Congratulations, Elizabeth Olson! You just made it to the merge!
Unfortunately for her, that’s as far as she got. Elizabeth became Survivor: David vs. Goliath’s first post-merge victim when she was unanimously voted out by Davids and Goliaths alike. But the 31-year-old Texan did not go down without a fight, most likely ruining Angelina’s chances of winning by revealing to the rest of the tribe that the Goliath had told her she was the one to go (perhaps in an attempt to gain favor with the future jury member should Angelina make it all the way to the end).
Why did Elizabeth do it? Does she buy Angelina’s explanation that it was nothing more than a “raw human moment”? And how does she feel about her fellow Goliaths all voting her out? We asked Elizabeth all that and more when she called into EW Morning Live (SiriusXM, channel 105) this morning and here are some highlights from our chat.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what do you think? What was the motivation for Angelina telling you all that stuff before Tribal Council? Was it working you as a jury vote, was it venting, or was she trying to have a “real human moment,” as she claimed?
ELIZABETH OLSON: I don’t think she was venting. She’s too smart for that. When Angelina was talking to me, it was two-fold. I think there was a side of her, that human, genuine, just loving people. We had a connection. As well as I had a connection with a lot of people when the merge happened. And I think she genuinely felt for me. But that was dwarfed in comparison to the fact that she was playing the game of Survivor 100 percent balls-to-the-wall, and that included trying to manage the jury on my way out. I am 100 percent confident that played a factor in that conversation. There’s no doubt in my mind.
Why wait until Tribal Council to drop that bomb? Why not do it, say, a half-hour before you left for Tribal to give folks time to discuss a new plan?
I thought of that, but there are things that happen in the game that are completely outside of your control, like when they decide that it’s time for you to have a confessional right after you have that conversation with Angelina. And then at the confessional, they were like, “Oh, by the way, we’re about to leave for Tribal.” And I’m like, “Wait, what?” So I literally had no time. It was trying to figure out: Okay, if I have no time then what is my best plan at this point? I only had one option at that point, which was to blow up Tribal.
If I had time, of course I would have blown things up. But at that point, there were two lies going around. One was that we were going to try to vote out Dan. I had no reason to believe that was not a plan that some people were considering. And then I heard some misdirection, probably from the Strike Force. It was Alison, so I was not sure who she was speaking for. The misdirection was that it was going to be a Davie vote, because you’re going to have to tell whoever is going home a misdirection vote. I was confident that was a lie. I was like, there’s no way they’re going to send Davie home.
I didn’t have reason earlier in the day to know that it was me. I was trying all day to get Dan out, and then when Angelina approached me, I was like, okay, well, clearly this is the crack that I needed because I didn’t feel like the Dan thing was actually transpiring. So I didn’t have time to tell the Goliaths beforehand, because I certainly would have.
As far as the vote goes, were you disappointed to see your fellow Davids all voting against you?
Yeah. For me, when I was convinced I was 100% going home and that I couldn’t get anyone to change to Angelina was when I was actually getting up and whispering to people too. They didn’t show that. And when I got to Carl — because the last time I had spoken to Carl was when, “Hey, we’re gonna try to get Dan out” — so [at Tribal] I was reiterating, “Hey we really need to get rid of Angelina,” and in front of everybody he was saying, “Elizabeth, I don’t want to hear from you! I don’t want to hear from you!”
So I was like, my own tribe doesn’t want to hear from me? That’s when I knew that I had lost all credibility with the Goliaths, because why would a Goliath come to my side if my own team wasn’t willing to go to bat for me? That was devastating. I’m a fan of the game. I don’t mind if they’re voting for me. But they wouldn’t even consider keeping me in the game? That was hurtful. And that Carl was throwing my name under the bus so hard, he really shot me in the foot. Granted, he’s playing the game, but it was hard. I just sat down.
We saw him doing that right at the merge. He got a little beer in him and was talking about wanting to get rid of you. That must have been tough to watch.
