Those Heroes served up another plate of suck at Tribal Council last night.
Jeff Probst's campfire regulars banished one of the most heroic competitors in Survivor history, who played the game with more integrity than most of his tribe combined.
In other words, not James...
Voting out Tom Westman may be the smartest strategic move for the Heroes who make it past the merge, but his loss makes his tribe weaker...and us very sad. But take heart: Tom's not going gently into that good night. Read on for the Survivor: Palau castaway's candid insight about his competitors' strategies and character.
Who did you bond with on the tribe?
I actually liked Sugar and was sorry to see her go—she's very entertaining, she's just a good person. It killed me to see Stephenie go. I still had Colby out there, but boy, we were lonely. It was a lot less fun that it was the last time for me.
Did you try to form a Survivor Winners alliance with J.T. at the beginning?
You know, that's one of the lines that I had to play. If I had a chance to meet any of the formal winners, I would have said the same thing to them. We've got to stick together because nobody's going to give somebody the money twice, unless they're voting against two or three [other winners]. You try to connect with people on a lot of different levels. People are doing what's best for them—nobody's out there to do what's best for you. So you appeal to them: "Hey J.T., you need another winner across from you." And you tell Colby, "Hey you need someone who is another winner across from you, because you'll get the money." You play that for both sides and then worry about it. If you get yourself to the final vote, then you can worry about spinning that story.
So what went wrong?
I think were up against an alliance that was based on previous relationships—these people know each other. They all float around the reality-TV wannabe world. Myself, Colby—we don't do that. Cirie either. We're not part of that scene, so you go out there and you're a target already. Amanda, James, J.T. also have friends on the Villains side, so they would never really play smart as a team trying to beat the other team. They were playing smart as an alliance trying to make it to the merge with their alliance intact, and then flip over and grab their stray friends who are over on the other beach. J.T.'s choice this week was to be in a foursome, and it was his choice between Amanda, James and Rupert or my alliance with Colby and Candice. He chose the other alliance because they have friends on the other tribe and ours does not. None of us are hooked up with Russell, Rob and Coach. Amanda's really tight with Parvati, and J.T.'s friends with Courtney—I think that's what influenced it last night. They knew James, physically, was a wreck, but it made sense to keep him just for the vote.
That was so great when you called them out.
It's really frustrating. Just say it—don't deny what's going on here. It just kinda seems lame even to the home viewer. Call it what it is.
The Heroes were branded as valuing honor and integrity, but viewers haven't seen much of that from the tribe. I've heard you say you play the game that way, but did you ever as a group say, OK, we're going to adhere to this code?
The only one who kept blabbering on about that was Rupert. "We're the Heroes, we have to be like this"—but everybody sees how he's playing. Driving Jerri's head into a pole was anything but heroic. But I also don't believe anyone owes anyone "heroic" game-playing out there. It's Survivor. Whatever you think will enhance your game is the style you should play. I play the game the way I do just because, No. 1, I don't want to be portrayed negatively and have to come home. Socially or professionally, I can't afford that and I won't do it. I also think that these people who play in a less than noble manner are playing really hard for second place...I used to feel that way about Boston Rob—I never saw anybody play the game so hard for second. I feel differently this time—I think he's playing a great game. I don't think anybody on his tribe would have a reason thus far to not see him as the most entitled player from either tribe. I'm really impressed with his game.
Who on your tribe is the most underrated?
If I would have played it differently, it would have been to align myself with Cirie from day one. I really like her. I had all these people warning me about Cirie, Cirie was getting warned about Tom, and it hurt both of us. We were the outsiders of that little click and we should have been together. It should have been us against them. I was just too suspicious of her, having played with those people in Micronesia, the logical thing to assume to me was that she was a part of them. When I finally go to her, it's when I need her, when Colby and I have lost Stephenie. And by then it was too late for her. It would still have been a great move on her part. Colby and I, Candice and Cirie, and we would have stayed loyal to them and never voted them out until Rupert, James and Amanda. But I just couldn't get it done, it was too late in her book, so that was my big regret of the game
What was your relationship with James and Rupert at camp?
James and Rupert were two guys I was thrilled to see get on the helicopter with me. [I thought], "I like both of these guys. They're both really capable kind of guys you want to play the game with." By maybe the end of the first night, I had enough with both. Rupert is the most self-unaware person. It's just like pull the string, and he just plays the role of Rupert from Survivor. It gets old with everybody. That's not the way you do it. [His] "you got do it my way" is usually the wrong way. He's the 800-pound gorilla in the room. I cant imagine anybody really deals with this guy in real life. On the game of Survivor, you just gotta let Rupert be Rupert. He's just annoying to be around.
James, [besides] how he acted in the game or treated Stephenie...When we sit there and you tell stories about who you are, people's characters come out, and I immediately was bamboozled that I bought this guy's act from previous seasons. As you just listen to him talk about himself, his life, his relationships, you get this guy is not a good guy. He's just one of those people who lacks character.
It's just not going to be the same without you.
I know, I feel the same way! This is a new experience. I can't wrap my mind around that it doesn't end with me!
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