SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Each week, Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ben was shocked that nobody went to follow him as he left to go look for an idol, which he then found. Should the other five players have had someone constantly following Ben everywhere or is that too impractical because there might be times — say where someone goes off for an interview or to the bathroom — that are impossible to monitor? What’s your take on babysitting folks looking for an idol?
JEFF PROBST: You would think by season 35 there would be some kind of Survivor Manual with guidelines for every situation. But there are so many factors that come into play in each situation that it’s just not that clear. The easy criticism is to say “You idiots! You deserve it!” But having been in those jungles, I can attest to the fact that finding an idol is not nearly as easy it often appears to be on the show. Sometimes you get lucky and find it fast, but usually, you are searching for hours and most times come away with nothing.

So I do think that was part of the thinking… “He’s not gonna find another one.” And I also think groupthink plays a part because nobody wants to be the babysitter. It’s exhausting and so often your time would be spent following someone who doesn’t end up finding anything. So if someone in the group suggests letting him go, others are easily swayed.

It looked like Mike was going to go once Ben handed you his idol, but then the tide — and the vote — turned against Ashley. What happened there at Tribal Council to shift the target to her and how would you assess her game this season?
What happened at Tribal was done in the whispers. I had zero idea what was going to happen. When players get up to change plans, which happens fairly frequently, I just watch reactions and try to track whatever story I can. It’s fun from a show point of view because it means the vote is still uncertain and I don’t mind at all being in the dark. I really thought Ashley did a great job. She was underestimated early and used that to her advantage. Ashley seems to be a quiet leader. She’s obviously very capable given her career as a lifeguard, but she doesn’t flaunt it like so many others do.

You asked each of the players if they had a final three in mind at this point and they all pretty much did except for Ben who had no allies left. Let’s turn that question back onto you. At this point in the game with everything you’ve seen — understanding a lot can still change between now and the voting at the final Tribal Council — who would have been in YOUR final three with you?
Man, that’s a great question. This is a very lethal final five. I truly believe each of them has a case, depending who they are sitting next to. That’s not always the situation going into our finale. But to your question… who could I beat? I hate this question because I don’t like the answer. I’m not sure I beat any of them. I think if Dr. Mike gets to the end, he has a pretty strong case of the underdog who did what nobody thought he could. If Ryan gets to the end, his social gameplay and ability to build relationships could be deadly.

If Ben makes it to the end, he would have a strong argument that he had to do it on his own. If Chrissy gets to the end, she has so many arguments she could make from challenge performance to alliance management to being the only woman and the only mom left in the game. If Devon makes it to the end, he has a great story of surprising people with his ability to strategize and form strong alliances. So I’m screwed. I’m the guy with no votes that I don’t talk to at the reunion show.

Okay, big three-hour finale and reunion show coming up next week. Tease us up and tease us up good!
One of the best finales ever. It’s dramatic and emotional and surprising. So good. You’ll be riveted.

Check out a deleted scene from last night’s episode at the top of the post and make sure to read our full episode recap. Also make sure to see the results of our Survivor winners poll, ranked by you, the fans. 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 a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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