Reed Kelly, a self-proclaimed Survivor superfan, finally saw a longtime dream come true this year when he was cast on the show — and dashed in Wednesday's episode, during which he was eliminated. But he says San Juan del Sur has been a frustrating season in which to participate.
"It's interesting," Kelly told TVGuide.com. "I knew going in that every season is different and every season has its own rules that you play by, created by the players. But, going through it, because it was a blood vs. water season, I think you had people in the game that aren't necessarily students of the game, I should say. So it did make things a little more complicated. It actually made for a lot more wild cards, because people didn't respond in the typical ways that somebody who watches the show would. So it made things a little more unpredictable."
Read our full Q&A with Reed to find out what was going through his mind when Keith made his gaffe, what we didn't see about his confrontation with Baylor, and why there was a silver lining to him getting eliminated when he did.
TVGuide.com: Before we talk about this week, let's go back to last week. Wes said you had warned Keith ahead of Tribal Council not to panic when you started going after him.
Yeah, absolutely. I pulled Keith and Wes aside and I said, 'You guys, we can do this. We can take out Jon. It's going to be great. I just need you guys to focus and stick with the plan. ... Don't panic. This will all go off without a hitch. We'll be fine.' And, apparently I'm too good of an actor, because I threw the focus on them and poor Keith got freaked out, and 'Stick to the plan' happened.
What was your immediate reaction when he said that?
I don't even know if I was necessarily surprised, because playing with Keith is such a wild card anyway. You never know exactly what he's going to do. ... I had so many plates spinning in order to make that vote happen. I kind of just wanted to step outside and light myself on fire in that moment. But, you know, amazingly enough, everyone still voted the way I wanted them to, which is the frustrating part. ... Natalie had a little bit of an idea that this was coming because Wes kind of offhandedly mentioned this before we went to Tribal, right before we left. So, she was kind of on the fence about whether or not she was actually going to vote with us. And at the last minute, once all that stuff went down with Keith saying that, she panicked and that's why she told Jon to play his idol. So, yeah, you can really take it back to that moment. The best-laid plans, I guess.
Do you have any regrets about how you played the game?
I wouldn't say regrets, because I can't adopt an attitude of regret at this point. Would there have been things I would have done differently? Sure. But you kind of have to make do with the hand you're dealt. It was hard, because at times I felt like playing with Keith and Wes and Alec, they were kind of unpredictable ... so that was definitely very challenging. But no regrets.
You seemed to feel bad immediately after calling Baylor a brat.
It was not my finest moment. My mother raised me better than that. However,Baylor had kind of been ragging on me through that whole challenge. And when you're out there with these people for, I think it was 26 days at that point, it takes its toll. You're hungry, you're exhausted, you're not sleeping. So, it was one of those momentary lapses in judgment where, as soon as the words came out of my mouth I was like, "Uugh, Reed, really?" Because I knew that I had not only attacked Baylor, but I had also in turn attacked Missy and her parenting style, and her cub. And so, that's when she came out. It happened and it is what it is. But yeah, I was mostly just disappointed that I let a 20-year-old get a rise out of me.
What kind of stuff was she saying to you during the challenge?
I don't want to get into it, because it's over and it's in the past. But it was just one of those things. An example would be, I extended an olive branch when we got back to camp, after they got back from their reward. I said, "You know, it wasn't my finest moment. I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to attack you. It just kind of came out." Baylor looked at me and was like, "Reed, you need to learn to tame your tongue." And it was just one of those moments where I'm like, I'm speaking to a 20-year-old right now. I need to remember that. It's just age and stage. My granny always said, you can't put an old hat on young children. I just hope it didn't look like, Reed just randomly snapped on Baylor.
Then you had that conversation with Jon where he winked at you and it seemed like he might be wavering. Where did that plan go wrong?
I had to sneak away and get to Jon and Jaclyn. I actually had to sneak around in the bushes and come around the side, because they were being guarded so heavily at that point by Natalie and Missy. They didn't want me to have any interaction with them, because they wanted to completely control this couple. And you have to give them credit because they're good at that, controlling Jon and Jaclyn. I think Jaclyn understood the logic behind going with the plan that I presented. Jon wasn't really listening, but there was a moment where I felt like, you know what, he may be willing to work with me right now. And then obviously Natalie walked up, and I think he was trying to save face. But once [Jon and Jaclyn's] fight happened that day, it shot my game. That was it.
The fight between them was frustrating to watch as a viewer. I can only imagine how frustrating it was to witness in person when your ability to stay in the game is on the line.
They weren't speaking until we went to Tribal. And there's only so much you can do at that point, when people literally aren't willing to talk. It was quite frustrating. I was like, 'I get you guys are having issues right now, but you're killing me in this game. Pull it together. We're on Survivor.' ... I was not happy with how the day went. Because I'm pretty scrappy. If you give me the opportunity to talk and to speak with people, I think I can present some pretty logical arguments and stuff. Just not being able to, for six hours, talk about any of the game, that was the most frustrating thing for me.
So you pretty much knew going into Tribal Council that you'd be sent to the jury?
I knew my fate was sealed. I was excited at that point, if I was going to go out of the game, then at least I'd be able to spend Josh's birthday with him the next day. But I was not happy to be going home.
Were you happy that you got to play with Josh, or would it have been easier to play the game by yourself?
It's interesting. Yes, I would have liked to have played by myself, of course, just being a fan of the show. However, it was such a blessing that Josh and I got do this together because we got picked individually, then we told them we were together. It all just felt very Hand of God. So that was amazing. And it's really cool to kind of go through this experience with someone else that will be able to understand once you leave the game. Josh and I still talk about this all the time, because there's just stuff that pops up on a daily basis that other people would not be able to comprehend because they just weren't in it. So, I love the fact that we got to play together.
However, when you're in challenges and you demolish the other tribe, you worry about them. And it's weird because I didn't think I would as much, but it's one of those things where, when they come in and they look beaten down and you don't know if they're eating ... when Josh came in, apparently he had poisonous sap in his eyes, and the whole tribe had been exposed to it, so they all looked terrible when they came in for the first challenge. And I was gutted, because I was like, "Oh my gosh, Josh won't look at me right now. He looks like he's been crying. What is happening?" It's weird because normally you're like, "Yes! We're demolishing that tribe! They look terrible!" It really does add a whole other level to the game that's a really complicating component.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS. Were you sad to see Reed leave?
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