'Survivor' Host Jeff Probst on the Return of Three Iconic Artifacts

The executive producer weighs in on the arrival of three memorable relics, plus the latest delicious blindside.
Courtesy of CBS

[This story contains full spoilers for the latest episode of Survivor: Ghost Island.]

In the immortal words of Carol Anne from Poltergeist II, a film even more haunting than the current Survivor season's spooky premise: "They're back!"

Three iconic relics from Survivor history returned to the game in the latest episode of Ghost Island, called "Gotta Risk It for the Biscuit." The items, in the order that they first appeared on the show: the infamous "f***ing stick" from Survivor Micronesia, Erik Reichenbach's cursed Micronesia immunity necklace and the vote stealer from Survivor: Game Changers. 

Below, executive producer and host Jeff Probst weighs in on each item's past and offers a look into its present and future:

1. The Eff-ing Stick

Original appearance: Season 16, Micronesia

Original owner: Created by Ozzy Lusth, discovered by Jason Siska, then fruitlessly played by Eliza Orlins

Current owner: Michael Yerger

Original power: None

Current power: Operating as a hidden immunity idol

Probst on the stick's history: "One of the most iconic [relics] of all time because for a moment another player actually believed that a burnt stick might be an idol. And it planted in our minds that one day... it would! We didn't know it would be Ghost Island, but it did start us imagining a day when fake idols were a big part of the game. So, thanks Ozzy!"

Probst on the stick's new life: "Now it's matured into a real idol, Michael has it, and Michael is a very smart player. I loved his enthusiasm when he found it. Michael was a kid when he first saw that moment on his television and now he is the one having the moment. We make this show for families, so to see a young man realize his dream and connect it back to when he was 8 years old is pretty cool."

2. The Cursed Necklace

Original appearance: Season 16, Micronesia

Original owner: Earned by Erik Reichenbach, surrendered to Natalie Bolton and the Black Widow Brigade against all conventional wisdom

Current owner: Wendell Holland

Original power: Standard challenge immunity

Current power: Operating as a hidden immunity idol

Probst on the necklace's history: "We all know the story. Young likable guy gets played by young beautiful woman. Erik had a great sense of humor about it when it happened."

Probst on the necklace's new life: "We were so grateful we were able to get his necklace back to use on Ghost Island. Wendell is clearly very aware of the history of the necklace and took so much joy in finding it and wearing it. The question for Wendell is can he take what is now a full-fledged immunity idol and play it properly."

3. The Modified Vote Stealer

Original appearance: Season 34, Game Changers 

Original owner: Should have been Michaela Bradshaw, secured by Sarah Lacina, briefly in the hands of Cirie Fields, ultimately returned to and played by Sarah Lacina

Current owner: Kellyn Bechtold

Original power: Steals a vote from another player

Current power: Gives owner an extra vote

Probst on the advantage's history: "I can still see Michaela pouting on the sit-out bench, completely unaware there was a game-changing advantage at her feet. It's one of my favorite moments because it speaks to Michaela's nature. She wears it on her sleeve and this time it blinded her to opportunity. Only the Survivor gods could arrange for it to then be used against her. That was one of Sarah's greatest strengths."

Probst on the advantage's new life: "I love that Kellyn has it because Kellyn is a super strong player. She has been leading this Naviti charge from day one and now with an extra vote she has that much more power in the game. This was a big episode for the season. I think fans are now starting to understand the concept. Ghost Island is not the only place that relics from the past appear. What makes Ghost Island unique is that you have to be willing to wager your vote in order to secure an advantage. This is a layered season and I'm happy to see fans responding positively to it."

Beyond the discovery of three new (old) advantages, the latest Survivor episode saw the departure of a breakout villain: Naviti beach enthusiast Bradley Kleihege. Despite being in a solid numbers majority, Bradley's personal dealings with his tribe mates led to his surprise Survivor demise. 

Here's what Probst said about Bradley in the preseason: "I love Bradley. He's the kind of guy I wish we could have every season. He's really bright and he gets the game. He puts together thoughts in a way similar to a Cochran or a Zeke, where it sounds familiar, but he says it in a fresh way, so you kind of lean into him. He's either confident or arrogant, depending on your definition. I don't really know the difference sometimes. But I know I find it very appealing."

Here's what Probst thinks about Bradley now: "I would only add to this that I didn't realize that when Bradley told me his biggest issue would be being nice to people that he literally meant exactly that. I thought he was loosely commenting on a tendency he had of making snide remarks. Nope. He meant getting along in general. That was his biggest and one of his few downfalls. But it's a big one. If people do not like you, they will look to take you out. So if you sense someone doesn't like you, make sure you take them out first!"

As a bonus, since we missed last week's Probst column, the executive producer and host offered some final thoughts on the person eliminated one episode ago: James Lim, cut out of the game as part of the Malolo purge. Below, read what Probst said about James in the preseason:

"James is yet another guy who is working on something while he's out here. A lot of it came from our casting. He came in as a Harvard track captain with an IQ that's so high it's off the charts: 150 with a squiggle next to it. That's insane! The one thing he doesn't seem to have is emotion. I was just playfully saying, 'You seem more like a machine than a human. You seem really close to a human! But more like a machine.' He went upstairs after we were done [during casting] and immediately started watching Tony Robbins to figure out what I was getting at. I was just playing around! But to his credit, he took it to heart. He came back and said, 'I know what you're getting at and I'm going to work on it. By the time I'm on Survivor, I will have mastered the social part of the game.' Tall order, but the guy has a squiggle next to his IQ!"

Here's what Probst thinks about James now: "I was really impressed with James. It's easy to see the machine part of him in action, but what I saw was a guy that was working overtime to connect with people as humans. I was really proud of him. He picked the most difficult game to play when social skills aren't your strong suit. I thought he did really well. He took responsibility for everything, he was kind, he tried to make moves. He just didn't have the numbers. It's been very hard to see these players voted out. Every one of them had more game left."

What's your take on the latest Survivor episode? Sound off in the comments section and keep it dialed into THR.com/Survivor for more coverage.

Weekly Probst-mortems:

• Week 1: Gonzalez and Jacob's exits, explained
• Week 2: The return of James Clement's idol
• Week 3: Michael's "double idol" gamble
• Week 4: Ending Stephanie's dreams
Week 5: Probst on James' elimination
Week 6: The return of three iconic artifacts

Weekly exit interviews:
• 20th place: Stephanie Gonzalez
• 19th place: Jacob Derwin
• 18th place: Morgan Ricke
• 17th place: Brendan Shapiro
• 16th place: Stephanie Johnson
15th place: James Lim
• 14th place: Bradley Kleihege (coming soon)

Preseason player profiles:

• Angela Perkins
• Bradley Kleihege
• Brendan Shapiro
• Chelsea Townsend
• Chris Noble
• Desiree Afuye
• Domenick Abbate
• Donathan Hurley
• Jacob Derwin
• James Lim
• Jenna Bowman
• Kellyn Bechtold
• Laurel Johnson
• Libby Vincek
• Michael Yerger
• Morgan Ricke
• Sebastian Noel
• Stephanie Gonzalez
• Stephanie Johnson
• Wendell Holland

comments powered by Disqus