For this season, regular contributor Jacob Derwin is bringing you a brand new weekly (-ish) feature called Alternative Reality. Each week, Jacob will be interviewing stars of non-Survivor reality-tv shows and getting their thoughts on the season. From Big Brother to King of the Nerds to The Amazing Race and more!
This week Jacob talks with Ian Terry, the winner of Big Brother 14.
Ian was a houseguest on the fourteenth season of CBS reality-gameshow Big Brother in 2012 and made it all the way to the final two, beating returning houseguest Dan Gheesling in a 6-1 vote. We talked to Ian on the phone about episode thirteen of Survivor: Millennials vs. Generation X.
Jacob Derwin: Start of the episode: we’re getting back from tribal council and Will is very excited about his move. He believes he came out of tribal a man, no longer a high school student. What did you think about his move?
Ian Terry: Yeah, I didn’t hate his move. I thought that it was definitely, pretty worthwhile.
JD: Thought it was a safe bet? Right time to get rid of Zeke?
IT: Yeah, you know, Zeke is probably one of the more entertaining players in this cast. He’s been interesting to watch, and I think that he’s a threat to go deep, so I think it was a good play. I think getting rid of Zeke was a good call.
JD: Skipping ahead to the next morning. Bret and Sunday and Adam are chatting and they’re talking about who they think is still threatening in the game. Most people are talking about Jay and David and Will. Do you think those three are people who could be/have been problems for those players?
IT: I think that Will – that whole group, it seems like Will was playing a decent game, but I don’t think he was the number one threat. Jay and David, yeah, him not so much. I guess the numbers there; that’s what you have to consider.
JD: This episode moved pretty fast because of the double tribal.
IT: Yeah, the double episode, which I always get a little bit [sigh] about when they do these ones. I guess it makes sense in this episode given that the two boots seemed like pretty straightforward, easy boots. But, I also feel like a lot of times when they do these, they feel very rushed and a lot gets left on the cutting room floor.
JD: Yeah, I mean, this was only how many days? Two? I’m not sure. They only had so much time left to do all these tribals but, yeah, it seemed they were like, “Okay, we need to get to six, quickly!”
JD: Let’s move to the immunity challenge. It involved stacking these discs on these polls and carrying them through an obstacle course. What did you think of the challenge?
IT: It seemed like a pretty standard Survivor-type fare. Nothing too out of the ordinary.
JD: I’ve never seen the throwing-the-disc-through-the-slot thing. That was an interesting little mechanic there.
IT: Interesting, but I mean, it seems like all the Survivor challenges at this point are just like, gather objects through some obstacle course, use the objects in some sort of crapshoot carnival game.
IT: That seems to be it, right?
JD: Yeah, yeah. Carnival game is a good phrase. It’s either holding something for a really long time or throwing something at something else.
IT: Yeah, exactly.
JD: That said, I thought the next challenge was really cool but we’ll get to that in a little bit. The challenge is pretty wobbly and clumsy for the most part but Jay rocks it at the end there. When Jay won immunity, I had a lot of thoughts running through my head about what might happen with idols and such, especially with Will possibly on the line. Did you think he might ever give up his idol to save his ally?
IT: Yeah, it definitely crossed my mind as something he might do. And as we see what he ends up doing with it, it’s pretty interesting.
JD: I was honestly a little surprised that he didn’t play it for Will. But anyways, let’s get back to camp. The target, initially, is David. I genuinely thought David or Ken would be in trouble this first half. What were you thinking might happen at tribal?
IT: I was just thinking, y’know, Ken is the most interesting character of all to me, right? Because, to me, based on editing and things like that, it just seems so odd because his pre-merge was just like, I mean, every single sign that would seemingly point to Ken winning, right? Then in the merge, it just seems like – what’s going on here? It’s a complete mess. So, although we have this edit, Ken is still my pick to win. It’s controversial but I think Ken is my pick to win. I didn’t see him going [home], so as far as David goes, he was in consideration.
JD: Was Ken your pick to win in the beginning, so you’re sticking by him or…?
IT: The pre-merge and then just – it’s tough to say it because I think we’ve now entered this weird realm of editing – but the pre-merge, his was so strong. Even though it seems like every post… that has been pretty messy, it doesn’t seem like that farfetched a possibility.
