Gervase Peterson, who joined “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” after not having competed on the show since Season 1, took third place during the finale behind Tyson Apostol and Monica Culpepper. He tells Zap2it that he did consider flipping on Tyson at one point.
Zap2it: Are you glad you returned to “Survivor”? What was different about this time around versus your first season?
Gervase Peterson: Absolutely ecstatic that they brought me back to play again. What was different was really the players. The game is the same, it was the players. They’re a lot faster-paced with how they do things. As soon as we got to the beach, Colton came to me and he said here’s our alliance — it’s me, you, Aras, Monica and Kat. I was like, “What if I don’t like somebody in that alliance? I gotta play with them for 39 days?” … That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. And he was like, “Boyfriend, you better get on board or you’re going home.” I was like, “Are you kidding me? I started this game and you’re telling me how to play it?”
They make alliances just to make ’em. If you don’t like somebody in it, it’s gonna break down. Somebody’s gonna turn on each other. I told everybody look, I’m not gonna talk strategy or alliances until we lose our first challenge. And we went nine days without losing, it gave me nine days to really get to know everybody on that beach. And then I really knew who I wanted to play with and have an alliance with.
[Colton] wanted to go to Tribal Council even if we won a challenge, he was talking about that. Like if we win, we’re still gonna go to Tribal and vote somebody out. Why would you do that? But it’s just to make a move. These new players, all they care about are big blindsides and making big moves. And I’m like, taht’s cool and all but you don’t have to make a big move to play the game. Everybody wants to do things right now, right now, right now and do it fast and big.
Were you surprised not to receive any votes after the final Tribal Council?
I would honestly have to say yeah, I was surprised not to get any. I didn’t think I was gonna get a lot [laughs] but I figured I would get at least one. I knew when I got Aras voted out the game, it was like throwing a grenade at Aras, but the shrapnel took out Vytas, Tina and Katie because they were so tight with Aras, so I knew I already lost half the jury votes and I had to work on the other half.
How do you respond to being called a “villain” by Ciera — we didn’t really think you and Tyson were “villains” this season, you guys just weren’t necessarily the underdogs.
Yeah, I knew she was doing that — every season there’s always a villain, it seems like. Someone you don’t like. And we didn’t have one this season. Even [Brad] Culpepper, he wasn’t a villain, he was just playing the game his way. I think it’s because we had loved ones out there instead of all strangers. I took offense to it. We’re not villains, we’re playing the game. That’s all we’re doing. You have to vote people out in this game. … This game is built on lies, distrust, backstabbing. People seem to forget that throughout the game. I think we’re heroes [laughs].
Do you regret sticking with Tyson at all?
Nah, not at all. In the game, I’m looking at any other way I can make a move and I’m just saying to myself, “OK, I have a good shot to go to the Final 3 with Tyson and Monica.” If I flip on Tyson with Ciera, who just flipped on her alliance … I just couldn’t trust her. If I’m sitting in the Final 3 with Ciera or Katie, I lose. Their moms are on the jury and they’re going to campaign for them. If I’m sitting against Hayden, I lose because everybody loved him out.
If I’m sitting with Caleb, I lose because everybody loved him too. He was a bigger threat to getting to the Final 3 and winning than Hayden was. … It just seemed like no matter what moves I went with, it was going to be tough for me to win in Final 3. But if you don’t make Final 3, you aren’t going to win. If figured if you flip on Tyson, you’re going out in the fifth or sixth spot. But if you stay with Tyson and Monica, there’s a good chance you’ll make Final 3 and then it’s just about giving a great jury speech.
If Tyson had not won the final two individual Immunity Challenges, would you have tried to take him out?
My last opportunity to take Tyson out was when Hayden came to me and said, “Wanna get out Tyson?” and I said, “Yes, but you gotta get Ciera.” Then it would’ve been me, Hayden, CIera and Katie. At that point in the game, I felt like Hayden, we still had a good relationship and I felt like I had a little bit more trust in Hayden at that point in the game. I felt like if he could get Ciera on board, I would flip on Tyson and go with them. But he could never get it, he could never guarantee it.
Would you go back on “Survivor” if asked?
Absolutely. Absolutely. I think you hear from everybody, it’s the greatest game ever. It’s the greatest test on you physically and mentally. I’ve played twice now, 30 days my first time, that’s a great accomplishment and now I make it to the finals. If I ever play again, it’s win or bust. I gotta win if I ever play again. [laughs].
“Survivor” returns in February 2014 on CBS.