For 13 of 14 episodes in this “Survivor: Worlds Apart” season, Will Sims II was enjoying one of the quietest, least significant 39 day runs in the show's history.
For 13 of those 14 episodes, Will stayed just out of the firing line on his No Collar tribe, made a smart alliance transition post-Merge to join with an assortment of White Collar and Blue Collar players in a majority pact and cruised to a Final 3 finish.
For 13 of those 14 episodes, you'd have been hard-pressed to remember anything specific that Will did.
That 14th episode? Well, it was a doozy. At the “Survivor” Auction, Will seemed to make a bad bid and was sent directly back to camp, where he discovered that he'd actually been given directions to a hidden trove of supplies. Will shared his food with his fellow tribemates when they returned, but speculation inevitably arose that if he'd been forthcoming about some of the food, he must have kept some for himself.
Several people levied accusations, but back at camp, Will responded only to Shirin, shouting and ranting at the often ostracized superfan, telling her that nobody loved her and other charges that Shirin felt (and feels) constituted assault. At Tribal Council, when Shirin cried and talked about her history of abuse, Will refused to apologize.
Will outlasted Shirin in the game, but at Final Tribal, Shirin got the last laugh with a lengthy zoological analogy in which she compared Will to a dead fish. But then again, maybe Will got the last laugh, because thanks to a vote from buddy Rodney, he finished tied for second. Or perhaps Shirin got the last laugh, because she'll be back on “Survivor” again next season after America voted her a second chance.
One person who won't be supporting Shirin next season? Will.
“Oh there”s no way in hell I”m rooting for her,” Will laughed when I asked him about it at the end of his exit interview.
In the slightly time-truncated conversation, we talked about The Shouting Episode, why he chose the post-Merge alliance he did and what aspects of his under-the-radar game he wishes we had seen.
Click through for Will's full exit interview…
HitFix: Going into last night”s live show. What were you expecting the vote was going to be?
Will Sims II: I knew I would have Rodney and I knew Mike was probably going to win. And the only thing that shocked me last night was that Carolyn only got one vote from Sierra. That”s the only shocker for me.
HitFix: Well given the choice between Mike and Carolyn who would you have voted for?
Will Sims II: Between Mike and Carolyn? Probably Mike because Mike, I mean, his back was against the wall and he knew he had to win. It was essentially win or go home and he kept winning so you had to respect that.
HitFix: So knowing you had Rodney”s vote did you think you could maybe sway anyone else? Like where was the point at which you knew you could or couldn”t win?
Will Sims II: Oh when Mike was in the Finals. When you”re going up against Mike and Carolyn, I mean, their resumes were impressive. I mean he”s won five. She”s won two and I had nothing. So it was a no brainer.
HitFix: Do you think that there was anyone you could have beaten?
Will Sims II: I think if it was me, Dan and Rodney I think it would have been close. It could have been neck-and-neck with me and Rodney. So I would have loved to see that.
HitFix: When you”re out there what is the thought process between, “Okay, can I actually win this?” or just making it one day at a time, one day at a time?
Will Sims II: It”s hard to say, because everybody wants to get to the end and win. But, you know, there”s different variables. You know: What alliance do you go with? Making the right decision to vote people out. And making sure you don”t piss people off that you vote out on the Jury and maybe have a chance to sway their votes. I won”t second guess. I mean it played out the way it was supposed to, in my opinion.
HitFix: I mean I”m sure you second-guessed something. Everyone second guesses something, right?
Will Sims II: No I didn”t second guess anything. You know I went in there with whatever situation is in front of you, that”s what you base your decision on. I mean when Mike kept winning, we had to decide within our lives who we thought was the bigger threat next to Mike and voted them out. So it changed for us. I mean because once he kept winning he dug into our numbers.
HitFix: You kind of had the choice basically at the Merge because the rest of your No Collars went off in one direction and you went off in your own direction. What drove you in that direction? Was there any possibility that you could have gone with your fellow No Collars at that point or not?
Will Sims II: Once we hit the Merge, they quit talking to me. So nce we made the Merge we knew it was every man for themselves, so I don”t know if they were trying to recruit other people and they just thought that they had me or what? I didn”t know what they were doing but I had to do what was best for me.
HitFix: They quit talking to you. Why do you think that was?
Will Sims II: I don”t know. I don”t know if they didn”t want the other people to think that we were really, really close and try to break that up or they were just gonna go in a direction and say, “Hey, Will”s on his own, let”s do what”s best for us.”
HitFix: A lot of people have talked to me about how that group of No Collars, the young No Collars, were cliquish because they were basically so young. Did you feel that way as well?
Will Sims II: Oh yeah. I mean they had a lot in common. I think Joe was 25, Jenn was 22 and Hali was 23. And they”re fans of the game so birds of a feather flock together and they had that common bond immediately. And, you know, me, Nina and Vince were drawn together because we were odd people out.
HitFix: Was it strange to you to be kind of an odd person out on a tribe that was supposed to be built around common sentiment or common world view?