JD: Except for that blunder with Will, the previous week, I feel like he’s still has a pretty steady game for sure. That was just kinda one big damper on the whole thing.
JD: We get to tribal and David is pretty vocal about how he thinks he’s in trouble and Jay tells him that if he trusts Will, to go with his plan, and they talk about how alliances have been changing a lot this season. What do you consider the kind of groupings we’ve had? Are they alliances or voting blocs or trustclusters or whatever?
IT: The voting blocs thing seems apt. Although, that terms just annoys me because really a voting bloc is just a short-term alliance. That’s really what it is. It seems like its voting blocs that they’re playing with nowadays.
JD: Mhm, that’s what surprised me about the rock draw. That people seemed to be willing to go all in –
IT: To go for it! Yeah, it’s odd.
JD: Yeah, especially if you’re pretty sure something’s gonna change. But do you think the voting blocs are a good thing to do or is it better to be more steady with your alliances?
IT: I always say, and I think Coach said it really well in South Pacific, the best thing in this game is an unbreakable five, right? And yes, of course, no one’s playing for fifth, but I mean, once you get down there when you get down that deep, in these games, anyone can just go on a nice run. And really, it’s all about putting yourself in that position where you can get to the end by winning the last immunity or the last two immunities or something like that. But, that’s the thing, as I always say, if you can get a solid five and stick with it, that’s probably the best play for Survivor anyways.
JD: We’re down to six now, and I don’t think there’s been a solid five in a long time now that I’m thinking about it.
IT: No, it hasn’t happened in awhile. I feel like this new school of games since Tony and Spencer in Cagayan, it seemed like that was a big shift. Things seemed a lot more flipped probably because of Tony out there. But, excellent season. That’s one of my favorites.
JD: I agree. I think that and Second Chance kind of put that idea –
IT: Second Chance is where it really – we saw it in full form.
JD: Mhm. I think a lot of people are trying to mimic those seasons. I mean, Will brought up Tony in the first two episodes.
IT: Yeah exactly. Very interesting.
JD: By the time it was time to vote, did you think you knew what was going down?
IT: Always on the edge of my seat with these things. I was pretty unsure, yeah.
JD: So, Will goes home and… that was the first twenty minutes of the episode. We’ve already talked about Will plenty but, I was personally pretty excited to see such a young guy on the show, and I think he did pretty well for the most part.
IT: Yeah, that’s the thing. I think age is probably one of the more important factors on one of these programs because, really, to fit in with these folks, to find these sorts of bonds and things like that, you have to have life experiences. And I feel like one of the biggest challenges for me [on Big Brother] is that at 21, I severely lacked life experiences that I could share with people and bond with them as a result. And I think that at 18 years old, there really is a huge, difficult barrier to overcome. We say Millennial but he’s really in a completely different mindset than everybody else. He’s in high school for goodness sake. I think that really is very different. It is interesting to see that, I mean we had Julia on the spring season.
JD: Absolutely. And speaking as a 21-year-old guy myself, it is exciting to see people who are closer to my age on there. But that experience really is vital, to be able to work with so many different types of people, and not just people from high school, y’know?
IT: Yeah, exactly.
JD: Tribal is over, we get back to camp and Jay is probably not in the best mood. And why wouldn’t he be bummed out? All his alliance members keep getting blindsided. Tragic, really. He talks about how he’s gonna keep on fighting. At this point I thought it was possible that Jay was being set up to go home next. What have been your thoughts on him the past few weeks?
IT: Jay is someone who’s pretty interesting. I think he’s fun to watch, and he seems to be giving it a decent shot. Not as much as Will, I think Will played harder, but Jay is interesting.
JD: Moving right along to the next immunity challenge. We have the block puzzle.
IT: This is the cool one.
JD: Yeah! With the pinball/plinko timer. I don’t know who came up with this. Whoever on the challenge design team had this epiphany, this is a rad challenge.
IT: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. It’s a really cool idea. Sort of something like we’ve seen on Big Brother where it’s a puzzle where you have to reset the timer in order to keep working on it or else it falls down. I thought it was really interesting.
JD: There’s just that tension, y’know? Really great. Ken was doing pretty well; Jay was doing okay – a bunch of people were doing all right, but at one point, Adam starts to help Ken.
IT: To catch his ball, right?
