SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Jeff. This is just getting absurd. I don’t know what Joe’s actual challenge record is over three seasons, but I know it is ridiculously good. Is he really that dominant, or are we shortchanging his tribemates a bit?
JEFF PROBST: Joe is that good. We all see it. There really hasn’t ever been anyone, at least that I can recall, with this kind of consistent challenge dominance. His winning percentage is extremely high, especially with tribe challenges. He gives his tribe that edge that often leads to victory. It’s why it’s such a dilemma to have him on your tribe. He will most certainly increase your chances of staying in the game, but once we reach the merge, he becomes more of a threat than an asset.

The other thing that has always struck me about Joe is that he is so earnest when he is on a tribe. He genuinely wants his tribe to do well and for everyone to feel good about their contribution, and yet he is fully aware that those same people are gunning for him from day one.

Speaking of challenges, the first immunity challenge of the week out in the water looked like yet another disaster for Lesu when none of them could retrieve the underwater puzzle pieces, yet they then stormed through the puzzle to take second place and avoid heading to Tribal Council. What happened there and where does that rank on the list of huge Survivor challenge comebacks for you?
That’s a great example of “on any given day… anything can happen.” It’s why you so often hear me yelling things like…. “Keep digging! Don’t give up!” I remind them to keep fighting because comebacks do happen on Survivor. In a situation like this, what seems to happen a lot is this: A tribe is in dead last. They finally make it to the last stage of the challenge, still in dead last… and then there is a moment where the other tribe stumbles…. and in that moment the momentum shifts. The losing tribe senses it. They realize they are still in it. They’re infused with a new surge of energy. And this often causes the winning tribe to panic. They see it slipping away. These are exciting moments to witness because you see the power of hope.

We have seen some very curious moves made at the Edge of Extinction, including Rick telling everyone else about how to read the map and then Reem indicating to Keith where a hidden advantage was. Are these strategic blunders just due to the unfamiliarity of EOE and people thus being a bit off the game because they have no idea what to expect?
That seems likely. It really is a brand new world on Extinction and people still aren’t sure what kind of society they want to establish. As you point out you have different types of people reacting differently to the situation. Some are optimistic and community minded, others are desperate and selfish. I would guess that some of our deepest fears come out in a situation like this and suddenly your fight or flight response is kicking in and it’s being driven by so many outside factors.

I think Extinction is revealing a lot of character. Even the map situation provides insight. Every person reacted differently, and in their reactions there is a lot of truth. That’s the idea we were hoping for with Extinction — to create a new society, reinvent the game and see how the players would respond.

Aubry gets blindsided with an idol and an advantage in her pocket. Are her idol and advantage still in play and available for her to use should she make it back into the game?
Nope. Both of them are done. Bye-bye. El gonzo.

The second Tribal Council ends up in a tie vote between Lauren and Wendy and features a lot of people who say they are ready to go to rocks but deep down don’t really want to go to rocks, so eventually Wendy gets voted out. Did the folks on new Manu — Eric, Gavin, and Victoria — blink first, or was this just too easy a solution for everyone involved because Wendy had been on the bottom of both tribes?
I think the Lesu group were totally ready to go to rocks. I’m not so sure that was the case with Eric, Gavin and Victoria because, as you note, nobody wants to go to rocks. So if there is someone that “we can all agree on just for one vote” that person is in trouble. My hunch is that Wendy had done enough damage that she was the only person that made sense for the group. But I don’t think the players would position it as “easy” simply because they are a smart group and they know there is never an easy vote when you’re sitting at Tribal. But your point seems spot on — the rock draw was avoided because Wendy was in the game.

In the preview for next week it looks like the folks from Edge of Extinction are back. What can you tell us about what to expect?
Yes, they are back. And it’s EPIC.

Check out an exclusive deleted scene from the episode at the top of the post and also make sure to read our full recap. Plus, 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 $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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