Survivor host Jeff Probst weighs in on Edge of Extinction cliffhanger
Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the latest episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start at the very, very end. Our final words were not from Keith, but from Reem at the Edge of Extinction. She mentioned she had only had a few bites of coconut in three days and was maybe ready to quit if nobody showed up. Although there have been comparisons to Redemption Island because there is once again a chance to get back in the game, the conditions actually seem closer to the early days of Exile Island, when there was not even a shelter available to contestants. What exactly are contestants being provided at EOE, and how does it stack up to Exile and Redemption?
The only comparison to Redemption is that from a structure point of view someone will have a chance to get back in the game. From a living point of view, this is the most extreme situation we’ve ever created for the players. Part of the experience is for the audience to learn alongside the players. All Reem knows, and therefore all the audience knows, is what the Edge of Extinction sign says, which is in essence: “This is going to be extremely tough. Let us know if you’ve had enough and we’ll send a boat. Until then, good luck.”
So, for Reem, this means total uncertainty. She has very little information, no idea what, if anything, to look forward to and no way to anticipate. It’s a moment by moment existence. That is one of the biggest parts of the test. It becomes much easier to endure if you have some sort of timeline and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. But that is not the situation. Is there more to come? Most definitely. Do I want to give that away? Absolutely not!
Brilliant editing work by your team here as we see Aubry using the exact same language while talking to several different people about how they all remind her of herself, and that seems like it might come back to haunt her. Every cast of newbies reacts to returning players a little differently. How would you say this group in general approached the returnees, because they definitely seem more motivated to take a shot at the all-stars?
This group was definitely leery, and in cases like Joe, extremely wary of letting a returning player last very long in the game. It’s interesting to watch from the vantage point of having nothing at stake in the game. I look at Joe and think that for the short term my only choice is to keep him on my tribe so he can help me win. I don’t think about a switch or the merge because those events haven’t happened yet. I want to avoid Tribal Council. Then if we get to the merge, I reassess the situation.
What value does Joe offer now? Maybe he’s a shield, and if so, I have to rationally weigh the choice of keeping him to help me stay safe vs. leaving him in the game for so long that I can’t get him out when I want to. But immediately taking the point of view of “they’ve already played, this is our chance” is both short-sighted and emotional, which is not how I would hope to approach the game.
But this is why Survivor continues to fascinate. Human nature is powerful and that desire to get rid of threats or wanting to take out the popular person, is natural and not exclusive to Survivor. We see it in our daily lives. That’s a long-winded way of saying that David, Aubry, Wentworth and Joe have a mighty task ahead of them. And it also speaks to how competitive they are in life and Survivor. They knew they’d be a target and they still said yes.
I want you to put yourself in Chris’ position for this Tribal Council vote. On one hand, Keith is a clear liability in challenges, and they have yet to win one. On the other, Keith had promised 100 percent complete loyalty to him, which is perhaps the most valuable asset in this game. What do you do there if you’re Chris?
I vote out Keith. This is one of the mistakes that I think people make in the early day. They build an alliance with someone who has little value to anyone else in the tribe. Yes, you may gain an ally, but if your ally is a liability to the tribe, you’ve just taken on that liability. The only way it makes sense to me is if you can find a path that you think will keep your ally in the game, even if it’s as a scapegoat. If so, then it might be a risk worth taking. So long as you know it’s a calculated risk.
Last week you showed Reem’s decision to go to the Edge of Extinction, yet this week you left it as a cliffhanger as to whether Keith goes or not after being voted out. Are you going to toggle back and forth on that moving forward, or should we expect cliffhangers from here on out?
Ah, look at you wanting to know what Santa brought you before he even gets in his sleigh! We are obviously having fun with the editing, as you noted in your previous question and yes, that will continue. We are really enjoying being able to be more playful and the audience response is very encouraging. Our teams spend so many hours going over the best way to present the story. We want it to be entertaining, surprising and ultimately inevitable. That requires a lot of nuanced moments put in just the right place with exactly the right amount of information. It’s just as important what you don’t show as what you do show. So yes, continue to expect the unexpected!
We’ll get our answer as to Keith’s destination next week. What else can you tease about the next episode?
Oh, so much fun! One player reveals they’re a bigger schemer than some might have guessed. And E of E reveals a bit more. Nothing is gonna be easy.
Check out an exclusive deleted scene from the episode at the top of the post and also make sure to read our full recap. Plus, for more Survivor scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
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