‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ interview: John Cody on immunity idol clues, evil socks, and strategy (exclusive)

Meet John -For a good while on “Survivor: Blood vs. Water,” it legitimately felt like John Cody was someone who had a pretty substantial chance at winning his way back into the game. He was a beast on Redemption Island, and could have been an interesting player after the merge given that he would not have had a partner around.

What we found with him in our post-show exit interview Thursday was a nice and personable guy that probably could have done very well in the game had a few things gone a little bit differently for him. We also learned everything from what he really thought about staying in the game the first day over Candice, and then the many misfortunes of finding out about how hidden immunity idol clues are a curse sometimes.

CarterMatt – So first of all, how upset are you over wearing socks to that Redemption Island duel last night?

John Cody – Well they’re usually really great socks! It’s funny because I didn’t think I was going to take my shoes off. I thought that if I could get the rubber of my shoes into the footholes, that I would be fine. It’s not like they really give you any time to practice. It’s more like you get up on the ladder and Jeff is like ‘all right, we’re going.’

When I was up there and I [started to kick off my shoes], in my mind I was like ‘you’re such an idiot; you left your shoes on.’ That being said, maybe if my socks were off I could have lasted a couple of more minutes. But I was pretty close to muscle failure at that point anyway. Kicking off my shoes was kind of a last-ditch effort, and I think the writing was on the wall for me at that point.

Were you feeling almost down the moment you saw that challenge? Historically, those things are not so great for guys your size.

Yeah, I walked in and the wind was definitely taken out of my sails. I’m not someone who gives up ever; if anyone is keeping score, I always plan on winning. I certainly realized that I had quite the uphill battle.

What was it like going back home and re-living some of the things you went through? Like the first day, for example; how hard was it to go back and watch the decision you made [to stay in the game]?

I’m not that emotional of a guy. I know the show [showed a little more of that]. I think it’s good as far as the show goes that it’s hard every time someone’s loved one struggles through something. It is so hard, especially when there is nothing you can do about it. You make so many sacrifices to go out there, and I was personally feeling all the sacrifices that we made to go out on the show, and seeing it turn out that way for Candice was gut-wrenching.

It wasn’t stupid, [the decision I made] to not switch with her, but knowing that it was something that I should do as a husband … I don’t regret it at all. I didn’t spend any time sleeping on the couch after I came home. Candice agreed with me. It was a decision that we made together, and it was the best decision in my mind.

The weird thing is that your wife was so good at Redemption Island that she kept winning, and then giving you clues to the immunity idol and making Brad want to get rid of you. Obviously you wanted her to stay, but was there ever a moment in there where you were hoping that she would just come in second place?

It’s funny, because we were the first couple to go through this. Everyone based the idol clues on how it ended up working for Candice and I, which was not good.

It’s funny seeing it play out on live television, but in the game you’re on Redemption Island. You’re supposed to win! She didn’t [just] win; she won with a bang. That second challenge, she won by like an hour. I was trying to play it down on my tribe, but in my mind I thought that nobody out there was going to beat Candice. So they were all assuming that she was going to come back, and while I think it was a little bit premature for Brad to make his decision [to get rid of me], he didn’t want her to come back in the game.

Also, I think that was a mistake for him because Brad and Monica are a formidable couple, as are Aras and Vytas, and I would consider Candice and myself to be a formidable couple. Knowing that, and in trying to look at where we were in the game, I wanted to keep all those stronger couples in the game because I knew that was the only chance we had to stay in the game. After the merge, everyone is going to target the strong couples. It played out last night where Aras was targeted because he didn’t have any other strong couples with him.

Had you returned to the game, what would you have wanted to do?

I would probably work with the other guys in Tadhana, Caleb , Hayden, and Ciera. Vytas was in my core subgroup alliance before and he betrayed me, so I would have never worked with him again. I was going to go with the other uncoupled people, which included Tyson and Gervase, because I was the only guy who knew the actual clues to the hidden immunity idol. I could use that to curry some favor with those guys, and then go after the targets. So I can’t really disagree with the move they made to get rid of Aras.

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Photo: CBS

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