EW: You went out in fifth place both times. Which is worse: giving away your immunity and being voted out, or being pulled from the game just three days from the end?
ERIK: Being pulled is pretty horrible in that there is no real resolution. You’re weren’t voted out and my strategy to that point had not proven invalid. It had not been proven not to work. So it’s more of a personal thing with me now because I don’t think a lot of people are going to understand this. A lot of people are going to be left like, “I don’t even know what Erik did in this game? I don’t even know where he was.” So in a way this is a pretty bad ending as well.
EW: Do either you or Eddie beat Cochran in the final 3?
ERIK: Eddie could win hands down. He was just very well liked. And the other thing with this season is that the people who would have won for big plays like a Parvati or Russell character — they all ripped each other earlier. They were all sitting on the jury. In a way, Cochran didn’t win the game so much as he made it to the end and he didn’t mess up. He didn’t make any major mistakes. But I don’t think Cochran made too many big moves out there. We never saw Cochran as a player who was making huge moves. He was just very strategic in his positioning. His timing was very good as well.
EW: You had some pretty harsh words for both Dawn and Sherri at the final Tribal Council. Now that you’ve had the distance of almost a full year since then, have your feelings towards them changed at all?
ERIK: Dawn couldn’t win because of what she did. It was a good strategic move, but she was really good friends with Brenda and Brenda took care of her and I took care of her for a while as well. And Dawn took care of me and Brenda as well. We all kind of covered for each other. And that was a very personal thing I said, that she didn’t deserve money for what she did to Brenda. I was pretty upset over that then. I forgive her now but she made her choice so I just said, “You’re not going to win because you did this.” Dawn’s great though and I have no problem with Dawn now. As for Sherri, Sherri kind of went both ways for me, and at Tribal Council I got horribly edited where Sherri told me to sit down at the end. I actually didn’t sit down. I said I have to talk to Cochran as well.
EW: What was your question for Cochran?
ERIK: My question to Cochran was basically, “You smell horrible! Are you going to take a bath?” It was kind of a fluff question but I still had a question for Cochran so when Sherri told me to sit down I did not sit down. But I wanted Sherri to know that nobody thought she did anything strategic. The shell on the beach comment was a pretty harsh comment, but she needed to know that she didn’t really do anything. She hung on to Phillip as long as she could and then just kind of went from player to player. I wanted her to know that her strategy was not what she thought it was.
EW: So the reunion last night was supposed to be the culmination and celebration of the journey that you all took together, but you didn’t get to speak and anyone voted out before the jury didn’t even get to sit on stage. What was the mood after that reunion? I’m guessing some people were pretty upset.
ERIK: Tons of people were upset. After a while it became a farce. We had to do mic checks and things and Jeff Probst was making sure everybody’s mics worked and the people in the audience were like, “We’re not even going to get to talk. This is so disrespectful.” And Allie, one of the first boots off for the Fans tribe — even though she was one of the first people off, on other reunion shows people that are off early still get to talk and give us an update as to what they’re doing. And Allie was like, “Listen, I got a dress. I invited family members. You have to be kidding me that I’m not even on the stage.” It’s just nuts! You could tell that other people were preferred to talk. And its just ridiculous to me. Seeing Boston Rob there confirmed to me that Boston Rob, who wasn’t on this season, got more air time than I did! Boston Rob was mentioned almost every episode by Phillip. He got to walk up on the stage. That’s just nuts! To me, Survivor is about 20 people who go on an adventure together. And everybody has an equal shot, but circumstances play parts. And that was just insane what we saw last night.
EW: A little girl with braces got more air time than you did last night.
ERIK: Yeah, and not to disregard the little girl with braces. She was adorable. But the point of the reunion is to find out what happened and what people think now and get all the loose ends from all the people there and see what happens.
EW: You’ve done it twice before and I know you have a bit of a bad taste in your mouth now, but would do play Survivor again if they asked you?
ERIK: I would play again, but I don’t think I will be asked to play again. After seeing the shaping of characters that’s going on, I think someone in the editing room hates me. But I would love to play again, because there was no resolution for me. It was, you had a good strategy but this random luck kind of turned and you didn’t get to see if you would make it. So there’s always going to be that.
Check out an exclusive deleted scene from last night Survivor finale below. Also make sure to read Dalton’s full finale/reunion recap, as well as his interview with winner John Cochran, and chat with Dawn Meehan about Toothgate. And for more Survivor scoop all year round, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.