'Survivor: Samoa's' John Fincher on Russell: 'Doing business with the Devil'
What were you up to before Survivor?
Without mentioning too much about my company, I work for a big aerospace and defense company. I do satellite engineering work. We're a major payload provider for high frequency communication satellites and high-accuracy earth-sensing instruments.
Are you still doing that?
Yes, I am. Still with the same company. Lots of people are trying to get a hold of me now, though, as you might imagine.
So let's talk about last night's episode. It would appear that the vote was a complete surprise to you.
Yeah, I mean there's certainly a level of surprise, but going into it, you start to do numbers in your head and you're like,"Why do I all of a sudden not know exactly what's going to happen?" The answer is either option A) I'm going home or option B) there's about to be a hit executed on someone that I could've protected or would've tried to defend against. When they're going to vote of for someone you like, they're not going to tell you so there was a certain level of surprise.
Did you at all suspect Russell was actually trying to get you out, specifically, or did you just know that something might be up?
With Russell, you're doing business with the devil and unfortunately for me, my position was that I was best suited to have a dialogue with Russel. When you saw me and Russell having that conversation on the rocks and I'm like, "Hey buddy, it's me and you all the way" and he tells me, "Yeah, whatever you want to do" and we're both sitting there lying to each other's faces. It's a total dialogue of untruths. We were both going, "Man, I wish I would've been on this guy's team but unfortunately I have to axe him." It's a very civil conversation but you both know you're trying to kill each other.
What do you think of Russell? He's obviously one of the bigger personalities this season.
I think he's the biggest personality maybe ever. I'm mad he got cast on the same season as me. [laughs] I think he's the greatest Survivor to ever play the game and if he wasn't cast on my season, I could've done a lot more. Kudos to him for maintaining control and doing what he was doing. I wish I would've thought to burn socks on my team, I love that move. If Russell and I were put on the same team initially, it would've been "Katie, bar the door!" It would've been even crazier. Russell is the greatest there ever was in this game.
Are there any things you've been surprised by, watching the episodes on TV?
Yeah, I mean, my strategy going in was that I am smart enough and analytic enough to process information and make correct decisions and I could do that better than most, if not all, of the poeple out there, so as far as things happening, I wasn't surprised by as much as I think a lot of other people were or are.
Who do you think is playing the best game at this point in the show?
Is there anybody besides Russell or is he just the complete puppetmaster?
There are some people who have potential to do some things, but are they going to do it? Dave Ball is a smart, smart person but does he have what it takes to execute a strategy? I think Brett is very likeable for a lot of people, but I think he's a bit young and a bit too naive to be a power player. Mick is obviously very smart and someone who can do a lot of good things. Monica is very weak. I think she made a bad decision to go with Brett and Dave over me. Jaison is a strong player, Dave has the potential to be a strong player, but he's drowning. He's just trying to stay afloat. But they are all overshadowed by Russell.
What about Shambo? I notice she didn't come up in your last answer.
Shambo is very impactful this season. She's a very unique character. She wears a bandanna around her head in real life. Shambo's a nice person but it's hard to work with her over the long run. It's really a behavioral pattern with her to let her emotions impact her decision making, which I disagree with. I try to be as ice cold as possible out there.
She's a nice person who was unfortunately a bit ostracized. When Russell Swan sent her over to Foa Foa twice, that was a bad move. When Laura was sort-of maliciously attacking her and trying to make her an outcast, I think that was an incorrect move. Shambo might not be able to articulate exactly how Laura was doing that to her because it was very subtle, but it was certainly happening. There was a lot of malice involved. Shambo's a good person and she got ostracized and Russell and Foa Foa recognized that and took advantage.
Do you have any final thoughts you'd like to share?
Just that it was a fun, great experience.
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Photo credit: CBS