Much like a piece of theater, a successful blindside on Survivor depends on all the major players following the plan and sticking to a script. That didn't happen on last week's episode, with Keith Nale going rogue at the last minute — which resulted in his son, Wes, getting sent home.
Though Keith, Wes, Alec and Reed went into Tribal armed with a plan to blindside Jon, nerves ended up getting the better of Keith during the pre-vote conversation. He blurted out, "Just stick to the plan" — thus informing Jon and his alliance that there was a plan they weren't aware of, and making Natalie realize that Jon needed to play his idol.
"Reed and Alec were like, 'Keith, don't freak out. We're just going to talk a big game and we're going to act like we're against you all at Tribal and stuff but we're going to vote for Jon. ... We're going to make it seem like we're with them 100 percent, and we're kind of going to distance you, [but] we're going to blindside Jon tonight. Just stay calm and be with us,'" Wes tells TVGuide.com of the conversation that took place at camp, before Tribal Council. "And Keith didn't stay calm, and it went downhill."
Read our full Q&A with Wes to find out about his experience at Exile Island, what his dad said to him after he was eliminated, and whether he regrets giving up immunity for a few chicken wings.
TVGuide.com:First things first: Were the chicken wings worth it?
Wes: Five chicken wings and two beers was definitely not worth a million dollars. [Laughs]
You quit the immunity challenge pretty early on, so you must have felt confident. What was going through your head?
Wes: Alec was telling me since I [had been] at Exile, 'They think you have an idol. They think you and your dad have an idol.' So, if you step down, it might not look like you have an idol and that you're somewhat confident, and then we can blindside Jon. That's what we were talking about ... so I figured if I was going to step down, do it for something good. That was a mistake.
Your dad mentioned he was going to have a "father/son" talk with you afterwards. Did that happen?
Wes: Yeah, he had one. He was like, 'What the heck were you doing? You have no willpower. You just think about food all the time.' I was so hungry.
You've definitely gotten a food-heavy edit this season. Do you feel like the way you've been portrayed has been fair?
Wes: Oh yeah. That was definitely what it was all about. I was all about food from Day 2, and talked about it in every interview, talked about it in every confessional. It was food, food, food, food, food. I felt like they did good showing me eating food, like at the taco deck. I was out of control.
We didn't see any of your time on Exile Island. How was that?
Wes: It was rough. It took me, like, three hours to get fire started. ... And I told everybody Jon had the idol as soon as I got back to camp, because I could not find it anywhere and I searched probably three or four hours. And I knew I was in the right spot. Everything the clue said, I went right to it. It was not a hard clue, and so I knew Jon had to have had it, because Jeremy wouldn't have went home with it in his pocket. I guess no one believed me.
Tribal Council was pretty crazy. What was your reaction when your dad said "Stick to the plan"?
Wes: My reaction as soon as he said it was like, "I think that just sealed one of our fates." Because I honestly didn't think Jon was going to throw an idol out there. ... I felt like one of us was going to get done, because we only had one idol and I knew they were going to try to split votes. So, I knew me and him were the only two that were going to receive votes other than Jon. One of our fates was sealed as soon as [Jon] went and played it.
Your dad offered you a chance to play the idol for yourself. Why didn't you?
Wes: He offered it and I told him to play it. He said, "Hey, you play it." I said, "No, that's your idol. You play it how you want to play it. I'm not going to take your idol." When he walked up to give it to Jeff [Probst], the whole time he was walking up there, I was thinking to myself, he's going to play that idol for me, and he's going to be the one going home. He's going to sacrifice it. But he walked up there and he said, "Here's the idol," and played it for himself. As soon as he did that, I grabbed my stuff and I said, "Alright, well, my time's come." ... It might have been the best decision for him to play it. I felt like I would have probably went home next. Him being an older guy, I felt like he would last longer than I would. I wouldn't think that they'd want him to get off next because he wouldn't be such a threat in challenges. So, I was going to accept it and let him play it.
Did he feel guilty after the fact?
Wes: Oh yeah. He said it ran through his mind to play it for me, but in the split-second that he went up there to do it, he just said that he was going to play it for himself and that was going to be it. I told him, 'Play it how you want to play it. It's your idol.' And he said, 'When you said those words, I felt like I needed to play it.' He's apologized. He said numerous times that it shouldn't have went down like that, we should have both stayed in the game and had an idol to play still. Because he should have never freaked out and got scared. If he would have never said that, I feel like we both would have still been in the game and had an idol and still been playing hard.
Did he tell you what it was that made him so nervous?
Wes: He said Reed was talking about how some people have got idols and we need to drown them out and get rid of the people who still had the idols. That's when he thought Reed was talking about him, after we'd talked about just stay calm and don't get nervous or anything. And he said he just got nervous, and that's when he played it.
It seems like Jon and Jaclyn have narrowly avoided elimination a few times this season.
Wes: They definitely have escaped. I felt like Jon was making all the calls, because he would actually talk strategy with people. Jaclyn never talked strategy with anybody. She called us out and said we didn't talk strategy with her, but she never talked it with us either. I felt like she really wasn't playing the game. She was kind of going with whatever Jon did. That's just what I thought. I don't know what everybody else thought.
What did you think of the comments she and Missy and Baylor were making about you guys?
Wes: I was really annoyed. I didn't think that was a fair accusation at all. Everybody on the island was going around burping and talking about farting and all sorts of stuff. Keith said it perfectly when he said, "It's a normal body function." It's not like we were doing it. Everybody was doing it. So, for her to say that and try to take up for all the girls was not fair at all. I didn't like that at all.
You and your dad were one of the final remaining pairs. Do you think playing with him made the game easier or harder?
Wes: It was a good experience definitely to play with my dad. If it would have been harder or easier, I'm not really sure. I've never played by myself, so I really wouldn't know. I felt like it might be a little easier to play by yourself, because you're trying to look out for yourself and a loved one, playing blood vs. water. If you were playing by yourself, all you're looking out for is you. I felt like it might be a little easier if we did that, but I honestly can't say for sure.
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