‘Survivor’: John Fincher talks about his game-changing blunder


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When ‘Survivor’ contestant John Fincher heard his name being read by Jeff Probst at this week’s tribal council, his mouth gaped. ‘One vote is all it took for me to know I was gone,’ Fincher, 25, said Friday. In an interview this morning, Fincher shared his thoughts on the mischievous Russell, Laura’s vendetta toward Shambo and who has the best shot at the million dollars.

OK: the apple pie. Why didn’t you share it with the rest of the tribe?
There was a lot more to it than what they showed. I’m really not gonna dwell on that.

What about bidding on the clue to the idol? Didn’t you think Russell might have found it?
I don’t know what I heard – I thought I heard that it was a clue to a new immunity idol. Certainly the possibility exists that it isn’t there. I don’t care about pie, lasagna, nachos – and Jaison beat me to 500 on the advantage. I thought this clue could help me smoke things out.

Now having watched Russell on TV, are you surprised at how shifty he was being behind everyone’s back?
I wasn’t surprised at how much Russell was playing everyone. I didn’t trust him from the beginning. Though I didn’t have any idea he was burning Jaison’s socks in the beginning.


Do you regret aligning with him?
I disagree that we had an alliance. You have to open yourself up. The conversation that he and I had on the rocks where he was telling me it was he and I ‘til the end...I knew he was thinking he had to get me at the end. I wish it had been us, though – John Fincher and Russell Hantz together would have been amazing. The thing about “Survivor” is that you have to tell people things and I had to take the deal to make him think I was there to work with him.

Because Russell turned on you, would you not give him your jury vote?
You can only betray someone when they give you their trust. I don’t feel any sense of betrayal and I don’t have any bitter sentiments toward anybody.

When you decided to flip, you said you were continually surprised by Galu’s poor analytical skills. Why do you think Galu was so quick to make decisions?
If I could have figured out the root of that, I would have been more successful in the game. I just don’t think they’re as good as doing that as people like Jaison and Natalie are when you look at the breakdown of the team and the composition of the groups. Monica is a weak physical competitor. She’s overtly kind of manipulative. But they have Jaison, who is much more subtle and more athletic and actually went to the University of Chicago and Stanford.

But Russell is a successful player and he doesn’t seem to boast an impressive academic resume.
Russell is at least functional enough to have a successful business and he’s a smart guy.

So you think Galu became weak because of the individuals on the tribe – not because they got cocky?
Everything is potentially impactful. But I think that we were just outgunned intellectually and Foa Foa understood the situation better than we could. I said Galu had a junior varsity “Survivor” strategy. At the merge, people wanted to vote off Jaison because he wasn’t doing a lot around camp, and I was like, “Man, you do not vote people off because they’re lazy.”

Why didn’t you insist to Russell that he could only have your vote if a Foa Foa member was voted out?
That was a blunder on my part. The blunder was that I didn’t say, “I’ll give you Laura, but promise me Monica next.” I shouldn’t have said Mick at all. I shouldn’t have shown any cards. I disclosed too much information.

Why does everyone hate Shambo so much? Is she really that annoying?
Shambo can be annoying, absolutely. She’s someone that’s hard to work with. Shambo’s just different, and maybe I have more experience dealing with people that are different than I am. I really think that there was a malicious attack on Shambo from Laura, and it’s a case study in cognitive dissonance. Laura is this very Christian person and on day two, she said, “So, who do you think is the gay one? There’s always someone who’s gay.”


How have the quieter contestants like Monica and Brett made it this far?
Monica got this far because, most importantly, she was very lucky. The day Russell Swan collapsed, we were going to vote her off. But she didn’t go home and she knew I was gunning for her, so she got to do negative press. Monica got a lot of help from people like Laura. But at this point in the game, she’s so weak that if she makes it to the end, I think it will be similar to Erin last season – the perception will be that she got there by cruising. Brett is just playing this nice, likable guy card that doesn’t come off as really threatening or smart to Foa Foa.

What do you do back at home?
I work for an aerospace and defense company in the space systems division, and we do high-frequency communication satellites.

Has it been hard to transition back to the “real world”?
It was totally an easy transition. I was surprised at how hard and difficult it seemed for some of the other people. I saw Brett a couple of weeks ago, and he said, “Man, when I got done I was in the cab coming out of LAX and I couldn’t look at the buildings.” Like, whoa, what is the matter with these people? I’ve been away from home a lot and have traveled many places.

Who would you put your money on to take the game?
Let’s put my money on Jaison. He’s a smart guy who understands that Russell is a threat and is smart enough to do something about it.

--Amy Kaufman (follow me on Twitter @AmyKinLA)



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