back for a great season! Your podcasts, posts, the fantasy league, the liveblog, the community here — all make Survivor extra fun and probably the most enjoyable fandom I’m a part of. Happy New Year everyone — see you all again in a few months!

  16. I finally got a chance to listen to the podcast, as it’s been a bit crazy with the holidays and becoming a new dad, so, thanks for the shout-out! And thank you for the always entertaining content! This place really does feel like being amongst friends.

    1. Congrats dude. Disregard any negative thing we’ve ever suggested about fatherhood. Made it all up.

      1. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve gone from being like, “Why do parents all think the rest of us want to see endless pictures of their stupid kid?” to “LOOK AT ALL THESE PICTURES OF MY STUPID KID.”

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