JD: Yeah, he was telling Ken when to turn around. Was this the right thing to do?
IT: It’s an interesting idea, I mean, obviously he has to control who actually wins it. It’s more about keeping the immunity idol from Jay’s hands, so I think it’s a pretty legitimate strategy.
JD: Absolutely. And I really loved how Adam and Jay were having those “Jacob and the Man in Black conversations” from Lost too.
IT: Right, right.
JD: It’s like, I’m sorry man, but I have to beat you. That scene in the hammock was very emotional and powerful.
IT: It was interesting to see them open up like that. These are those real moments that really instill the bond between contestants. And I thought it was really interesting to see Jay open up like that.
JD: I agree. I can’t remember the last time two players on a show were actively talking outwardly about how they’re trying to beat each other, and being so respectful about it. It’s something new to me. Do you think it might be a signal that one of them might be the winner of the season?
IT: There is a possibility there. That’s a very sentimental scene that they could have just left out, but it keeps it interesting. So it does kind of get there. I would say that’s definitely consideration. Obviously you kind of get the general idea – again, Ken is my winner pick – but I would say that David is definitely someone that has an edit that you could see winning, and seems to be a lot of people’s pick to win.
JD: The edit talk has been interesting, especially with this final six. I’d say nearly everyone on it, five out of six, have edits that could signal a winner in a normal season.
IT: Yeah, for sure.
JD: All have had sincere, personal moments. Anyways, there’s a lot of talk about who to target next. Let’s say you’re in there, who do you go for? Who do you want to pick out at this point?
IT: I think one really important thing at this point, as much as Hannah isn’t really good at Survivor, the idea of wanting to get rid of Sunday specifically because she’s a goat – I’ve always liked this idea of goat denial. Although really what it just sets her up to be is the goat, right? So that’s who you take to the end. I mean, from her perspective, I think that’s great, but it’s all about perspective. So, I understand the move that she’s wanting to bring up there.
JD: It’s interesting… but it’s weird to me. The whole idea of a “threat” is that someone is a threat to win the game.
IT: The thing is, though, with Survivor and a final three, is that there’s always two people that have no chance. There’s always at least two people that are drawing completely dead and any one time. I think that we have that in Sunday and Hannah, right?
JD: Mhm, you think Hannah doesn’t have a shot?
IT: I don’t think she has a chance to win; I’d be very surprised.
JD: That’s fair! I think she could be that number three at final tribal.
IT: Yeah, I feel like if we’re looking at the three-person final, she’s probably the zero-vote getter. The annual, y’know?
JD: [Laughs] It’s a distinction! Absolutely. But yeah, that was interesting to me. We talked about it earlier, if there’s any time to do a double-episode, it’s probably when two people with a more minimal role in the season, but I was a little surprised that Sunday would go at this point. I don’t know, I feel like there’s too many people left who are way more –
IT: Legitimate threats, right?
JD: Yeah. Like, I get the whole idea of a goat taking your spot being a legitimate fear, but the fear of going to the end with two people who are way better players –
IT: Who are definitely going to beat you? Yeah.
JD: Yeah, like if I’m Hannah, I want to go to the end with Sunday and Bret. Know what I mean? I guess that’s kind of hard.
IT: Yeah, of course. That’s a tricky one to pull off. It would be quite the parley.
JD: So, Adam tells Jay that he needs to play his idol. He says they’re targeting Jay and he needs to play it because if not now, when is he going to?
IT: Yeah, and of course we end up seeing what happens there.
JD: Yeah, Jay was so frustrated.
IT: Yeah! Absolutely. I would be too.
JD: And he did a good job. I gave him a lot of credit the first time when he decided not to play it a few weeks ago because he kind of intuitively figured out that they weren’t targeting him.
IT: Yeah, and burning here… that’s rough.
JD: I feel bad honestly, but I think Adam made a good move.
IT: Yup, I agree wholeheartedly.
JD: All talk aside, do you think Sunday was a good person to get rid of at this point?
