Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’ This week also features an added bonus: an exclusive video of Jeff Probst just minutes after the first Tribal Council giving his take on what went down.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, here we go again Jeff, and let’s start off this season’s Q&A series with the start of the first episode. Obviously you are looking for some emotion at the beginning there as you force two loved ones to face-off, and you got all of it and then some. Talk about the switch from Jeremy talking trash to his wife to then breaking down after he realizes he has just sent her to Exile Island and may have compromised her position in the game.
JEFF PROBST: The Jeremy-Val situation is a perfect example of how the addition of “blood” complicates Survivor. The opening hero challenge dictates that your success can only come at the expense of your loved one. So what do you do? You want to show your value to your tribe but you can only do it by sending your loved one to Exile Island. That moment of truth is always so much more difficult than the players ever think it will be. You could see it play out with Jeremy. His adrenaline pushed him to success in the challenge and then as he was standing there next to me, the consequence of that action came to the surface as he realized what it meant for his wife.
We all wondered what the reaction to John Rocker would be from the other contestants and we saw two sides of it here…and from the same family, no less: dad Keith remembers Rocker as “an ass,” while son Wes proclaims himself a big fan. What does Rocker — who has been known to pop off on people — need to do to win people over in this game and is he capable of doing it?
One of the things that I most love about Survivor is that a group of people come together to create their own society and they dictate the rules. So Rocker has to figure out what the group requires from him if he is to avoid being voted out. As you noted, it’s complicated because different people want different things. He’s an idol to Wes and he’s a jackass to Keith. How do you play that? And as Survivor fans know by now, you can’t “fake it” for very long. The deprivation is too much. So, my long-winded way of answering this — Rocker can’t really “do” anything. He is going to be exactly who he is. Once he is faced with conflict he will either react in a way that surprises and impresses people, or he will disappoint. To make it even more complicated, sometimes on Survivor, being unlikable can be an asset for getting deeper in the game because people don’t think you will ever win.
People come in with their feelings about Rocker from what they know about him outside of this game, and that also seemed to cost Nadiya, as folks like Dale and John targeted her because of what they saw of her on The Amazing Race. Did she do anything particularly wrong here to get voted out, or was it just a matter of her past coming back to haunt her?
Survivor by necessity requires you to look for any reason to vote someone out. Especially early. I don’t think Nadiya did anything in the first few days to warrant being voted out. I think you hit it on the head, it’s probably mostly due to fear of her experience on The Amazing Race, wondering if she was already a step or two ahead of the other players. Every time we start a new season and we have our early vote outs from the first Tribal Councils, I am reminded how incredibly difficult it is to get to the end. You have to survive so many different obstacles including not being voted out!
At the end of the episode we got a tease for the season as a whole, but not one specifically for next week. No fair! So hook us up with some intel on what to expect in episode 2.
You didn’t like our supertease? I thought it was a fun idea to show you some of the things that will happen this season but leave you guessing as to who it happens to! Well, taking your last question as a guide — one thing you will see is Natalie’s reaction to her sister being voted out. It definitely sparks a fire and what’s fun is they find out at Hero Arena when the other tribe walks in for the challenge. So there is all this energy and then we go right back into another hero challenge. Good times!! Oh, one other thing happens at Hero Arena. Want a hint? It involves a negotiation and it’s the kind of negotiation that brings me such joy and rarely happens.
Check out the exclusive video of Jeff offering some post-Tribal Council thoughts in the player below, along with an exclusive deleted scene and our pre-game interview with Nadiya & Natalie. Also make sure to check out Dalton’s full ‘Survivor’ premiere recap. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.