Many viewers were left with their jaws on the floor at the end of Survivor 43 when heart valve specialist Mike Gabler walked away with the $1 million prize in a near-unanimous vote. Some felt that the show didn’t effectively explain Gabler’s win, with many expecting runner-up Cassidy Clark to be the favorite heading into the final tribal council.
Well, it seems like Probst himself felt the same.
“I will say that even I was surprised at how the final tribal council played out,” the Emmy-winning host told TV Insider. “As final tribal was progressing, I could feel the tide turning away from Cassidy and toward Gabler merely by watching how the jury was responding to their answers. I learned from that situation that the game can literally be won or lost at the final tribal council.”
As for the editing and making things understandable for the viewers, Probst stated, “It’s a very fair criticism and one we took to heart. Our job is to make sure the audience has all the information they need to solve the final mystery ‘Who will the jury vote for to win the game?’ We clearly didn’t do that.”
Survivor 43 jury members Jesse Lopez and Karla Cruz Godoy previously opened up about their thought process heading into the final tribal and why they ultimately chose to vote for Gabler. Both castaways shared that Gabler’s final tribal answers gave them a better understanding of his game.
“For me, at least, Gabler, the way he explained his game, the way he explained things, did fit well into that puzzle that I had mapped out in my head of the game,” Lopez said on the RHAP podcast. “Gabler really owned his game; he really owned how he played his strategy.”