SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

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: You and I spoke about Julie before the game and I said I didn’t think she could cut it, and some of the other contestants didn’t think she could either. She seemed to actually be doing okay out of the gate, but then it all fell apart. What happened?

JEFF PROBST: I have to put a big asterisk next to this answer because it is completely subjective. I think the answer to why Julie quit might be directly related to what she and her boyfriend John said on day one –“We have never been apart longer than four days.” Based on that fact, I am guessing that the minute John was voted out of the game Julie began to ponder whether she wanted to stay in the game or join John in the non-jury group. Then when she got caught stealing the trail mix and the tribe ostracized her I think the decision became very easy: I’m done. Get me out of here.

Now you might be asking, “Okay, so why not just tell the tribe to vote her out?” To answer that you have to now make another assumption: Julie had a pretty good idea that the next person voted out would not be on the jury but anybody voted out from that point forward would be on the jury. This is key in my hypothesis because I think Julie wanted to be reunited with John, so it was mandatory that she was the next to go home. [ED NOTE: People voted out pre-jury do not see nor stay with those in the jury.] And despite stealing the trail mix there was still no guarantee she would be voted out next because the battle of alliances was very strong. Turns out, she would have been right in her concern as it appears Jeremy was going to be blindsided. Had Julie not quit she would have made the jury and would not have seen John until the end of the game. That’s the only reason I can think of to explain her quit. She wasn’t in bad shape physically or emotionally, there didn’t appear to be any urgency, so why not just let it take care of itself at tribal with no stigma. But the bigger story of her quit is the impact it will have long term on the game. She was a very important vote that her alliance just lost.

We were all borderline disgusted when Osten became the first quitter back in the Pearl Islands season, and you had some pretty harsh words for him when he did it. Nobody had ever quit until that seventh season, but we’ve seen a slew of either quits or quits masked as injuries or asking the tribe to vote you out since then. Does quitting this game no longer hold the stigma that it once did?

I think every fan will have their own take as to whether or not there is a stigma attached to quitting. Personally, I still get frustrated but now it’s directed at myself. We are the ones who put the contestants on the show. We test them, we talk to them, we study their psych reports and then we make a decision to give them one of our very valuable spots. If they quit, it’s on us. We either missed it, or in the case of Julie we anticipated it but put them on anyway. They were always going to quit — it was just a matter of when. I do think it says much about a person’s drive for life when they voluntarily quit. It’s not someone I want in my foxhole, that’s for sure. But we have to take our fair share of responsibility for putting them in the situation in the first place.

Jeremy and Josh have seemed to be the two biggest power players in this game so far, and this last episode really set the game up as a battle between them and the forces they are assembling to bring into combat. (I especially love the way they show respect for each other’s games while trying to take each other out.) Am I wrong in pegging them as the two most dominant forces so far in this game?

I think you’re right – at this point they are very big threats to win and they are both very savvy and passionate players. But I don’t think they are the only players. I think they will still have to earn their way to the end by getting past some formidable opponents.

BONUS QUESTION! This game changes on a daily basis, but who do you think on day 18 was saved from being voted out because of Julie’s quit?

Jeremy. I think it was gonna happen and I think he would have been shocked. So Jeremy was saved, but now his new problem is he lost a very important number.

It looks like the post-merge strategic shuffling continues moving on. Tease us up for next week’s episode!

Julie’s quit really throws a wrench into things. There are so many levels of game play — it is imperative that you see everything. If your vision becomes too focused you’re done. The best players will prove themselves through their ability to play this game not based on history, but on what is in front of them in any given moment.

Check out an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode as well as our pre-game interview with Julie and John in the video player below. Also, make sure to read Dalton’s full ‘Survivor’ recap. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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