Each week, host Jeff Probst has been answering a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath. Here, he weighs in on the season finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We do this every time a new Survivor champion is crowned, so give me your take on Nick’s victory and his run to Sole Survivor, which included the last three immunity challenge victories.
JEFF PROBST: This was a very competitive season. I think everyone in the final six had a case to make based on who they were sitting next to in the final. From my vantage point, Nick’s win seemed to come down to a few key things: 1.) Overall, he played a very savvy game and navigated his alliances very well. 2.) Even though he was upset at times, he did a good job of keeping his emotions in check and not letting them push a foolish decision.
3.) His run of immunity wins definitely kept him in the game. And the last win that put him in the final three was obviously critical. The Goliaths would have taken him out if they had the chance. 4.) Maybe the single biggest move was taking Angelina to the final three and forcing Mike and Kara to make fire. In eliminating one of those two, he really increased his odds. And yet, Mike still got three votes which speaks volumes about the game Mike played. I think Nick is a very solid strategist and though he might be a bit low key, he’s a very likable guy.
If Pat does not have his accident on the boat, there is a big chance Nick is the very first person voted out of this game. What does that say about him and the game in general?
Nick seemed destined for Ponderosa the morning of day three. Then the challenge happened, then Pat got evacuated, and Tribal was canceled. That was the turning point for Nick, no question about it. And what it says about the game — and about life in general — is that it’s not over until it’s over. It’s so easy to look ahead and say, “Ah man I’ll never finish this race.” Or “I’ll never get that job, they’re going to hire the other woman.” Or, “I’ll never make the high school basketball team, I’m too short.” All those stories may feel very true in the moment, but until it actually happens, it’s just a possibility and your thoughts about it are just that — thoughts.
So you can spend your time lamenting, or you can put your head down and try to plow through and change the course of the story. Think how many times we have seen a tribe of people make a miraculous come from behind victory, or how many times someone was in serious trouble on their tribe and a tribe switch happens, or in the case of Nick, someone is evacuated and you get to skip Tribal. So often we want to be ahead of the story, which on Survivor means “I know I’m going home. I know it’s me tonight. It won’t be a blindside, I already know you guys are lying to me.” That time is better spent trying to change the minds of those you believe are voting for you. That’s how you play Survivor.
Let’s go back to earlier in the episode. Davie gets voted out after Mike flips the script and says on his way out: “The person who orchestrated this, you now have my vote for a million dollars. It’s up to someone else to make a bigger move.” What do you make of that part-compliment/part-challenge from Davie and what does it say about him as a player?
I love Davie! Everybody loves Davie — for so many reasons. His challenge/compliment on his way out is emblematic of the modern Survivor player. It’s not about hard feelings or bitterness, it’s about respecting and demanding great game play. I think it’s why we have had so many fun seasons of late. We’ve had several seasons of very cool players — players who go at it hard and demand the same of everyone else, but never ever take it so personally that it becomes a bitter jury who wants to get even.
Angelina has an idol and wants to make a big show out of it, concocting a scheme to get others to vote for her so she can impress the jury by using it. But then she goes one step further and creates a fake idol for Alison to find, with no real seeming purpose behind it except to make Alison look bad and herself (maybe, if lucky) look good. The other players said Angelina did it to embarrass Alison, while Angelina said it was just to have an “epic end” and “keep Mike safe.” What do you think, Jeff? Any legitimate strategic value to that move or was that a low blow?
I don’t know her true intention, but I didn’t get the feeling that she was trying to embarrass Alison as much as she was trying to lift her own profile and add to her resume. I am just guessing, so I could be wrong. I think Angelina was a bit blind (as she mentioned in the Reunion Show) to how she was coming across with the jury and other players. So, in that moment, I think it felt like the kind of move that would earn a standing ovation from the jury. So much of those kinds of moves come down to delivery. Her rather boastful delivery didn’t land. In contrast, Nick’s fake idol play was positioned as a defensive move made to try and dissuade other players from looking. That is easier to digest because the intention is very clear and it’s very solid game play.
Mike seemed to do a good job of controlling some key votes — like getting Christian and Davie out — and I believe had only one vote cast against him all season. So why couldn’t he seal the deal at the end?
That’s a brilliant question. My hunch is it was a combination of a lot of factors. It’s hard to forget he’s already had success in life. I think there was probably a bit of a question of “Yeah, he played a great game but does he realllly want it? Because Nick reallllllllllllllly wants it.” And I think we have to circle back to the first question. Mike didn’t lose. Nick won. Nick played a very layered game and did a lot of things right. Seven out of ten votes is no joke.
Who is your MVJ: Most Valuable Juror? Who impressed you the most out there with their questions and/or comments from the jury?
Man, the jury was really good. They put so much time and effort into their questions. I’m gonna give the MVP to Elizabeth, because she really came in strong with an idea of what she wanted the final Tribal to be and she put so much thought into her questions and comments. When one player does that, it helps set the tone for the rest of the players. Plus, she looked rad in that cowboy hat!
Check out all of our Survivor finale coverage below, and for more intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
- Survivor: David vs. Goliath recap
- Four former Survivor players to return for Edge of Extinction season
- Nick on what we didn’t see at the finale
- Mike says he ‘wussed out’ at final Tribal Council
- Angelina defends fake idol trick on Alison
- Kara on what went wrong with fire-making
- Alison reacts to Angelina’s fake idol move
- Davie explains hidden meaning behind his speech