It’s pretty clear that we have reached the part of the game where those who have a great chance of winning in the end find themselves being targeted. That’s what happened this week on Survivor, where an all-around strong player was sent out of the game over what many considered to be a more obvious target.
Caution, as spoilers from this week’s episode are to follow! Turn back now! If you want to get caught up, be sure to check out the Episode 8 Recap here.
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Desiree Williams was just a victim of the numbers. “Desi,” a 27-year-old physical therapist from Peachtree City, Georgia, started off on the dominant Healers tribe and didn’t have to go to a Tribal Council until after the tribe switch. That switch stuck her with Healer tribe pariah Joe Mena, who she had no choice but to team-up with on a tribe that also included two former Heroes and one former Hustler. When Joe played his Idol correctly to blindside Alan, Desi had a brief spell where she contemplated turning on Joe and possibly teaming up with Devon and Ashley.
But her true loyalties to Joe were never tested. She made the merge and just proved even further how big of a threat she was in the game when she won the very first individual Immunity Challenge. When Jessica was blindsided last week – following a failed attempt at using the Idol by Joe – Desi quickly became one of the biggest targets in the game as the majority alliance began targeting the remaining Healers. She was the last woman left standing and almost won her second straight Immunity Challenge, but lost out to Cole. When the vote basically came down to her or Joe, many still thought she’d survive another week since Joe was such a big target and is disliked by many.
But Joe‘s persona at this point in the game is an exact reason to keep him. A player like Desi – who is well-rounded and is a huge threat in all aspects of the game – is usually the kind of player that is sent home post-merge. After a tie vote between her and Joe (presumably to flush out any potential idols), the re-vote send Desi out of the game, and she became the first member of this season’s jury.
I had the chance to speak to Desi 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:
DESI INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:
On what exactly happened at last night’s Tribal Council:
Desi Williams: We talked about who we were voting for, I was told we were voting for Lauren. I totally thought that all of the Healers would be voting together. We sort of had an inkling that they might be splitting the votes, so there’s that. I sort of have to take it as a compliment that I was voted out opposite of Joe. It sort of became clear after the first two individual Immunity Challenges that Joe was not an Individual Immunity threat. And on top of that I think he had pissed off enough people in the game, even at this point, where people felt like even if he somehow happened to make it to the end, like nobody likes the guy, nobody would vote for him [to win]. Where it was clear that I was a challenge threat.
On becoming the “Mayor of Ponderosa” (first jury member):
Desi: I very much wanted Ponderosa to be a place of positivity. I like to refer to myself as the “Queen of Ponderosa” (laughs). I would say maybe the first 12 hours I went back-and-forth about the game, and there were some tears involved. But after that I was like you know what? This was a good experience, let me just journal about this and then let me just live. So for me I wanted Ponderosa to be a space where you could re-integrate back into life.
On whether or not anybody noticed that there was one vote missing (due to Lauren’s secret advantage being played):
Desi: I admittedly and embarrassingly did not [pick up on the fact that there was a vote missing]. I did not realize until another person was voted off and reveals that to me, that only ten votes were read and Lauren didn’t vote. I didn’t think twice about it, I was still in shock that the Healer votes were all over the place and what the hell had happened there. So no, I was totally shocked.
For much more from Desi Williams, including my full interview, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.
TELL US: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DESI’S ELIMINATION?
Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira