‘Survivor 41’ Behind-the-Scenes: When 1 Contestant Saved Another’s Life

Survivor 41 premiere Ua tribe

CBS The Ua tribe in the "Survivor 41" premiere.

“Survivor 41” has been called out for its lackluster edit, spotlighting some contestants in favor of others, even to the detriment of the story. Due to the fact that an hour-long episode can only cover so much, some relatively important moments were omitted, including one scene in the premiere where Brad Reese potentially saved his tribemate, JD Robinson, from drowning. Here’s what you need to know:


Brad Thought He Would Get the ‘Captain America’ Edit for his Actions

Ua tribe in the Survivor 41 premiere

YouTubeThe Ua tribe helps JD Robinson onto their raft shortly after Brad Reese (bottom left) rescues him. The full incident was not shown in the episode.

In an interview Monday with Lauren Ashley Beck, “Survivor 41” contestant Brad Reese revealed an interesting story that viewers of the season didn’t get to see, much to Brad’s dismay.

Apparently, on the first day of shooting, as the entire cast was scrambling amidst the marooning, Brad swam to his tribe’s (Ua’s) raft, only for his tribemates to tell him that they were still missing a player. Brad then noticed that his 20-year-old tribemate, JD Robinson, was still struggling behind him in the water. He explained:

I look and there’s JD, and I mean literally, he has all these clothes on, so he’s weighed down. And I mean he’s going up and down– and my first thought was, “Scuba dive him to safety’ … [so] I dive right back in and I swim over and I grab him and I pull him and push him … and we get to the raft, and I help him up into the raft.

Brad went on to say that after that heroic rescue, he thought, “Man, that’s [a] Captain America edit!” Alas, of course, the audience was not shown this intrepid act of heroism, and Eric Abraham, the “Survivor 41” first-boot who was part of the joint interview with Brad, even said of the event, “Until Brad just said it, I had no idea it happened.”


Brad & JD Are Still Close

Although JD ended up participating in Brad’s blindside on Day 7, both Brad and Abraham said that they bonded most closely with the “Survivor 41” pre-jury boots, which included JD (who was eliminated right after Brad). Naturally, they said, this bonding occurred because the pre-jury boots were the only people they really got to spend much time with.

Though Brad also spent 7 days with his Ua tribemates Shan Smith and Ricard Foyé while in the game, he hasn’t spoken to them since the day he was eliminated, and doesn’t plan to. He described Shan’s game in particular as “crossing the line.”

Brad described the pre-jury boots, which, along with Abraham and JD, included Sara Wilson, David Voce, Genie Chen, and Sydney Segal, as “awesome.” “They’re just fantastic people,” he said. “Very, very fun.” Abraham added that he also keeps in contact with all the pre-jury boots. “There will never be two weeks that go by where I won’t reach out to one of them and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? How you doing’?” he said.

Brad added that he is actually also in contact with third-place finisher Xander Hastings, despite the fact that they were never on the same tribe. He said, however, that Xander, who is currently working on developing an app, is often quite “busy,” and “on the run.” Shortly after the finale in December, Xander posted a collage of photos on Instagram which included some of him and Brad together at Brad’s Wyoming ranch.

“Wait, was the real prize the friends we made along the way?” Xander wrote in the post. “No, it’s still the million dollars, but friends are worth playing for too.”

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. The two-hour season 42 premiere will air on March 9.

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