On Survivor: Samoa, Mick Trimming was the official leader of the Foa Foa tribe but you wouldn't have known it from watching the show. Teammate Russell Hantz quickly took the reigns of the tribe, and the entire game, and made competing with him a near impossible task. Maybe Mick never had a shot at the million-dollar jackpot. But many fans wondered if the physically fit nice guy could have done more to take home the top prize and take down his tribe's top dog. So why did the 33-year-old doctor miss multiple chances to oust power player Russell and let his morality get in the way of his game play? Which jury member shocked him the most? And who does he think really should won the game? Mick talked with TVGuide.com about that and more.
TVGuide.com: What did it feel like to not only find out you didn't win but that you didn't get that many votes?
Mick Trimming: That hurt a little. [Laughs.]. The hardest thing for me was having my family sit up there and my friends watch it and be so excited for this and then not even get one vote, at least that was shown. That was kind of tough. For me, it's all right ... Everyone says, "Ah, you came in third place." And I'm like, "Hell, yeah I came in third place and I'm pretty excited about that." To be first or second would be nice but under the circumstances, we overcame so many odds to get to where we were. I'm in a happy place. I can't sit here and second-guess myself because I will; I'll do it all day.
TVGuide.com: Who surprised you the most on the jury during that final tribal council?
Mick: Shambo surprised me, I have to say. We were pretty tight, I helped her everyday. Every morning it was she and I that got the fire going and got the water for everybody, more so me in terms of the water ... I don't know if you saw a lot of that but that was an everyday thing that we did together. So for her to come and lash out, kind of surprised me. We kept in tight touch, in terms of what was going on and who was being voted off. We told each other exactly what it was even if it went against our own individual plans at times.
TVGuide.com: Do you know now why she said your game was "feckless" and that you weren't getting her vote?
Mick: I think a lot of this is sour grapes. This is human nature, people think, "Well, I should be up where you are. I'm better and I deserve what you're getting." A lot of it is that. I'm willing to take responsibility for a lot of things, of course.
TVGuide.com: Looking back, do you have any regrets about the alliances that you made or the alliances you didn't make?
Mick: I don't regret any of my alliances. I think initially I sought out people who were trustworthy and they saw that same quality in me and that's what eventually took us to the end. Part of me kind of wishes that maybe we could have put together a bigger move and gotten rid of Russell. But, like I said, you can second-guess and replay decisions in your mind so many times ... So no, I'm happy with most of the decisions that I made.
TVGuide.com: How far ahead of the final tribal council did you know what you were going to say to the jury? How did you decide what kind of argument to make?
Mick: We didn't get a lot of time to prepare and it was very much on the spot ... We had no idea what order it was going to be in or anything. What you see is what you get, in terms of the order and stuff it was a surprise. I had thought about [what to say] a couple days before that, in terms of their strengths, their weaknesses, how I can play off on that and what I had done individually with people to play on, etc.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think your morals played such a big role in your decision-making on the island? On a previous episode, you had a clear chance to get Russell out but you decided not to because of your morals.
Mick: I didn't want to go that route. My friends, my family and my colleagues are going to watch this and if I come home and get on the phone with my parents afterwards, they're going to go, "This isn't the kid we raised." I just felt compelled to stick to that and if that meant getting voted out, I was kind of OK with it. I didn't feel like — it's crazy to say, it's a million dollars — that [it was worth it]. Maybe if it had been $1.1 million, I would have been willing to kill somebody [laughs]. I don't know where my threshold is. It was a huge struggle because you give your word to somebody and in real life for me, that's the way it's going to be. To go away from that out there, it's really hard. You do form relationships with these people, you start to care about that them and care about how they are going to perceive them. You also have to be smart about it and think these people are going to vote for me, or not vote for me, on the jury.
TVGuide.com: What were your feelings leaving the last tribal council and after everyone had voted?
Mick: It was terrible. It was brutal. You're tired you're malnourished, you're hungry, you're thirsty ... Then, everyone gets up in front of you and points their finger at you, berates you and tells you what a lousy human being you are. So you walk away just brutally hurt. I walked away from it basically, knowing that I definitely didn't win. I thought Natalie had won after that.
TVGuide.com: If it couldn't have been you, did you want Natalie or Russell to win?
Mick: I think Russell played an amazing game. He was such a dominating force out there. But you've got to remember that you still have to make friends. You still have to realize that people are going to be voting for you. You have to treat them with a little bit of humility and he just didn't get that, he didn't understand that. It's weird, I think I'd rather have Natalie have the million bucks but in terms of winning Survivor, I think I would have voted for Russell.