Survivor: Jeff Probst addresses Wendell–Laurel challenge controversy
Each week, Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Ghost Island.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Players that go on these rewards to give back to the community — in this case, delivering school supplies — often describe it as their favorite moment of the season. How important is this to you and the crew to do these types of rewards, especially since you all have put down roots in Fiji lately?
JEFF PROBST: Fiji has been an amazing partner these last few years, and we employ many local Fijians on our crew. They have become part of the extended Survivor family, so you can’t help but become invested in their well-being. It’s very rewarding to see Americans who are representing Survivor acting as the ambassadors of goodwill. The players are usually in such an open place that they are able to easily access the empathetic and compassionate parts of themselves and just bring love and joy and supplies. We do as much as we can for the local community in lots of different ways throughout the year.
Well, here’s something new. Sebastian goes to Ghost Island and gets an advantage, and in yet another Survivor twist — it’s one that has already been used this season: Sarah’s steal a vote that Kellyn used as an extra vote. Tell me about the decision to use items more than once, and were the two unpicked items in the other bamboo also items that had been used this season?
We knew from the second Michael misplayed James’ idol early in the season that we should bring a Ghost Island relic back into the game. It didn’t end up happening with James’ idol because we had so many other idols we wanted to feature. But the vote… that one was perfect because it was the only one of its kind. I think one of the other items might have been a returning item, but as I sit here and write this, I honestly cannot remember!
But I will add that I loved this new element of Survivor — risk your vote for an advantage. That is now a new twist that we will use again just like other advantages and twists. It poses a really great dilemma. And because I don’t always need to read every vote, you’ve got a shot to get away with it. That’s a risk some will find worth taking.
There’s a very unique situation here at the end of the immunity challenge where Wendell finishes the puzzle, but he appears to be looking it over to make sure it is correct. In the meantime, Laurel calls you over to check hers, and she wins. Has anything like this ever happened before and what happens here if Wendell challenged the ruling?
Nothing like this has ever happened before. It was bizarre. I think Wendell was half-checking his puzzle and half-dazed. Truthfully, I didn’t even know he had it because there was no sign from him at all. It was only seeing it back in editing later that I could clearly see he had it finished before Laurel. But we are deep into this game, and cognitive function is in rare supply, and I honestly think Wendell just had a slight lapse. What impressed me most was how both Wendell and Laurel handled it. Laurel obviously took the necklace, but she was aware it was a tricky situation. And Wendell just handled it straight up. He didn’t complain at all. He was frustrated, but he owned it as his mistake.
Kellyn was a walking emotional roller-coaster out there as you could see every single expression right on her face — and her whole body, for that matter. Give me your take on her game and time on the island.
I loved Kellyn. Yes, she was emotional, but she was very open in sharing she was in a life transition. I was so moved by how much she shared about leaving her marriage and embarking on a new journey. I think Kellyn also offers a great study in how much easier it is when things are going your way and how much tougher it is when you are down in the numbers and just can’t make anything happen. Kellyn gave a lot out there. She played hard. She tried to mix the game up. She was a great interview and a terrific commentator on what was happening within the tribe. You can’t ask for anything more from a player.
Six players left with a million dollars at stake as we head into the three-hour finale/reunion extravaganza. What can you tell us?
It is FAR from over. So much still to come. It will be a very entertaining night. Pop an extra big bowl of popcorn, then settle in.
Check out an exclusive deleted scene above, and also make sure to read our full episode recap and Kellyn exit interview. Also be sure to check out all the fan and castmate #FakeKellyn videos. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.