For fans of slick Idol play and Tribal Council blindsides, Wednesday's (April 1) “Survivor: Worlds Apart” episode was a season highlight.
Probably Kelly, the Blue Collar stalwart who fell victim to the Jenn's Idol shocker and had her torch snuffed, wasn't quite as enthusiastic, but at least Kelly realizes what she did wrong.
Looking back on her “Survivor” ouster, Kelly admits that she was so irked by her post-Shuffle Nagarote tribe that she could could only be bothered to play nice with them for a few days, but couldn't maintain that diplomacy after the Merge, leaving no doubt that she'd flipped and putting a target on herself. She still thinks, though, that voting her out was a personal decision and not a strategic move.
She's probably right.
In her exit interview — a slightly truncated conversation due to travel and timing on my part — the New York state trooper also discusses the impact of her challenge head injury and the amusement of watching Mike try and frequently fail to let her win a pre-Merge Immunity Challenge.
Click through for the full Q&A, in which I dwelled more on the lack of painkillers than I might have if I'd had a better sense of my reduced time…
HitFix: Okay, your torch is snuffed. You leave the Tribal Council area. How quickly do you grab for the Tylenol or Advil?
Kelly Remington: Oh no, it wasn”t too bad. Honestly my head was fine. I was more concerned with just grabbing something cold to drink instead of the Tylenol or Advil. I didn”t have a headache at that point. I was good.
HitFix: I mean I”m sure you”re tougher than I am but how do you weather a not-minor head injury under those circumstances without painkillers?
Kelly Remington: No I mean this is “Survivor.” We”re out there to win a million bucks so honestly it hit me on the side of my head that — I mean it did hurt. Don”t get me wrong. I thought I ran into something or I didn”t know what happened because we”re blindfolded. But this is a game. Your adrenaline's going. “We need to eat. We need chicken.” You know, you”re focused on so much more. It's like, “Let's bandage this up. Let”s go. Let”s finish this game, Jeff. How far behind are we?” Because I know we couldn”t hear Sierra and I know Lindsey and I were doing things that we shouldn”t have been doing. So at that point, you”re not really worried about this s*** on my head and blood on my face. I”m like, “Let”s go. Get this game over with.” And you can”t breathe sometimes with those masks on your face either so I was more concerned about finishing the game than about the head injury. It wasn”t as bad as it looked.
HitFix: But what is it like when the adrenalin passes away though? The adrenalin will only get you so far under those circumstances.
Kelly Remington: Yeah, no, I mean I did have maybe a minor like little headache, but there and you”re so exhausted and dehydrated. It was a combination of everything. I don”t recall it like, “Oh my God, my head is pounding and it”s killing me and I don”t think I”ll be able to finish this game.” No it wasn”t like that. Honestly you”re in this moment, you”re in this game and you”re thinking about so many other things besides. A lot of people were stepping on stingrays and there were all these injuries out there. People are running into things. You just don”t think about it. You shake it off and go, “Okay, let”s go. We”ve still got a game to play here.” So it really didn”t affect me at all at that point.
HitFix: So going into that final Tribal obviously you didn”t anticipate the Idol but had you anticipated going in that you were going to be the vote for the other alliance?
Kelly Remington: My name was mentioned but I didn”t think that they were really gonna come after me at this point. I didn”t think that I was a threat. I wasn”t doing great at the challenges. I wasn”t one of the guys who, you know, was winning. Like Mike is a strong player and Joe is a strong player and Tyler”s a big player out there. So I didn”t think that I was a threat at this point. I thought, “Maybe they”re going to mention my name. Maybe they”re mad because I”m back with the Blue Collars. But why pick me? Because I”m not gonna win these individual challenges so why would you want to knock me out of it?” So I wasn”t really thinking about an Idol. I wasn”t really thinking they”d really truly come after me until obviously I saw my name written down on the paper. But at that point no, I didn”t, I had no clue. I was back with my Blue Collars. Everyone had my back. I was happy and yeah, it totally was a complete blindside to me.
HitFix: In retrospect have you been able to figure out a good strategic reason why you would have been the pick rather than Mike?
