While some individual immunity challenge wins feel like they're already in the bag before the challenge is even contested, others prove to be a whole lot more suspenseful. While we all like to see evenly contested challenges that are close from the get go, ridiculous come from behind victories can prove to be even more exciting. In today's top 10 Ozlet Jarrod Loobeek takes at look at 10 of the best come from behind victories in individual immunity challenges. Read on to find out which contestants snatched victory from the jaws of defeat!
10. Jay Byars – One World
While Jay dominated the first elimination round of the immunity challenge, during the puzzle round he looked out of contention from the get go. Sabrina and Kim in particular made short work of the initial stages of the puzzle and it looked like the challenge was there for the taking. Even when the two girls start to have to rearrange incorrect pieces it still looks like they’ll have enough time to figure things out before Jay is anywhere near the end. The great thing about this entry is how Jay part way through the challenge openly expresses how he sucks at puzzles but in this scenario the slow and steady approach pays off for him as he sweeps past the leaders and snatches immunity from seemingly nowhere.
9. Ciera Eastin – Blood vs. Water
Not the biggest or most exciting of comebacks, Ciera’s individual immunity victory in Blood vs. Water just scrapes into the top 10. Ciera struggled to navigate her buoy to the beach in the initial swimming portion of the challenge and is seen still working on her second obstacle while everybody else is on the shore working on their puzzles. Fortunately for Ciera the eight word phrase used in this challenge was a difficult one with plenty of potential combinations, giving her time to get back in the mix without too much ground to make up. With the phrase turning out to be “you are going to have to dig deep” it’s fitting that Ciera is able to turn things around and win her first individual immunity challenge after such a slow start.
8. Jud ‘Fabio’ Birza – Nicaragua
It’s not surprising that so many of the entries on this list are the result of a comeback on the puzzle portion of the challenge given how difficult puzzles can be but this come from behind victory is made all the more impressive due to the simplicity of the puzzle. After Fabio answered a question about the coast of Nicaragua incorrectly during the collection phase of the challenge, it looked like his time might be up given the handy lead he gifted to Holly, Chase and Sash. With the puzzle simply being the logo of the season immunity should have been a sure thing for the others but as he was so often able to do Fabio worked himself back into the challenge before feverishly solving the puzzle and tearing down a seemingly insurmountable lead. While Fabio doesn’t get a heap of credit as a winner, he deserves props for staying so composed in such a stressful situation.
7. Colby Donaldson – Australian Outback
This comeback proved the importance of patience when it comes to fire building and highlighted Colby’s athletic dominance over the rest of his competition. Halfway through the challenge it looks like Colby is completely out of it as he continues to struggle with his matches and collect tinder while the other competitors race to fill a bucket with water to raise their already lit fires. However, once Colby manages to get his fire burning he really comes into his own ferrying water from the river to his bucket much faster than the other players. There is a moment when Keith prematurely celebrates when it looks like he’s going to win but that celebration is short lived as Colby’s fire is raised to the top of the tower as he nabs what will be the first of his 5 straight immunity challenge wins.
6. Spencer Bledsoe – Cagayan
So many of the entries in this list function not solely as challenge comebacks but comebacks in the game as well bringing the player back from the brink of elimination and Spencer’s win in Cagayan fits that mould perfectly. While maintaining a good overall position of second for the majority of the challenge, Spencer lost a tonne of ground to Tony in the ladder and step puzzles that made up the second and third stage of the challenge. Given how complicated slide puzzles can be if one isn’t familiar with solving them this comeback isn’t as shocking as some of the other comebacks on this list featuring simple puzzles but it’s still impressive. Spencer knew he was on the chopping block yet was somehow able to keep his composure when it looked like Tony may just win his first individual challenge which makes this win worthy of the top 10.
