QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Bradley Kleihege, exit interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Gordon Holmes: Alright, I’m going to start with Alison, but Davie I want you to think about which sci/fi-fantasy character you’d compare your game to.
Davie Rickenbacker: OK.
Holmes: Alison, that fake idol.
Alison Raybould: (Laughs)
Holmes: Normally when someone finds an idol they’re mega psyched about it. I saw no such emotions from you.
Raybould: Well first of all, I 100% knew it was fake. I stumbled on Angelina planting it in the palm tree I had looked at 150 times. So, she says, “Oh (expletive deleted)” and scampers off. It was actually a very comical scene. Some high-drama acting. So, she asks me to read the note. And when you find an idol there a flutter in your chest, there was no Halleluiah chorus, there was no music. I knew instantly it was fake. Then she says, “Oh no, Ali…that means I’m going home.” And then you see her run off to the beach to privately reflect on her “Survivor” experience. It’s all daytime Emmy-award winning acting. I got back to the camp and said, “Hey, I found a fake idol, guys.” It was so janky, it was two strings and a shell. So, I told Jeff I had a shell, a string, and some paper. I didn’t ever call it an idol.
Holmes: You asked about the intent. Was she trying to embarrass you?
Raybould: It was a personal vendetta. She articulated what her strategy was, but at the end of the day, she fixated on me from the moment I called her a contingency plan. And so, I will to this day believe that it was 50/50 for her. There was strategy behind it, but it was also an attack.
Holmes: Davie, do you have an answer for me?
Rickenbacker: Sure. And I can choose any character in the world?
Holmes: Sure, I might have to Google it afterwards.
Rickenbacker: So, in “Dragon Ball Z,” it’s an anime and there was this character named Goku, he’s like the light and joy of the show. He was the hero all the time. And then his arch-nemesis was named Vegeta. He fought hard and was determined, he was all about gameplay. I’m a mix of both of them, and I can say that because they had a superpower that they could combine and become Gogeta. I think I was the heart out there, I was keeping my castmates in high spirits. But in the end, when I wanted to them to play hard, that was me being Vegeta. So, I’m Gogeta.
Holmes: Alison, do you agree with that?
Raybould: Not having any idea of those characters…but the way he summed it up? Yes.
Holmes: Getting back to Angelina, there's been a lot of talk about how in our society if a woman is aggressive, she's viewed as bossy or annoying. What was your take on how Angelina was portrayed?
Rickenbacker: I didn’t meet Angelina before since she was a Goliath, but watching it back, I don’t want to say it was sexism, but when a woman is strong and opinionated, it can rub people the wrong way. But, Angelina wasn’t very self-aware of how she was coming off. So, there’s two sides to the coin.
Raybould: I’ll echo that. My relationship with Angelina is probably the most complex relationship I will ever have in my life. We have a shared experience. There’s so much love there. But at the same time, we were adversaries for so much of the game. But I wasn’t an adversary from a strategic standpoint. She really did want to see me go for a long time. I’ll say that gender politics in “Survivor” is a huge thing. However a lot of her actions were not because of being a female. And if we use “my edit was not fair because I’m a female” over and over it can bastardize what that means. She was aggressive and that should be applauded. But there were moments where she lacked self-awareness and that’s how we felt it.
Holmes: Davie, you gave a speech after you were eliminated saying you were going to vote for whoever was responsible for sending you home. Then you voted for Nick who had no idea about it. What was the motive behind that speech?
Rickenbacker: I did that for two reasons; first I wanted to read the room and see if Nick had anything to do with the vote. I wasn’t sure. And then, you left out the part where I said someone else needs to make a big move.
Holmes: Yes, you did say that.
Rickenbacker: That was to light a fire under Nick. I was saying, “Dude, you’ve got to take out these Goliaths, you’ve got to fight hard, hard, hard.”
Holmes: You didn't hear this back in the day, but now you're hearing more and more about the cast wanting to make a good season. Why is that important?
Raybould: We’re all such big fans and we have a reverence for the game. At the end of the day, we want to see “Survivor” on the air for years and years. And we respect the show for gameplay.
Rickenbacker: I agree with that whole heartedly. And one thing for me personally was that the black audience doesn’t watch “Survivor.” And I had so many friends and friends of friends who were going to be watching. I wanted them to see how great “Survivor” is so they can stay with the fanbase even when I’m not there.
Holmes: Alison, you were always viewed as a threat. However, you weren't dominating immunities, you weren't the driving force on a lot of votes. How do you counter that? Is there a way to lean into that threat label and turn it into a positive?
Raybould: Depending on who’s around. If Christian and Davie are around I’d say, “It’s beneficial for us threats to stay together.” In the end game when I was the last threat standing I’d have to say, “What have I done? Mike has been driving all of these votes. He’s been my savior.” I tried really hard to push that threat label off of me. There really was this sense that if I got to the end I had a strong chance of winning. The same with Davie. And the last thing we saw was Ben Driebergen win “HHH.” I call it the Ben Driebergen Effect where people are so fixated on potential threats that they just want to get them out. You saw it with Christian, you saw it with Davie, there were five Tribals in a row where I was a potential vote. I wish more of my game was shown because I knew where every vote was going other than the John blindside.
Holmes: Davie, I felt like you were the person to beat heading into the finale. If you had survived that final six vote, what was your plan for a final three?
Rickenbacker: You have to go against your adversaries. I know that I couldn’t beat Nick at final three. I knew if it had been me, Alison, or Kara or me, Mike, and Angelina, I know they’re worthy adversaries, but I’d be able to pitch to the jury that I’d made these moves all throughout the game. Nick on the jury would have been a vote for me as well.
Holmes: I find it surprising that you don’t think you could have beaten Nick. Alison, if you had to choose between Nick and Davie, who would have had your vote?
Raybould: Probably neither. I never played the game strategically with either of them and the game I saw the most was Mike’s. I couldn’t understand Nick’s game. I’ll say Davie in this moment, but it would have come down to the end game.
Rickenbacker: What if Angelina was there with us? (Laughs)
Raybould: Davie…the minority split vote and the momentum of the Davengers…that was the best strategic move in the game.
Holmes: This has been a very popular season and a very popular cast. Given a second chance, which I foresee for several of you, what do you do differently?
Raybould: I’d have to manage my threat level. I’d have to try to be better at staying under the radar. It’s hard though, because I think I look like a threat. I think I sound like a threat.
Rickenbacker: I’d have to be in a different place. I feel like I wouldn’t play again unless I found the love of my life. John and Dan and Carl and Pat out there, their love for their families pushed them through. I’d need that to play a different game.
Holmes: You’re a TV star now. I’d imagine you have a lot more options for finding loved ones.
Rickenbacker: (Laughs) That’s why I threw that plug in there, Gordon! If you’re out there reading this, I’m waiting!