Well, that was brutal. Dan Rengering was rocking and rolling on Survivor: David vs. Goliath, finding not one, but two hidden immunity idols. But he wasted one on an alliance member he didn’t even seem particularly fond of, and then was voted out while using the other thanks to a brand new twist for which he could not have possibly prepared — the Idol Nullifier.
What was going through Dan’s mind when he saw that played? Was it fair, considering he didn’t even know the twist existed? And how does he feel about Kara turning on him? We asked Dan all that and more when the S.W.A.T. cop called into EW Morning Live (SiriusXM, channel 105) on Monday. Read on for highlights from our chat.
EW RADIO: So, what were you thinking when that Idol Nullifier came out?
DAN RENGERING: That was a rough thing to see. Every time you watch the show, you think: Oh, I’m good, I got an idol. I’m good to go. Then he busts that out, and I’m like, You gotta be kidding me! That was the first thing that comes to mind, like, This is a joke. There’s no way this is real. Because I had never seen it before, never heard of it before. So I was like, Well, I guess it’s my time. Time to go home.
As a fan of the show, how do you feel about the Idol Nullifier?
As a fan of the show, I look at it as, an idol should be sacred. Of course I’m going to say that because I got taken out by one, but I think it should be sacred. When you find an idol, it should be golden. It wasn’t easy for me to get either one of them, especially that second one that I used for myself. I feel like they should be sacred, but that’s the great thing about Survivor. It’s always changing and always evolving. It’s just another thing that people are going to have to look at down the road whenever they play. So it improves the game, as sucky as it is to say, but I get it.
You said something interesting there were you said that people will know down the road to look out for it, but you did not know. So was it fair? Was it fair this was unleashed on you and you had no means or way to prepare for counter-measures against it?
It’s absolutely fair. That’s the great thing about Survivor. It’s always changing, always evolving, always growing, always getting better, always new twists. Definitely fair, even though it caught me off-guard.
So if you hadn’t used your other idol in the previous Tribal Council, could you have then used that second one after your first one had been nullified and then you would have been okay?
I don’t think so, because Jeff asked for an idol, and I played an idol. And then he starts reading… I’ve never seen him take an idol after he started reading out of the urn, so I would imagine that it wouldn’t have worked that way, but you’ll have to ask Jeff about that to get a correct answer, but in mind it wouldn’t have worked that way. I think you would have to have played two at the beginning. You would have to have known there was a Nullifier. That’s how I would imagine it and I would have never known there was a Nullifier so would not have played two idols.
What was it like watching the episode back and hearing Kara say you had to go because you were ruining her game?
I mean, it is what it is. I can’t be upset about it. If that’s how she saw it, then that’s how she saw it. Man, that’s a tough question, to be honest. I didn’t think I was ruining anybody’s game. Watching it back and people talking about me being a threat, I didn’t see that either. In my mind I was laying back and letting Alec take the lead in challenges when we were in the original Goliath tribe. So I don’t know how I was labeled this big threat. I found two idols, but only she knew about the second one so I don’t know how I was ruining her game.
You must have had a lot of questions both when you were voted out and then again after watching the episode play back.
When I left the island there were a lot of questions that I had for sure, but I didn’t know that she had been one of the ones instigating it. So I was like, “What happened?” And now I see what happened so it definitely clears some stuff up for me. Like I said, I still don’t see how I was messing her game up or an anchor dragging her down, as she said. I talked to her after. We seem to be okay. No hard feelings on my end.
How much did it pain you to have to use your idol last week on Angelina, who maybe was not your favorite person out there?
Oh, it hurt. It hurt so bad, because nobody wants to use an idol for someone else, they want to use it for themselves. But I told her that I would. It was something that I struggled with all the way to the point that I did it. But I told her I would do it, so I had to do it in my mind. And also, it kept our Goliath numbers strong in my mind because I didn’t know that John was getting taken out.
So it was proving my loyalty to the rest of the Goliath tribe and keeping my alliance strong. And everybody knew about that idol so I was like, Everybody knows about the first one, so that will take a little bit of the target off my back and I’ll give it to somebody else, and nobody knows about the second one except for Kara. So, in my mind, it was a good move. As much as I didn’t want to. It was something I definitely struggled with.
Who was in your ideal final 3? Was it John and Kara?
Oh, yeah, absolutely 100 percent. Because those were my two closest people. I was with John every day until he left. We had the Brochachcos thing going on. And then me and Kara connected on the first day.
What is something you wish had made it on air that didn’t?
When I found the clue to the second hidden immunity idol, Christian comes walking up shortly after and all I have is that piece of bamboo, and he’s walking up so I throw that sucker into the woods. So we start chit-chatting a little bit and then I told him “Okay, see you later. I’m going to go look for some wood.” So then I go looking for the clue again, and then Alison and Gabby start walking up! So I jump over and I’m like, “Hey! What’s up, guys? I’m looking for some wood.” And then after they left it took me 10 to 15 minutes just to find the clue again. I almost hid it from myself!
Anything surprise you watching the season on TV?
I didn’t realize that Alison was pushing for me when we were in Tiva. I had no clue that was going on, not even after the fact. When I watched it on the show was the first time and I was like, “Man, thank God we didn’t go to Tribal, because I would not have played an idol and would have gone home with two and that would not have been fun at all.”