SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Each week Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Ghost Island.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We saw a return of this very physical reward challenge where people have to swim out and battle two-on-two to return a ring to their tribe pole. At one point, you had to tell Desiree to move her hands off of Laurel’s neck. Two-part question: How often do you have to police players in these situations in terms of being TOO physical? And was Laurel the MVP of this contest?
JEFF PROBST: These challenges are always stressful for me. I love the physical nature because I can see how energized the players are to let it out. But I do worry about them being in the ocean and getting too physical. It’s pretty rare that I have to remind someone about being too aggressive, and the minute I bring it up they always stop. We have a new breed of player in the last several years, and they really do play by the rules. Desiree was just in the heat of the moment; there wasn’t any intent behind it. But yes, I do have to stay on top of it to keep it fair.

Laurel was the MVP for sure! An amazing performance, and this is what we have been waiting for — a chance for her to show off her athletic abilities. Laurel is very quiet and humble. She doesn’t draw attention to herself, but she’s a powerhouse. Super smart, physically gifted, great at relationships. She’s playing a very subtle game right now, and it’s working.

The Survivor gods are summoned when Kellyn says that nothing scares her more than Ghost Island, so naturally, she is sent there. She is offered a chance to risk her next vote at Tribal Council in exchange for a chance to win an advantage and ultimately declines to do so. I thought that was a smart strategic move considering the situation at her tribe. Let’s say you’re Kellyn. You’re a huge fan, you make it on the show, you want to play big, but you also know every vote at that next Tribal Council is huge. What do you make of her decision, and what would you do in that situation, Jeff?
First off, how crazy was that moment with Kellyn? It happens all the time on Survivor. It’s why some people still struggle to believe this show is unscripted! She puts her fear out there and whammo — the universe answers! Yes, not risking her vote was probably a smart move. It’s not one I would have made. I know I would have gotten selfish and gone for it, but Kellyn is playing the long game… early. She was very thoughtful in her approach, and clearly, she was right. And I think “not risking” in that situation is just as big a move. She is giving up a shot at an advantage in the game for the chance to ensure she can help control the vote. That’s playing Survivor.

Michael gets to Tribal Council and shows everyone the immunity idol he found that belonged to James in Survivor: China. He then uses the history of that idol — and the fact that James had two of them — to lie and tell the Naviti members that it is good for two people. Even though it ultimately did not work, and Brendan was sent home, how smart was that move, and do you think any of the Navitis fell for it?
I think ALL of the Navitis fell for it. How could you not believe it? I’m sure some will say, “Nah, I knew he was lying…” but there is no way to be sure. I was completely caught by surprise when he said it! I’m so grateful I didn’t laugh. He was so deliberate and sold it so well. This is why Michael is on the show. He’s only 18, but he’s playing like a seasoned veteran or like a seasoned human. He’s one of the most popular this season, and this kind of risky, brazen gameplay is one of the reasons.

Hit us up with a tease for next week, and hit us up now!
This season is moving very fast. The stories are deeper and more personal, and the stakes of the game seem to be higher. You’ll feel that next week. We’re still early, but nobody wants to be sent home.

Check out an exclusive deleted scene above, and also make sure to read our full episode 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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