Survivor Cambodia: Week 4 winners, losers

Survivor Cambodia: Week 4 winners, losers

Game Fail: Why Jeff Varner Lost Survivor

John Powell –

When you go all-in, you either win big or you lose big. The moment he stepped onto the island, Jeff Varner played as intensely as anyone who has carried their torch to Tribal Council. That was his biggest strength and as it would turn out, it was also his biggest weakness.

Varner was going for it all and everyone knew it. It was no secret he was manipulating everyone around him. That was his fatal flaw. Rather than pulling strings behind the scenes, managing the tribal politics from the shadows, Varner was very open about his attempts at outwitting his targets.

If he had just been more discrete, posed less of an overt threat, he might have made it to the merge and beyond. Varner left it all on the beach and although his torch was snuffed early, he truly gave it all taking full advantage of his second chance at Survivor.

Strategic Gameplay

Jeff had a solid read of his surroundings making some quick-witted decisions that pulled his bacon out of the fire on several occasions. Stuck between the old school and new school players at the start, he bounced seamlessly between the alliances to save his hide. Before the switcheroo, he established himself as a power player to be wary of.

Already throwing his strategic weight around in plain sight though, Varner made himself even more of a threat by trying to communicate with Kelly during the Immunity Challenge. It was a daring but disastrous move. When he admitted to Tasha, Andrew he had multiple pacts with Ta Keo, he sunk himself even further.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

"Survivor MacGyver" - Jeff Varner, Abi-Maria Gomes, Woo Hwang and Terry Deitz during the second episode of SURVIVOR, Wednesday, Sept. 30 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT). The new season in Cambodia, themed "Second Chance," features 20 castaways from past editions who were voted for by fans to have another shot at being named "Sole Survivor." Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS �©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Social Gameplay

Varner got along with everyone rather well but his shady actions coupled with his notoriety as a conniver made others wary of trusting him completely.

Impressively establishing bonds with both old and new school players, he proved he could adapt to the differences, whether generational, geographical or cultural.

His strategic game though quickly eroded any relationships he had made and the tribal switcheroo highlighted his vulnerabilities as an overall player.

Rating: 3 / 5

Entertainment Value

When Varner was voted out, you could almost hear a collective sigh of utter disappointment by viewers. Stirring up trouble and not shying away from challenging any of the power players, he represented a good portion of the conflict this season.

Varner went into battle with sword drawn and shield held high. Although his approach ushered in his downfall, it was the kind of flashy, cutthroat, reckless gameplay that makes Survivor such a great game to watch.

Sadly, Varner outplayed and outwitted himself.

Rating: 5 / 5

Final Castaway Rating: 11.5 / 15

Powell’s Picks: Episode 4

Who played it cool and who proved themselves to be a fool? Every week John Powell makes his picks for the worst and best players of the week.


Bronze Amateur: Spencer Bledsoe
He continues to dig his hole even deeper, no matter which strategy he tries to employ. His social game has improved greatly but his strategical game leaves something to be desired at this point.

Silver Amateur: Angkor Tribe
The tribe surrendering during the Immunity Challenge was so painful to watch.


Gold Amateur: Jeff Varner
So strong out of the gate, Varner faltered by double-dealing and forging too many pacts.


Bronze MVP: Woo Hwang
He fought well to sway the tribe to vote out Varner over himself. Not a small feat.


Silver MVP: Abi-Maria
Despite her social shortcomings, she has stayed afloat and holds a measure of power at Angkor. One gets the feeling though that if they were willing to dump Varner, she might be next.

Gold MVP: Andrew Savage
Not only was he the outstanding hero at the Reward Challenge, he has become a power player at Angkor.


Survivor Cast Social Feed

All New

Watch Survivor Season 38 Online: Thursdays

Watch Survivor: Edge of Extinction (Season 38) full-length episodes online free for 7 days after the original broadcast without sign-in. Sign in for more available episodes.

Have your say: Tell us what you think of the pilot episode of The Family Business!

Start survey ×