Jeff Probst on 'one of the most vicious moves in the history' of Survivor
Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Winners at War. Here, he weighs in the ousting of two legends, the birth of another one, the impact of Fire Tokens, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEKELY: Wow, not one but TWO legends voted out of the game within minutes of each other. Let’s start with Sandra getting ousted with her own immunity idol after selling it to Denise for Fire Tokens. Look, I totally respect her for having the guts to try pulling that off, but it also seems Sandra’s big error was in severely underestimating Denise. How do you see it?
JEFF PROBST: It was… as it should be… that the only two-time winner, and one of the only two players to have a statue erected in their honor, should be taken out by one of the most vicious moves in the history of the game. THAT is how you kill the Queen. We may never know the truth about Sandra’s motives. As someone who has watched her play for nearly 20 years, I question the part of her motive that centered around “liking” Denise. I put more weight into the idea that she “calculated the odds” (a lesson from Island of the Idols) and figured she was safe and could gain two very powerful Fire Tokens in exchange for an idol that was about to become completely powerless.
As for underestimating Denise, add me to that camp as well, I would have never seen that coming. Denise didn’t just take out Sandra, she knocked her out. It was one of the biggest moves that has ever been made in the game. And I love that Sandra took it like a true player. She got got — and she didn’t make any excuses. It has happened to most every great player and the few that haven’t felt it yet in their Survivor career will most likely feel it at some point this season.
Let’s get into Parvati’s ouster from the Sele tribe. Is there anything Parvati could have done to save herself or was being a huge threat in the minority simply too much of an obstacle?
As we are seeing, the old school legends are facing a giant obstacle because they are feared and outnumbered. A deadly combination. Parvati is considered by most every fan to be one of the single digit best to ever play, so of course she was going to be targeted. From a big picture standpoint, I don’t think there was anything she could do. Even coming back as a new mom with a baby at home didn’t help diminish the fear she instills in other players.
Twice we heard Wendell offer to change his vote to whomever Parvati wanted in exchange for Fire Tokens. Now, I’m guessing he was probably bluffing and wouldn’t have actually changed it, but still, when you look at what happened there, and with Michele talking to Wendell about putting his name down to get Parvati’s tokens, and Sandra selling her immunity idol for tokens, is this exactly the type of stuff you were hoping for with the Fire Tokens?
Well, first let me go back to your previous question because this is the one moment in the game where Parvati surprised me by her decision to not try and make a deal with Wendell. As you say, who knows if Wendell would have followed through, but he was equally concerned that he was the one going home, so there’s a chance he would have held up his end. Either way, Parvati knew enough to know she was in trouble, but she wouldn’t offer up a name. Even months later, I am still surprised she didn’t go for it. I think it’s the one question I would ask her — does she regret it?
As for Fire Tokens, we can never anticipate where some of our ideas will end up taking the game. But this was definitely the right season to introduce a real game changing twist like currency, because we have so many creative players. They have already taken the idea to places we never dreamed. It’s very exciting!
Speaking of Fire Tokens, quick logistical question: When someone like Boston Rob or Parvati is voted out and has multiple Fire Tokens, do they have to bequeath them all to the same person or can they split them up in between different players?
They can do whatever they want in terms of distribution. The complications posed by forcing players to bequeath their tokens is something we did anticipate and plan on happening. We knew that players would work to earn tokens, but once you started earning you now become a bigger target and other players want your tokens. But it requires great social abilities to help engineer a blindside on someone that would never guess you were a part of getting them voted out, so that they will leave their tokens to you. Ah, this game is so fun!
Logistical question number 2: Is Parvati’s idol nullifier now null and void because she got sent to the Edge of Extinction?
Yes. Done. Bye bye.
This run of episodes has been crazy good. Will the insanity continue next week? What can you tell us?
Holy smokes. Next week is INSANE! I promise we won’t let you down.
Enjoy an exclusive deleted scene from this week’s episode above, and make sure to check out our full episode recap as well as our video of the entire cast sharing secrets about their winning seasons. And for more behind the scenes Survivor scoop, photos, and videos, follow Dalton on both Twitter and Instagram.