SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You all did something small but interesting this week: In the “Previously on…” segment, you showed something that did not actually make the previous episode with Angelina’s comment while voting that “This is just a phony vote so I can try and get Natalie’s jacket before she leaves.” This seems to be another example of you all doing some different stuff this season in terms of how you are editing and presenting the show. While you always take big risks in terms of the creative elements of the show, does it feel to you like you’ve taken some more chances just in terms of the way you all have been presenting what happened out there?
Yes, it was a conscious decision with the producers and the entire post-production team to continue to have more fun in the editing bays. Whether it’s changing up the way we reveal an idol find, or letting Christian babble on as we end an act, or adding a fun “guitar” sting to the “rock star alliance,” or even including something in the “Previously on…” that we hadn’t shown you in the episode due to time. We have more moments like this in upcoming episodes.

Our golden rule is form always follows function. So, we endeavor to always have purpose behind our editing choices so that the story we want to tell is still being told, but hopefully in a way that gives more insight into character while still entertaining the audience. We love that our audience is noticing. It encourages us to continue to take chances and explore new avenues.

You’re heard me say a million times how Survivor challenges are all about the puzzle. Well, here was an immunity contest that proved me dead wrong, as the Jabeni tribe didn’t even make it there, struggling massively with their water wheel and finally just leaving it there on the ground as the second-place tribe finished up. I loved this challenge, even though it was a blowout, but what did you see from that tribe during this one?
This is one of my favorite moments so far this season, specifically because the challenge revealed the character of a tribe. It’s easy to win with grace. It’s difficult to lose with grace. But it’s impossible to lose with grace during a blowout — and yet Jabeni did. It was clear to everyone that they were going to lose. Other tribes might have decided to conserve energy and just give up, and there was a moment where they could have easily done that, but they didn’t.

They ignored the pain, they pushed away humiliation and instead chose to stay together as a group and do their best. These are the kinds of moments that remind me what Survivor represents to me, and I think a lot of people who play and watch: The adventure you’re ready for is the one you get. And think about the bonding that can happen in a moment like that — “if we can survive this, we can survive anything.” It was awesome.

There were a lot of great lines in this episode, but one of my favorites was when Gabby said, “Hope is not a strategy.” Do you kinda want to print that on T-shirts and give them out to every future Survivor player?
Ha! That’s funny. Gabby is fantastic! She is so colorful and so resilient, while still being so vulnerable. When someone lets you inside their struggle, it becomes very personal, and you can’t help but have some empathy for their situation. And I agree with her and you — as powerful as “hope” can be to get you through a day… it is not and never will be a strategy.

Survivor demands that you assess and reassess constantly to make sure you are as connected as you can be. If you lose your confidence or fear you are on the outside, there is a decent chance you are. At that point, you either lie down and die and ensure we never ask you back to play again… or you stand up and fight. Gabby will never lie down and die. That’s why she is on the show.

Lyrsa and her Members Only jacket are finally voted off the island. Is there anything she could have done to prevent being on the wrong side of the numbers? Was she too obvious and direct with her unwillingness to work — or pretend to work — with Angelina?
I think Lyrsa played a pretty good social game. She had an opinion, she didn’t back away from conflict, and she never stopped trying to turn the vote around. But quite often in this game, you just run out of options. I think she should be proud. She was on the short end for a while but never lost hope. Sadly, hope is not a strategy. I should print that on a shirt.

Looks like we’ve got the merge coming up next week. What can you say about what’s in store?
The game always changes at the merge, but this season it’s particularly interesting because of the Goliath numbers advantage. I am happy to say there are more great moments to come. This season is in full stride!

Check out an exclusive deleted scene above, and make sure to read our episode recap. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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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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