After being voted out at the first Tribal Council of the season and surviving two consecutive Redemption Island Duels, Marissa Peterson finally met her match on Wednesday night's episode of "Survivor: Blood vs. Water." If you missed the full episode recap, you can catch up at this link.
Marissa - the niece of old-school Survivor contestant, Gervase Peterson, who competed on the show's very first season - never really found her footing in the game. She unfortunately was a woman on a tribe with a strong, five-guy alliance led by the tribe's "king," former NFL player Brad Culpepper. Being voted out after only three days in the game is tough, but for Marissa it was especially tough, since she was targeted not necessarily for her own merits, but because her Uncle Gervase was a bit over-zealous following the Immunity Challenge and gloated. How did Brad try to get back at Gervase's trash-talking? He sent his niece to Redemption Island.
Once there she finished second to Candice twice, but survived first over Rupert and then Tyson's girlfriend, Rachel. But when Candice's husband John arrived, the married duo was just too much for her. Marissa wasn't able to finish her puzzle before the other two and just like that - after nine days - Marissa was gone.
So how does Marissa feel about her time in the game? What are her thoughts on Brad? And does Uncle Gervase stand a chance at winning Survivor?
Here is my exclusive one-on-one interview with Marissa Peterson, where we find out the answers to all of these pressing questions and more:
Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: So how's it going, Marissa?
Marissa Peterson: Pretty good, for being here I guess.
Tom Santilli: It was sad to see you go so early in the game, that had to be disappointing for you.
Marissa: It is really disappointing. Especially because I did not expect so much support from the fans and so many people having my back. I feel like I disappointed my fans, but I tried my hardest. It definitely does suck to go out so early because I was definitely planning on staying way longer. I'm actually kind of glad that they cut some of my interviews because I would have sounded pretty cocky. I was all like, oh, I'm definitely making it to the merge. So it was a shock to me to be the first one out of my tribe.
Tom Santilli: How great was it to then watch last night's episode and to see Brad get his comeuppance?
Marissa: (Laughs) Awesome! I just felt like, thank you Caleb. I just wish that people would have done this when I was a part of the tribe. I just wish I could have been there to see it or to help it all go down. You know, I did vote for Brad on Day One right on the spot. It would have felt a lot sweeter to have people vote with me and to be a part of that, but it was still awesome to see.
Tom Santilli: You had a few choice words for Brad that were a bit too hot for CBS...why were you so angry at Brad and not the other guys who also voted you out and also had lied to you?
Marissa: I think just that Brad is the mouthpiece of it all and I knew that when I had voted against him on Day One and said that I didn't want him on my tribe, when he had the power he was just going to shut me down.
Tom Santilli: You also were originally targeted though because of how your Uncle Gervase reacted to winning that first Immunity Challenge. Have you forgiven your Uncle for what ended up being an action that sent you out of the game?
Marissa: Oh yeah. I know some people assume that I am really frustrated with him, but to me, the reason I was on Redemption Island was because of my tribe. My tribe shouldn't have even gone to Tribal Council, but the puzzle people lost the challenge for us. Gervase's celebrating had nothing to do with the way we competed, it had nothing to do with anything. So I just feel like my tribe used that as an excuse. I feel like had my Uncle not celebrated like that, they would have just used another excuse, like, oh, your Uncle swims so terrible that we're going to vote you out.
Tom Santilli: We got to see your Uncle Gervase play way back on Season 1 and he seems to be in a fairly good position this season...but you know him better than any of us. So what does your Uncle have to do to go far and possibly win this game and what could be some of his weaknesses moving forward?
Marissa: It's hard to tell right now. Everybody knows that he is like, the weakest swimmer, maybe that has ever played the game of Survivor, not just on his tribe. It seemed like that wasn't even an issue for his tribe, they just glazed right over it. Right now it seems like he is sticking with Tyson and Aras, if he can keep that alliance together, they both are really likeable. So I feel like he needs to just keep being himself and he should be in a good spot.
Tom Santilli: You spent six days on Redemption Island...did you bond with any of the people out there or did anyone bug you?
Marissa: Most definitely I spent the most time with Candice. The people who left - like Rupert, Rachel and John - I only spent one night with and then that morning at the Duel. Me and Candice had a good system going, we were like the husband and the wife. People are like, didn't you feel like the third wheel with John and Candice there? And I'm like, no, John was the third wheel! Me and Candice kind of had a good sisterhood going on out there. But we were both bummed when he came because me and Candice both wanted to continue to win there.
Tom Santilli: Had you won one of the two Duels that you finished in second place, would you have given the Idol clue to your Uncle Gervase knowing that it might make him a target?
Marissa: That was something I was thinking hard about. At the Duel, you could read a lot from the body language of all the castaways. You could tell who was panicking and who was trying to relay a message to their loved one. Maybe just because I was competing, but Gerv looked relaxed, so I just had a feeling that he was OK, or else he would have said something or tried to signal to me in some way. So I was going to give it to Gervase, because I think he could have found it and I think that his tribe works differently than ours, and who knows, it could have been a strength for him.
Tom Santilli: You were the youngest player this season. Do you feel like younger players are generally at a disadvantage in this game?
Marissa: I do. I remember them also talking on the tribe about the youngest person ever to have won Survivor, I guess, blew all of his money on like a limo and this and that, almost making it seem like young people don't deserve to win. Like young people don't need this money. I've got a bunch of student loans and I need the money just as much as like, a 30-year-old woman does. So I do think that put a target on my back, it just made me seem more different. Even talking about life at camp, my stories were all, quote unquote, not out in the "real world" yet. That definitely had something to do with separating me from the tribe.
For even more, be sure to watch Marissa's day after interview to the left of this column. Also be sure to subscribe to this column (above by my name) to receive email alerts of new postings and you'll want to follow me on Twitter too, @tomsantilli, and at tomsantilli.com as well!
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