5. Jaclyn Schultz – San Juan del Sur
Major comebacks in final immunity challenges are all the more exciting and the final immunity challenge in San Juan del Sur had it all. Early on in the piece it looked like the challenge was going to come down to a two horse race between Keith and Natalie who were quick to retrieve their first 3 puzzle bags and climb the tower while Jaclyn was still completing obstacles on the ground. Throughout the second collecting phase of the challenge Natalie and Keith extended their lead with Natalie climbing the tower once more and beginning her puzzle before Jaclyn had even collected her final bag of puzzle pieces. The windy conditions added to the drama as Keith and Natalie had well and truly started fitting together their puzzles as a visibly exhausted Jaclyn arrived at her station and began untying her bags of puzzle pieces. While the puzzle was the season logo, similar to the Nicaragua entry on this list, the design proved a lot more difficult and it’s during this phase that Jaclyn was able to gain ground on the others and retake the lead. Just when it was starting to look like Jaclyn may pull off a come from behind victory she took a massive tumble on her way back down the tower to decipher the code required to win immunity. While it looked like she might be in trouble, Jaclyn rallied and fended off a rallying Natalie to decipher the code and come away with a huge underdog immunity win.
4. Jonathan Penner – Philippines
A two-part comeback helped Penner win immunity at a critical time in the Philippines. In the first elimination stage of the challenge players had to collect and untie puzzle bags and Penner looked like he’d be on the cusp of elimination throughout. With just 3 players progressing onto the final stage Penner reached his third bag in 5th place narrowly behind his competitors. Flying through his final set of knots Penner had to dive for the line with his puzzle bags to snag the last spot in the final round. In the second round it was more of the same, Jeff and Pete got off to an early lead while Penner struggled to fit pieces into place going so far as to try and force pieces into the puzzle. Just when it looked like Penner would lose immunity and likely be the target of the subsequent vote he started to claw his way back piece by piece. As Pete fell out of the race it looked like Jeff would be the one claiming immunity but out of seemingly nowhere Penner overtook him and won his first individual immunity challenge at the best possible time.
3. Sophie Clarke – South Pacific
Sophie’s come from behind victory is made all the more impressive by the fact she achieved it against arguably one of the strongest challenge performers Survivor has ever seen in Ozzy. While Ozzy is more renowned for his physical prowess, he’d proven himself no major slouch in puzzles throughout the season and had the added advantage of retrieving all 5 of his puzzle bags before Sophie had even brought back her fourth. While Ozzy struggles to place his first piece in the hardest puzzle of the season Sophie brings back all her puzzle bags and sweeps the lead right out from under his feet. Once she places her first puzzle piece there’s no looking back for Sophie and despite Ozzy finally getting a couple of pieces in place the comeback victory has already been completed as Sophie demolishes the puzzle and in the process drastically changes the outcome of the entire season.
2. Stephen Fishbach – Tocantins
Balance beams have been the Achilles heel of many a Survivor player and they definitely got in Stephen’s way in this immunity challenge. After struggling to dig himself under a pole Stephen had a tough time crossing a balance beam on his way to a series of rotating tiles that featured mathematical symbols required to solve an equation. While Stephen struggled the other five contestants had plenty of time to look at the symbols and race back to their answer boards multiple times to ensure they had the correct sequence. As the other players frantically run back and forth and make adjustments to their answers, Stephen spends the one trip memorising the symbols before making his way back to complete the equation. In the most calm manner Stephen transfers the symbols he memorised onto his board and cool as you like whips out the answer. In a truly Stephenesque moment when asked about his win he mentions that he assigned each symbol a number and memorised an 8 digit number as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world.
1. Kass McQuillen – Cagayan
If there was ever a win that looked unlikely it was Kass winning immunity at the final 4 in Cagayan. Up against a group of opponents who were no slouches in physical and mental challenges when Kass fell behind early in the challenge it looked like there was no coming back. Even the challenge itself seemed to be conspiring against her when her rope and bucket got caught on the pole during the initial water collecting stage. While Kass struggled to unhook her rope and retrieve her key the 3 remaining contestants were already on the beach working on the final puzzle. Of those 3 players Spencer, Kass’ original Brain tribemate looked like a shoe in to walk away with a third straight immunity challenge win. At this point in time Jeff himself had counted Kass out of the challenge, she wasn’t even in the ball game and in his mind may as well have been a spectator simply watching on. Once Kass finally hit the beach though and started work on her puzzle it became immediately clear why she was placed on the brain tribe at the start of the game. With her husband shouting support from the sidelines Kass absolutely tore through her puzzle obliterated the competition and won an immunity challenge she had no business winning at all.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
ALL IMAGES USED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE COPYRIGHT CBS. IF YOU WISH TO READ OUR DISCLAIMER IN REGARDS TO THE USE OF IMAGES PLEASE CLICK HERE