Back in June last year, while the Survivor: Winners At War cast were battling it out on the islands of Fiji, I reached out to a selection of former Survivor players to get their thoughts and predictions on the returning castaways. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting those interviews here on Inside Survivor.
Today, we’re talking to Sunday Burquest, who played with Adam Klein in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen-X. Adam and Sunday never had a particularly close working relationship during Millennials vs. Gen-X, though they did vote together for the first two post-merge Tribal Councils. But they soon found themselves on opposite sides after Adam joined the plan to oust Sunday’s fellow Gen-Xer, Chris. However, despite not being close allies, in the end, Sunday became one of the 10 votes that saw Adam crowned the unanimous Sole Survivor.
Inside Survivor reached out to Sunday to get her thoughts on Adam’s return to Survivor: Winners At War.
Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in June 2019 while Survivor: Winners At War was still filming in Fiji.
1) Hi Sunday, thanks for doing this! You and Adam didn’t meet until the merge and were rarely on the same side, but you ultimately voted for him to win. What was your initial opinion of Adam, and how did it change throughout the season?
My initial thoughts about Adam were that he was on the outs with the rest of the Millennials and that he was playing from the bottom. He appeared, at first, to be a non-factor, and it seemed the Millennials, in general, were annoyed by him.
As far as Adam’s personality, I thought he came off a little awkward (dare I say, I bit nerdy) at first and strangely confident for a person that seemed to be on the outside looking in. He is a good listener. I learned that about him right away, when you are having a conversation with Adam he is dialed in and he actually pays attention to what you are saying, this served him well in the game. His confidence came off a little cocky to me until I sat and talked with him, spending time with him helped me realize he’s just slightly overconfident, but not cocky (LOL).
After spending time with Adam, I really liked him, but still didn’t see him as a threat in the game. We talked a lot and even talked some strategy. I felt Adam was the type of player that I could vote both with and against, and in both cases, he would generally be honest about which way he would go. Eventually, it became clear he had alliances on some level with multiple people.
2) Adam took a lot of heat at the beginning of the merge after Taylor threw him under the bus. Can you describe the general reaction to Adam at this point in the game? Why did he receive such animosity?
I think Adam came off cocky to the Millennial 3, Taylor, Jay and Will. In general, they didn’t seem to respect him or his game (at that point). Once Taylor decided to steal food, there were zero eyes on Adam. No one cared about him not sharing his advantage, and everyone was so upset with Taylor that no eyes were on Adam, and no one was mad at him after that Tribal.
Adam personally thanked each of the Gen-X for keeping him, but mostly we were thinking he could possibly be a number for us some point. For the most part, we were not actively seeking to work with him. But I really didn’t feel people were feeling animosity towards him other than Taylor and Jay, even Will seemed more willing to work with him.
3) There was a moment during the rock-draw Tribal Council where you convinced Adam that Ken was the target, and he then told David to play his idol on Ken, which was unnecessary. Adam later misplayed two idols himself. How do you view these moves? Did Adam have a bad read on the game? Or can you respect the plays regardless of whether they were right or not?
Although Adam misplayed idols, I don’t think it was viewed as him having a bad read on the game. First of all, there was so much strategic gameplay happening, things were constantly shifting. Second, it was impressive he found that many idols to begin with, so I do believe there is some respect given for having found and playing an idol regardless if it ends up being the right move at the time. I think Adam was reading the game with eyes open and had an ability to see the overall picture of what was happening.
4) What stands out to you as Adam’s best move of the season?
I think convincing Ken to send David home (including doing what he could to make sure Ken won the final 4 Immunity challenge) was his biggest move because had David been allowed to stay in the game to final 3, I’d be answering different questions.
Also, I think it was his overall strategy, painting a target on someone else as the bigger threat (David) and allowing Hannah to take credit or blame (depending on which side you were on) for decisions. He found the sweet spot of under the radar so as to not be pegged as the biggest threat while at the same time had his hands in enough decisions to claim them as “his” moves at Final Tribal.
5) Adam seemed sort of disliked post-merge, whereas Ken was portrayed as nice (until he screwed over Will), and Hannah just seemed scattered. Yet it was a unanimous vote for Adam in the end. It was such a surprise that some people go so far as to say it’s because of the reveal about his mom’s cancer. What are your feelings on that? What were the reasons you voted for Adam?
Although Adam’s story with his mom was extremely emotional and touched everyone, the first mention of it (other than Jay) was at Final Tribal. I believe most of the jury had their decision made before Tribal. I really believe that the jury almost never gets it wrong.
I voted for Adam because of the three sitting in Final Tribal, I felt he played the best game. And although we were not in the same alliance, I had built a great relationship with Adam. For the most part, I believe that jury members vote for people they like, and even though right after the merge it seemed as though Adam was on the outs, he did build strong relationships on the island.
6) It’s no secret that Adam is a “super-duper-fan” of Survivor and attends many of the fan events and parties with fellow castaways, some of which are on this season. Do you think that will be an advantage or disadvantage to him, and why?
For the most part, I think it will be an advantage for him. Building friendships outside the game allows other players get to know you on a more human and real level. Someone who may not have liked how Adam came across in the game while watching TV, may have their opinion completely changed by meeting him in person. He’s a very likable guy (although he is very opinionated and isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts).
7) Who on this season’s cast do you see Adam gravitating towards? Who would make a good ally?
I see Adam leaning towards the middle of the pack players. I think he will for sure want to align with at least one maybe two bigger threats than himself, but I don’t think he will want to work with someone who has erratic gameplay.
I see him possibly teaming up with Tyson (they’ve played poker tournaments together), Jeremy as a bigger target than himself and Ethan because of the cancer connection. I also see him aligning with Denise (he does well with the mom type) and Sophie because she is a logical thinker.
8 ) Who on this cast poses the biggest threat to Adam? Is there anyone you see him butting heads with?
I think Nick Wilson or Wendell pose the biggest threats because all three of them are similar, they are on the younger side and all very easy to get along with. I feel like if he’s not careful between the three of them, they could be interchangeable, and you never want to get votes because you are “just one of the choices” to send home because you blend in too much.
I feel like he will do everything possible to lay low, so even if he wanted to butt heads with someone, I don’t think he’d let anyone know it. I could see conflict with Boston Rob or Tony only because I think Adam would like nothing more than to have a part in getting rid of such a prominent player. Possibly Ben also because I feel like they are just so different. I could also see him maybe clashing personalities with Natalie.
9) What is Adam’s biggest strength? And his biggest weakness?
I believe Adam’s biggest strength is his ability to ‘read the room’. He doesn’t just pay attention to how others are perceiving him, he’s watching how everyone in the game is reacting to each other. He has an ability to sway opinion by continuing to point out the same things about another player. For example, Adam continually beat the drum that David was the biggest threat in the game, so that eyes were on David and not himself.
His weakness could be overconfidence. I think there were times in the game where he thought he was sitting in a better position than he really was, and I think because he’s a “super-duper-fan” he can tend to think his perception of what is happening in the game is always right.
10) Before I let you go, what is new in the world of Sunday? How has life been since we last saw you on Millennials vs. Gen-X?
Things are great. My first book came out last May, and I am traveling and speaking to various types of groups. I am most passionate about helping women find their strength in every situation.
Thanks again to Sunday for taking part. Stay tuned to Inside Survivor for more Playing with Champions interviews.
Survivor: Winners At War premieres February 12, 2020, on CBS.