The ninth day was definitely not the charm for Caleb Reynolds. On the plus side, at least he did not leave Survivor on a stretcher this time. Caleb was once again eliminated from Survivor on day 9, this time being voted out by the Mana tribe after Brad convinced Tai to turn on his island BFF.
How did it feel to be betrayed by his bestie? Did he know he was in trouble? And how did a challenge beast like Caleb manage to lose every single challenge? We asked the ousted player all that and more when he called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) and you can hear his responses below on the EW Morning Live Podcast. Here are a few highlights from our chat, including one exchange at Tribal Council that we did not see.
On if he thought he was safe or in trouble when he went to Tribal Council:
“I had mixed emotions. I had Tai in one ear telling me I was safe. I had Brad in my ear saying the same thing. I basically had the guys saying ‘There’s no way you’re going home. That would be a dumb move. Why would we do that?’ So going to Tribal, Tai had really sat down and talked with me and told me how safe I was. But then again, I was thinking, man, this is Survivor. That’s what he’s supposed to do. So I was uneasy about it. I really didn’t know what was going to happen. But since I was kind of being shunned towards being closer to Tribal Council, I had that feeling of, man, no one’s really talking to me. I think I could be going home.”
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On Brad convincing Tai that it was the best move to vote out his strongest ally:
“I don’t understand where Brad comes up with that. I know that if Tai and I ended up together we would be a target. Not so much as a big, strong target like that, but best friends are going to trust each other. They’re going to have each other’s backs to the end. I didn’t really understand Brad saying, ‘If you get rid of Caleb now, your game will be stronger later on.’
“To me, I didn’t understand that part of it. Maybe there’s something I missed. I didn’t get it, but I figured a guy that came to my wedding and I talk to every day and I FaceTimed every day — I figured Tai would brush that off and be like ‘No, man, Caleb is my friend. He deserves to be here, and I want him to stay.’ But I guess Brad was a better manipulator that I was.”
On having no bitterness towards Tai and kissing him on the head on the way out:
“That’s one thing that I personally have done in every game I’ve played, and I take it back to Big Brother. I did the same thing there. I didn’t kiss Derrick and Cody, but I shook their hands and gave them a hug and told them good luck. That’s one thing that I can separate that I think a lot of people can’t, and they get all mad and act all different.
“But for me, I say, you know what? You stabbed me in the back, but I feel in my heart that Tai does his best to get votes to try to keep me. Maybe they didn’t show those parts in the edit. Maybe they had their reasons for not showing it. But I do feel that Tai has done his best. Brad Culpepper did see me as the other alpha male and saw me as a threat to his game. So he convinced Tai, but of course, I don’t take it personal. It is a game and at the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for your game. Because that’s your million dollars. It’s not mine. I still love him and I wish him the best of luck.”
On how much pre-existing personal connections impact the game:
“You know, you have your pre-game alliances and people call each other and there are several people that have played together and it does make you wonder. Like at my Tribal Council, Sierra and Hali. One thing that they didn’t show was Sierra called me out. She says, ‘Well, Tai was at your wedding. Why would we keep you two here together?’ And I said, ‘Well, you and Hali have matching tattoos from the last time you played.’”
On if he is too trusting and too loyal to play this game:
“I’ve learned from the first times playing. After Big Brother, I was like, ‘You know what? I’ve got to change that.’ But in all honesty, that’s who I am in everyday life. It’s hard for me to put a knife in someone’s back because it’s not my temperament. It’s just not who I am. And that’s something that I said I would change. And, you know, Tai was a good friend of mine, but if it came down to it and someone was like ‘Caleb, either you or Tai has got to go,’ I would write Tai’s name down, and I would hope he would tap me on the shoulder on the way out. Yes, I’m nice and I’m loyal and I’m very friendly and all that. It definitely is hard for me, because that’s not who I am. And it’s hard for me to just do that. It’s very difficult. I’m not the kind of player who is manipulative and backstabbing and conniving. That’s just not me.
“But I tried my best. Going into this game I told myself, take your heart off your sleeve, leave it at home, and play for your family. You have a family now. Go win the million dollars. You might hurt someone’s feelings, but you’re playing for a reason now. You’re not a single guy on Big Brother where you’re just living the summer and having a good time. You have a family at home. So I was playing for my family this time around and I didn’t bring my heart out with me. So I do believe that I did switch some things up, but when the buff drop like that happens and you get caught without numbers and get screwed over by the Survivor gods, you don’t really get a chance to prove all that.”
On what he thinks would have happened if there had not been a tribe swap and if he would have been the next to go on original Mana:
“I don’t believe I would have been next to go, no. I felt like I was pretty good. Me and Malcolm had a really strong relationship. I feel like Sandra and I were okay. She wasn’t coming after me. She said, ‘You’re a strong player. You don’t come after me, I won’t come after you.’ And that’s kind of the agreement that we made. Michaela was on the bottom. Several times two or three people would throw out Aubry’s name. The only time I ever heard my name come up was Ciera at the beginning. Ciera throws my name out because I went crab hunting with Tony, and she didn’t like that. But that was the only time I heard my name.
“If there was no tribe swap I believe I would have done well due to the fact that I surrounded myself with stronger players. To answer your question, I believe that I definitely would have made jury and if not, made it a lot further in the game if we wouldn’t have swapped so early.”
Listen to the entire interview above right after our chat with The Walking Dead’s Lennie James, or subscribe on iTunes to listen on the go. Also make sure to check out our Survivor episode Q&A with Jeff Probst as well as Dalton’s full recap, and for more EW Morning Live podcast news, follow us on Twitter @EWMLPodcast. And watch PEN Fan Forum: Survivor, on the new PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) here or download the free app on your Smart TV, mobile and web devices.