Spencer Bledsoe may not have walked away from Survivor: Cagayan with $1 million, but instead he got something priceless during Wednesday's live reunion show: a personal letter from Jeff Probst, who told TVGuide.com ahead of the finale that he's "never been more wrong about a player than Spencer."
But Spencer hasn't been able to bring himself to open the letter yet. "I feel weird about opening it," he tells TVGuide.com. "I feel like once I open it, I've crossed some barrier and can't go back. I will. I'm waiting until I'm really depressed."
Though he was universally acknowledged as the biggest threat among the final four (and was the landslide victor of TVGuide.com poll), Spencer says that if the final two had come down to him and Tony, he would have voted for Tony. Read our full Q&A to find out why, as well as his thoughts on why the Brains tribe just couldn't get it together.
As a fan of the game, what are your thoughts on Woo's decision to bring Tony with him to the final two?
Spencer: It's a tough decision. I know that Woo was in a position where, based on how he wanted to play the game and how he saw himself, he had big, big hang-ups about betraying Tony. And although I thought he made the wrong decision as a player, I thought his struggle with that spoke volumes about him as a person. It was tough to watch. I think we all felt pretty bad for Woo. I think Woo definitely got a lot out of the game, other than just playing it. And it means different things to different people. For me, it's really hard for me to be content with anything other than winning. But that said, it's an awesome experience. I don't think I'm in a position to judge and say Woo should be upset.
You made a pretty impassioned speech to the jury asking them to vote for Tony. What prompted you to do that?
Spencer: For me, if I'm not going to win, as a fan, I just felt like I wanted to see the right guy win and I wanted to see the best story possible. And I thought that meant Tony winning. So, I didn't have any problems with doing what I could, small or large, to guide the story in that direction.
A lot of people, myself included, were rooting for a Tony/Spencer final two. Who do you think would have won in that scenario?
Spencer: That's really tough. I think that's the one final two that would have actually been pretty tight with me. I think [going up against] Woo and Kass would have been easier. But I do think I would have had a good chance against Tony. I think it probably would have been a closer vote than you saw [Wednesday]. If I'm on the jury, and I'm voting for me or Tony, I'm probably going to vote for Tony. I think he played the better game. But with the jury we were dealing with, I think I would have had a pretty good shot. Even if they respected Tony's game more, I think they were looking for some kind of balance between "I respect your game" and "I can give you a million dollars and feel good about myself." They were really kind of settling, I think, with Tony. There definitely was some animosity and some hard feelings, but they respected his game and said, I'm happy to give it to you.
When you were trying to convince Tony to keep you in the final three, did you actually think your argument would work, or was it just kind of a last-ditch effort to stay in the game?
Spencer: It was a little bit of both, but I did think it had a shot to work. Although it was my last-ditch effort and the only real thing I could think to argue, I thought it made sense. From my perspective, I thought, Woo's definitely going to take Kass. Kass is definitely going to take Woo. Tony would arguably have better odds taking me and having me as a human shield next time. And obviously what I didn't see coming, and maybe Tony did, was that Woo took Tony to the end. So, I was very wrong about what was going to happen. I was kind of assuming that people would think and play like me, and that wasn't the case.
How did you feel when Jeff handed you that letter?
Spencer: It was awesome. As a fan and a player and a guy just who knows Probst and likes Probst, it was really cool, and definitely a highlight of my Survivor experience.
Coming from the Brains tribe, are you surprised you made it as far as you did?
Spencer: It's crazy that Tasha and Kass and I were in the final six when, after four episodes in, it's just us on our tribe. I was so surprised that it worked out that way. I would have conversations with Tasha after the game and during the game, like, think about where we are now. If you just knew that and didn't know where we started, you would think, okay, they were on a pretty good tribe. They had a good alliance. They stuck together. It was just such a roller coaster ride. It was changing all the time. So unpredictable. I was definitely grateful to be around at final four.
What was the issue with the Brains tribe, anyway?
Spencer: I would say that there were a lot of big personalities on that tribe. Not too many followers, and a lot of people who had their own ideas. And I would also say, a lot of people who are used to kind of planning and doing things in theory, and not really getting in, getting dirty and doing them in practice. I think we had a lot of people saying, "OK, we could do this for the shelter, we could do that," but not a lot of people getting out the hammer and hammering it.
Let's talk about that challenge. Kass' come-from-behind victory was pretty unbelievable, and a big game-changer for you.
Spencer: A huge crusher, obviously. And going through it, there was a point where I thought I was putting [the puzzle] together correctly and I was in the lead and I was feeling good. And then I hit this wall where I really got stuck with a few pieces left and couldn't figure out what to do. Obviously, a ton of panic as Kass caught up, and a very, very low point after she won. But I have to hand it to her. She's good at puzzles, and better than me.
Looking back on the game, would you have done anything differently?
Spencer: There's definitely a lot of things I could have done differently. Let's see. I would be a little smarter about who I aligned with. I think that could have helped me out in the beginning I would have just thrown caution to the wind a little bit and had conversations with people. WhenGarrett made his open, public forum thing, I would definitely tried to have conversations with people and figured out what was going on with Tasha. I think I could have acted differently with sharing my idol with my alliance or with Jefra. And I think I could have focused more on the short term and not just the long term. I like to kind of plan my entire game very prematurely. At the merge, I had this huge massive plan. I was like, "OK, this is my path to the final five." And it was just way, way too premature. I didn't have enough focus on what was right in front of me. And then you see, the rug is swept from under me because Kass flips. So I think, more focus on just securing that everybody is with me, and reading people, and detecting when Kass is feeling left out. Because as much as I can blame her and say, "She made this bad move, it's her fault," I'm going to look at the ways in which it's my fault. And I think it's my fault that I didn't pick up on that.
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