‘Survivor’ Castaway Garrett: David ‘Didn’t Know How to Play ‘Survivor’ at All’


'Survivor: Cagayan' (CBS)

NOTE: XFINITY TV is the place to be for all sorts of “Survivor: Cagayan” back-stabbin’, torch-snuffin’ fun. On Mondays we’ll have Power Rankings with “Blood vs. Water” competitor Ciera Eastin, every Wednesday evening we’ll bring you a recap of the most recent episode, and every Thursday you’ll be able to watch the previous night’s episode and read an interview with the eliminated contestant. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for immediate updates.

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It used to be the weak link was the first person who was sent packing from a “Survivor” tribe. If you were bad in challenges or were accused of smuggling beef jerky, you were a goner.

But today? Blow a challenge? No worries. Engineer a possibly dangerous shelter? Meh. Dump out the tribe’s entire supply of rice? Big whoop…

I spoke with the latest victim of this new “Survivor” strategy, Garrett Adelstein, the morning after his elimination and had a chance to ask him about David’s decision, Tasha’s gameplay, and J’Tia’s culinary skills…

Gordon Holmes: Last night was beyond crazy.
Garrett Adelstein: Yeah, I’m obviously really disappointed. I thought I’d be cool six months later, but reliving it all over again… I suppose if there’s one silver lining, it’s that the viewers had a solid couple of hours of entertainment.
Holmes: Yeah, I’m sure seeing it opens up old wounds. Also seeing scenes and testimonials for the first time.
Adelstein: I’m such a perfectionist in general, so when I fail at something, even when it’s out of my control, that can be tough. As you know, I worked really hard preparing to be there.

Watch Full Episodes of “Survivor: Cagayan”

Holmes: Right off the bat, David chooses you to leave the Brains tribe. I know you hadn’t seen “Blood vs. Water” where they got rid of Candice and Rupert immediately, but did you think you were out of the game?
Adelstein: No, I thought there was 0% chance I was out of the game. In pre-game there were 18 of us the entire time. So, you’d better believe they’re not going to eliminate three people on day one. They showed the confessionals where I was bummed about it, and there’s validity to that. At that point I’m concerned that I was isolated from my tribe. But, I also know there was something positive related to that, and knowing my “Survivor” history, I knew an immunity idol clue was the most likely scenario. So, I would say I had mixed feelings.
Holmes: David picks you as the “weakest player.” Looking at you, you’re built like a superhero.
Adelstein: (Laughs)
Holmes: You’re clearly not the weakest guy. Did you ever try to make peace with David and work together?
Adelstein: That’s something I would have been open to. David and I are good friends now. That might have worked out very well for me, in fact. But at the time, it was never an option. David was never open or warm with me. And he played his cards very face up.  I knew he didn’t want to work with me. David’s my guy, but he didn’t know how to play “Survivor” at all. He assumed alliances aren’t built until a couple of weeks in. He and Kass isolated themselves. They assumed everything was fine because J’Tia was bad in the challenges.
Holmes: David also said he didn’t know why you were on the Brains tribe. I’m assuming that meant you never told him about your occupation or educational background.
Adelstein: That was a tough sell. Being put on the Brains was just brutal. We had a lot of people playing the game, playing the game well, and playing very early.  Specifically Tasha and Spencer. So, I didn’t tell them I was a professional poker player. I wanted to lie as little as possible, but I thought that was one thing that was worth it. So, I just told everybody that I was a personal trainer. I said I didn’t know for sure why they put me on that tribe, but in casting they said I did really well on the IQ test. I think it’s actually called the Wonderlic test.

Holmes: I assume a big part of being successful at poker isn’t necessarily having the right cards, but being able to read the other people at the table. Did you have trouble reading your tribemates?
Adelstein: (Laughs) I certainly agree with that assessment. It’s so easy to be results oriented in this game, and for me to say anything other than, “I sucked at it” would be a poor answer. But, there were many instances where I knew exactly what was going on. I knew David was out to get me. I didn’t need to watch his confessional where he spelled that out. I didn’t have to watch Kass’s confessional to know that it was complete B.S. when we made the final-three pact.

Holmes: Tasha flipped it. How do you feel about her gameplay?
Adelstein: Tasha is a skilled “Survivor” player without question. That’s something that was left out of the episode that’s really critical. Spencer and I realized on day one that in a three-tribe format that it was optimal for us to pull Kass in. Because if we got rid of Kass, then we’d be deadlocked two-two and then I could no longer trust Spencer because our interests would no longer align. I’d been working on Kass since day one. We had many conversations because I knew it was going to be important to pull her in. And I wanted Kass to be closer to me than to Spencer. But, Tasha appreciated what we were doing with Kass. All of the sudden she starts being very close with Kass. She clearly had the same thought that we did. So. what you saw with her being shocked that the four of us were no longer in an alliance or that she was upset that we strategized as a group, that’s complete B.S. It was all to pull in Kass and get her to flip on me and Spencer.

Holmes: Alright, let’s do some word association. We’ll start with Latasha.
Adelstein: Strategy.
Holmes: Kass?
Adelstein: (Laughs) Random.
Holmes: Spencer?
Adelstein: Brilliant.
Holmes: David?
Adelstein: Based on what he did on the island…naïve.
Holmes: And we’ll finish with everyone’s favorite rice cook, J’Tia.
Adelstein: Unstable.

Holmes: Kass almost seemed to blame you for leaving J’Tia alone with the rice. Were you supposed to know that J’Tia was going to go all Hantz on your food supply?
Adelstein: J’Tia had proven that she was not mentally stable at all. But, what you didn’t see was before J’Tia dumped all of our rice out, literally 30 minutes before, she burned our fire out. She took a bucket of water and burned our fire out. So, it became more of a risk. But, that being said, I’m not a security guard.  My goal was to play “Survivor.” So, of course once I see Latasha try to pull Kass down to the beach I immediately went down there.
Holmes: Wow.
Adelstein: Yeah, J’Tia is already one of the most infamous Survivors ever and she’s still there. It’s easy to hate myself playing Monday morning quarterback.

Holmes: I feel like you’re being really hard on yourself. In a post-“Boston” Rob/Phillip Sheppard world, people who do destructive things or things that are bad for tribe morale are being dragged to the end.
Adelstein: I totally agree. And unfortunately it looks to the viewer as though me wanting to have an open forum is the reason I went home, while I’d argue in the opposite direction. If her dumping the rice out still wasn’t enough to get Kass to vote with Spencer and I, then I think approaching it as a typical blindside wouldn’t have worked as well.

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

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