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‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’: Jeff Probst on Laura’s controversial move

Each week, host Jeff Probst will answer a few questions about the most recent episode of
Survivor: Blood vs. Water.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Very interesting dynamic here at the Redemption Island duel as Vytas tries the old copy-off-the-person-that-has-already-finished trick, yet Laura not only spins her stacked cubes so he can’t copy, but also goes all Mom Power and gives the answers to Tina to get the threat of Vytas eliminated. A very sly strategic move to help control the competition you face in the future as you try to get back in the game. Tell me your reaction when you saw this going down.
PROBST: My reaction was mixed. As a general philosophy we always strive to have minimal rules. It’s their world — a social world in which your relationships are key to winning — and we want them to decide how that world works. So when creating a challenge, we always consider the cheating element and if we should do anything to help prevent it from happening, but we never want to go so far as to interfere with the social elements of the world. When we get into the individual part of the game (post merge), or a situation like Redemption Island, which is also about individuals and not groups — we are even less likely to get involved. But, we did experiment with using a blind on this challenge and it did no good as the contestants could simply step back and still share information with one another. So we let it go.

From a story point of view it’s obviously a fantastic moment because it speaks to the essence of Survivor —social politics. Vytas was up against two moms. The moms ganged up on the single guy. It’s a simple as that. It’s no different than had they voted him out. You can certainly make an argument that he didn’t get a fair chance in the duel. But Survivor isn’t always about what’s right or wrong — it’s about the rules of the world. And since turnabout is fair play, if either Tina or Laura M get to the end and Vytas is on the jury, payback might cost them a million dollars. Their rules. Their world.

EW: Hayden and Caleb astutely note that they need to get rid of Tyson if they want a chance of winning this game, and tell Ciera of the plan to get rid of him, yet she then turns on them and tells Tyson everything. Do you think at this point in time she made the right move? Because it seems to me like she just protected the king and pissed off the people she betrayed who could both potentially end up as jury voters.
PROBST: What do I think? I think I know nothing. 27 seasons and I still get confused over what I might do in a similar situation. I have been pretty impressed with how Ciera has played of late. The question in that move for me was, did she tell Tyson out of fear or loyalty? Big moves are definitely an important component of getting to the end with a shot to win — if you’re being dragged to the end it doesn’t matter as you probably won’t win anyway — and the key to any big move is when to make it. Ciera must feel more comfortable in her alliance with Tyson than she would being with Hayden and Caleb. Ah man, I go back to what I said at the beginning — I know nothing.

EW: Monica scores her third individual immunity win. Can we now remove Brad’s last-name “Culpepper” status and assign it to her instead? She has been an absolute beast.
PROBST: Good point. I did not consider the “status of the last name” designation when I gave it to Brad. I honestly called him by his last name because I felt that most people would know him from the NFL and that’s the name on the jersey. It makes me smile that last names now have a status — it was not intended to be that way. But yes to your point – Monica CULPEPPER has been on fire in the challenges. Amazing. I’m happy for her. We each have our journey and at this point in her life Monica is clearly in need of some accolades of her own — I’m happy she is getting them in such a big way.  She’s a tough lady. Big question with Monica is, can she get to the end? And if she does, can she win with the people she is currently aligned with?

EW: BONUS QUESTION! Thanksgiving plans — GO!
PROBST: Family, family, family. It’s LA so we’ll turn on the heater in the swimming pool, toss the kids in the deep end and throw back some food!

EW: Looks like Hayden is ready to open some eyes next episode. Tease us up, my man!
PROBST: Next week is a KILLER episode. Fantastic. I really can’t tease it anymore than that. The game is  full-tilt-boogie and moves are starting to happen. Going to be a really fun finish.

To watch an exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode, as well as our pre-game interviews with Vytas/Aras and Caleb/Colton, simply click on the video player below. To read Dalton’s recap, click right here. And for more ‘Survivor’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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