Kelly Remington: Oh yeah. It definitely was personal with the No Collars. Absolutely. Because when we went down to two tribes I went back over to the No Collars and I was the only Blue Collar. And I told the No Collars how the Blue Collars were dysfunctional and I didn”t like Mike and I didn”t like Rodney and Sierra was a crybaby. I made up all these stories just so they believed that I was with them and didn”t get rid of me. And then once we did finally <erge and we got back to all one tribe and they realized that, “Hey, you know what? She”s lying. Look at her. She”s hanging out with the Blue Collars like she hasn”t missed a beat.” So it was more personal with the No Collars and I think just because I was with them for a short period of time and did build an alliance with them at one point and then once we <erged I went back and just settled back in with my Blue Collars. So I think it was just personal with the No Collars at that point.
HitFix: The way we saw it you pretty much as soon as the Merge happened you just went back to the Blue Collars and you didn”t keep up the ruse at all with your old tribe.
Kelly Remington: Correct.
HitFix: Was that representative?
Kelly Remington: Yeah absolutely. I didn”t. I failed to play this game the way I should have. Yes, I didn”t. I do not like Nagarote. I didn”t like where I was at. I didn”t like their shelter. I didn”t like their fire pit. I didn”t like them and their chickens and I was just so miserable there, but I faked it for a bit, like three or four days or however long we were together. And then once I got back I let my guard down and that was like the biggest mistake in “Survivor”. You can”t do that. You”ve got to play this game every second, every minute. You can”t relax. You can”t think, “Oh yeah you”re safe.” You”re never safe. And unfortunately I went out there telling them “I”m not going to do what other people do and think they”re all fine and dandy.” And lo and behold a day that I don”t go and talk to Nagarote, talk to Jenn, Hali, Joe, that was my demise. That was my own fault. Yes I should have definitely kept that relationship together and I”d gotten lazy and that talked to them. So that was my own fault, yes.
HitFix: From what we saw we mostly saw you playing your undercover role with that group. Why did you dislike them so much that there was no consideration of playing nice with them after you got to the Merge?
Kelly Remington: You know I just didn”t, you know, my Blue Collar was my family and we built our shelter together. And then to get ripped up from your home and then you get placed in another tribe and you”re go on to someone else”s place where they have these places where they”re sleeping in their shelter and we can”t sleep in their spot. It's like, “Come on, this is our shelter together.” Their fire pit was small, they didn”t have big fires like we did over at the Blue Collar. Their chickens. They couldn”t kill the chickens because Jenn didn't want to and they were waking us up every morning. Like if we did fall asleep for an hour in the morning and those chickens start, you know… So I didn”t like anything about their camp area. We had this fresh water over at Blue Collar so I was just – I wasn”t at home. I felt like an outsider so I was just very upset that we had to follow their rules even though we were one tribe together at this point but we were at a different place. So I just did not like the camp area, their camp life at all. So unfortunately that was what it was.
HitFix: Well under the circumstances how amazed were you than looking back on it that you were able to survive that first vote, that they were able to turn on Max and Shirin and you were able to skate by for that vote?
Kelly Remington: Yes, no. At first I thought for sure I was the one going home because we still had all the Blue Collars out there pretty much. But yeah, I was shocked. I was shocked. I was able to tell them how much I didn”t like the Blue Collars. I kind of sold myself that, “I”m with you guys.” That the Blue Collars were terrible and “I”m going to stick with you guys regardless.” And I sold myself. I made them believe and feel and trust me at that point. And then I totally – my game plan – like I just didn”t look down the road. I was happy they had voted for Max because Max was annoying which was perfect. But again if they didn”t throw the challenge I could have definitely been the next one going home. I”m not sure, but it”s a possibility.
HitFix: The thrown Immunity Challenge was a bit hilarious to see, the effort Mike put in. What do you remember from that experience and how hard it was for Mike to throw the challenge for you?
Kelly Remington: [She chuckles.] I didn”t realize at first what Mike was doing. I don”t know because people were cheering, but I couldn”t hear him when he was talking to me and I finally figured out that he said “Kelly, listen to me.” I”m like, “Oh no, okay, I get it.” Yeah, I didn”t realize and I was caught up in the moment because it was tied two-two and the next person that wins the other people are going to Tribal Council. So it was very important to win so I think I was just caught up in the whole adrenaline, I can”t lose. I”m going against my best friend Mike out there, my alliance. And once I realized what he was doing I said, “OK, settle down, calm down. He”s gonna help you through this and we can go through this together.” It was amazing actually.
HitFix: Did you laugh watching it on TV, watching it play out?
Kelly Remington: Yes. I was laughing. Everyone laughed. It was horrible. I did horrible. It was pretty funny. It was pretty comical. Yes I did laugh.