Survivor host Jeff Probst explains the rice for immunity trade
Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We started the episode with Nick and Davie from the Davids yet once again up early looking for an idol while the Goliaths all slept. Were the Davids just outworking the Goliaths out there for clues/idols, because it certainly seems that way?
JEFF PROBST: I agree it seems that way. I think there are probably a lot of factors that go into whether or not someone goes hunting for an idol: their personal drive, their tangible energy level, their perceived security in the game, even the mood they are in after a Tribal Council. But it always seems that the people who need it the most are the ones who look the hardest. Who knows, it might also be a fundamental philosophical difference between the Davids and the Goliaths! I’ll try and get to the bottom of it during the live finale reunion show on Dec. 19!
Granted, I have never been starving so this is extremely easy for me to say, but I’ll never get it when people sit out a challenge for food, yet that’s exactly what Carl, Nick, and Angelina did here. We saw the players and jurors commenting on the reasons for and against doing this, but what’s your take on sitting out a chance for immunity?
I think it’s always situational and player dependent. If you believe you don’t have much of a chance to win the challenge then it might make sense to try to get some calories into your body. But opting out of the challenge comes with risks that go beyond giving up your shot at immunity. You have to consider how it will play with your alliance, you have to weigh how the jury will judge it, and you also have to be aware that it speaks to your overall approach to the game and could be used against you by other players if you make it to the final Tribal Council.
You know how much I love the endurance challenges that just go on forever and ever. What did you make of this first immunity battle between Alec and Christian and the clearly different ways they motivated themselves to stay in it — with Alec talking to himself and Christian talking to you and everyone else?
It was an EPIC challenge! It was fascinating to watch their character revealed throughout the five plus hours they were up there sweating it out. I admired Alec’s tactic of trying to convince Christian that he would never come down. It was so true to his character. I am stronger than you and I can last longer than you. I am everything you aren’t. Step down now before you embarrass yourself. That tactic can work on a person who lacks self-confidence, but that clearly wasn’t the case with Christian. He was not the least bit intimidated by Alec and in fact, grew more confident with every hour that passed. What I most enjoyed about Christian’s approach was his sense of humor in using me as his foil. Both guys used their best weapons and this time, Christian’s won out.
Alec pays the price for his strong challenge performances and was the first one sent home this week. He made a few moves but also hesitated before making others. What was your overall take on his game?
Alec played a strong game. He made a lot of great relationships based solely on a likable personality. He won a lot of challenges based solely on physical ability. But what impressed me the most was his willingness to make a move, at any time, if he thought it would further his game. He didn’t overanalyze. He said “yes” and went for it. More times than not those types of players get deep into the game because they are staying ahead of the game by changing it as they go. Alec was playing on all three levels of outwit, outplay and outlast. Yes, he ended up being voted out, but that will happen to most everyone who plays. You can never use being voted out as the ultimate gauge of game play.
You all have a reason for everything you do. Which leads me to ask why the past few years you have had odd people out on team reward challenges just sit out and then go back to the beach with the losers. Why not allow them to pick a side to root for and then go on the reward if that team wins, as you have done in the past? Is the thought that they might get an unfair advantage by getting to feast without exerting themselves physically at all in the challenge? Or is it something else I’m too dumb to think of?
If you look at it from a standpoint of stakes, there are definitely higher stakes by having someone not chosen and not eligible for reward. But it’s really just a gut call that we make at the beginning of a season. I do think that given where the game is right now, with people playing so hard and sacrificing so much, that “freebies” will come around less and less often.
So Angelina came to you with a clearly well-thought out trade proposal to get more rice. You then responded that you’d do a deal only if someone offered to give up his or her shot at immunity in the challenge, which Angelina then did. Tell me about your decision to put an individual price tag on a communal gain, and do you think that was a good move for Angelina to sit out, or will the other players see that as more blatant jury management?
I really appreciated that they spent time deciding how to approach the situation and Angelina was well-spoken in her opening offer. The reason we countered with immunity was situational. Eating more than the appropriate ration of rice is really pushing the rules of the game. We obviously can’t let the players starve, so they know we have to give them more rice. So, the only way a trade of goods made sense was for me to take their entire shelter and it didn’t feel right given how much they had been through already this season.
So, the next best counter was immunity. For me, it was more the point of it, rather than the inherent risk to one player. Immunity is the most important thing in the game. Who is willing to give it up? Obviously, the other players could have just agreed to not vote Angelina out, make the trade, take the rice and that would make it easy. But someone still has to agree to give it up. They have to agree to go to Tribal Council without security. It’s still a risk. I think Angelina was absolutely doing it to be seen in a favorable light from her tribe, but that’s what anyone would be doing who made the decision to sacrifice for the others. You ask the more important question: Will it work for her or against her? And I will say to future players, don’t expect a similar trade if this were to happen again!
Man, I think Carl may still be drunk from that reward feast, and he definitely seemed drunk with power out there. What lead to his ultimate downfall as he was the second person voted out this week?
Carl fascinates me. He is so unpredictable and so uneven in his game play. There are aspects of Carl that make him a potentially great Survivor player, and then there are obvious weaknesses, like a massive lack of awareness that lead to his ultimate downfall. I think we saw a very true representation of where Carl lost the plot and it was his inability to read the situation. I think Carl took for granted that the others were okay with the way he was taking on the leadership role.
We all have many layers to our personality. You always have to be aware which aspects of your personality you are highlighting in any given situation. You are essentially wearing a series of masks and you have to be able to swap costumes effortlessly and without anyone ever noticing. In Carl’s case, alcohol became an adversary to his awareness. He took off his humility mask to have another beer and forgot to put it back on. He stopped paying attention and never saw it coming.
Okay, tease us up for next week, sir!
Love is in the air! The thing I still enjoy about the loved one visit is that it reminds us these are sons, daughters, husbands, wives. They’re real people trying to change the lives of those they care about by busting their butts to win a million dollars. Gonna be a good one!
Watch two exclusive deleted scenes above and make sure to read our episode recap. Also make sure to check out our exit interviews with the ousted Alec and Carl as well as Probst’s clarification of the Idol Nullifier rules. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.