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Survivor has once again changed in the new era with new advantages. Showbiz Cheat Sheet talked to James Jones about his time on season 43 on Nov. 17 over Zoom. He gave his opinions on the Knowledge Is Power problem.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Survivor Season 43 Episode 9, “What About the Big Girls.”]

James of ‘Survivor 43’ thinks the advantage was in the well for drama

Q: My first question is, you picked up the advantage in the water well in front of multiple people. A lot of people thought that was a terrible place for the advantage. And you said you regretted picking it up. So what are your thoughts of where it was placed?

James: It’s Survivor! At the end of the day, it was in the water well. I wish I was there by myself. But if you want drama, you put stuff–you know, like that’s what happened.

So I picked it up, I read it. And, you know, at that point, I made the decision, you know, to go for it. I did offer it to everybody there. I thought it was a way that we could build trust, if us four as a foursome, really kind of kept the information tight for a vote just that much. That little bit can build trust. And when I saw that it wasn’t happening, I had to go tell my people before it could get around that I got it.

James thinks the power can change to be permanent

Q: The advantage was already systematically voted out of the game. Now it’s been voted out the second time, and it hasn’t been properly used yet. It seems like casts don’t like this level of power, and some fans question if the power should continue to be part of the game. What are your thoughts?

James: I feel like it’s fun. It Is a fun thing to watch. Like it may not be fun as a player. I do think there’s things they could do with it as far as making it maybe a permanent thing, meaning that you can’t vote it out. So either you have to use that to be used. Or can be willed to somebody. So it doesn’t make somebody an automatic target when they get it.

So for instance, if you know I have knowledge is power, you know if you vote me out, I can will it to anybody. Therefore, you’re more likely to not vote me out or make me try to use it, so it activates gameplay. But I mean, it’s the show. It’s the game. It’s not meant to be fair. It’s a rock draw. Like it’s Survivor. Like it is what it is.

James Jones smiles as he sits in front of trees on 'Survivor 43'.
James Jones on ‘Survivor 43’ | CBS via Getty Images

Q: So you’re, like, more producer influence, which I don’t know if a lot of fans would agree. But it is, it’s a strategy. It would definitely be used then. You told your ally about this advantage. Cody said you knew about his immunity bracelet, and then he gave it to Jesse. Did you notice that?

James: If Cody was going to give it to anybody, he was going to give it to Jesse. So I would assume that Jesse had it. Didn’t know about Jesse’s second idol.

So if I– and I wasn’t actually at the Tribal with Jesse. So if I ever was, like, really, really sweating, I probably would have tried to steal the idol from Jesse. It’s like, that’s where I was headed. But he was at this tribal. So, you know, rock draw [laughs.] It’s kinda what happens.

James explains why people didn’t talk about Karla’s idol after the merge

Q: Some tribes were able to figure out where other idols were because they knew about the beads. Was there any talk about Karla’s Idol because of this?

James: So there was, it was kind of two different things that were happening. One, we didn’t know where the idol was, but that was a good thing because no one knew where the Idol was. So that’s the reason why the votes were split. So, the other side splitting the votes instead of just piling the votes on made it easier to manipulate the votes.

So they’re thinking, ‘Oh, [intelligible] put James, and Cass.’ Instead of putting eight votes on me, it’s easier for me to flip the vote. Or for Coco to split the vote. So we’re not trying to bring it up if they think that someone has it. It’s almost working in that sense that they’re splitting votes, leaving their power, allowing, you know, to put that vote on Elie, the flip that happened on Dwight, which kind of flipped the game in our favor for a little bit.

James explains his frustration with Owen


‘Survivor’ Season 43 Spoilers: Fans Speculate the Winner Based on the Edit

Q: To talk about Elie and Owen, you wanted Elie out because she gave like the biggest run around after the merge of who she wanted to vote out. And it was Cody, but wouldn’t say it. You also had some distrust with Owen by telling him to vote wrong and then telling him that he was good in the immunity challenge. He knew that wasn’t the case. You were still upset that he wasn’t trusting you. Why were you pushing so hard for Owen to not be mad at you? When yeah, at the end of the day, like, it seemed like he was. He was on the wrong side of the vote. And I think a lot of people would take it very personally to be like, ‘Oh, you purposely made me vote wrong.

James: So yeah, I understand completely, but at the end of the day, everybody was lying to Owen. So I wasn’t taking it personally that Sami and Gabler didn’t tell me about the Elie vote. I wouldn’t take that personally about a lot of other things that happened with votes. Not the person that I tried to vote out twice.

Telling me that to vote for my ally. Like Ryan was the vote because it was a vote on Jeanine. An idol’s in play. Without having a backup plan, two votes on Ryan, it exposes a lot of people. So everybody was trying to get Owen to vote for Ryan. It wasn’t just me.

Like so for it to come back on me, I’m just like, all right, you’re directing toward me. But you tried to vote me out. We’re not working together. The people that you’ve been working with have been lying to you all game. Like why are you directing all your stuff at me? Instead of bringing a plan? Like when I say my mind isn’t made up, it’s just kind of like, ‘Oh, he starts snapping.’

I was like, I say, ‘I’m like, still trying to figure out my mind’s not made up. Is there a plan here?’ No, it was just be mad at James, which just fine. It’s the game. It’s frustrating. He’s passionate about it. I’m passionate about it. We’re both super fans. It’s just kind of for me. I felt we’re playing Survivor. Why would I tell you that your ally is going home?

This interview has been condensed for this article.

Other Exit Interviews:

‘Survivor 43’: Jeanine Says ‘Kudos’ to Jesse Keeping Her ‘Baby’ in the Game

‘Survivor 43’: Dwight on That Idol Mystery and a Jesse and Karla Preseason Theory

‘Survivor 43’: Geo Responds to Cassidy’s ‘Sassy’ Comments and Says ‘Karla Had the Bullets’ Not Her

‘Survivor 43’: Lindsay Hates You Think She’s out for ‘Paranoia’ and Not Karla’s Strategy

‘Survivor 43’: Nneka Talks Struggling in That Challenge, Bonding With Cody, and More

‘Survivor 43’: Justine Says ‘Hats off!’ to Cody for Clever Idol Hat, Shares What the Edit Left Out

Morriah on Disappointing the Dad of ‘Survivor 43’ and Not Believing Gabler