Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Malcolm Freberg. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
Normally when you go on “Survivor” you’re concerned with how well you’ll sleep, how well you’ll perform, and how you’ll deal with the lack of food. This season, those worries were doubled because players had them for both themselves and their loved one.
It was worse for returning players who also had to worry that their newbie loved ones might perform better than they do.
I had a chance to speak with Laura Boneham and John Cody, who both bested their more experienced counterparts, and asked them about the fateful Day One vote, the fairness of the final Redemption Island challenge, and whether or not it’s ever wise to tease Candice…
Gordon Holmes: I thought it was a little ironic that you guys left the game together, when on Day One your loved ones went to Redemption Island together. What was it like to see your spouses put at such a disadvantage so early in the game?
Laura Boneham: It was a terrible way to start the game. We’d gone through so much to get there and in the first five minutes to have me be the first one voted out, then to switch it up and have Rupert out of the game? It was crazy.
John Cody: For me seeing Candice get voted out and go to Redemption Island was the single hardest thing I did my time out there. It was the hardest for me to deal with. I felt so badly for her. I wanted nothing more than for that situation not to happen. Aside from seeing my wife leave the game, that’s not what I had planned. I became the one odd person out on my tribe. I was the center of attention five minutes into the game. I wanted to fly under the radar.
Holmes: Laura, before the game started you and I discussed how during “Heroes vs. Villains” some of the challenges were unfair because Rupert had to stay on a platform with only small footholds to keep him up. Here we are at the most important challenge up to this point in the game and there are those small footholds.
Boneham: I think the Redemption and all that is an interesting part of the game, but to get back into a game with a challenge that is completely unequal…John and I both had big shoes and here’s Laura with her teeny size-six feet. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. And those footholds were smaller than they appeared on television.
Cody: I totally agree. The wind came out of my sails when I walked into the arena. Going into the game, Candice and I talked about the one challenge that I knew I had no chance of winning…and it was that challenge. When I finally met up with Candice, I said, “What’s the one challenge that I have no chance of winning.” And she said, “The pole.”
Holmes: If you lose a team immunity challenge or an individual immunity challenge, you still have wiggle room before Tribal to save yourself. Redemption Island is literally “do or die.” Is Redemption Island the most stressful thing you can be involved with?
Cody: I really loved that aspect of Redemption Island. It was fun for me to get psyched up and do well. I do agree that when you have individual immunity challenges, and they’re not fair, and you lose, that’s no guarantee that you’re going to go home. But at Redemption Island, if that’s not fair across the board, I can’t go back and talk to my alliance. You finish first or you’re done. So, in a way it was very stressful. But at least it wasn’t a challenge I should have won and then choked on.
Boneham: Redemption for me was stressful. I wanted to get back into the game so badly. The hardest part for me though, was Tribal Council. I thought I was on the chopping block. Jeff would put me on the spot and say, “Do you belong?”
Holmes: He’s so mean.
Boneham: He’d give me a hard time. Redemption, it was hard because everyone was watching, but it’s an OK way to go out. You have another chance.
Holmes: This was Candice’s third season, it was Rupert’s fourth; what was it like to finally get in there and see what they’ve been yapping about all these years?
Boneham: Everyone who plays the game wants to do it again. It’s a great adventure. It’s life-changing. I didn’t get my dream to play with my husband, but I went a lot farther than I thought I ever would.
Cody: It was very fun for me to go out there and experience this with Candice. She goes out there and competes, then comes back to her normal life. “Survivor” is one thing she does, it hasn’t taken a huge toll on our lives, but it’s there. When we first got together I was watching her on “Cook Islands,” we had to push our wedding back a year for “Heroes vs. Villains.” It was nice to finally understand everything she’s gone through. It was unbelievable. It wasn’t everything I wanted it to be, I thought I’d be explaining my case to a jury, but it was a phenomenal experience.
Holmes: How much trash did you talk to Candice once you were able to point out that you lasted longer than she did?
Cody: (Laughs) Candice played 72 days, and I’ve only done 19, so she has a pretty solid track record. There wasn’t much needling once I made it to Ponderosa. I think we both did what we could with the hand we were dealt.
Holmes: You’re a better man than I am.
Cody: (Laughs) Candice isn’t one of those people you needle just for the sake of needling. And to be fair, I’m not either.
Holmes: Laura, did you ever feel comfortable at Galang?
Boneham: I did. They didn’t show, but I thought I was in an alliance with the guys and Tina. We’d go to the duels at Redemption and I’d look over at Gervase, Tyson, and Aras, and be like, “Is everything cool?” They’d be like thumbs up. They’d check in with me. I thought there was a strong Galang five alliance. But I thought I was more a part of the tribe than they were showing in editing.
Holmes: Now that we’re watching it on TV, it’s clear Tina and Katie had an alliance with Aras and Vytas. Was there any clue that that was going on at the time?
Boneham: No, I knew Tina was playing pretty hard. I know that the winners were targeted so they bonded together. But, she didn’t let on at all that Vytas was a part of it.
Holmes: People tend to leave the game having learned something about themselves. What did you learn?
Boneham: I learned that I can push myself to the limit. I can go without food and still compete in challenges. I put myself out there socially. I defied the odds staying on that tribe as long as I did. I felt good about that.
Cody: I think I gained an appreciation for how important perception is. I always knew it was important, but it’s really everything. How much of a threat people perceive you to be. How trustworthy people perceive you to be. It’s not about whether you think you’ve done enough to show you’re trustworthy.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes