Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

The merge is happening on Wednesday’s episode of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites, and if you don’t believe me, then check out the exclusive merge feast photo above with the fancy green buffs, abundance of fresh food (of course Dawn is handling the bread), and booze (of course Eddie is handling the booze). Also, is it just me, or do Cochran and Andrea look like they’re on a super-awkward first date?

To celebrate the halfway point of the season, I checked in with the man who has been playing back-to-back seasons in the Philippines, Malcolm Freberg, to get some insight on what the first 19 days have been like for him, as well as a reveal of something we didn’t see on TV.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You played 38 days last season, got a break of a few weeks, and are now halfway through your second of back-to-back seasons. How were you holding up physically at this point?

MALCOLM FREBERG: My body was a wreck. With almost no time to put back on muscle mass in between seasons, my strength level was radically lower come merge time in Caramoan. That being said, by now starving was second nature, and the hunger didn’t bother me at all anymore.

EW: Your tribes hove dominated and I believe you’ve personally only lost one challenge this entire season. Plus, you have a hidden immunity idol. At this point were you shocked at how easy everything had played out for you?

MALCOLM: This was the complete opposite of Philippines, where we were demolished in the early challenges. We were miserable then, but at this point in Caramoan, I was shocked to find Survivor can actually be fun.

EW: Did you have a better time at Bikal with the Favorites, or Gota with the mix of Fans and Faves?

MALCOLM: Gota with the mixed Fans and Faves was one big party. We were on vacation — a bunch of kids horsing around who occasionally had to show up and win challenges. No Stealth R Us nonsense, no Brandon having breakdowns, just 7 people who got a long and worked well together.

EW: Dawn claimed that last week’s reward of coffee and sweets would lead to a “diarrhea fest.” Can you report back on whether that was an accurate description or not?

MALCOLM: I cannot definitively say that the reason everyone else kept running into the woods after the reward was to festively have diarrhea, but that sure was why I was running into the woods.

EW: Finally, tell us the most interesting thing that happened in the first half of the season that we did not see.

MALCOLM: Post-swap Gota, Andrea organized a tribe-wide hidden immunity idol hunt sometime after Reynold told me he’d already found it. We were forced to play along and search, but the entire time Reynold and I were struggling to keep a straight face while everyone frantically scoured the island.

For more Survivor news and views, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss