HitFix Interview: Michael Jefferson talks ‘Survivor: One World’

Michael Jefferson was blindsided because Troy Robertson got played.
As “Survivor” exit causality goes, this is a simple one to break down.
On Wednesday’s (April 4) episode, Kim played Iago to Troy’s Othello and whispered in his ear that Mike was out to get him and it would be better to vote Mike out now before his scheming had the chance to yield fruit.
It was just that simple. The newly insecure Troy turned on his former alliance-mate and because he never bothered to do any primary source fact-checking on Kim’s claim, he joined the plot to vote Mike out. 
Mike, it turns out, didn’t especially like Troy, but he also wasn’t anxious to deplete the number of remaining “Survivor” men. Oh well. 
[Note: Because of timing issues this week, I had to conduct this email via email. I’m very glad that even that was able to work out, because I’m a completist. However, there are places here where in an actual interview, I’d have asked follow-up questions, which didn’t get to happen here. You probably wouldn’t have noticed.]
Click through for the full interview…
HitFix: You were obviously blindsided at the Tribal Council. With talking to people at Ponderosa and whatnot, had you been able to put together the pieces of what went down?
Mike: Of course, I saw that maybe I was a threat and that Troy and I didn”t get along. Kim executed the plan perfectly. She used the information that Troy and I had against each other against me.
HitFix: At the time, what did you think had happened?
Mike: I thought the Salani tribe was going to vote out Christina. I had no idea that the game was switching that quick. I was complacent and thought I had much more time.
HitFix: Watching it play out, what was your reaction to Troy’s insecurity? 
Mike: I knew him and I didn”t get along, but I had no idea that he was so caught up with that. He went crazy with the idea of me talking about him. During the episode it was fun to watch him be so neurotic about it. I had no idea that I had so much impact on him.
HitFix: What did you think your relationship with Troy was like? 
Mike: Him and I just did not have a relationship. He refused to work with me and talk with me during the time I was out there.
HitFix: If Kim had come to you and told you that Troy wanted you out, how would you have reacted?
Mike: I would have talked to Troy. Regardless of our relationship, you would always want to go to that person to uncover what is actually going on because anyone can make up a story just to cause drama around camp. Kim could have made up that story and if we would have uncovered the truth, her name could have been written down.
HitFix: You mentioned the effort you’d put into shoring up your alliances with the women. Did you perhaps take the Men in your alliance for granted?
Mike: I didn”t take the men for granted. I really only had a relationship with Jay. Troy was part of the new Salani tribe but I didn”t have a relationship with him. The other guys I didn”t have a relationship with either. I didn”t bother building relationships with the other guys because I thought Salani was so strong.
HitFix: Why were you so comfortable with sticking with the Salani tribe that you’d been in for four days? And why did you think that the women in that alliance were going to be truer to that alliance than to their original alliance?
Mike: I wish the Salani Tribe would have lasted longer. The new Salani tribe was a good choice because it had the strong Salani women and the old Manano guys were on the other tribe. The women didn”t have to be truer to the new Salani… they could have stuck to their original alliance but still voted out the new Manono tribe. 
HitFix: There’s a clear sense watching episodes that Kim and, to a lesser degree, Chelsea are running things. Or have been running things. Did you sense that? 
Mike: I didn”t sense that… She just had a good voice out there.
HitFix: Did you have a strategy for how you were going to end up coming out of that New Salani alliance in any position to actually win the game?
Mike: If we were to vote out all of the new Manono members I would have been top five. Then I was going to step it up a notch and continue to win Immunity Idols.
HitFix: In your departure interview, you said you came out of the gates a little hot. What did you do wrong initially? And how badly did the One World twist mess up your overall strategy? 
Mike: Well, naturally coming out of the gates guys like Matt, Jay and myself stuck together and we maybe should have included some of the other guys instead of just building the strong guys’ alliances. The men versus women did mess things up because normally the strong guys will last a little longer but in this case you never felt safe because anybody could go home at anytime.
HitFix: And in terms of overall numbers, do you look back on the vote where you guys gave up Immunity and voted Bill out, with regret?
Mike: Yeah – I did not want to go to that Tribal Council. I ultimately had to so us giving up the immunity idol ultimately gave the girls one more number. I don”t have regrets because I had to, to stay on good terms with my tribe. It was out of my control. 
HitFix: I’m sure you’ve had time to think back over every second of your three weeks in the game. Is there one move, or are there one or two moves, that you think if you’d made them earlier on, what happened to you wouldn’t have happened to you?
Mike: We strategize all day long. Every possible move that could have been made was made so that is really hard to say, but I wish I would have talked to Troy.
Previous “Survivor: One World” Exit Interviews: