‘Survivor’ Castaway Jacob – ‘In My Efforts to Save Myself I Just Made the Target Bigger’


“Survivor: Ghost Island” (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: How are you holding up?
Jacob Derwin: I’m doing alright.
Holmes: That was hard to watch, my friend.
Derwin: Yeah, you’re telling me. (Laughs)
Holmes: You love “Survivor.” Where are you with it now that you had to watch everything you missed while you were out there?
Derwin: I had a lot of trouble watching 35. I watched very little of it, to be frank. And I feel bad because many of those people have reached out and been kind and we’ve had lovely conversations. I had a very bitter taste in my mouth. I’m going to commit to watching “Ghost Island” because I’m lucky to have friends on the cast. I want to support them. I don’t know about the people who said I was “the least social person on the planet” or that I was “special.” But, there are a lot of people that I support.
Holmes: You’re special to me, Jacob.
Derwin: Aww…thanks!

Holmes: Sometimes I’ll start this off with a snarky joke. And…I wrote one. But, I feel horrible about it.
Derwin: (Laughs) Nothing you can say can pierce this armor at this point. I am a husk of a man. I can’t feel a thing. Hit me, man.
Holmes: When they do “Ghost Island 2,” which of your cursed items will be out there; the shoes that floated away, the dirty sock you filled with rice, or the fake idol that nobody bought?
Derwin: (Laughs)
Holmes: I’m not proud of that.
Derwin: It’s alright. I think the shoes are long gone. (Laughs) They actually had a shot of it in the show! I was surprised. I didn’t see them go. I have the fake idol here if they want it.

Holmes: I spoke with Gonzalez a couple of minutes ago and asked why you were on the outs so quickly and she said that you just didn’t seem to fit in. What was your take on why you were having trouble connecting?
Derwin: I think that’s about right. I was making friends, but I wasn’t making enough friends. Laurel and James are people I liked a lot. I talked to Stephanie a lot, not just once. (Laughs) Kill me. We talked a lot out there. But, there was always that looming Michael, Brendan, Libby, Jenna thing. I couldn’t get in with them. I tried with Libby for a bit. Michael and I had nothing to connect over. Brendan and I could talk about music. But, I could see through it. He has this face he puts on when he’s talking cool with you.
Holmes: I was out there on day two and you and I snuck out for a little idol hunt. Was it was really that bad that quickly that you didn’t care if everyone knew what you were up to?
Derwin: Yes. I know a lot of the portrayal is I went searching for no good reason and that’s why I went home. But for the first few days, nobody would talk to me, Gordon. I would literally walk around with people…it’s the modern game of “Survivor.” People make alliances on day one. You talk game, “I don’t like this person, I do like this person.” I’d talk to people and ask about their game and they’d say, “I don’t really know yet, I haven’t thought about it.” And I’d be sitting there and thinking, so that means it’s me. It was really frustrating that nobody wanted to play with me. So, fine…if I need to protect myself, I need to protect myself. And if that’s what it looks like, so be it.

Holmes: So, you act up after the immunity challenge and Naviti decides to send you to Ghost Island. When you trick somebody…don’t tell them that you’re tricking them.
Derwin: (Laughs) Gordon, my plan at that point was to make Naviti hate me.
Holmes: Mission accomplished!
Derwin: (Laughs) I was hoping they’d keep sending me back. And unfortunately it didn’t go as planned. It worked once.
Holmes: You weren’t the first person at Ghost Island, our friend Josh Wigler from the Hollywood Reporter got to break it in. Did he leave behind a noticeable smell?
Derwin: (Laughs) I got there and it looked like someone had tried to make a fire.
Holmes: I said you were the perfect person to go there first. You must’ve been like two friends in a candy store.
Derwin: I didn’t recognize everything, I’m not that crazy. I was having a good time walking around and seeing stuff. It almost makes it a little more embarrassing because it feels like this season was formulated for me, right? The entire twist is there’s an entire place based on previous seasons. You need to know the game.

