Quick Note: Be sure to come back throughout the week for interviews with the rest of the final seven. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.
A lot has changed in “Survivor” over the years. Exile Islands have given way to Redemption Islands, hidden immunity idols have given way to barely-hidden idols, and Medallions of Power have cruelly been left in the Nicaraguan wilderness.
But, it’s good to know that one thing that was true in the first season of “Survivor” is still true today; Gervase Peterson will always hate eating live grubs.
I had a chance to talk to the ‘O.G.’ Survivor the morning after the “Blood vs. Water” finale and asked him about his seemingly unstable alliance with Monica, his feud with Hayden, and what his original “Survivor” pals think of his second outing…
Gordon Holmes: You were there in person for the iconic Sue Hawk final Tribal Council dress down. Were you disappointed that you didn’t get chewed up like that this season?
Gervase Peterson: I’m disappointed that I didn’t chew into someone like that. (Laughs) I’m glad it wasn’t that ugly of a Tribal Council. I think everyone got their point across. They were well-made points. You don’t have to be mean and nasty all the time.
Holmes: Was there anyone you were worried would’ve reached those levels?
Peterson: I don’t think me, Monica, or Tyson deserved that. We played a great game. That’s just bitterness. Even Vytas, his speech was borderline, kind of going there, especially with me. But I laughed at Vytas saying I coasted through the game. I’m like, “Vytas, you were doing the same thing with Brad. You had Brad in front of you as your shield.” That’s a smart way to play the game. But for some reason with Vytas on the jury it wasn’t the best idea.
Holmes: It seems like you were branded a bit of a “coattail rider” by the jury. What was happening that the jury didn’t see?
Peterson: I guess it’s hard for people to believe that every decision we made, we talked about. I’d tell him my opinion, then he’d tell me his and we’d work it out. If I said, “Nah, Tyson, I don’t think that’s a good move.” He’d be like, “OK, cool, let’s not do it.” Everything we did was mutual. Half the ideas were me, half were Tyson. It was my idea that after he played the first idol, “Let’s tell everybody we found the idol back on Galang beach so they won’t want to vote for you, they’ll vote for me.” And it worked, they threw two votes for me, we threw three votes on Hayden. It worked.
Holmes: You were involved in some heated Tribal Councils, especially with Hayden, were there any worries that you were going to rub some jurors the wrong way?
Peterson: The only person I should have pissed off is Hayden. I’m only arguing with Hayden. But, that’s taking things personally. That was a controlled, planned-out event that I wanted to happen. I knew Tyson was well-liked. The only way for me to beat Tyson was for him to be more hated than me. If I argued with Hayden, he’s going to tell people that Tyson is the man making all the moves, pulling all the strings. That’s going to make Tyson defend himself, because he’s only going to take it for so long. And it worked because when Katie was voted out he said, “Good job, and that’s your seat over there.” And everyone was pissed off about that because they thought it was uncalled for and dirty. I was like, “Yes! It worked!”
Holmes: I talked to Monica earlier, and she said that she was with the Bandits the whole way. Did you guys intentional give her leeway to go out and plot with the other factions?
Peterson: We had an original Galang five which was me, Tyson, Monica, Aras, and Tina. When Jeff did the tribe switch, I looked at Monica and said, “Stick with the plan.” Which to her meant, keep Galang together until we can get back together at the merge. So when the merge happened, Monica wasn’t in with us anymore because we’d made a deal with Hayden and Caleb. But we saw how people were treating Monica, nobody was showing her any love, and she’d come back and tell us everything that was going on. So, we were like, this is perfect, nobody knew Monica was with us and people keep dissing her all the time. She was with us that whole time.
Holmes: I spoke to all of you guys before the game and Aras said that nobody knew that you two were really good friends. You orchestrated his elimination. Is there any bad blood there or were you two able to patch things up?
Peterson: We patched it up. Aras has never been voted out of the game before, so to get voted out hurts. To get voted out by your best bud? Hurts even more. It was like a I took a grenade, it took out Aras, but the shrapnel took out Vytas, Tina, and Katie. So, I knew I lost four jury votes right there. That night we came back to the beach after getting rid of Aras, and Tina lost it? She was cursing out Tyson and Monica, she didn’t say anything to me. But Tina didn’t know. She thought I was still with her. But the next day someone told her and she said, “You will never get my vote.” I was like, “Oh my God! I lost another vote!” But I felt like Aras only cared about Vytas, so I needed to get rid of him before he got rid of me. He’d even admitted it. So, how can you be mad at me?
Holmes: I was there for that first immunity challenge, that was kind of a disaster for you. A few of the Tadhana members referenced your trash talk when they voted out Marissa. What was the conversation like when you and her finally had a chance to talk about what happened?
Peterson: It was good. Marissa understood that it had nothing to do with me. Day one on the beach when Laura B. got voted out, Marissa had three votes. It was Laura B., Ciera, and Katie. Right there she was a target. And when Brad said if he won a tarp he’d give it to his wife, I was like, “Marissa…don’t say anything.” And she’s like, “You’d better not do that if you’re on my team!” So, she put a target on her back early. I think Brad felt like he had to get rid of her.
Holmes: Speaking of Brad, what’s it like to hear a former NFL player say, “I’m going to bodyslam the (expletive deleted) out of Gervase”?
Peterson: (Laughs) That was awesome. But the funny thing is, that challenge was best out of three. I won the first round. I knocked Brad in in like five seconds. And as I did it I said, “E-A-G-L-E-S! EAGLES!” He won the next two. But, if they’d shown me winning that round everyone would have went bananas.
Holmes: You’ve got to stay on Probst’s good side, because he can probably get you that footage.
Peterson: Yeah! That would be pretty awesome.
Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Monica.
Holmes: Laura M.?
Peterson: Disconnected. Meaning that we never talked strategy when we were in Galang.
Peterson: Mr. No-show.
Peterson: Who? Was she in the game? Wallflower.
Peterson: Good old country boy.
Peterson: Mr. Football.
Peterson: My left-hand man.
Holmes: And Marissa…
Peterson: That’s my salty niece. (Laughs)
Holmes: Have you gotten any feedback from any of the members of the original “Survivor” cast?
Peterson: Yeah, they loved it. Ramona loved it, everyone loved this season. They said it was pretty cool. Joel said to tell Jeff that he wants to play. They all want to get that phone call.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes