XFinityTV is blowing up their coverage of “Survivor: Philippines.” Every Monday Jeff Probst and I will tackle a wide variety of topics with the “Survivor” Question of the Week. Every Tuesday I’ll be squaring off against “Survivor: One World” favorite Kat Edorsson in this season’s Power Rankings challenge. Every Wednesday briefly after the show we’ll have a full episode recap and every Thursday we’ll have an interview with the latest eliminated player. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for all the updates!
Jeff Probst said that last night’s Tribal Council was the most entertaining Tribal ever. I’m not sure if I’m willing to go quite that far, but it certainly was a doozy.
Alliances were exposed, idols were outed, plans were formed, then reformed. And in the end, a former National League MVP was sent home. It was something to see.
(And as a quick aside, it’s nice to see that after 25 seasons, this show can still be great.)
I spoke with Jeff Kent the morning after his elimination and had a chance to get a breakdown of exactly what happened during that mind-blowing Tribal Council…
Jeff Kent: Hey, Gordon.
Gordon Holmes: Good morning, Mr. Kent. How are you?
Kent: I’m OK, buddy. What can I do for you?
Holmes: For starters, you can tell me what the hell happened last night.
Kent: (Laughs) I don’t know, man. I’m still bitter about it myself.
Holmes: As you should be. That was a mess.
Kent: Well, before we went to Tribal Council, we were all passive. The tribe had an understanding that we were going to vote for a veteran player. And since Penner had won the idol, we were all scrambling, we were all pissed off because that was the direction we were going to go. So, the most likely was Skupin. And most everyone out there didn’t care if it was Penner or Skupin for days. And then when it got down to the 11th hour, I think the mindset of Pete and Abi and Artis changed. They figured that Skupin was worth keeping around for some reason.
Holmes: Was that Lisa’s doing?
Kent: Lisa started playing the game a little bit better. Penner and I went to talk strategy and when I got back I was approached by Malcolm and he said they’re throwing every name under the bus. Malcolm’s name had been thrown out there. My name was thrown out. Carter’s name too. I was scrambling and I was pissed off that they’d target me because I had a feeling that Malcolm had the idol. We were trying to make sure that it wasn’t me. We concocted that we’d go after the guy who was making all of the rules, Pete. And it happened right before Tribal so we couldn’t talk through or solidify what would happen in the future. We were all going to vote for Pete.
Holmes: What changed when you got to Tribal?
Kent: When we get to Tribal everyone starts dumping all their laundry. Everybody’s telling secrets and lies and nobody knows what’s going on. Then, in what I thought was a good move by Penner, he said OK all us six let’s vote for Pete. Which was good because Penner knew he had to start playing for the future. And typical of Skupin, he just didn’t want to play the game as good as he should have. He ended up voting the wrong way, and then Penner threw his vote the wrong way, which I’m having a hard time understanding. Penner threw his vote the other way and I’m the one who got the boot.
Holmes: What’s your best guess as to why Penner made that seemingly random vote for Abi?
Kent: When we were at Tribal Council, Penner and I were doing some hand signs and whispering to each other about if we should split the vote in case Pete plays the idol. I told Penner that we didn’t have the votes to split the vote. And, we couldn’t communicate across the board and I didn’t trust anyone who was on the right side of me. So, Penner and I did talk about it. I kind of think that Penner thought that we had the votes to keep me safe even if he voted another way, because Skupin agreed to vote with us. He agreed to vote with us when he was sitting there, but when we went to vote he didn’t.
Holmes: Whenever a celebrity is cast on “Survivor,” some people roll their eyes. But, “Survivor” is the real deal. You’re out there cold and starving. Jimmy Johnson learned that the hard way. But you gave it your all and seemed to be having a great time.
Kent: It’s a long time to be away from the family, and I’ve got four young kids in the house. It was a long time to be away. But I had a great time. I’m glad I took the challenge, I’m glad I had a chance to play. And I played that game from day one. Hurting my knee coming off the boat, I didn’t want to quit. I wasn’t going to give up. I did everything I thought I could to survive and win that game and that’s why I’m so bitter and pissed off that I got kicked off. But, I’m grateful to have that opportunity. But Lisa and I, I hope we had a chance to quiet those critics, and I hope they had a good time watching.
Holmes: When we spoke in the Philippines, you were concerned about how you were going to be portrayed. Do you think it was accurate?
Kent: Yeah, I do. I didn’t really have a good understanding of what Dawson knew about me. I didn’t know she was so keen on who I was. Now I understand why all the conversations we had in our hut were about baseball and sports. It’s kind of funny.
Holmes: When I spoke to her, she made it sound like you knew that she knew about your baseball career.
Kent: I did not know that she knew that I was a baseball player, because I guarantee that I would have kicked her off. I would have had it out for her. Or, I would have tried to cut a deal with her to keep her quiet. She talked about sports and baseball players, but my name never came up. It was all about how she wanted to date Chipper Jones. That’s as far as it ever went.
Holmes: You played the Braves more than a few times. Is Dawson a good match for Chipper Jones?
Kent: (Laughs) I feel sorry for the guy she matches up with.
Holmes: One of the things we kept seeing you say is that you didn’t want Penner to go further than you. That seems like a shortsighted strategy to me. Was that how you genuinely felt or was that a ruse to help you get farther?
Kent: It was twofold; one it was a deflection off of me. I was a guy who came in and had a leadership personality and a guy that could do the challenges and survive out there in the environment. I was deflecting that attention off of me. Who’s bigger and better than me? Penner. And number two, I respected Penner a lot. I understood his game and his personality. I liked Penner and I knew he was a great player. And if I could stay one step ahead of Penner I knew I was going to go far and possibly go to the end and possibly win. Because I didn’t think anyone was going to give Penner any money. They didn’t show this, but at the end I wanted to keep Penner and Skupin with us and go forward with those two because I didn’t think they’d get the votes to win because they’re returning players.
Holmes: Word association time. Let’s start with Penner.
Kent: Air. Just air.
Kent: Idiot. (Laughs)
Kent: Lisa was naive.
Kent: Denise was tough.
Holmes: Whenever someone leaves the show, it’s either; this was the greatest experience of my life or there isn’t enough money to make me ever go back. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
Kent: I dramatized my comments at the end when I got kicked off, but they were real. I’ve been able to have a life where I don’t need to be on the island. But, that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to win. I wanted to be the sole survivor. It wasn’t about the money, it was about winning. So, where I fall in that, is if the challenge presents itself again, I’ll think about it and I may have to take it.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes