The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Survivor.
The war of the Reba four continued, but in the end, Mama J wasn’t the one sent packing.
After Dee solidified her safety with an impressive immunity win, all eyes were on the tarnished relationship between Drew and Julie. While Austin and Drew thought they had Julie in their crosshairs, Jake came through with a Hail Mary plan of blindsiding Drew. Despite the fact that Katurah spilled the beans to Dee, Dee chose not to give her fellow alliance members a heads up, and along with Julie, Katurah and Jake, she helped vote Drew out in a 4-2 vote. (Read a full recap here.)
Below, Drew talks to TVLine about feeling “humiliated and mortified,” his alliance with the newly formed showmance and why he felt Julie just had to go.
TVLINE | So why am I talking to you today instead of someone else, like Julie?
DREW BASILE | I got owned! It’s tough. I’m going to use this opportunity to pontificate a little bit because I was so against splitting the votes all season. I think splitting the votes is one of the silliest things you can do if you’re not the target, right? If the one person gets away, if they have an idol, that magnifies the target of who you want out like crazy. So you take a little bit of casualty to ensure a safe boot the next round. Whereas if you split the votes, it can really get unnerving. I just wanted to bury, bury, bury Julie, and I let Emily go because I thought I didn’t need the number. I thought Emily was a huge threat who would win at the end and we could just cruise on. In hindsight, major mistake. I critically overestimated the loyalty I had with Jake, with Dee, and you saw that come to fruition in a relatively un-suspenseful boot this week. I reaped what I sewed.
TVLINE | We saw Kellie from her jury seat say, “Oh, he’s pissed!” How were you feeling the second Jeff extinguished your torch?
You know, it’s funny. I wasn’t mad. And I watch these interviews, of course, because I’m a big fan. So many people correct, so I’m really trying to be honest with you. But at the time, I wasn’t mad, I was humiliated. I was mortified because I had known I had been so confident all day, rubbing it in in confessionals like, “Oh, here’s my million dollars coming my way. I’m gonna buy a Ferrari!” And then at Tribal Council, the answers were such that it became obvious to me that it wasn’t simple or at least it wasn’t simply going the way I thought it was. There had been some real finagling. So I started to get nervous. I’d been building and building and then by the time I was booted, I was just done because it was like watching your house burn down in slow motion, and you’re sitting on the curb. I just wanted to get out of there before I did any more damage to my reputation.
TVLINE | In hindsight, do you regret trying to go after Julie and splitting up the Rebas so soon?
I don’t. We had an agreement among the group to go after each other at the Final 6, so that was where my head was at. When Bruce went out Final 8 instead of seven, it was a big shock. It was a real change of schedule. So then I felt like the floodgates were open. Julie has this idol. She’s got to go before the end because she’s got great social relationships that could pull against a bitter jury, right? Because let’s be honest, the way the jury is being portrayed at least, their emotions are still in the game. This was something that we knew and we felt it would play in the decision-making. So if we were looking at a Final 3 of Rebas, it could be a situation where they would take Julie’s strategic contribution and her pleasantness as an option over everybody. So I felt like it was the [right] time, but the execution was a little off. I shouldn’t have let Emily go, but it is what it is.
TVLINE | Last week, we saw Austin tell Dee about the Julie plan, which then tipped Julie off to use her idol. Did you underestimate how close Austin and Dee were getting?
Man, she was ice, let me tell you! The previous week, it felt like maybe the emotion and the length of that conversation Dee and Austin had on the beach had tipped Julie off because apparently, she saw it. I wasn’t there. So I had been operating under the assumption that the emotional vibe at camp with Dee and myself had probably tipped off Julie. So we didn’t think that Dee had intentionally told, but the sense was like, “OK, it had leaked.” People were bad at concealing it one way or the other.
This week, she really played it well. Really kept it undercover. I felt like that Dee would be foolish going to the end with Julie because they had played such similar social games. And Julie had a strategic feather in her cap that Dee didn’t have. So I think complacently, because I thought it was the right, logical move, I didn’t look too deeply into the social, emotional underpinnings of that move. Big mistake.
TVLINE | You said Julie had a strategic feather in her cap that Dee didn’t have. Can you elaborate on that?
Julie had cultivated a really good relationship with Bruce and facilitated Bruce going home. So that was a real glimmer of strategy. That singled her out as like, “Wow, she’s gaming.” Then Julie had played that idol on herself. So I thought between that and a personality that a bitter jury could potentially get behind, we have a triple threat. Those reasons distinguished Julie as a winner candidate in a way that they maybe didn’t the rest of the week before.
TVLINE | In last night’s Tribal, you said that if you survived this vote, you could see your vision to the end. What would’ve happened from there had you survived?
At that point, I was really willing to go to the end with anybody. Dee and Austin was my operant Final 3 because I liked them. Obviously, the Reba 4 would’ve been nice to ride the whole way. Also, I knew that Austin had become so close with Dee, very suddenly. And so I was feeling a little unsteady based on the shifting of allegiance or this redistribution, whatever you want to call it. But I was happy to go to the end with them.
