Each week, host Jeff Probst answers a few questions about the most recent episode of Survivor: South Pacific.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’ve seen people constantly struggle on this show navigating the internal battle between good and evil, but I have never seen anything like what is going on with Brandon. He wants to rescue the Hantz name and be a man of God, then blatantly lies to set up Christine and Stacey, and then owns up to lying about it at Tribal Council. And I don’t even know what to make of his treatment of Mikayla, who he wants to ostracize because he is married — even though she has shown no romantic interest in him whatsoever. In 23 seasons, have you ever encountered a bigger Jekyll and Hyde character?
JEFF PROBST: Brandon is definitely unique and I respect his struggle. It’s an honest admission of internal conflict that is being magnified on Survivor. When you look at his situation, it really isn’t surprising. A former troubled kid who found God, wants to be a good “son” in His eyes but finds himself in the middle of a manipulative game haunted by the legacy of an uncle who is despised by so many. He’s wearing it on his sleeve and one thing is for certain — it makes for very compelling television.
EW: One of the new tweaks to the format this season was that players first had to find a clue somewhere at the beach to the hidden immunity idol before they could find the idol itself. Or so we thought. In light of Ozzy’s discovery, might you finally take my humble suggestion to start hiding idols at challenges? (It could be something only one person knows about via a clue, or something you announce to both tribes to then see who competes to help their team win, and who goes for the idol instead.) C’mon, Probst! I’ve been begging for years! Throw me a bone here!
JP: Ah yes, the “hide it at the challenge” idea. It is an interesting idea and it is one that we’ve discussed creatively with the team and also with you when you visit location. The biggest hurdle for us is complicating the storytelling of the challenge. With this in play there is a very different story that you have to set up and pay off within a challenge that has its own stakes. It probably doesn’t sound so difficult but even a slight tweak is something we really walk through to make sure it will work. We’ve never been convinced. But as I write this, I am beginning to come around. Who knows… maybe next year?
EW: Savaii had an amazing comeback in the puzzle portion of the challenge, and seemed to know exactly what to do right as they hit the puzzle, which raises a question: Was this challenge won before the puzzle-solvers even hit the course? The time where you walk both teams through the challenge and allow them to strategize beforehand is super important. Did the Savaii puzzle-solvers do a better job of visualizing exactly what had to be done and whom should do what when they got there so that they were able to hit the ground running, while Upolu simply went in less prepared? How important is the pre-game organization?
JP: You bring up a good point. The pre-challenge walk through is critical because if you are aware you can pick up clues to how the challenge is going to play and also who should do which portion. Often challenges are lost simply because the tribe put the wrong person in the wrong position. As for studying a puzzle, we don’t give them enough time to figure out anything truly significant, but in terms of gaining an edge? Absolutely. And sometimes all you need is just that, an edge.
EW: Finally, you know we need a tease for next week. Hook us up!
JP: Brandon’s emotional crumbling continues…
For more from the host on last night’s episode, check out Jeff’s Tout page. To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. To watch Jeff’s special Public Service Announcement for all future Survivor players, as well as an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, simply watch the video player below. And for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @EWDaltonRoss.