By Dalton Ross
November 30, 2020 at 12:15 PM EST

Honestly, I’m not sure John Cody ever stood a chance on Survivor: Blood vs. Water. He and wife Candice (previously seen in the company of Dragonz) were last-minute entries to the game when RC Saint-Armour and her father Craig had to drop out for medical reasons. How last-minute? They arrived in the Cagayan province of the Philippines via helicopter and ran into the cast press photo the day before the game started as it was already being taken. That late arrival immediately put a target on the couple’s back, as evidenced by Candice being voted out of her tribe just minutes after the game began.

John followed suit just seven days later as he was blindsided by alleged ally Brad Culpepper and his all-guys alliance. While John survived five straight Redemption Island duels (or “truels,” since the competitions were always between three people for some reason) to make it all the way to the final play-in challenge, he was doomed to lose that due to his large feet not fitting into the tiny footholds intended to support his body as he held on to a pole. He predictably slipped down first, and his game was over.

While John may not have gotten a fair shake out on the island, he’ll always be a winner in our book for filling out his Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire.

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.

JOHN CODY: I completed my orthopedic surgery residency training and then further specialized for a year in hip and knee replacement surgery, which is my primary practice at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Md. More exciting is our growing family, however! We have two kids (5 and 3) and they’ve put us on this beautiful journey that is going by too fast...

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

I didn’t have many “moments” unfortunately, but I was very proud of my challenge performance, especially on Redemption Island. People are rarely tested like that being hungry, tired, and pit against each other, and I more than held my own against some more seasoned players. In retrospect, maybe I should have done more of the puzzle portion of the challenges when I was still in the game, but that seemed dangerous at the time...

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

Failing to see how the people in my alliance could turn on me when it was absolutely not in their best interest to do so. I disagreed with them when they wanted to vote out Rachel, because we were losing and had other people that were struggling way more. Because I felt comfortable for a couple hours in my alliance (enough to speak my mind and disagree with the group), they got worried about me and started getting freaked out about the idol and what may happen six votes from now. Let’s be honest, we all know it was dumb of them to vote me out because I was a loyal number with nowhere else to go... yet. 

What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?

In our season, there was a lot of pre-game alliance concerns. People were so sure of people who were “definitely” with others based on rumors, locations, etc. that they let it cloud their judgment. There was a rumor that Candice and I were in a pregame alliance with Tyson and Rachel, so when I briefly argued against voting her out, some people in my alliance were convinced that the rumors were true and that I would go against them to save Rachel. In the end, I voted with them without any issues or further arguments, but those feelings persisted for them. I found out about all of this later.

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

I thought it was fair for the most part. Like everyone (I assume), I think they cut out a lot of my relationship building and strategizing discussions because they ultimately didn’t prove to be relevant since I got voted out so early. I had long discussions with Vytas and Brad about playing deep into the game together and how our games would look post-merge, and why it was so important for us to stick together. I think it would have helped show how big of a blindside my vote out was to me. Those guys all lied to my face for days. 

Survivor John Cody
Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?

I didn’t have time for culture shock, or to even adjust to the time zones! I got back in the U.S. on June 29th, and starting on July 1st I was taking calls at a Level I trauma center through one of the busiest weekends of the year. I had a lot of frustration with how the whole season played out for Candice and I, and it sucked not being able to talk about it with anyone else. That was probably the hardest thing. 

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?


Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?

I haven’t really kept up consistently with anybody, except maybe Brad. We talked everything out from the show on Redemption and afterward at Ponderosa. Mostly, Candice and I have been busy with our own tribe back home, though! There are definitely people that I would like to be in better touch with, though. We all have our lives outside of Survivor. 

Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?

I do watch still. I enjoyed Game Changers a lot, as well as season 40. Best season I’ve ever watched was Heroes vs. Villains though. 

Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

There are too many! For some reason, Denise stands out to me — she’s physically gritty and socially slick at the same time. She would be fun to play with, tough to go against. Really. I would love to sign up to play with a bunch of dummies that would carry me to the end and gift me the $1 million. Where do we sign up for that season?

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

I think that all of the twists, idols, etc have shifted the game to requiring more luck than in the “older school” seasons to win. As a player, I would personally prefer fewer twists. As a fan, I think they’re great. 

Finally, would you play again if asked?

In a heartbeat. 

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter.

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