When I said that at Tribal Council, it was kind of like a nudge. Like, “hold the line,” because I started to get a little nervous based on some of the answers. I was just trying to be like, “If you think you’re going to the end with me, we’re going. It’s all set.” Don’t upset the applecart, as Jake might put it.
TVLINE | You seemed a little salty that Austin didn’t choose you to go on the reward. Now that you’re well-fed and have slept, did he make the right choice there?
No, I don’t think it was [right] at all! I think that our negative interactions during that thing really cemented the fact there was no way of repairing the relationship between Julie and I. We had talked about bringing Katurah. I felt like he should have brought Julie personally. But I get it. Obviously, there are reasons why you want to spend the time with Dee, you want to strengthen that relationship. I felt like for Austin, it was kind of a given that I would have his back. Similarly, I felt that way about him. So I get it in that regard. But being [back at camp] with Julie, from a mentality position, really killed the chances of our repairing our relationship and working together.
TVLINE | Jake and Julie went off into the jungle alone. Why didn’t you go with them? Did you not think that might be problematic?
Well, the thing was they weren’t gone for that long. I mean, obviously Jake was at the end there. I don’t know what I thought he was doing, but I felt like Jake at that point was not the entity in the game that Julie was. So watching Julie to stop her from getting the idol was priority No. 1. So I spent most of my time sticking with her.
The other thing is they’re adults. I’m the youngest person in the season. Am I really going to be like, “OK, kids, get in line! No talking.”? If they want to go around the island, what am I gonna do? When I threw the pot, it was kind of a reaction to the sufficient futility of my task because it’s like, how am I gonna watch two people if they go in opposite directions without burying my strategic relationships with them? Like, “Oh, I don’t trust you. Let me hover over you like Big Brother.” Give me a break. It was an impossible situation and I reacted in frustration accordingly.
TVLINE | Drew, is it safe to say that if a friend or family needs a babysitter, they should lose your number?
If they’re paying me, give me a call! Money makes the world sweeter. I’m in. But I don’t think I showed my faculty as a childcare specialist on the island. That’s for sure. I think I was more the child throwing a tantrum, but it is what it is.
TVLINE | Actually, let’s talk about that. I just watched the secret scene from Episode 12, which was absolutely hysterical. Are you typically moody in real life or was it the lack of nutrition that was setting you off?
Everybody’s asked, but I have no idea what’s in it! I think it was precipitated by the material conditions of being out there. You’ve got no food. It really affects your mentality. I think it was also a sign of maybe some emotional fragility at that point because I felt like I had played a really good game and felt like my game maybe wasn’t going to be evaluated the way that I thought it should due to factors that had appeared out of my control. The jury seemed bitter. It seemed like they didn’t like me. You saw that in some of the reactions when I went home.
Suddenly Dee had this really tight relationship with Austin that bordered on romantic. I can’t offer Austin the helicopter date that Dee can. So I was feeling like, “Oh, I’m losing my leverage.” Emily had just gone and I felt that that was a sacrifice that maybe I shouldn’t have made. I felt very uncomfortable about my prospects going into the future, that I could get to the end. Maybe I couldn’t, wouldn’t win. It was very relieving, on one hand, hearing from the jury that I did have equity, but on the other hand, it was disheartening too because I realized that I had emotionally felt like my chips were up when they weren’t necessarily yet.
TVLINE | Did you ever consider trying to cut Dee in order to solidify Austin?
The crazy thing was that it really wasn’t like that until so close to the end of the game. It was very sudden, like, “OK, there are two attractive young people on a beach.” Obviously people will look and say maybe there’s chemistry but I was tied with them. So I was in a situation where I had packed my picnic and then opened the picnic basket up and all the food is rotting and it’s like, “What do I do?” I’m out here in the field. I can’t go home. I’m stuck with what I brought. I felt very similarly about that situation that emerged with those two, but I wouldn’t have cut Dee. In hindsight, I should have, but I would have been OK going to the end with her partly because I felt like I had played a very similar game to [Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers’] Ryan Ulrich, and if you look at history, Ryan double crossed Devon. It destroyed their relationship and cutting his more social partner stranded all his agency in the game. I felt very clear that if I cut Dee, Austin would not trust me and it would leave me very vulnerable to get snapped up by the hyenas that were Katurah and Jake who were looking for a big move.
TVLINE | Was there anything from your time out there that we didn’t see that you wish had made the cut?
I mean, you’re always grateful for what you get. I did feel like Reba hunting crabs was a missed opportunity a little bit because we had such a crazy system. We would scare them and they would dig, and then we would dig up them in the sand and throw them in the air and Austin would stand there and just club them in midair. They would fly apart and we’d pick it up and be very happy. In hindsight, there are probably animal rights reasons why that wasn’t shown. But we just thought we were the coolest people on the planet. We were like, “They’re gonna slow-mo montage it,” because it was really quite cool. It started to be a big thing, too. Whenever we’d do it, all the drones would come out. They liked it. So I was like, “OK, at least I’ll have one badass moment,” but they didn’t show it. I get it. It’s a great cast of really interesting people and so many tribe dynamics to go through.