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Survivor: Jeff Probst breaks down the latest blindside

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Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: Cambodia—Second Chance.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s your take on Kimmi mobilizing to get rid of Monica? Was that done out of genuine concern of Monica flipping, or was it more of a personal beef that Kimmi had so she used the female alliance comment as an excuse to get rid of someone she just didn’t like?  

JEFF PROBST: I was really impressed to see Kimmi light up like that. I really was starting to wonder about her drive. But that convinced me, she is definitely here to play. She’s jut been playing a nice quiet game … until things aren’t going as she wants them to, then BAM! That was a big move. It sent a big signal. Nobody is safe and if you say the smallest wrong thing, the game can turn very fast. 

As for her true motivation, I don’t know. These players are very sophisticated. I’m choosing to believe that she really did sense a potential longterm problem with Monica. And it wouldn’t surprise me if Monica was just tossing an idea out without really thinking it through or necessarily intending to do it. But Kimmi took it and ran. Man, Survivor is so hard. It’s like the movie Body Heat where Mickey Rourke (who is in prison) is explaining to William Hurt (who is his lawyer) why he should not commit the crime he is considering: Any time you try a decent crime, you got 50 ways you’re gonna mess it up. If you think of 25 of them, then you’re a genius … and you ain’t no genius. It’s the same on Survivor — there are 50 ways to screw up any given situation in the game and even if you’re a genius, you’ll only come up with 25.

Woo shares a very emotional story about his mother needing a heart transplant and naturally Abi thinks he is using it as a strategic move. Is that really the essence of daily life in Survivor, where everything anyone says — even real life tales that seemingly have nothing to do with gameplay — are scrutinized as having ulterior motives?  

I think each situation is highly influenced by the person telling the story and the person/s hearing the story. Personally, I don’t believe Woo was manipulating. I think he was feeling some emotion, maybe thinking about home, and he just started to share. But even if he was, it was putting on a bit of sauce to try and gain some sympathy — I think it was overshadowed by the true emotion and connection to his mom that came through. That’s hard to fake. 

But then, that’s how I see people. I generally see the good and believe they’re being honest. So maybe that makes me a good target to get blindsided on Survivor. Abi sees the world very differently and so she was alarmed and offended. And I think equally important in that scene was the fact that Abi saw someone getting sympathy and she wanted some of that attention as well. Overall, I think the truly smart players are very good and noticing nuance and how a story can impact the group. If Woo starts to get momentum in the game and some people start to think he’s more deserving because of his family situation, then the good players have to take that into consideration. Maybe they have to vote him out before the end. 

But where I think a lot of players screw up is by making a big general assumption and conclusion as opposed to truly assessing the impact. The real impact. Did it make a lasting impression or is it fleeting. Because I’m on an airplane and have some time, let me pontificate a bit more. Here’s a different example: The Savage story about meeting his wife could work in reverse. Here is a guy who was genuinely sharing, in a vulnerable moment, how much he loved his wife. He wasn’t intending to brag, but to others who maybe don’t have that kind of love affair, they might hear it and resent it and equate it to the same thing as having millions of dollars in the bank.  And in that case it could work against Savage even though his intention was to create bonds through sharing.  That’s why this game is tough to play. It’s almost impossible to play a perfect game.  

Take us through that immunity challenge. Was there any scenario where you envisioned someone like Stephen Fishbach hitting ANOTHER TEAM’S target?  

Nope. Not even for a moment. We rehearsed that several times and it never even came close to happening. In fact, you have to aim so far off that it would almost seem purposeful. Which I know it wasn’t. But here’s what’s really interesting.  During the walk-through, Stephen asked me,  “What happens if I hit the other tribe’s target?” Crazy, right? He was already seeing it happen.  He put the thought in his mind. It blew me away that ten minutes later he HIT THE OTHER TRIBE’S TARGET! The mind can’t differentiate — he envisioned hitting the target and that’s what he did. Vision fulfilled. That’s why you never want to say, “I hope I don’t throw it over his head,” but instead say, “Just a nice straight toss right into his glove.”

Hit us up with a preview for next week, sir!  

Oh, man, there is so much. I don’t want to give much away. Major emotion. Major reversal. And a lot of gross stuff to eat. How’s that? Great questions!

To watch an exclusive deleted scene as well our pre-game interview with Monica and a few episodes of ‘Survivor Talk’, click on the video player below. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full episode recap. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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