The merge is normally a joyous occasion in the game of Survivor, coming at a much-needed time for most. But the game always continues, or as Ryan said this Wednesday, “this is the playoffs now.” For one unfortunate soul, their playoff dreams were cut short, and despite making the merge, this person managed to fall just shy of the jury.
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Sometimes it’s not what you do, it’s who you know. For Jessica Johnston, the 29 year-old Nurse Practitioner from Louisville, KY, her game ended not due to her own actions, per se, but because of her closeness with another contestant, the hunky Cole Medders. Jessica – a virgin (a fact that she shared with us herself on the show) – was pretty much smitten with Cole the minute she laid eyes on him. The two formed a tight bond and whether it was puppy love or real love at first sight, the two stayed close until the very end.
But unfortunately for Jessica, Cole showed signs pre-merge that he wasn’t going to be a very good strategic partner. He was not able to keep a secret and he continued rubbing his tribe mates the wrong way by hogging much of the food and not appearing to be much of a team player. Jessica’s mind was telling her that Cole was not going to be good for her game, but her heart convinced her otherwise that she needed him around.
As we’ve seen time and time again on not just this show but on several Reality TV programs, love hurts, especially when it arises during the context of a game for a million dollars. Jessica‘s unwillingness to create a little space between her and Cole cost her, as she was seen as a couple that needed to be broken up. When deciding who to target, Chrissy assumed that Joe might have an Idol and that to vote for him or Cole might be a bit too obvious. But to vote for Jessica? Nobody saw it coming, including Joe – who incorrectly played the Idol on himself – and especially Jessica, who ended up being collateral damage. Now out of the game, Probst also did not tell her she was on the jury, which means that she will no longer get to gaze upon her lovely show-mance and is out of the game for good.
I had the chance to speak to Jessica today on the FilmSurvivor Podcast (the full audio of which you can find and download at the bottom of this article). But here were some highlights:
JESSICA INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:
On whether or not she agrees that her infatuation with Cole was her downfall in the game:
Jessica Johnston: I love a good argument, I love to fight for what I believe. My inner soul of Jessica wants to fight you on that question and say absolutely not (laughs). Because this is a game that came into my lap, it’s a game that I chose and I want to believe that it was the best game for me at the time. But let’s be honest, I screwed myself (laughs). My father is a psychologist and he is always telling me let’s be in tune with the truth.
On if there is anything more to Cole than we’re seeing on TV:
Jessica: No. No. What you see is what you get (laughs).
On what her relationship status is now with Cole after the game:
Jessica: When I was playing with Cole, it was hard because there were days that I was like, is this something real? And on those days I would say is this worth a million dollars? Really, if you find someone you love, is it worth a million dollars? But quickly I was like OK, OK, OK, this is not love. It was very confusing and it was like, you just stole my food, and people who love each other don’t steal each other’s food (laughs). So that season passed real quick in my head, plus I never got to test [our relationship] out in Tribal. But post-game we have definitely spent time together, we definitely think very highly of each other, but we have “Friend Zoned” it (laughs).
For much more from Jessica Johnston, including my full interview, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.
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Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira