Rob Cesternino talks with the latest player to be eliminated from Survivor: Kaoh Rong in our weekly exit interview podcast. Plus, Rob talks to Jordan Kalish about the moments from This Week in Survivor History
Survivor Kaoh Rong Exit Interview with Peter Baggenstos
Peter: Rob, I just want to say, I listen to your podcast. I just want to compliment you because you’re always so upbeat and happy and that’s such a good personality quality.
Rob: Oh Peter, thank you so much I appreciate that.
P: [laughs] No worries bud.
R: So Peter, I don’t know why all these people were saying arrogant or any of these things because you seem like you’re the best!
P: [laughs] You know, it’s funny- not in the ha-ha funny but the life is crappy funny- when you get stamped with a scarlet letter, mine being the arrogant whatever, you can’t drop that no matter how hard you try, because if you do, they think you’re conniving or you’re acting. So I was stamped with that on my forehead and that was my fate.
R: Yeah. Peter, let’s get into this because this was a very exciting episode last night-
P: For you!
R: -this tribal council, I just feel like that there had to be so much more that we didn’t end up seeing on the show. Did you have a sense- I know you said that people are talking, I can’t read lips, I can’t see what they’re saying they’re like piranhas, it was you that even said the tribal council, the vote is alive right now- so tell me from your perspective, did you sense what was going on and that the tide was shifting against you at that tribal council?
P: No, so first of all the tide has always been against me going into tribal council. To set some context, which is super important, I went to Tai, Julia, Scot individually and as a group and I’m like “I am on the outs with the Brains, work with me”. No one would give me confirmation like “that’s a great plan, I see that you’ll vote for anyone you want who will do it”, they never would do that. They would never give me confirmation. So you know, they would run straight back to the Brains and tell them what I said. Then Joe challenged me or whatever. So by the time I got to tribal, my best option was going with the Brains for a stalemate vote, and then getting some fire- making contest. I was on the outs just sitting there so I was like “mm, you know what, what do I got”. Here’s the worst part Rob, during that tribal they didn’t show, Scot looked at me and he said, during tribal, “vote for Joe” and I look forward and acted catatonic like I didn’t hear him because I told Joe that I’m sticking with him even though we’re on the outs, we’re going with the numbers. Scot said “vote for Joe” and I don’t know, maybe he was talking to Tai, but he was looking at me and I didn’t react, so then he said “alright, plan B, go Julia” or something. So I heard that and Jeff picked up on it and he’s like “what’s going on?” and I’m thinking like Scot asked me to vote for Joe which is totally out of the blue, I have no idea what’s going on anymore.
R: So, you expected that vote to potentially be a three-three tie and then it was going to go into the Brains versus those people? Because I was wondering if the Brains felt like Scot and Tai were with them going into that vote.
P: No, I don’t know from Aubry and Joe’s perspective, again if they would have just came up to me once and said “this is the plan, we’ll vote Joe out”, I would’ve been like “yes! I’m with you forever”, like I’m attached, whatever you want. But I’m at that point, I used a comment like a Roomba vacuum, bouncing off the walls. When I would try to devise a plan they would run right back to the people I was trying to get out to tell them, which was so counter-intuitive. Scot, he had me, he could’ve made me vote for anyone, which is actually a good thing for him but he voted me out, someone that would’ve been very aligned with him and tutelage. It doesn’t make sense.
R: Yeah. That’s a great point about Scot where it seemed like he was saying that you were somebody who was untrustworthy and wasn’t somebody that they could count on moving forward. But did you feel like was your tribe playing as though that the merge was going to be coming or were they looking at this tribe as a unit that was going to be moving forward together as a group for a couple more votes?
P: You know, it’s interesting with perspective. When I first started, my first downfall with Liz was I played the game where I was projecting too far ahead. So by the time I was at the swap, I broke it down into four hour blocks in my mind. The game only went four hours ahead, I wasn’t thinking merge, I wasn’t thinking anything but the next four hours of social game. So in my mind it just wasn’t a component, I wasn’t thinking that far out, I modified the way I was thinking.
R: And what about at that point in the game?
P: Well, so at that point in regards to what would I do if it was a merge? I had no idea. I was still gunning for the Brains but then at the same time I was having a hard time coming to terms with numbers, and that’s kind of falling back on logic and taking emotion out of it. Five Brains, in the merge, that’s something I can work with. So knowing no one else would work with me, that’s kind of the deck of cards I had, the five of us in my mind and that was still crappy. So in my opinion, I was still unpredictable and I was still reliable if someone could give me an out to get on a different team, a different alliance group.
R: Now Peter, were you surprised that it was Aubry who ended up flipping her vote and not Joe? Because it was Joe that you had the altercation with, it seemed like it was Joe that you had the most friction with, but he’s the guy who’s saying “no, we’ve got to stick with Peter” but it’s Aubry who ultimately changes her vote right at tribal council.
P: I was. You know, Aubry cried at tribal council, we had to really good heart-to-heart and she ultimately convinced Joe to not vote for me. So I figured man, if she convinced Joe not to vote for me, why the heck would she vote for me? [laughs] So I was surprised. But you know, it’s just a game. At the end of the day, Joe’s a great guy, Aubry’s a great person, all of them are great people and I have no bad feelings.
