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Interview with Jeremiah: Kass's move 'one of the worst decisions I've ever seen'

Poor Jeremiah had a fifty-fifty shot at staying in the game last night, but luck didn't go his way. Yes, on Wednesday night's episode of "Survivor: Cagayan," Jeremiah became the fourth member of the jury and the third straight former Beauty tribe mate ousted from the game. I spoke with Jeremiah today, one day after the episode aired.

Jeremiah Wood.
Photo courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Jeremiah Wood becomes the fourth member of the jury.
Photo courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Jeremiah Wood was originally placed on the Beauty tribe and was immediately well-liked by all. In fact, every one on his team wanted him to be in their alliance. While normally that would be a good thing, for Jeremiah, it instantly put him in a swing vote position, needing to choose which group of people he wanted to move forward in the game with. Not choosing a clear side until the last moment, he ended up ostracizing himself from both sides, all of whom found him uncomfortably straddling the fence.

But the tribe shake-up would change the game for Jeremiah. Thrown on a tribe with Alexis, Morgan and three Brains, Jeremiah found himself needing to cling to his new-found tribe. Of course, his game would take another major blow when Kass decided to flip on Sarah, putting him once again in a tough spot.

Although being very physical and possessing social charm, Jeremiah was able to blend into the background for a time, not drawing too much attention to himself. When LJ was blindsided by Tony, it appeared that Jeremiah may have bought some additional time in the game. But when Jefra ultimately decided to stay true to her original alliance and with Tasha winning Immunity, it came down to either Spencer or Jeremiah as to who was going home.

Spencer had an Idol and needed to decide who to play it on: Himself or on Jeremiah. Choosing correctly would keep both Spencer and Jeremiah in the game and would have sent Woo home, giving Jeremiah another few days in the game. But you can't blame Spencer for ultimately deciding to play the Idol on himself instead of Jeremiah. He chose wrong though, meaning that Jeremiah was the one sent home. Heck, it was worth a shot anyways.

I talked today with Jeremiah about his time in the game, his early decision to vote against Morgan and Brice, and how he spent a lot of time under medical supervision after leaving the game.

Jeremiah: Hey Tom! How are ya, bud?

Tom Santilli, Survivor Examiner: I'm doing great! Sorry to see you go last night man!

Jeremiah: I appreciate it, thanks for having me. I was hoping it would be a little bit different too!

Tom Santilli: So let's go back to early in the game. You were sort of stuck in the middle between alliances and you ultimately chose to go against Morgan and Brice. Explain your thought process at the time and if you look back on that decision and have any regrets.

Jeremiah: Looking back on it, especially making it as far as I did in the game, I wonder what would have happened had I stuck with Brice. There is a lot that did happen that wasn't shown that sort of helped me with my decision on Brice, but again, I could have taken a player like Brice and he would have been my right-hand man to the end. He's a good guy, he's an absolute social threat. It was just a decision that I made. I wanted to gel together, but also early in the game you have to win challenges in order to make it to that merge. That's your number one goal. It would have been nice to have a stronger alliance within an alliance, but I was trying to go along with what gelled together the best. I'm all about winning and I wanted to win every challenge. So was it a bad decision, was it a good decision? It's hard to say, but I think I rebounded good. If it was a bad decision, I did end up getting stuck in another strong alliance with Spencer, Tash and Morgan. I mean, I had numbers again. So it's hard to say how the game would have shaped up had I stuck with Brice and Morgan from the beginning. I might have went home before the first merge, you never know (laughs).

Tom Santilli: You ended up sort of being on the wrong end of two other big moves from two other players, Kass and Jefra. First with Kass, is her move something you respect and understand as a fan of the game or do you think it was a dumb move?