Yeah, it really was. I know my relationship with Carl was strained. We weren’t on the same page. We’re cut from two very different cloths, which is ironic because we’re both from Texas and we both like horses, and we both work hard, so we should have a lot of common ground that we could bond over. But I’m very passionate and full throttle, and he’s way laid back. I got along with other people who were laid back, but for whatever reason we just kind of rubbed each other the wrong way. I felt like we still had a working relationship. I don’t have to be buddy-buddy, chummy-chummy to get the job done with somebody, and apparently Carl does. And it was irritating watching it back, to be quite honest.
Was there ever a moment at Tribal where it looked like they were going to get rid of Angelina?
Yeah! There was too much whispering going on for it to not be live. I felt like there was a good chance. I felt like probably at one point — especially with the angst form Alison; Alison was really pissed that Angelina was working the jury already, which got a lot of people riled up — that it may have been a 55 percent to 45 percent chance that Angelina was going home. But when I got back around talking to Carl, my shot went down to about 5 percent. At that point, I was unaware of the Strike Force with Alec, Alison, Mike, Nick, Christian, and Gabby. Otherwise I would have focused on those six. I was trying to get just one Goliath to have the balls to vote out Angelina, who at that point was not just a threat, but someone who was willing to throw everybody else under the bus and was someone you couldn’t trust.
How difficult is it to be that close to winning the immunity challenge knowing that would have made you safe and that anything can happen with three more days?
I’ve slept a lot of nights in my bed since that moment and that immunity challenge has replayed in my mind over and over and over again, that I was literally that close. I genuinely believed that I actually did have some really good connections with almost everybody. I felt like if I had three more days that I could have been sitting extremely good in the game. That’s something I think about all the time. Who knows how long Alison would have lasted, but I was ready to be up there for five hours. I told myself that from the beginning. They didn’t show this on the episode, but Jeff had just finished saying, “We’ve got one minute until switching to standing up on the next perch.” That was the final steps in the challenge. And so I was thinking about which foot I was going to put up on that final top perch instead of 100 percent focusing on what I was doing. So, bummer, dude.
What was the deal with your back out there? It sounds like you were in tons of pain before you even headed out to Fiji. Was there ever a consideration of telling producers, “Hey, my back is not ready to play this game. Can I take a raincheck for a season or two?”
First of all, I had a baby with a C-section five months before the game started. I had been contacted actually for Ghost Island — pretty late in the process but they were very interested in getting me. But I was about three months pregnant when they actually called me back and so obviously I couldn’t go out there for that. But yeah, I called people from Survivor and said, “Hey, dude. I can’t even hardly walk to go to the bathroom,” and they were like, “Dude, we’ve got to have you on this season.” I didn’t know it was David vs. Goliath, but they said I was tied to the theme.
I kept Survivor in the loop about everything. I never pretended anything different than what was the reality. I was fine after having my baby and I was working out and everything, but when I was running one time I just pulled my back really bad somehow. It was really bad. I ended up getting some injections and what-not to try and get game ready. And my back really didn’t bother me other than the sleep factor, which I’m glad you brought up with the whole bed thing on Vuku.
I had tried over and over and over again to tactfully get the bed switched to help me. There are points in the game where it is to your advantage to not be forthright, like, “Hey, I’m having back pain.” At the beginning of the game you don’t really want to say that. So then at some point I was like, I think I can just convince them to get this bed fixed because it’s miserable. So it was trying to figure out when to be honest about things and when not to. But, for me, it was more than my back and being miserable sleeping. I felt my brain going down the toilet because of the lack of sleep. And, for me, it sounds crazy, but fixing that bed was my chance to win Survivor, because I needed my brain and I was literally sleeping zero to an hour every night and my brain was quickly evaporating. And I knew that if I was going to win Survivor, I needed my brain, dude.
Also make sure to read our weekly Q&A with Jeff Probst as well as our episode recap. And find out about all the Jacketgate stuff you didn’t see in our merge interview with Angelina. Finally, to score more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.