In the past two weeks, the most strategic players on Season 29 of Survivor — Josh Canfieldand Jeremy Collins — have gotten voted out back-to-back. And, while it's true there's no "correct" way to play Survivor, there are few things more frustrating for longtime fans than watching erratic moves trump calculated ones.
But that's exactly what has played out on Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water in recent episodes, with Jon Misch and his girlfriend, Jaclyn Schultz, improbably steering the ship. The only problem is, they seem to be sailing without a compass.
"Jon's just crazy. He's not making great decisions in this game. It's so random," Collins tells TVGuide.com. "There's an argument to be made: Is it harder to play with a great cast of strategists, or people that think they're really good and they just make dumb strategic moves? I think it's just as hard [as playing] against someone that's making really good strategic moves. There's no reasoning at all."
Of course, part of Collins' bitterness probably stems from the fact that he and his allyNatalie Anderson gave up their food rewards to Jon and Jaclyn in order to ensure their loyalty — only to have Jon and Jaclyn return and use the extra weight in their bellies to stomp all over their partnership.
So, does Jeremy regret his decision to give up the food reward? And just how bad was it being on Exile Island for two days? Read our Q&A to find out:
TVGuide.com: If you had it to do over, would you still have given up the reward?
Jeremy: I would. I still would give it up. I was trying to make Jaclyn and Jon feel like they're not the bottom of our alliance, and I wanted them to feel comfortable. ... I take notes on Survivor, so I know that you don't give up a reward. But I still think that was a pretty good move.
Had you and Natalie strategized to both give up your rewards if you won, or was that a spur-of-the-moment decision?
Jeremy: Nat and I talked about everything. That was my loved one when Val was gone, so we talked about everything.
So, what was your immediate reaction when you were voted out?
Jeremy: I was shocked. I was in a haze walking around. I thought Nat turned her back on me. That was the first thing I thought, because I didn't think they had the numbers. I felt really solid in my alliance, and I knew no one wanted to go with me to the end. But I felt solid with my alliance. I said, "They can't do anything without Nat and without Missy." I knew I had Nat. And I knew I had Missy — but if I didn't have Missy enough; Nat had Missy. So I thought we were fine.
What was your reaction when you found out it was Missy? Natalie was clearly pretty stunned.
Jeremy: It's whatever. Missy jumped ship with Jon. That's not a big deal. But for Reed to jump on the boat with them doesn't make any sense, because Reed is a single now. Reed is sitting there with Jon talking about, "We have to take out Jeremy because he's a single." Now, you're a single. And you decide, I'm going to take out a single? It's just bad move after bad move.
How is it that Jon and Jaclyn have become the sort of power players in the game?
Jeremy: It's not really power players. They're just swing votes. And if you really look at it, it was Baylor that was the swing vote with Josh at the beginning, but Missy shut that down right away and said, "Baylor, we're not doing it." So then Josh said, "Oh, let me go to Jon and Jaclyn to try to do this." And I just don't see the logic in Jon leaving his main alliance with Hunahpu and jumping ship to go with a bunch of guys that didn't talk to your girlfriend when she was there. And now you want to go with them? ... None of it makes sense, at all.
Did you agree with Missy, Baylor and Jaclyn that the guys were being rude around camp?
Jeremy: It wasn't even the farting and the burping that was going on. It was just the talk. You don't talk about girls back home in front of ladies. You don't want to do anything to put a target on you in Survivor. And when you're talking like this, women don't like that. It's just bad form. It's not attractive. It's just not a good move in life. So why would you do it on Survivor?
When we spoke with Val, she said it was Exile Island that led to her elimination, and obviously it did a number on you too.
Jeremy: Exile's a tough place to be, especially for two days. The first time I went to Exile Island with John Rocker, it was one day. You feel a little down, a little burnt out, but it wasn't that bad. But to be there by yourself for two days, and there was a lot less rice, you've got to travel so far to get the wood to keep the fire going, it took a lot out of me. But it's not like the challenge was really physical. ... I don't know. I think Jon was paranoid when I came back and he was like, "We've got to get rid of Jeremy."
Why didn't you press harder in trying to get Jon to admit he had an idol?
Jeremy: I don't know. I could have gone so many different ways, but that wasn't a good move for me to try to take out Jon at that point. I knew he had the idol. I don't know what more I could have done. ... I tried to talk to Wes and Keith, thinking I can get a firefighter thing going. I tried to talk to Alec, thinking I can get a singles thing going. Those guys were done. They weren't coming over to my side. So I wasn't going to step in that direction. And with Jon, I needed Jon because I need a bigger threat than me in my alliance. So, the next move for me would be to take out Jaclyn. Because I need Jon to stay in the game.
It'll be interesting to see how Julie quitting affects the rest of the game. Do you think her leaving bought you a couple of extra weeks? It looked like you were going to get voted out the week she left.
Jeremy: That did buy me some extra time. But then again, I should have been gone after the tribe swap. Before tribe swap, I'm on top of the world. I have every alliance on Hunahpu. Then the tribe swap happens. I go to Reed and I said, "Reed, we'll keep Josh. Which one of the other guys do you want to get rid of?" He says, "I just want to get to know these guys." So right off the bat I said, oh, we lost Reed. Here we go. Now we've got problems, and they're coming right after me. I know it. So I should have been gone then, when Kelley left. Then I should have been gone when Dale left. Julie quit; I should have been gone then. I beat Josh; I should have been gone then. I would have had to just keep winning. And I don't know. I'm not even good at these challenges. I'm terrible at these challenges. I'm good at the memorization thing, because you can practice that at home. These [physical challenges] you can't practice at home. I'm not even good at it. I think people look at me like, uh oh. Keith said it. He said, "If we don't get him, he's going to come after each and every one of us." Like, come on, man. It's only one person. I don't even have my loved one. How am I going to go after everyone? Why are you coming after me? Because I have some abs? Come on. Leave me alone.
Going back to Val's elimination, what did you think of her decision to lie and say that she had two idols?
Jeremy: The two idol thing, I think that was too much. But what she was trying to do is, she's thinking — and this is how I would think it — that they're after me, and my only ally is Jaclyn. ... So she said, I'm going to protect both of us. The only thing is, Val's a cop. She doesn't really trust a lot of people. And when John Rocker is coming to her and saying, "I'll work with you, I talked to Jeremy," I think that was her time to say, "Listen, John, I don't have an idol." I don't think he would have given it to her, but if he did something to figure it out ... we had a cross-tribe alliance. ... I see where he was trying to do that, but I don't know. He just didn't do it great. You've got to lie. He didn't lie. He told everybody the truth. He's a good guy, though. I like John.
What do you think? Are Jon and Jaclyn playing by the seat of their collective pants, or is there a strategy behind all of this? And was it a bad move for Jeremy to give up his reward? Sound off in the comments!
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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