Jeremiah: Being a super-fan of the show, I love the show, I love all of it. One of my main goals coming in was to just use common sense. I mean, I may not be Albert Einstein, but I have common sense, I know how to play this game and I know how to make it to the end. Looking at her decision, I never saw it coming. I kind of worried about her just a little bit, because she did sort of make a good move calling Sarah out on refusing to vote out Trish. Where Sarah messed up is when she said that she wouldn't vote out Trish. That was a game-changer for Kass in her eyes. But it was too early to make a big move like that. But she made the decision based on the fact that she didn't like Sarah. That was the problem. That's Survivor 101, you don't vote out on feelings. So in my eyes it was one of the worst decisions ever made. Then she keeps calling herself a free agent. Well, as this season is progressing, it really looks like she's playing like a free agent, right? (laughs). Then she turned around and voted out another one of my strong alliance members in Morgan, because she didn't like her. Spencer hit it on the head when he told her she almost has zero chance of winning. I mean it sure looks like that. But hey, this is Survivor, you never know just who can win the game.

Tom Santilli: I keep writing that Kass still has an outside chance to win this thing, given she sits next to the right combination of people, namely Woo and Jefra.

Jeremiah: But big moves like that turn the game upside down. As far as big strategic players, I had a strong strategy in this game. I know how to win this game, I've studied it. I know a lot of people don't get to see a lot of my strategy on TV, you know, I don't have control over what they show and how things get edited up. But I had a strong strategy on how to win this game. But Kass almost sealed her fate with the decision that she made and in my eyes, yeah, it was one of the worst decisions I've ever seen.

Tom Santilli: The other big move that affected you was Jefra's non-move last night. She shakes your hand and it looks like you have hope but then she immediately goes back to her original alliance. When she told you that she wasn't voting with you, what went through your mind and did you spend any time trying to convince her to still vote with you?

Jeremiah: Starting off at our reward, I gave her all the apologies I could possibly do, I apologized left and right. But see, she kind of flipped on me going into first merge, when Tony won that challenge and started chanting "Top Five! Top Five!" I kind of knew then that Jefra was in a new alliance. Then going into final merge, all she wanted to know about was what had happened to Alexis. So that's when I knew she wasn't with me anymore. So I tried to win her back over at the Reward and we tried to tell her that flipping to vote with us would be her million dollar move. It's something you'd be able to sit in the finals and talk about and say guess what? She could say this was my idea, this was my big move. Where I feel I messed up is that I could have started a big lie off of that. Let her know that someone else had flipped with us when they didn't. But it wasn't 30-minutes after we got back from the Reward and they had pulled Jefra aside to talk to her. And I said, you have got to be kidding me. So with her decision, had she pulled me aside in private and said to me hey, I'm thinking about going back with my old alliance, that would have gave me the opportunity to tell her that she was absolutely making a bad decision. When she called me out, she called me out in front of all of them. And I know Jefra is a sweet, kind, loving girl, and didn't want to make anybody mad. So had I confronted her in front of all of them, more than likely she would have taken it bad or maybe just would have cried. Either way I didn't think I'd be able to swing her back. It was hopeless at that point. Now I have a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda moments where I feel I screwed up. But had she voted with us, it would have been an absolute game-changer for me, Spencer and Tash. In my eyes it was kind of a dumb decision because she had let her alliance know that she had flipped and then she slipped right back to them, which let all of them know that she's not trustworthy. You've got to use your head in every move.

Tom Santilli: It wasn't shown much on TV, but you had a pretty serious injury out there. Can you tell us about that, what happened and how you're doing now?

Jeremiah: I hurt my back really bad during the Reward Challenge. It was the whole act of me throwing Jefra into the boat. In doing that, I messed up my upper back pretty bad. Once I got to Ponderosa, I guess it was dehydration and losing all that weight that I had and the effects of the medicine that was trying to get me feeling better, it just really messed me up. It took a few days for me to get to the point where I could even eat something. Now my back didn't get feeling better for a pretty good while afterwards. But it took getting some IVs in me and getting some real food to really help out with the medicine before I was able to move around and do things with the other people. I mean, there were still some things I couldn't do because of my back, but I did finally get to where I could enjoy Ponderosa. But for everyone who wants to play this game, it really takes a toll on your body. The longer you're in the game the harder it gets. Losing weight, being dehydrated, you can get hurt. You can get sick. You just have to keep that in your head that it can happen. And yeah, it happened to me!

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