Did Jon and Jaclyn throw the immunity challenge on Wednesday's episode of Survivor just so they could vote out Dale Wentworth, one week after they masterminded the elimination of his daughter, Kelley? That's Dale's theory.
"They had nothing to lose by throwing that challenge," Dale tells TVGuide.com. "For them to lose two challenges back to back was no skin off theirs, because it took two potential votes that didn't get along with them out of the game. ... I think they probably could have thrown it."
It would certainly be an underhanded move — but maybe a brilliant one, with the Merge looming next week. Read our full Q&A with Dale to find out he reacted to Kelley saying she regretted playing with him, and why he thinks Jeff Probst was "too nice" to the Hunahpu tribe about the rice.
TVGuide.com: It seems like your elimination last night didn't really come as a surprise.
Dale: I've had four months to accept it. Still, reliving it last night wasn't very fun.
How upset were you when Kelley was voted out the week before?
Dale: As soon as the tribes swapped, Kelley and I kind of agreed that the only question mark was whether she went first or I went first. I think they voted Kelley first because they thought she had more alliances back on the old tribe than I did. ... It just so happened that it was Father's Day. It was two bad weeks, because her birthday was one week, the sumo challenge, and then a week later was Father's Day. So, she got voted out on Father's Day, so that was pretty rough. I didn't sleep. There was a good 30 or 40 hours where I didn't sleep after she got voted out.
She said that if she had it to do over again, she wouldn't play with you. How did you feel about her comments?
Dale: It didn't hurt my feelings because I know how she meant it. ... She meant it within the game, not so much that she didn't want to be there with me. It was how, the way the game played out, [it was] playing with me [that] ended her game. And for that matter, I'll say the same thing. ... She brought three people in that she couldn't work with. I brought two people in that I couldn't' work with. The tribal swap was a nightmare.
Was the "blood vs. water" theme harder than you would have expected?
Dale: It is extremely hard. We knew that going in, because you look at some of the previous players who've been asked and they'll decline, because they say it's too hard. I should have taken their advice. (Laughs). But, until you've played the game, you don't realize how hard it really is to be individual, and then you add whether you're trying to protect your loved one or ... you have to deal with the alliance that they bring in in a tribe swap or a merge or something like that. So, that's another element.
Obviously you don't agree with their vote on a personal level, but strategically, do you think it was a bad move for Jon and Jaclyn to team up with Missy and Baylor?
Dale: Missy flopped. She was Drew's big ally and she flopped and voted him out. Baylor flopped, so they both had a track history, and we brought that up to Jon and Jaclyn. They both say one way they're going to vote, then they flop at the last minute. So, neither one of them can be trusted. ... You try and build those loyalties pre-Merge, and Missy and Baylor aren't building loyalties.
Baylor seemed to have it out for you from the start. Any idea why?
Dale: I don't know what issues she's got, but I tried to talk to Baylor the very first day. Within three or four hours of being on the beach, I went up and talked to Baylor and asked her basically if she wanted to be in an alliance. And she basically put a hand up and said, "Talk to the hand." She goes, "If I'm interested I'll come back and talk to you." And in 15 days, that's about the most words Baylor and I spoke. She just had absolutely no interest in even talking to me from Day 1. It's nothing I said or did.
And then you and Missy clashed over the rice.
Dale: They were asking how we had so much rice left, and I politely explained that the reason we have so much rice left is we've been using two scoops a day so we could last for 39 days. And I also made the point, in four or five days when the Merge happens, the two tribes join, and the only rice we have left is what's in that bag, because you guys don't have any. Even though there's only six people or seven people there at that time, in a matter of days, it's going to be 13 people eating out of that same bag of rice. So we have to portion it out. Because historically, they don't give you extra rice without an extreme penalty. And it was just, the same people who were the vultures on the other tribe came back and were vultures on my tribe.
Speaking of running out of rice, what did you think of Jeff's agreement with Hunahpu?
Dale: I think he was extremely nice. I would have made them go without food. Because there was a reward challenge coming up the next day with food. Going without food on Survivor for 24 hours isn't a bad deal. I would have traded places to get on that blue tribe and gone without food for three days, rather than trying to fight my alliances or lack of alliances on my tribe. ... It's easier to go without food than it is to fight those alliances that Kelley and I were [dealing] with.
It was a smart move on your part to try to fake them out with the fake idol. Did you think that would work?
Dale: It was literally a Hail Mary. It was just a trinket on the water well. I knew the first day it was just a trinket, and I put it in my pocket just for that reason. ... I didn't have any hopes of it panning out.
How heartbreaking was it for you guys to lose the challenge?
Dale: The only thing we didn't lose was our food and flint. Other than that, we lost everything that we were faced with. (Laughs) ... We had two people that bragged about how they could kill it on the puzzles and they couldn't do a puzzle to save their life. Or save my life, I guess. I still think there wasn't 100 percent effort put out by everybody, because they had nothing to win by winning that tribal challenge. Absolutely nothing. ... It would have meant that the numbers going into the Merge would not have been as good.
Any final thoughts about your time on Survivor?
Dale: It was almost like the island of misfit castaways, with all the Let's Make a Deals and stuff going on. There's been some bizarre twists in this season that even though I was there, I have a hard time believing, watching it again.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS. Do you think Jon and Jaclyn conspired to throw the challenge?
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)