Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: David vs. Goliath.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Just take us through that crazy Tribal Council as we saw Nick steal a vote, Dan play an idol, and Carl play his Idol Nullifer. Dan looked absolutely dazed as you snuffed his torch. How would you describe what you saw and the mood of the Goliaths after?
JEFF PROBST: That was a historic Survivor moment. It was the first time a Nullifier was played and Carl played it correctly. That’s all we could have ever dared dream when we put the Nullifier into this season. The other side of the moment was the confusion shared by Dan and the Goliaths. They had no idea there was even such a thing as a Nullifier so their shock was compounded by a lack of information. And that lack of information connects to the third and perhaps most important element in all of this — the reminder that the Survivor gods are the ones who are truly in control of the game.
The Survivor gods have a wicked sense of humor and they love a healthy dose of irony. So, this was a match made in Survivor heaven. Dan’s confidence was growing by the day. He had just played an idol for Angelina and still had one in his pocket. There was 0.0 chance of him going home if he played it. He was already looking ahead, making his next move and planning how to get out of camp to go find another idol. Dan was going to win this game. Because the idol is unstoppable… until it’s not. That’s one of the great lessons the Survivor gods teach us. Things are what they are… until they’re not. The idol can no longer be assumed to be unstoppable. The idol has a new foe and the mere knowledge that the Nullifier exists adds another layer of doubt. Oh, those tricky Survivor gods know what they’re doing.
From a player standpoint, Carl was clearly pleased to be in the center of the action and added a nice notch to his Survivor resume. On the other side of the battle, Dan handled it really well. To get blindsided by a brand-new twist is not easy to take. I was impressed with how fast Dan adapted to the moment and accepted his fate. I’ve been saying it over and over — this is a truly great group of players who continue to deliver an entertaining season of Survivor.
The cardinal sin of Survivor is telling people about your idol or advantages, because it so often can later be used against you. However, here we saw the Davids pooling their resources to take out at Goliath as they used Nick’s steal-a-vote and Carl’s idol nullifier to take out Dan. This is a potentially huge shift in the game and the way it could be played moving forward well beyond this season. Is there a case to be made now for telling others you feel you can trust about what you have in the hopes of combining powers?
I have never been of the mind that you should “never under any circumstances” share that with any other player that you have an idol. I certainly see the inherent risk, but I also see the importance of trust. Sometimes sharing something powerful with an alliance member is exactly what your alliance member needs to know you are true to them. And in a case like this if you can combine multiple advantages you obviously gain enormous, almost unstoppable strength.
So, rather than a seismic shift in strategic thinking, my hunch is a moment like this reminds future players to just continue to “stay open” to possibilities. Every season, every day, every moment is unique. You have to constantly assess and reassess because if you lock in on what you’re doing and close your eyes to the ever-changing environment you risk missing million-dollar opportunities.
All three individual immunity challenges have been won by Goliaths. Coincidence, or is there more to that?
It’s a great question and one that is ultimately impossible to answer. One of our biggest concerns going into this season was the possibility that the Goliaths would dominate every challenge and then post merge, they would continue to win their way to the end. So far, they have indeed dominated individual challenges and yet it was another Goliath who was voted out.
The game is so complicated and requires so many skills that winning immunity is actually one of the few layers you can never conquer and yet still win the game. When you think about it, that’s a really staggering truth. It’s one of the fundamental reasons Survivor is so appealing to so many different types of people, because on any given day, any of us can win. Just so long as the Survivor gods agree.
Okay, sir. Tease us up for next week’s episode and then go enjoy your Thanksgiving.
Next week we have TWO EPISODES and they are fantastic! So many great moments. This season has not taken its foot off the pedal. This is what happens when you get a great group of players and they choose to actively and passionately PLAY Survivor. It’s epic.
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