After the weightiness of last week’s emotional episode, Survivor gave us two scoops of fun this week, with a double-episode that did not disappoint. We witnessed the merge and we got to see a number of players jockeying for position in the game, now that the end is in sight. But a double-episode meant that we said good-bye to not one, but two players this week, both of whom will join the Survivor Jury and will cast a vote for this season’s Sole Survivor. I chatted with them both coming up.
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The double-episode gave us two Tribal Councils, and showed us that Hali Ford and Ozzy Lusth will become the first two members of this season’s jury. Both might be considered “Game Changers” by their inclusions this season, but they’re reputations in the game could not be more opposite.
On one hand you have Hali Ford, who at first glance might strike you as just another pretty face on Survivor. It was somewhat of a surprise that she was included this season, because she not only wasn’t a “Game Changer” on her previous season, but many were hard pressed to remember her at all. But not sticking out could have been the winning strategy on this season full of larger-than-life personalities. Unfortunately for Hali, she just was never able to find her footing in the game. It seemed hard for her to connect with others socially, and although she seemed to be a daring spit-fire during Tribal Councils, she was often on the outside or the bottom of the dominant alliances. Hali was surprised to be targeted first post-merge, but it was the safe bet since she didn’t have any close allies.
While Hali is a relative unknown for being a two-time player now, Ozzy is one of the faces of the Survivor brand. A dominant, legendary physical threat, Game Changers marks Ozzy’s fourth stab at winning Survivor. The closest he came was when he finished runner-up to Yul Kwon during his first season, Survivor: Cook Islands (Season 13), receiving four winning votes but falling short. He came back for Survivor: Micronesia – Fans vs. Favorites (Season 16) – and was ousted after 27 days. His third stab at the game was almost a charm, but he fell just short during Survivor: South Pacific (Season 23), getting voted out at Day 38. Adding an additional 24 days from this Game Changers season, Ozzy holds the all-time record for most days played in the game, at 128. Considering that he fought his way back into the game twice during the South Pacific “Redemption Island” season, he’s also the most-voted-out person in Survivor history, having seen his torch snuffed now five different times.
Ozzy went home this time after losing an Immunity Challenge that he had won twice in previous seasons. He seemed poised for another deep run if he could win some challenges, but losing both individual challenges this time around, it just wasn’t in the cards for ole’ Ozzy.
I spoke to both Hali and Ozzy today and it’s a Podcast interview you won’t want to miss (the full audio of which you can find at the bottom of this article). Here were some highlights:
HALI INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:
On if she was surprised to get the call to be a part of this “Game Changers” season:
Hali Ford: Yes (laughs). I was surprised when I found out the theme of the show. But I was ecstatic when I got the call back to come on the show, at that time I had no idea what the theme was. When I found out the theme was “Game Changers,” I was like, what? I didn’t do anything! I just sat around and made friends and wove baskets, I didn’t even know why I was getting the call back. I was happy, but no, I don’t think I fit in with this cast.
On her strategy this season:
I was really happy with my position in the game. I thought that I was in a secret power position with all of the bigger threats, and it kind of played out the way I thought it would, with the bigger threats being targeted…but I don’t know where it blew up, my strategy didn’t get me far at all. My pitch on the last day, my pitch at almost every turn was, hey guys! I’m just this little nothing player! Don’t vote me out, I’m your soldier! But it didn’t work out in the long, I don’t know why people where gunning for me, it made no sense.
On what she thinks her weaknesses are in the game of Survivor:
I feel like I change my mind too much. I think that to make moves you have to get an idea, commit to it, and then when other people see that leadership of like, here’s this idea that I have, then people want to go with that idea. I just over-complicated things and I think if I would just make a decision and stick with it more, then I would just have more drive in the decision-making. But out there, I never quite felt secure, even like I did on my first season. It was like I was always on the outs trying to get in. So I didn’t exactly form plans and force people to follow my plans. I sort of just would sit back and figure out what the plan was and then just makes sure it wasn’t me. I think if I were to play again, I would just go with my plans hell or high water, and convince other players to join me.
(For more with Hali, including some relationships she had that you didn’t see on TV, be sure to listen to the FilmSurvivor Podcast below).
OZZY INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:
On last night’s Tribal Council:
Ozzy Lusth: I blame Debbie 100%. I didn’t really see it coming until she pulled out her stupid vote. That’s when I knew that something was amiss.
On his in-game relationship with Cirie and trying to over-come their past:
I did feel like she was on my side. I’ m not sure why she voted for Sierra, I just don’t really know what her thinking was. She genuinely looked surprised. I think that maybe she thought it was going to be Zeke. Then Debbie pulled out that vote, which was sort of inconsequential at that point. But I could have gotten a tie vote had I gotten those two other votes (Cirie’s and Sarah’s).
On over-coming his reputation and his status as “Survivor Legend”:
Having the reputation that I do, it’s a little unnerving because I know that people will be gunning for me. I’ve got to be the best version of myself. At the same time, it’s a beautiful thing to know that I have this sort of reputation. I’d much rather play the way I always have, a loyal game, the way I embrace the entire experience of Survivor. I don’t really play from a place of fear. I’m happy to bow out, as much as I hate it, the third week out there, as opposed to be a lying, cheating, sniveling sort of fear-mongering player and make it to the end. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. The money’s not worth it and the win is not worth it.
(For more with Ozzy, including his take on the whole Jeff Varner/Zeke Smith incident from last week, be sure to listen to the FilmSurvivor Podcast below).
For much more from Hali and Ozzy, including my full interview, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – and on Facebook, for all of the latest Survivor coverage, interviews, and movie reviews.
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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment