Caleb Reynolds is a fighter. Before the end of Survivor‘s Wednesday, March 15, episode, he seemed to accept his fate as the soon-to-be third castaway voted off, but Reynolds tells Us Weekly in a new interview that he was fighting until the last moment.
After an early tribe swap, which took the 18 remaining castaways of Survivor: Game Changers from two tribes to three, Reynolds found himself at the bottom of the new Mana tribe. “They made it look like I just gave up and I just sat there and I moped around and I just waited to die,” he tells Us. “That’s definitely not how it went. I fought and fought and fought, I looked for idols for hours, because I just had that feeling. And all throughout tribal, I was fighting and fighting and fighting — I was fighting so much to the point I was standing on my feet trying to say like, this is why I should stay and why Hali [Ford] should go home.”
The fighting didn’t pay off, and Reynolds found himself voted off for the first time in his Survivor experience (he was medically evacuated on day nine of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng). The Big Brother alum talks in his Q&A about his gameplay and “unfinished business.”
Us: Was there any hesitation coming on after your experience with the medical evacuation last time?
Caleb Reynolds: I felt that I had unfinished business, and I felt like I didn’t get to do something how I wanted to do it. I was hoping they would call me back! I thought, “I’m not going out that way again. If I’m going out, they’re going to have to vote me off or I’m going to win — one of the two.” I had to play again.
Us: How was it being voted off for the first time?
CR: I felt my time was going to come probably some time. … There are 20 people on an island, and only one person is going to win the money, so you have to expect to be one of those people who gets voted off. I didn’t want mine to be so early, but it was a cool experience getting to actually go to tribal this time — it was like, “Wow! Last time I didn’t come at all, and this time, I’m going every single time!” It was like a complete flip. The difference between me and a lot of people is I really don’t leave like crying like a baby — I leave with my head high.
Us: Would you change anything if you had the chance to play again?
CR: I would still be very physical, I would still be an athlete, I would still bring a lot to the tribe, all that good stuff. I don’t think I would change anything socially. … I don’t see where I messed up socially, I don’t see where I had a flaw, I don’t see a place where I didn’t do enough socially. Socially, I was fine. It’s just the tribe swap happened, and I guess if I played a third time, and I got swapped so early, I guess I would have to figure out some sort of social manipulation or social strategy to try to switch people’s minds. I felt like I was doing everything right. I don’t know if there’s anything I can change, I just feel like this time around, I was dealt a very bad hand.
Us: Who do you consider the biggest threat in the game?
CR: I’d say this — you can never count out police officers. Obviously, police officers do very well in the game. I watched Sarah [Lacina] before, and she did well — she had a strategy, and from what I’ve seen so far, you don’t see much of Sarah. It seems like she’s laying low, and she’s letting people go at each other.
Survivor airs on CBS Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.