For most the pre-Merge segment of this season, there were effectively three tribes: There was the Upolu tribe, featuring the returning Benjamin “Coach” Wade. There was the Savaii tribe, featuring Ozzy Lusth. And finally, there was the Redemption Island tribe, which was basically Christine Markoski and whoever happened to be visiting her.
After initially describing Coach as “temporary” and putting a target on her back, Christine was the second player voted out this season, but she followed torch-snuffing by going on run that saw her win five consecutive Duels.
Christine’s run of Duel supremacy was so impressive that it prompted Ozzy to voluntarily get voted out just to beat her on Redemption Island, despite Christine’s not-so-secret hostility towards her former Upolu mates.
Regardless of the logic behind his decision, Ozzy’s move didn’t backfire and he defeated Christine on Wednesday’s episode.
In our exit interview, Christine talked about making Redemption Island home, Ozzy’s gamble and whether she’d still call Coach “temporary” if she had a do-over.
HitFix: So how’d you watch Wednesday’s episode?
Christine Markoski: How did I watch it? With my eyes closed. No, I watched it with some family and some close friends and they all turned me and they were like, “It’s not true, is it? Really? Is this really how it happened?” And I said, “Yes.” So it was sad for everybody.
HitFix: Do-over time. It’s your first day on “Survivor” again. You’re on the beach. Coach shows up. Jeff Probst asks you what you think. What do you say now?
Christine: “Yeah, he’s temporary.”
HitFix: You don’t say anything different?
Christine: No. No. The comment was not a personal attack against Benjamin or Ozzy. It wasn’t. It was the fact that they were returning players. Look at history. Look at last season with Rob. He won, for Pete’s sake. Those two should have been temporary. They should not have stayed. And just previous to Ozzy and Benjamin entering the Redemption Island arena, my entire tribe was saying that whoever came through those gates, they were not going to stay long, that we had to vote them out quickly. And Albert was saying “No doubt. They’re gone.” So I thought I had the backing of my tribe. Apparently I did not.
HitFix: So what happened?
Christine: Well, I don’t know. I guess Benjamin did some sort of dragon-slaying mind game on them and they followed him implicitly. He was, I think, fortunate enough to get onto a tribe full of followers, save a few of us.
HitFix: You sorta put that target on Coach’s head and maybe a couple other people did as well, but nobody’s even mentioned voting him off.
Christine: No. Not a word. And I don’t understand it. I don’t get it. He doesn’t bring anything to the game. He’s not strong and talented. He doesn’t have a great strategy. He’s not helpful at camp. He loves to bark orders. He thinks he’s superior to everybody. I don’t understand why they don’t get him off of there. I really don’t.
HitFix: Is there somebody you’re particularly disappointed in for not taking control?
Christine: I think, Rick. I thought he would see through it and say, “No, no, no. This isn’t gonna work. This yahoo? No. Come on.” But he didn’t. He hasn’t.
HitFix: What has the experience been like for you watching this season, since so much of what happened on both sides, you weren’t there for. Have you felt connected to what you’ve been watching?
Christine: So far, yes. Anybody that visited me on Redemption Island had given me a lot of information, so there really haven’t been that many surprises. Really, the only one was the Ozzy Plan. That was the only surprise. That’s it. Everyone came through and was forthcoming with me. And who would think that somebody would voluntarily get themselves voted off to feed me misinformation?
HitFix: What do you think of Ozzy’s plan, especially since it’s been at least somewhat effective. Do you respect it? Is it anything you would have done?
Christine: I don’t think so. I don’t think I would ever voluntarily vote myself off. I don’t think that’s a great gameplan. But also, I don’t understand why he even hatched this plan. There was really no guess as to which side I was leaning towards if I made it back into the merge. I thought I made it abundantly clear that I would not go back to Upolu, that Savaii was the way I was going. So I don’t understand why he had to knock me out of there so that he would have numbers. I would have been a Savaii number. So I don’t understand the plan. I really don’t understand why he had to do that. Maybe it was for his own personal reasons. Maybe he had some demons that he had to quiet by doing that. I don’t know.
