SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Soooo, that didn’t go well. Survivor super-fan Jacob Derwin’s dream came true when he made it onto his favorite show. But that dream quickly turned into a nightmare when he found himself immediately on the outs of his tribe on Survivor: Ghost Island. While Jacob was saved from being the first one out after he was sent to Ghost Island, the suspicious story he returned with only made him more of a target, and he was promptly eliminated at the second Tribal Council.

How did it all go so wrong for Jacob? We asked him when he called into EW Morning Live (Entertainment Weekly Radio, SiriusXM, channel 105) Thursday morning. Here are some excerpts from our chat.

EW RADIO: What the heck happened out there, man? You get on the beach, your shoes literally get taken out by the tide, and then it was all downhill from there.
JACOB DERWIN: Day 1, I was in a corner, and the beach seemed like it agreed with most of my tribemates in that regard. When you’re in such a rough position so early, you just start doing anything you can think of in that situation. There’s reasoning and logic behind everything I did, I promise, but I can definitely see it being a little crazy-looking.

You go to Ghost Island, you smash the urn, you get to play, you risk losing a vote at Tribal Council, you play the game, you win the game. How bummed are you then to realize all you got was a Legacy Advantage that you can even use?
You don’t see it, but I think I spent about 20 minutes screaming at Sierra Dawn-Thomas on the beach. I was so angry. I was so furious. I needed anything else. And then you see Dom get his idol in the episode. I was angry. Looking back, there are other ways I could have used it. Maybe I could have written a little note on the Legacy Advantage telling Morgan, “Send me back,” or I could have kept it for a few extra hours and gambled with it with Malolo. It was rough spot, and to risk so many things over and over again and get so many 50-50 shots and get something you can’t even really use — it was not a fun feeling. It was my lowest low of the game.

Do you think being such an obvious super-fan of the game hurt you?
Everyone knew before the game even started that I was the token uber fan. You look at me and you’re like, okay, he’s not here because he’s good-looking, and he’s not here because he’s particularly strong. He’s here because he’s probably a big fan of the show. You can figure that out just by looking at me. So I played it up that I was a fan. I thought I could endear myself to them in that way. Instead, it gave them more excuses to target me early.

You made a fake idol that you showed the tribe. Were you worried someone would ask about the note?
Of course, it crossed my mind. Originally, I thought about wrapping it in the parchment note that said “Game on” but then I realized if they look, that it’s going to obviously not be the note and then be too obvious. I considered telling them that the note was actually glued to the bamboo shoot I pulled it out of, but again that was too much. So I was like, what’s the most feasible thing they would possibly buy when they ask because I know they’re going to ask? And all I could think of was [pretending I forgot it]. For some people, it sent them for a loop for a minute, but not everybody. Clearly, it wasn’t a strong enough bluff.

Let’s talk about when you described your team as “one of the best tribes of all-time.” I know what you were trying to do here but did you lay it on a little too thick? What did you think the reaction was on both tribes when you said that?
Once I realized it was an Exile Island type thing where the other tribe was going to send you, I had a feeling they were going to send me or Donathan as the two not-ripped people on Malolo. And my whole thinking was, make them look at me. Make them look at me more than him. Say something big, be obvious, open my big mouth and say something dopey and funny like I normally do, maybe piss them off a bit, and it will make them look at me. Maybe it will influence their decision a little bit.

Over the months of replaying that, I wondered, maybe it didn’t actually do anything and it was just being little self-serving. But getting to see Sebastian saying, “Dude, he was talking that smack” — it made me so happy that it may have worked a little bit. A lot of people have been commenting on me boasting about it afterwards. Honestly, at that point my whole thought was, if I can make Naviti hate me, maybe they’ll keep sending me. That was really it because it kind of seemed to work the first time.

Make sure to check out our exit interview with Gonzalez, and our full premiere recap as well as Q&A with host Jeff Probst. 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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