Credit: Robert Voets/CBS
SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Yet another medical evacuation in this brutal season as Joe had to be pulled from the game as a result of his Steakocalypse. Tell us about how you got the word that Joe was in trouble and what happened next?

JEFF PROBST: This was unusual in that I did not accompany medical the first time Joe called because he wasn’t alarmed and it sounded more like an upset stomach issue. So when we got the second call at the end of the day, Dr. Joe immediately sensed it might be more serious. We hopped in the boat and headed over to the island. It was a very unfortunate situation because in any other situation in life, Joe’s pain could have been easily remedied. But this is Survivor and if it requires medical to really get in and help, then we almost always have to pull you from the game.

When you have situations like this where someone that contestants all seem to genuinely like is pulled from the game, what sort of sense do you get from the other players in terms of what percentage of each person is feeling genuine concern for the guy, and what percentage of each of them is thinking, I just got one step closer to a million dollars? Because inevitably that has to be at least part of what they’re thinking, right?

I think when someone is being pulled it actually makes it easier for the contestants to empathize because, as you note, it means they are one step closer. So it’s a freebie. They can give all their love and support to the person because there are no longer any stakes surrounding them.

I think it’s tougher when a player is sick or injured but the conclusion is still unknown. You want to help them, but you don’t want to give them too much comfort because that might be what brings them back to life. In Joe’s case I do think everybody was pretty impressed with his performance. “Getting it done at 71” is pretty fantastic. You could see the genuine emotion at having him leave the game. What impressed me most was Joe’s attitude about it. He didn’t whine or complain or cry. “I’ve got other adventures yet to come.” That’s the lesson I took from him. Just move forward. Always move forward.

BONUS QUESTION! Since we are down to four players, does that mean Tai can no longer play his immunity idol?

That is correct! Tai didn’t get a chance to play it at the final five Tribal Council because he didn’t need to!

Really interesting twist you guys threw into the challenge here. Usually in a contest that involves throwing things, you allow the contestants to run and retrieve to throw again if they run out of items, but in this reward challenge they only had a certain amount of bags to throw, and if they did not hit all five targets, they had to wait until everyone was out to throw again. That never happened because Joe used his very last bag to hit his very last target, but it did allow him to come back from way behind and win. Tell me about the decision to only allow a single round of throwing at a time. Also, how would the challenge have progressed had Joe missed that last shot?

Last part first — if everybody had run out of bags, then the challenge would have resumed and they would have collected their bags and continued on until we had a winner. Bigger answer — this challenge will never be repeated. It just doesn’t work. We got lucky in that we had a dramatic finish and inspiring win by Joe, but when a challenge is incumbent on something remarkable happening, that’s not a good challenge.

Okay, your 32nd finale is but a week away. Tease us up for three-hour finale/reunion extravaganza.

It’s a very exciting finish. The drama is definitely not over. There will be more surprises, another Survivor first, tears, and a very fulfilling final Tribal Council. This should be a really good conclusion to what fans are telling me has been a really entertaining season. And as always, Mr. Ross — I’ve enjoyed our weekly chats!

Check out an exclusive deleted scene from the episode above. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full episode recap. For more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss and subscribe and listen to the latest episode of our InsideTV podcast to hear our interview with Joe Del Campo. (New episode posted below).

Episode Recaps

SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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