HitFix: So there would have been no hesitation at all? There would have been nobody on your old tribe who could have swayed you back?
Christine: I mean… if they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse? Eh. But then could I even trust them? That’s the question. I don’t know. But my leanings were towards Savaii. Certainly.
HitFix: It didn’t seem to me like you were keeping that a secret, but Ozzy’s tribe didn’t seem to even be giving that any credence.
Christine: I don’t know. I thought I made it abundantly clear and whether they gave credence to it, that’s their decision. They didn’t have to. They could do what they wanted.
HitFix: Given the amount of time you spent on Redemption Island, how did it feel to you by the time you left? Did it feel like home?
Christine: It really did! It felt like my home and even when Ozzy came in, he said, “I’m so sorry. I feel like I’m intruding on you.” And I said, “I don’t want you to feel that way,” but it was my home. It was my home for 14 days. So where at first it was unnerving and you’d hear sounds and noises that I don’t hear in Merrick, New York at all, so it was unnerving and it was scary and I did crack a bit, but then once I worked through that and got over that hump, it became a lovely place, really. I felt comfortable there.
HitFix: You mentioned cracking a little bit. What was your worst moment?
Christine: I think it was when it started to rain and I was sitting in my little shelter and it was just riddled with holes in the roof and I was getting wet and it was cold and lonely and I was like, “What am I doing?” And you sit there and you’re alone with your thoughts and that was probably the worst day.
HitFix: And then what improvements did you make around the place?
Christine: Well, first the improvement came from within me. I said, “This is it. Work through this right now. Get through it.” And then once that resolved itself, then I started decorating. I went and picked fresh flowers every day. I wrote a journal. I sewed my shirt with fishing line. I fished every day, unfortunately unsuccessfully. I really kept myself busy. And then it did become home.
HitFix: Who was the best guest at your Redemption Island home and who was the worst guest?
Christine: Oh goodness. Well, best, that’s easy. It’s my girl Stacey. It was like we were having a sleepover party. We laughed and rolled all night. It was just fun. Thinking back, we had a great time. We just clicked, Stacey and I, so that was certainly the best. But every one, I learned something from each person who came through. I had great conversations with everyone that came through. There really wasn’t a “worst” one. The worst night was when I came from Tribal Council, my first night at Redemption Island. I felt that was my first night.
HitFix: Going back, you were eliminated after only getting three votes, not even a majority. And you say you wouldn’t have done anything differently when Coach arrived. But have you gone through in your mind the way you would have played those first couple days differently to avoid such a swift eviction?
Christine: I would definitely have aligned myself with more people and quicker, as Benjamin did. That first night, he gathered up whoever he felt would follow him implicitly — and he was right — and he gathered them up and said “Let’s form an alliance, boom, right here.” I think that’s something that is an important aspect that I didn’t do. Stacey and I were certainly in an alliance, but that was it. It was just us two. So I think I would definitely align myself with someone sooner.
HitFix: Who would that have been?
Christine: Definitely Stacey and Rick. Mikayla. Albert. I think we would have been pretty strong.
HitFix: So for the most part anyone other than Coach and Brandon?
Christine: Uh… Yeah! No, Brandon, I don’t have any ill will towards him. I didn’t see a lot of that explosive behavior while I was at Upolu. I didn’t see it and I was there for five days. I did see it during my Tribal Council and I was very surprised by it, because I didn’t see it for five days.
HitFix: Did watching episodes on TV help to clarify that behavior?
Christine: Yeah, I could see that it was probably coming. After my Tribal Council, I said, “Oh yeah. I kinda saw that coming.” But yeah, it’s been very interesting watching it on TV.
HitFix: And as a last question, who are you actually rooting for from here on out?
Christine: Dawn. Dawn and Cochran.
Christine: I think Cochran has been an underdog the whole time and I think Dawn could be the quiet storm where she might dominate the individual challenges. She’s a strong woman. And she’s got six kids, so she’s gotta be able to get things done.