Over the years, there have been several people who got into the game and found out that the harsh conditions and brutal challenges of Survivor just were not worth it. On this day 17 years ago — October 30, 2003 — the episode aired where Osten Taylor quit Survivor: Pearl Islands and host Jeff Probst could not hide his disgust.
Osten Taylor Asked to Be Voted Out and Then Quit
After the Morgan Tribe’s immunity challenge loss, Taylor asked his tribemates to vote him off the island, which they don’t want to do. So Taylor took it upon himself to quit.
“Going into this, I was like, ‘I’ll only go as far as my body allows me to go.’ And right now my body’s done. It’s exasperated. Every bone in my body hurts. I just can’t go any further. I’ll be more of a liability than an asset to my team and I refuse to do that,” said Taylor.
Probst wanted to find out if the other tribe members could understand that and Andrew Savage said he thought it was that Taylor had mentally checked out already, saying, “It’s all mental. Your mind controls your body. If your body’s shutting down, in my opinion, it’s because your mind is shutting down.”
Probst pointed out that Taylor’s obviously fit physique trumped just about anybody’s who was there and then asked, “When you hear a guy like Burton come back and say today, ‘you don’t know what down is until you’ve been humiliated by being voted out,’ and yet he still has a burning desire enough to be back in this game that he’ll risk it again, is there any part of you that questions your own will to go on when your body may be saying ‘I’m tired?'”
“Absolutely not. I equate my temple to a car — if it has no gas, it cannot run,” said Taylor.
After polling the rest of the tribe members as to whether they would ever quit — they all basically say no way, not ever — Probst then wanted Taylor to come out and say he was quitting.
“Have you wondered what the hell you’re doing out here?” Probst asked him.
“I can at least say I went and tried it. I would’ve liked to be successful. Apparently, I’m not going to be, but I won’t live my life saying ‘what if?'” said Taylor.
Savage argued that quitting is the “what if,” but he said it was Taylor’s decision to make.
“I’ve been at about 100 tribal councils. Never ever seen anybody lay down their torch. So this is a first for me,” said Probst, then asked for verbal confirmation from the tribe that they were sending Taylor home. After snuffing his torch and throwing it to the ground, Probst then said, “All due respect to Osten, people work too damn hard to get in this game and fight to stay alive. He wants to lay his torch down, so it shall be. Who knows, maybe this is the best thing to happen to the Morgan Tribe?”
Bring Back The Outcasts
This was also the season that saw the first six eliminated players form their own tribe called The Outcasts. They got to return to the game and compete against the other two tribes. If the Outcasts beat either tribe at the immunity challenge, they got to send a member to the tribe(s) they beat and that person had immunity for one Tribal Council.
In the challenge, the Outcasts won and Burton Roberts and Lillian Morris returned to the game. Roberts then made it all the way to the final five and Morris finished runner-up to Sandra Diaz-Twine in the finals.
It was a cool twist — a way to give voted-off players a chance to return without the Edge of Extinction thing where they let someone back in the game very late in the season. Giving them one Tribal COuncil’s worth of immunity gave them time to get alliances going and both Roberts and Morris obviously made the most of their second chance.
This is a twist that could actually be pretty interesting if the show wanted to implement it again.
Survivor hopes to film season 41 in the spring of 2021 for a fall 2021 premiere.
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