R: When you guys initially swapped last week, I was thinking that that might have been the better spot for you to make your move and flip against the Brains tribe because you could have teamed up, from my outside perspective, with Anna and the people from the Beauty tribe. Why were you really adamant that Anna had to go last week instead of making the jump to work with her and Tai at last week’s vote?
P: Man, so I remember this so vividly. When we made the swap and we went to the other beach, Anna took Joe and they went down to this little cove and talked, right off the bat. Anna would not talk to me. I would have loved to game with her, but right off the bat she went for Joe to get me out. So she didn’t even give me an opportunity to talk because if she would have just grabbed me and said “Peter, I know you’re in cahoots with them, let’s work”, I would have been like “yeah”, but she did not take one initiative. So I was like, you know what, she’s gotta go. She has been unwilling to work with me. If I can convince them to get her out maybe Julia will work with me.
R: So in that episode last week, we also saw a moment where you were saying to Joe and to Aubry “hey I think that Anna needs to be the person that we need to get rid of” and they said to you “okay well we’re gonna go strategize and we’re gonna go off without you”. What were you feeling when they decided to have strategic conversations that they were leaving you out of?
P: Well, at that time they were so convinced to get Tai out and I had to convince them to get Anna out. And Joe and I were starting to have more friction with who we were gonna get out that it was basically just those two just leaving because it would have just kept escalating. And at that point, we’re seeing those two walk off and looking over my shoulder to the other people, I’m thinking, it’s really the epitome of the game, like I am stuck. My alliance, they’re having a side conference to decide what they should do with my idea. Like what does my vote mean to them?
R: Right. Now you lobbied to save Tai last week and ultimately he did stay, everybody seems to love Tai but Tai did not seem to have great things to say about you, that he was somebody who was saying that you are arrogant out there. What was your feelings about Tai and your impression of playing with him?
P: There’s a reason Tai said that. Tai loves earth, he loves chickens, he loves the air, I hate Peter, something like that.
P: But what happened was, the first challenge where Darnell left, the Brains won it so we left first and then the Beautys left. On the way out Tai apparently said something to the Brawn tribe to make them feel bad, so that next challenge when we were lining up, he was apologizing to them and then, you know, we’re not supposed to talk to each other, I kinda yelled out, because I didn’t know about this. I’m like why would you do that? And then Jeff interviewed me and I’m like why would this guy, who I didn’t know, make it an individual and make the Brawns feel bad for losing and voting someone out, because at that time that’s the worst thing to do. So Tai thought, “Who is this guy to like scream out of the blue and call me out?”
R: What was he mad about?
P: Making him an individual. I really called him out in front of everyone and said that’s ridiculous, you don’t kick someone when they’re down. They left and had to vote out of them team members out and you’re cheering in front of them? So without knowing him, the sentiment was like, Who is this guy to call me out in front of everyone?I don’t even know who he is!” And then again when you get to the beach and your own tribe members Joe and Aubry are calling you arrogant to them, it’s easy to say, “well this guy called me out and then he’s super arrogant, he’s just a terrible person, get him out”. I totally get his mindset at that time. But Tai now, he’d say that he likes me. I’d be surprised if he said anything mean about me. It’s just a game.
R: If you ended up with hypothetically with Neal and Debbie, did you feel like you had a better relationship with those two rather than with Aubry and Joe?
P: I had a better relationship with Neal. I thought I did have a good one with Aubry, I had to separate Aubry and Joe. Those two were thick as thieves. Those two together, they’re one voting unit, you couldn’t separate them.
R: Earlier in the season, we saw where Neal got the hidden immunity idol. I saw an exchange between the two of you about whether or not you had seen Neal get the hidden immunity idol. Did you know Neal had the idol when you were on the Brains tribe?
P: When I saw Neal out there, I knew he was up to something because of the smirk on his face but I spent, after Liz got voted out, tens of hours digging in the middle of the night looking for the idol. I convinced myself that there was no idol there whatsoever. So what Neal was doing, I didn’t know what he was doing. I figured he may have found it but in my mind I figured there was no idol, so whatever you know? Who cares? And then five minutes later we went to the merge so whatever he was doing was just such a secondary thought to me.
R: I read in one of your interviews that you did earlier today with Josh Wigler about how you required some serious medial attention at the end of your game. Could you talk a little bit about what you went through once you got outside of the game?
P: Okay just during the last two days I had a deep hand infection that I couldn’t even carry a machete to cut the coconuts. So after tribal, I was septic and I had a fever and I couldn’t even close my palm, I had to get sent back to Minnesota to get surgery on my hand as well as on my back and legs down to my spine. So I was sick and that makes two out of two Brains that had to go to the hospital.
R: Yeah so you and Liz, you were partners in crime and you both had a similar fate following the game.
R: Did you ever get an answer Peter on how many cats Debbie had? Was it thirty or forty?
P: The answer is zero. She’s got two turtles.
P: But now she’s labeled as a cat woman for the rest of her life.
R: Because of you?
P: Because of me. I mean if I’ve done anything constructive it’s that. No, it’s better, because I’m not calling Debbie like clueless and ridiculous. They can call me arrogant, but if I make such a jovial comment like that, that’s something that weighs lightly on my conscience.
R: Alright, well Peter thank you very much for coming on with me, I really appreciate it.
P: Rob, you’re the man.
R: Thank you so much Peter, and all the best to you okay?
P: Alright, take care buddy. Thanks so much.
R: Take care, bye.