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'Survivor' host Jeff Probst reacts to the winner, Reed's harsh comments, and the entire season

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Jeff Porbst
CBS

Every week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Biggest question first: Where does Natalie generally rank as a winner for you?

JEFF PROBST: If it wasn’t so late I’d go through the list and try to place her, but generally speaking I thought she was a pretty shrewd player. Much more strategic than I would have first guessed. I also liked the “big swings” she was willing to take and her very clear approach of who to play against each other. Natalie can play. She’s for real. I think the best player won.

I know you love multi-stage challenges because more elements means more excitement and it increases the odds of there being a comeback. Just how far behind was Jaclyn before her comeback and how hard a spill did she take off of that pole?

She was very far behind. I really had stopped paying attention because it was a two-person race—Nat and Keith and I thought Nat would win because Keith had struggled with those kinds of puzzles. Jaclyn’s comeback was truly out of nowhere. So much so that I missed most of it. I turned around and she had a third of her puzzle finished. As for her fall, it was pretty strong. I heard it from several feet away and with the wind gusting. I thought she had busted her tailbone. She was definitely slow to get up. Jaclyn’s win was not enough to get her the million dollars, but it was a truly impressive feat. Yet another reminder that you do not give up.  Never give up in Survivor. Anything can and often does happen.

Outside of the Reed nuclear bomb, which we’ll get to in a minute, some of the final Tribal Council questions lacked much of a spark. Is it frustrating for you when someone like Wes comes up and basically just whiffs on doing or saying anything interesting?

You’d always love a Tribal to be full of fireworks and tears and clever quips. But you don’t always have a group that can pull that off. Guys like Wes and Alec gave 100% every day they were out there. You give what you have. Some of us are stronger verbally, others tell their stories with hard work. Wes asked the question he wanted an answer to and ultimately it is “his game” and you have to respect that.

Obviously the big fireworks at the final Tribal Council had to do with Reed’s wicked stepmother takedown of Missy. What did you make of that? And did it surprise you that Reed refused to apologize at the reunion for what he said?

I thought it was very well written and beautifully delivered and probably intended to devastate a bit more than Reed would admit. I did expect Reed to say, “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” But as I hear him say, “I stand by it” I did have a sense memory—this is Reed. He says what he feels and he rarely backs off from it. I was glad to hear Missy say that a lot of the burdens she felt going into the game were gone as a result of playing the game. I don’t think she cares much about the stepmother comment now that she’s had the experience. I think Reed is still a good guy: He’s just got a bit of a mean streak like most of us—he just shares it more openly.

Any last words to put a bow on this season, sir?

I was happy with how it ended. Natalie deserved to win and once again I was pleased with the decision of the jury to reward the best player. I don’t think this is one of our very best seasons. I do think next season will be better, in fact I guarantee it. But I was proud of how this group played to the best of their abilities. It’s not Keith’s fault he didn’t know the game. We are the ones who put him on. So now that it’s over, I have a very fond spot for this group and I hope they had the adventure of a lifetime.

Check out an exclusive deleted scene from the finale below as well as our pre-game interviews with the final five in the video player below. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full ‘Survivor’ fnale recap as well as Probst’s intel on NEXT season. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.