IT: We’ve actually seen time and time again that people will vote for who they like in the end, so it’s difficult to say. And she puts forth a good story. And you got to think, who really has enemies if they get to the end? Who has enemies on the jury? We’ve seen all types of players win these shows at this point, so I mean, nothing surprises me as far as how the end game goes. I’m fully convinced after however many seasons of Big Brother and Survivor, at this point, it’s probably more or less a vote for whoever they like at the end more than anything else. So, I can understand reasons to get rid of Sunday. It makes sense to me. There’s intangibles that will never be understood by us, the viewers. I remember hearing somewhere that if Rick gets to the end in South Pacific, he wins it all, hands down. And it makes very little sense to us as a viewer because all I remember of him is him saying, “mhm” and his mustache, right?
JD: [Laughs] Yeah, man.
IT: But apparently if he gets to the end with just Upolu people, he wins the whole season, hands down. Like there’s absolutely no way he doesn’t walk away with a million bucks. So, at this point, I’ve just come to expect anything.
JD: That’s a good view on it, absolutely. I watched Sunday’s Ponderosa video, and I don’t think they mentioned it on the show that she’s a cancer survivor, so like, the same idea. We don’t get to see a lot of that stuff because in the end, it isn’t relevant. But yeah, everyone out there does have a story and is interesting. So, at tribal, Jay plays his idol, mistakenly.
IT: Burns it!
JD: Ugh, just brutal. And it’s one for Jay, two for David and four for Sunday. At this point, now that we have this six, who do you think is most at risk to go home next?
IT: I think that Jay is in a difficult spot here. Now idol-less, I think that’s very possible. I think that we are shaping up for some sort of showdown here between David and Ken. I’m just interested to see who gets that fourth place hero edit, but that’s one thing that I’m really interested in seeing. I’d say that Jay’s in a tough spot. As far as risk to go home, I’d imagine that Hannah has really no chance.
JD: Do you think other people want to take Hannah to the end?
IT: I mean yeah, I’d imagine Hannah is going to be our zero-vote getter for the year.
JD: Yes. So your final three is Hannah, Ken and probably David?
IT: David would be my number two pick, and that’s the popular winner pick right now it seems so, there’s that. One person we haven’t talked a whole lot about is Bret. I mean, Bret, pretty low key, I guess he can go a little bit further but he seems like someone who gets there and that’s it.
JD: Yeah, Bret’s been an interesting character, but he just goes quiet sometimes. I think he’s well-liked on the jury, I think he would actually have a decent shot, I don’t know if anyone wants to take him to the end.
IT: Yeah, yeah.
JD: What have you been thinking about the season as a whole at this point?
IT: I think it’s been a really interesting season. I was definitely entertained and I definitely like it. I’ve watched every single one of these seasons at this point, and I thought it was a pretty good one. At this point, they all seem to blur together because there’s been so many. But I’ve enjoyed it.
JD: Good, good. Did you dig the theme at the beginning?
IT: I remember when they announced it, I was like, man they’re not even putting any effort into these themes anymore, are they? I mean, cool, let it last the four episodes that it does and it largely ends up being pretty irrelevant.
JD: Did I already ask you if Ken was your winner pick from the beginning or not?
IT: Not from the very, very beginning, but like, pre-merge I thought he was good. I was – I’m not gonna lie – I was on the Mari train at the beginning. That was disappointing, not gonna lie.
JD: I was genuinely shocked. I was aware of her stuff online for a long time, so I was really surprised.
IT: I was very disappointed there.
JD: Let’s see… oh! The legacy advantage! What do you think the legacy advantage is?
IT: Y’know, that is one of the more interesting twists and I think it’s really inventive and I have no clue what it could possibly be. I hope it doesn’t involve being just some sort of advantage in a late immunity challenge or something like that. I think that would be really disappointing. I hope that it’s really something big but I also don’t want it to be a free pass.
JD: I’m with you in hoping its something a bit bigger because you had to hold onto this thing for thirty-six days. Anything you’re excited to hear about at the reunion? Things you do not want to hear about?
IT: I always find the finale interesting. I wish they would talk to everybody like they used to. That’s been one of my gripes with the past few years is that the whole back row sits there, only if they’re on the stage of course.
JD: So, just to wrap it up: final three prediction: David, Ken, Hannah. Sound good?
IT: Hm. You know, I feel like one of those two gentlemen has to come in fourth. I’m not sure of the breakdown, but Ken or David to win at this point. I’m just gonna stick with Ken!
JD: Thanks so much for chatting with me man, really appreciate it!
IT: No problem!
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor tomorrow when I post my final Next Time On… prediction blog of the season!