Will Sims II: Well it depends on, you know, different personalities. I mean I fit in the best with them over Vince and Nina. I mean they liked me, but we didn”t click like they did. I knew I was four and it was Joe, Jenn and Hali to three and then me four in our alliance. And they wanted to have an alliance.
HitFix: And when you formed your other alliances outside of that, did you feel like you were in a stronger position or did you feel like you were coasting along at any point?
Will Sims II: Once they found out they could trust me I felt very safe in that alliance that we had. And then when Mike, you know, went bonkers it was even stronger after that.
HitFix: Now there was definitely a contrast out there between the episodes in which you were quiet and sort of under the radar and maybe didn”t get that much screen time and then… the episode where you got an awful lot of screen time. With the blowup with Shirin. How was it different watching the episodes where you were in the background and then the episode where you were the star, kinda?
Will Sims II: I mean that”s out of my control. That”s CBS. They portray us the way they want to portray us. It”s up to you to be genuine to who you are. I knew the episode with Shirin was going to be aired. I mean they had no choice but to air that. But, like you said, up until then I didn”t have a problem with anybody in the cast. Everybody had a problem with Shirin.
HitFix: So you know that that episode is coming and you know some version in your head of what took place out there. What was the contrast in watching what played out versus what you”d remembered in your head had happened?
Will Sims II: The thing that I wish they would have showed was me and Mike – Mike was there too so I”m arguing with her and Mike. So I”m yelling at Mike and I”m yelling at her. I”m yelling at Mike and I”m yelling at her. And they made it seem like I was just yelling at her and then Mike all of a sudden comes in and saves the day. No, he was right there.
HitFix: OK, that”s the only gap in your mind between what you remembered and what took place out there?
Will Sims II: Oh yeah, that”s exactly what took place.
HitFix: Watching the way things played out, at least in the edit, the way we saw it was Shirin was probably at most the third person to mention the idea that you might have kept some of the food for yourself and she really was not all that involved with it at all. Do you think she was more involved?
Will Sims II: Oh I know she was more involved because Tyler and Dan both approached me on the beach and said, “Shirin is saying nasty things about you and she said you have more food.” And that”s when I saw Rodney and Sierra on the beach and we dug up the cooler. So yeah, she had a hand in it.
HitFix: Again, the way we saw it was Tyler said, “Some people are saying you took things” and you said, “Shirin,” and Tyler just agreed.
Will Sims II: Yeah, then before Tyler came up, Dan came up to me.
HitFix: I”m just sort of wondering as you watch it, which pieces of what went down you regret and which pieces do you not regret?
Will Sims II: What do you mean?
HitFix: As you watched the blow-up with Shirin, you”ve obviously had to hear about it now for weeks, which are the pieces where you go, “Okay that”s just something that happens in the heat of the moment” and which are the pieces where you go, “Okay, clearly that was the bridge too far?”
Will Sims II: Oh no, everybody knew that I went too far. I mean I don”t regret going off for her questioning me about my generosity and my kind act about sharing my food. I”m not going to apologize for going off on her. What I felt bad about is, you know, the personal take how I went off like that. Because, like Dan said, we didn”t know about her past. She never talked to us about her abuse that she went through. We had no idea. So that”s the only thing I regret that I did take it a little too far. So yeah, I own that.
HitFix: But if you had known about the past you would have said some of that stuff, but there would have been a line there somewhere?
Will Sims II: Oh I definitely would have went off. I probably would have said something else. I mean, you know, hindsight is 20/20. I don”t know. But I don”t know what I would have said to be honest. I mean I would have said the same thing. I don”t know. I don”t know what I would have said but I definitely wouldn”t have… if I had known that she was a victim of abuse I definitely wouldn”t have thrown that in her face. That”s just wrong. Nobody would have done that.
HitFix: And you had weeks to steel yourself up for the live show knowing that that confrontation with Shirin was bound to come. How did that confrontation compare to what you were expecting or hoping for?
Will Sims II: I had every intention of apologizing to her. That idea of me not apologizing that never crossed my mind. I knew I went off on her in front of millions of people. You know the right thing to do is apologize to her in front of people to let her know that I was sincere. But that”s up to her if she”s going to accept it or not. I did my part.
HitFix: Going back to those episodes where you were keeping a low profile out there. What do you wish that we had seen about your game play in “Survivor” that just wasn”t able to make the cut?
Will Sims II: I wish they would have saw me in the decisions, the strategic moves that I made. You know, everyone came to me for a vote and if I didn”t like the way that the vote was going to go, people changed their vote and voted with me. And the people that didn”t trust Rodney trusted me and I trusted Rodney. So we had a tight bond the two of us. Everybody was riding on us. Everybody came to us for a vote. I never came to anybody and said, “How are you voting?”
HitFix: And are you going to be able to root for Joe and Shirin next season or not?
Will Sims II: Oh Joe definitely. I”m glad Joe got a second chance. He deserved it. I think Carolyn should have got it over Shirin.
HitFix: So that”s a no on rooting for Shirin next season?
Will Sims II: Oh there”s no way in hell I”m rooting for her.
Other “Survivor: Worlds Apart” exit interviews:
Sierra & Rodney