‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: David Murphy

One of the great things about “Survivor” is that it appeals to so many different people. If you like exotic locations, there’s something for you. If you like to see people pushing themselves to their limits, there’s something for you. If you like starving people yelling at each other, there’s something for you.

Me? I like strategic gameplay.

Heading into “Survivor: Redemption Island”, I knew Boston Rob and Russell were capable of cranking out some interesting strategies. Outside of those two established vets, it was believed that our best bet for some creative gameplay was going to be defense attorney David Murphy.

I had a chance to talk to David the morning after he was eliminated from “Survivor” to find out why his strategic options were so limited, what he would have done if he were a member of the dominant Ometepe alliance, and his thoughts on last night’s unfortunate incident between Phillip and Steve.

Gordon Holmes: A lot has been said about the move to get rid of Russell early in the game. It seems like you could have gone either way. Could you walk me through your thought process with the decision to stick with the Zapatera Six?
David Murphy:
I was in a difficult position at that point and time. I had the opportunity to go either way. And while I thought one way would have been good for me personally, the other way was numerically the only choice to make. I couldn’t align with Russell because the numbers would have been four to five and it would have put me in a difficult position. It would have put me in an even worse position having already made some sort of deal with the other alliance to then join Russell’s alliance. It could have been a much different game, and it could have turned out much better for me had I aligned with Russell. But there was really no option at that time.
Gordon: There wasn’t an opportunity to pull somebody else along with you?
David: I think the core Zapatera alliance had such strong resentment for Russell at the get-go that there was really no guarantee that anyone would have actually done that. And had I attempted to do it it would have made my situation even worse.

Gordon: You had a bit of feud with Sarita. Was it really over her choosing Stephanie to do the puzzle over you, or was there something else?
The issue that Sarita and I had went back to an earlier point in the game. We had some disagreements about a variety of things. I’ll leave it at that.

Gordon: Was there ever an opportunity to work with Ometepe after the merge or were they completely shutting you out?
There was really no opportunity to work with them. I approached Rob the first moment and attempted to find out whether or not it was even possible. My attempt was not successful. I don’t think it was poorly received but there was no opportunity there. Rob had it set in his mind that he was going to run the show after the merge.

Gordon: Rob said part of his strategy was to have his alliance be mean to the Zapaterans. Did you see any of that?
Nobody was really mean to me. Well…if you discount Phillip’s antics. I got along with everybody really well, and socially speaking it was fine. I’d hang out with the girls or talk to Grant and Rob. That was no big deal. It was a gameplay move to put distance between us.
Gordon: You mentioned Phillip, we saw the two of you butt heads a couple of times. What is it like dealing with him on a day-to-day basis?
David: Phillip, from the very moment we were in the same place, rubbed me the wrong way. He wanted to tell everybody how everything should be done, and his way was the only way that things should be done. Not to necessarily say that he was wrong in his approach to doing things, but there’s more than one way to get things accomplished. Phillip was very controlling. It was quite aggravating from the very beginning. He’s definitely an interesting dude.
Gordon: That is an understatement.

Gordon: You were on Redemption Island with Matt for a little bit. It seemed like he was having a meltdown last night. What was your take on that situation?
When I got to Redemption Island, Matt and Mike were just kind of relaxing. I didn’t see any of Matt’s, if you want to call it that, meltdown. When I was there it was very cordial. We were all having fun and goofing around. I didn’t see any kind of breakdown on Matt’s part.

Gordon: Time to initiate you into the word association family. Let’s start this off with Ralph.
Wow…Ralph’s an interesting character. Hard worker.
Gordon: Rob?
David: Mastermind.
Gordon: Phillip?
David: Crazy. Especially after last night. And there were no racial undertones to that statement.
Gordon: Ashley?
David: Very nice.
Gordon: Andrea?
David: Playing the game more than anybody realizes.
Gordon: Natalie?
David: Conveniently innocent.
Gordon: Mike?
David: Physically dominant.
Gordon: And let’s finish this off with Sarita.
David: Annoying.

Gordon: I know you weren’t there for the incident between Steve and Phillip. But based on what you know about Steve, what were your feelings on what happened?
I felt very bad for Steve. Having lived through Phillip’s antics, the word “crazy” means exactly what everyone thinks it means. It is the word and that’s the context in which it was used. I had a little discussion with Phillip and I used a similar word. I meant nothing by it other than the fact that his behavior wasn’t rational. I don’t think Steve had the slightest intention to call Phillip anything other than crazy. I think it was really unfortunate to have that thrown on him on national television.

Gordon: Going into this season, we all had really high hopes that you were going to be a strategic player. However, from the sounds of it you didn’t have many avenues available to you. I’m interested to know what your strategy would have been if you had been a member of that Ometepe alliance.
From the outset my strategy would have been different in that if I were with Rob I would have tried to work closely with him. I would have said, “Hey, we can collectively manipulate these people to get to the end of this.” I don’t know how that would have worked out. Maybe he would have kept me around while I was useful and then tried to go against me, but I would have had the same opportunity to do that too. I think it would have been a better fit for me as far as the personnel. I would have had a better time dealing with the younger crowd. I think the strategy element of the game was definitely not something I was able to exploit just based on the way the core alliance of Zapatera formed and refused to do anything to try and advance the smaller alliances. After the merge there was really nothing left to do.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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