Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: Cagayan.’
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Take us inside how the Lindsey quit went down. How soon after Tribal Council did you get the call? And what does your gut tell you in terms of what made her quit, because we have heard her from time to time during the season talk about feeling miserable out there and regretting signing up for this adventure. Do you believe it was because of Trish blasting her? Because she couldn’t take it out in the elements? Or a combination of the two?
JEFF PROBST: I got the call around an hour after tribal council ended. I had gone back to base camp when the producer on the beach radioed to say there was a pretty intense argument going on between Lindsey and Trish and Lindsey had removed herself from the situation. It’s not unusual for people to be upset after a tribal but for one person to remove themselves from the situation was unusual. I hopped in a boat and headed out to the beach. Lindsey was sitting alone in the sand just like you saw in the episode. I sat down to talk to her and it was clear she was pulling herself from the game.
As difficult as it is to lose someone from the game in this manner, I was really impressed with the way Lindsey handled it. She was so upset with Trish that she was genuinely concerned she might get physical with her if she stayed in the game. She wanted to show her daughter a good example of how to handle a situation like that — remove yourself from the situation. As for whether there were other contributing factors such as fatigue and regret, only Lindsey knows for sure.
EW: So when you have someone unexpectedly quit like Lindsey, how does that alter your schedule in terms of when things happen? For example, would you have merged with 12 people had Lindsey not quit, or was there another tribe immunity challenge that you ended up having to scrap because you got to 11 players earlier that anticipated?
PROBST: We always start with more than enough players because we anticipate evacuations or quits. So typically it doesn’t impact the game in any meaningful way. We always know before we start how many finalists we will have and how big the jury will be. That’s the most important decision and then we engineer backwards from there. And even then we have wiggle room if something happens late in the game and we lose someone who cannot be on the jury. We’ve gotten pretty good at the math of Survivor so that we can let the players play their own game and we’ll adjust as we need to without ever impacting the integrity of the game. That’s the key. Lindsey’s quit did not impact when we merged nor did it impact the size of the jury or the number of finalists.
EW: I’m not sure I’ve seen someone play so consistently aggressive as Tony. But is it too aggressive? Certain moves — like giving Jeremiah that clue so that the other tribe would target their strongest member — were interesting, while others — like drawing attention to all of the lying he has been doing and yelling “Top 5, baby!” after winning a challenge — seem counterproductive. What’s your take on his gameplay so far?
PROBST: Tony is one of the most electrifying players we’ve ever had participate. As you suggest, he is consistently inconsistent and that is flat out fantastic to watch. Tony is playing to win. He doesn’t care about second place. He doesn’t care what the other players will think of him when the game is over, and they learn what he was really saying and doing behind their backs. He is only interested in managing them on a day to day basis with the intention of moving forward every day. He’s one of the most elastic players too; he can adapt very quickly and is obviously very quick on his feet. What gets him in trouble and could be his downfall is his inability to think — just for a moment — before speaking. That one little personality quirk has taken down a lot of people in this game.
EW: We saw the big merge in the preview for next week. What can you tease up about it, sir?
PROBST: One of the most enjoyable aspects of this season is it’s absolute unpredictability. People who are in control on day one of an episode are often on the outs by day three, and if they survive tribal they can be back on top ten hours later. The merge episode is fantastic. Huge moments. The immunity challenge will have you on the edge of your seat. Tribal…. good luck figuring out who is going home. The game is that unpredictable. This season is going to continue to be a fun ride.
Click on the video player below for an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode that shows what Tony did with Lindsey’s pants after she quit, and make sure to read Dalton’s recap. Also, for ‘Survivor’ scoop sent directly to you, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.