Holmes: You’re using words like “embarrassed,” which is understandable. But, I think a good takeaway from this for you could be; you’re proof that “Survivor” is easy…to play on your couch.
Derwin: It’s hard to say this because I know it sounds dumb, but I believe I could have pulled something off. I believe that I can play this game. But, I also believe that I did a few things quickly wrong. And in my efforts to save myself I just made the target bigger. That’s how it goes sometimes. Great players can go home early and bad players can stay until the end.

Holmes: When Brendan called out the lack of an idol letter, did you know you were in trouble?
Derwin: I knew it was going to come up. He’s right, I know the game too well. There were a lot of different things I could have done. I was thinking of wrapping it in the parchment from the urn. But then I thought, if they saw what it said it’d be bad. I thought maybe it was glued inside of the bamboo and I couldn’t get it out. Honestly, the most believable one I could think of was, “Crap, where did it go?” (Laughs)
Holmes: (Laughs)
Derwin: It’s not great. But I thought the people who didn’t know the game well, the Libbys might believe it.
Holmes: I needed it for kindling.
Derwin: I could’ve said I needed fire, so I burnt my souvenir. I almost tried to sell Ghost Island as desolate. But when you get there it’s like a resort. Better shelter than the one on Malolo.

Holmes: Heading into Tribal, if you had to put a percentage on how much you trusted Stephanie, what would it be?
Derwin: Maybe 25%. It was there, I thought there was a chance. It was a crazy plan because we were pulling together people who didn’t want to work together. Laurel wasn’t a huge fan of Stephanie. I’m trying to pull people together who haven’t talked to each other much. I’m the common thread and I’m not a good common thread at this point. Stephanie did legitimately think about working with me which makes me feel better. She did talk to Jenna about it. And I talked to Laurel and James. If we all got together, maybe we could have pulled it off. But, when you’re the obvious boot and you’re trying to gather forces against everyone’s favorite golden boy? It’s a tough thing to pull off.
Holmes: When you voted for Michael, your comment about him needing to listen more seemed a little biting considering how little we had seen you two interact. What was behind that?
Derwin: Michael talks a lot. (Laughs) I did have trouble fitting in with the tribe because we’d sit around and talk. And they’d talk and talk about burritos from Chipotle and their orders and Instagram followers. And I’m sitting there, how do I talk to you? I have Michael’s Chipotle order committed to memory because I’ve heard it so many times. And I was only there for six days. And he played a better game, I can admit that. But, there’s a sea of dark anger toward him because of how frustrating I found him out there.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Brendan.
Derwin: Steady as a White Stripes rhythm section.
Holmes: Gonzalez?
Derwin: She deserves better. She deserves a lot better.
Holmes: Rainbow Stephanie?
Derwin: (Laughs) My mom is cooler than your mom.
Holmes: Libby?
Derwin: Princess.
Holmes: Laurel?
Derwin: Smarter than any of us will ever be.
Holmes: James?
Derwin: Also smarter than any of us will ever be. He also has the best posture I have ever seen in my life.
Holmes: Donathan?
Derwin: The War on Drugs.
Holmes: Jenna?
Derwin: Who?
Holmes: Jenna?
Derwin: Yeah…who?
Holmes: I see what you did there. Let’s finish with Michael.
Derwin: Burrito bowl with an extra tortilla on the side.

Holmes: Should I be worried about “The War on Drugs” for Donathan?
Derwin: It’s a band, he’s a big fan of the band. It’s the main thing we connected with out there.
Holmes: OK, good. I’m an old man, Jacob. I don’t know about your new-fangled bands.
Derwin: No, it’s dad rock. It’s good stuff.

Holmes: We need to talk about the rice sock.
Derwin: (Laughs) Oh no.
Holmes: How much grief have you gotten from people who had to eat rice that was seasoned with your foot?
Derwin: No one! Not a single person on the cast. And I told people out there. When I was trying to get with Libby I told her, but she was uninterested. And I told Stephanie Johnson about it, she came back and saw a few grains of rice on the floor and she said, “You’ve got to clean that up right now. You don’t want them to see that.” Look, I wanted to put it all back in the jar. And I’ll tell you what, I checked Twitter and a few former players have said, “No, that’s what you do. If you have a hunch, you go for it. They’re going to boil it later anyways.”

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