Survivor 44 officially hit the merge this past episode, which means every contestant voted out from this point forward will still get to attend tribal councils and have their say in who wins the game at the end. They’ll also get to talk and share stories with the other voted out castaways, much to the chagrin of some fans who think that process leads to a biased jury. Host Jeff Probst has heard those arguments before, and this week, he decided to address why Survivor chooses to do things that way.
Appearing on his podcast, Probst was asked why the show doesn’t separate the contestants after they’re voted out so they don’t affect each other’s votes. He acknowledged that the talking does happen, and the players do have biases in those conversations. He even said it would be “great” if they were able to sequester the entire jury, but he said that’s “impossible” for financial and logistical reasons. Here’s a look at his quote from On Fire With Jeff Probst (opens in new tab)…
To be clear, this is a very divisive topic amongst Survivor fans. There are some who feel like that process is exactly as it should be. Jury members should get access to as much information as they can because that will help them get a fuller picture of what was happening on the island and ultimately lead to a better vote. A castaway, as an example, might not understand how a particular player behaved on another tribe prior to the merge, and a jury member might be able to explain a blindside they pulled off or talk about how they didn’t help out around camp. Some fans feel that’s all incredible important.
Still, there are others who feel the jury speaking to each other allows one or two very forceful personalities with personal grudges to spend a week or two poisoning the well with the other jury members. They feel contestants could lie about what happened or have misinformation, and they feel this has led to some instances in which the jury seemed to go into a final tribal council very against a certain player without any clear explanation as to why, which leads to the wrong person winning.
Because that’s ultimately what all this is about. Who wins. There’s nothing related to Survivor that fans love to argue about more than whether the right player won a particular season. Sometimes the answer is clearly yes, as a particular castaway dominated and ran away with an obvious victory. More often than not, however, the fanbase is a bit more mixed on who should have won. That naturally leads to a lot of second-guessing about particular votes from jury members, and it also leads to a lot of speculation about what the hell happened behind the scenes, or at Ponderosa, which is where the castaways live after being eliminated.
If you take it from Jeff Probst, however, he thinks players are smart enough to see the agendas that others may have. He thinks, especially in the more modern seasons, the jury members are well aware of the biases of other jury members, and he thinks they’re good at going into the final tribal council with an idea of what they need to hear to decide how to vote. In fact, he’s happy that many of them come right out and tell the remaining players what they need to hear…
Ultimately, if it’s financially and logistically impossible and not a creative choice the Survivor producers are making, then it doesn’t matter what any of us think. That’s just the way it is and will continue being the way it is. Besides, whether the players are sequestered or not, there are always going to be questionable jury votes. Fans watching at home rarely agree on the outcome of the show, and that means, no matter what conditions the jury members are kept in, they’re likely going to see things differently too. I’m sure we’ll see the same thing this season when Survivor 44‘s jury votes.
If you’re not watching Survivor 44 this season, you should get on that ASAP. The show is stocked with vibrant characters and personality conflicts this season, and thus far, it has been jam packed with wild happenings. There have been multiple medical evacuations and a lot of gameplay-related decisions from the producers that fans have had a lot of feelings about it. The merge just happened at the end of the last episode; so, now is the perfect time to catch up.