Taylor Stocker threw a verbal grenade at Tribal Council on Wednesday's episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. The only problem was, rather than having the intended effect of blowing up Adam's game, it instead exploded in his face. After Taylor willingly admitted to stealing the tribe's food and burying it so that he would have a private stash of sustenance, him getting voted out was almost a foregone conclusion.
Taylor's off-screen life has also been the subject of scrutiny lately, after it was reported that he's expecting a child with his girlfriend, despite having a very open showmance with Jessica "Figgy" Figueroa.
TVGuide.com chatted with Taylor about impending fatherhood, whether he regrets his romance with Figgy, and what we didn't see go down at Tribal Council.
TVGuide.com: Some people have been critical of you for what they say is a lack of strategizing in the game. Do you think that's fair? Would you say you had a strategy?
I am the behind-the-scenes character. A lot of the things that I had done in the game were intentional, specifically not talking with people and [not being] a face of your alliance. So, in the [alliance] of Michelle, Jay, I and Fig, Fig was definitely the face of the alliance, and her name came up multiple times. I've gotten criticism on both sides - positive criticism being that I sneakily played the game very well and was behind the scenes, and then on the other side not playing at all. When I have to strategize, then I'll do that, but if I know that someone else will do that for me, then that's the best way. Because, then they're the one sticking their neck out, and they're gonna get it chopped off if they're too loud. So, me playing up the dumb snowboarder, I think it did further my game a lot. I think if I went in and was a puzzle wizard and came out that strong from the get-go, that would be a lot more threatening.
Speaking strictly in terms of gameplay, how difficult was it for you after Figgy got voted out? Did you notice a tangible shift in your position?
Taylor: In that moment, after she had left, it does mess with your mind. Even if you look at it [as] one of your alliance members. That's one of the people that you trusted out there that is gone, and that number is getting smaller by the day. Yeah, that's the type of stuff that messes with you to the point where you start considering quitting and doing those things. Not that I would ever do that. But I think for everyone, a thought runs through your mind and you get those doubts.
Going back to last night's Tribal Council, walk me through your thought process in terms of revealing that you stole the food. I realize that you decided to confess because Adam was going to tell everyone anyway, but when you were weighing that, did you view it as a risky but necessary move?
Yeah. Like I said in last night's episode, my secret is a lot smaller and less of a big deal than Adam's is. So, I had two choices: one, to reveal to the tribe that Adam had an advantage and a possible idol during the game, before Tribal ... or revealing it at Tribal. I talked to Jay and figured that, if we had told everyone at the beach that Adam had an advantage, that he would have had some time to secure his alliance still. And we didn't want him to do that. We wanted everyone to flip on him at once, without him being able to save himself. We really just wanted to watch him scramble. [Laughs] I just wish that that vote had gone our way. That would have been a really epic turnover.
So when Jeff said it was time to vote, how were you feeling? Did you think the plan had worked?
No. No way. I knew it was gonna be me. And so I turned back to Jay and said, "Man, do what you've got to do." What I didn't know is that they were going to split it evenly, pretty much. Typically, if you're going to split votes, you just do some pity vote in case there's an idol played, right? So, I wasn't thinking that it was going to be a 4-5. It turned out to be that way. If I had known that, I would have written down Jay's name down and tied it up, and maybe something new would have happened. But, yeah. I don't think the tribe cared if it was Jay or myself going home.
Was there anything that happened at Tribal Council that we didn't see? It was such a bombshell that you dropped that I imagine there had to be a moment where the vote was openly discussed.
There is so much footage [of stuff] that goes on there ... that would give away the suspense. Me knowing that I was going, [that was because] at one point Bret looked around to everyone and just said, "I think we know who is the bigger threat here." And I was like, oh, man, that's not good.
Do you regret stealing the food? Do you think that sealed your fate?
I don't think it's actually the action of stealing the food. I think it's the action of just being sneaky and being able to get away with that, and scheming with Adam. It really revealed all of my powers. And so, for them to see that in full color, then they're going, OK, so you're telling me you stole a bunch of food, hid a bunch of food. You made a deal with Adam to exchange secrets. This is a huge secret as well, and you guys were able to keep that from us and get away with it? So they're looking at that just going, oh, yeah, that's not cool. We need to get rid of that. So, yeah, I would say that would be more the action. As far as, like, actually stealing food and eating it? I don't think they cared.
Do you have any regrets about the way you played the game?
Taylor: I think just better communication with Jay and Michelle on just some ideas of actually what they know. Jay, he's a funny guy, because we had a really good connection from the get-go, but he's just like me. And I wouldn't trust myself. [Laughs] So, I was kind of watching him from afar and I think he was doing the same thing for me.
Do you regret being so open about your showmance with Figgy?
I can't say that I do, because I believe that it furthered my game. I'm sure Fig has different opinions about that. She was kind of the casualty of the alliance. But as for me, I don't regret it, obviously, because I got further.
There have been some reports that you had a girlfriend back home while you were having a relationship with Figgy on Survivor, and she had some pretty harsh things to say about you. Is there anything you want to say about that?
Yeah. Fig was pretty upset when we had gotten back, because I officially found out that I had a son on the way, and so that kind of dropped a bomb on the relationship. I had to do what was best for my family, and just her being the casualty of the Survivor vote-out, and then she was kind of the casualty in real life as well. But I know she's going to have some good opportunities and I hope she can put it behind her. We're a big, messy Survivor dysfunctional family here.
So, were you and your girlfriend broken up before you went on Survivor, but then she found out she was pregnant?
Have you guys had the baby yet?
Nope. I can't disclose [her due date].
Well, congratulations on impending fatherhood.
Yeah, thank you!
If given the chance to play Survivor again, would you?
I think so. I also have a desire to play The Amazing Race, which I think would better suit me, problem-solving and whatnot. And not having to scheme my way and steal food all the time. [Laughs] But I do have the desire to play again and to do Amazing Race.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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