'Survivor: Cagayan': Jeff Probst breaks down that 'exhilarating' Tribal Council

Jeff-Probst

Image Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of ‘Survivor: Cagayan.’

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, Jeff. I am not going to waste any time asking you about the merge. I am not going to ask you about the immunity challenge. I am not going to ask you about anything except for what went down at Tribal Council because that was INSANE! Let’s take this point-by-point and try to get your real time reaction to some of these crazy moves. Starting with CRAZY MOVE #1: Tony reveals he has a hidden immunity idol. So basically, instead of stealthily using his idol to block already cast votes against him, Tony reveals it early and allows the competition to come up with a plan B. Why do that? And are you sitting there at Tribal Council at this point thinking to yourself, wow, this guy just blew it?
JEFF PROBST: Hmmm did I think Tony was blowing it? It’s a good question but honestly it’s so hard to evaluate anything Tony does because you never know where it’s going to lead. My Monday morning quarterback assessment is that Tony sometimes reacts faster than he realizes and he gets himself into a situation that he might regret… And then he makes another decision to fix the one he just made. Yes, I was surprised that he would reveal an idol, but…Tony is clearly a guy who is playing to win this game. So he is going to make big moves. If Tony is going to go down he is going to go down in a giant ball of fire.  So I guess my answer is no, I don’t think he blew it. I think he had a strategy to try and scare people off of voting for him, never anticipating he’d then give his idol to someone else… L.J.  t’s a big time move and it worked. He read the situation correctly and you know how much I love that kind of game play.

EW: Okay, CRAZY MOVE #2: Tony gives his idol to LJ…and then LJ gives his idol to Tony! We’ve seen people (Parvati, Malcolm) hand out 2 idols before, but never two folks swap idols like that. Was your head-spinning at this point trying to figure out what the hell was going on? And did LJ giving his to Tony seem like a wasted idol to you in that it looked pretty clear that the others had already moved their votes off of Tony at that point?
PROBST: You asked for moment by moment, the truth is that in the moment my head doesn’t spin because I’m right there in it with them. I’m tracking story and making sure I stay on top of all the possible outcomes.  But when I watch the cut months later, yes my head spins — just like with the audience!!  In this case, initially I did think the L.J. move was a bad move. I understood his temptation but I think I would have held onto my idol and if Tony got voted out, well that’s how it goes, I still have an idol. As to why he did it, I think — and I do not know this, it’s just my opinion — that L.J. wanted to bond with Tony and let him know that if you have my back, I will have yours. I will show you how loyal I am by giving up something as valuable as you did. If it works and bonds him to Tony and they become a powerful duo then it was money well spent. If either of them find themselves in trouble next week then there may be some regret.

EW: Then we get to CRAZY MOVE #3: Kass flips on Aparri to vote out Sarah. What’s your take here, Jeff? This one seemed so bizarre to me because I thought Kass looked really stable in that alliance with Spencer and Tasha and not your typical person-on-the-bottom-of-one-alliance-flipping-to-another. Was there a strategic gain to this move that I am missing out on or was this purely personal?
PROBST: This is probably the toughest question for me to answer because I honestly don’t know. I remember saying at the beginning of the season that my big question with Kass was she didn’t appear certain who she was going to “be” on the show.  I think my hunch was right — Kass doesn’t have a locked in approach to the game. She plays very much “in the moment” as we saw in this Tribal. But…that doesn’t mean that I don’t think Kass is a good player. I think she is a very good player. Just like Tony, she doesn’t like to be told what to do and you better never think you can predict what she is going to do. She’s a wildcard. Wildcards can be blindsided as easily as they blindside.  Wildcards can also win the game.

EW: We may have seen crazier things happen at Tribal Council before, but I’m not sure if we’ve ever seen THIS MANY crazy things happen at one Tribal Council. Where does this one rank for you, sir and were you all just high-fiving for three hours after this was over or what?
PROBST: Oh, yes, this is definitely one of the most exhilarating Tribals in our history. The five part dynamic of an idol reveal, then played for someone else, then another idol revealed and played for someone else and then a flip that nobody saw coming was absolutely delicious! Yes, when it’s over, there is a sense of energy — but I have to be honest, it’s over very quickly and we are heading home to sleep and get up the next day to keep going.

EW: I know there has to be fallout from this one. Tease us up for next week!
PROBST: Well you just said it – the fallout is massive. This was a huge blindside that now has a lot of people wondering what does this mean for the game. But the tease is the “search for the idol” that plays out next week. You think Tribal was wild? This is nuts. We’re on a roll and it’s not letting up!!

Click on the video player below for an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, and make sure to read Dalton’s recap. Also, for ‘Survivor’ scoop sent directly to you, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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