In the first hour, fans watched as Alec Merlino lost a gruelling physical challenge, standing on a tiny perch for hour after hour, while Christian kept up a steady stream of chatter that killed Alec’s focus and caused him to step down and lose.
At the subsequent Tribal Council, Alec made a valiant attempt at pitching himself as a valuable asset to keep around, but his argument was not convincing enough to prevent his torch from being snuffed.
Speaking with ET Canada, the 24-year-old bartender from California admits that Christian’s “conversation frustrated me enough and got in my head enough that he was able to defeat me… there were so many mixed emotions. I was thinking about my mom coming out there, I was thinking about what would it look like if I quit, and gave up, I was thinking about how exhausted I was mentally… it was really just a culmination of everything. It was just that split second and then I let go. I don’t know exactly what it was inside me that said let go — I think it was a lot of exhaustion and a lot of Christian.”
As for his argument at Tribal Council that he should be kept around, Alec is circumspect. “At the end of the day, I wasn’t someone who fit in with their plans,” he says. “I wasn’t someone who was going to further them in the game.”
As for how well he feels he played the game, Alec says, “I think I played it as well as Alec could have played it. I didn’t try to go out there and try to compare myself to anyone. Had I been voted out first and you had asked me that question, I would have given the same answer. I’m happy with how I played because I was authentic and I was genuine and I played like Alec… I’m happy with how far I made it, and I’m happy I was able to stay true to myself.”
He says he’s taking two big lessons he learned from “Survivor” back home with him. “The biggest lesson, it sounds cliche, but don’t take the small things for granted. Like, the little things are actually the big things: family and friends, and the little moments we have,” he explains.
“The second lesson is never give up, never quit,” he adds, “because you’re capable of more than you think.
In the second hour, Carl Boudreaux hatched a gutsy plan to rally votes against Alison — which blew up in his face when it was his name that kept coming up when host Jeff Probst read the votes.
How confident was Carl that his gambit would be successful? “I was very confident that it would succeed,” the 41-year-old Texas truck driver tells ET Canada. “I mean, I had no reason not to think it wouldn’t succeed. We, as the David tribe, had fought our way back in, had regained the numbers, and I thought that we were going to continue strong and going on that path. But obviously it didn’t work out for me.”
With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, Carl recognizes he could have done more “as far as trying to get Gabby and Christian on board with the Alison vote. I would have tried to talk to Nick or Davie, to try to get one of them onto our side, because the communication with me and Gabby was starting to go in a downward spiral at that point.”
And while he won’t be taking home the million dollars, Carl will enter “Survivor” lore as the first player in the game’s 37 seasons to ever play the Idol Nullifier, which proved to be Dan’s undoing. “It was awesome, man,” he says of playing the nullifier at Tribal Council. “You know, ‘Survivor’ history, the first time the nullifier has ever been in the game, and it was not an easy advantage to use, you know. So for me, it was very awesome that I used it, that I played it correctly.”
He’ll also be taking a new attitude with him. “I live my life totally differently after playing the game of ‘Survivor’,” he admits. “You get stripped of everything out there. You have nothing, so it’s like you come home and you realize the things you have, that others don’t have. So you cherish them, you don’t take them lightly. You respect everything you have, you respect people. You try to enjoy life and try not to take any of that for granted.”