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September 19, 2014

Tom Westman's 'Survivor' Exit Interview

by Audrey Fine, posted Mar 12th 2010 4:30PM
Last week, Tom Westman managed to escape elimination on 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' by playing the hidden immunity idol he'd found, but last night, the FDNY lieutenant (and real-life hero) had his fire extinguished once and for all.

Not that the ouster came as any great shock. He'd even predicted as much when Jeff Probst asked who was going home. "It's me tonight unless a couple of good people vote for the team," he said, "and for our strength and for our unity and not for the numbers."

Bingo.Last week, Tom Westman managed to escape elimination on 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' by playing the hidden immunity idol he'd found, but last night, the FDNY lieutenant (and real-life hero) had his fire extinguished once and for all.

Not that the ouster came as any great shock. He'd even predicted as much when Jeff Probst asked who was going home. "It's me tonight unless a couple of good people vote for the team," he said, "and for our strength and for our unity and not for the numbers."

Bingo.

Those Heroes just can't seem to get their game on; they lost both the reward (a chocolate pig-out) and the immunity challenge. And with Tom gone and big James Clement hobbled in the process, prospects for them mustering a rally in any upcoming physical contests look bleak at best.

By contrast, the Villains -- under Boston Rob Mariano's leadership -- have become a well-oiled, puzzle-solving machine that only hiccups because of tensions created by the deliciously devilish Russell Hantz.

What's Tom's take on his tribe's troubles? Here's what he has to say about his second stab at he game. (Which, considering that he won the million bucks the first time around, was significantly less fulfilling.)

In last night's episode, you said that you "got on the wrong side of the numbers early." Why do you think that the others had it in for you Stephenie LaGrossa and Colby Donaldson?
A lot of these people know each other and hang out socially outside the game. Stephenie, Colby and I don't do the whole "Survivor scene" so I think it was preordained for them to pick us off. Also, with Rupert [Boneham] targeting Steph -- he doesn't want anyone around who's as popular as he is -- it made it hard for us to get solid footing. He wanted her gone.

Were you aware that J.T. Thomas was playing such a two-faced game or is it coming as a surprise as you watch?
We knew by day two. We'd made the deal to align ourselves but as soon as he wasn't coming to me and chatting about strategy, I realized that he was just appeasing me and telling me what I wanted to hear. I don't know him outside the game, just what you and I saw during his season, but what I saw on Tocantins was a level of cockiness. I think he believed it was his game to lose, that he was about to put another one in the win column.

Why do you think the Heroes are having such a hard time coalescing to win challenges?
A lot of that goes right down to the puzzles and how good Boston Rob is at them. I've never enjoyed puzzles, I don't do them. But, [in the challenges] we'd collect pieces faster, would work well together and they'd catch up to the lead and pass us -- all because of Rob. It was incredibly frustrating having one person beat us time and time again. I don't know how bad we were but we just were not as good as Rob.

And now, a questionnaire for Tom:

Going into this season I thought I wanted to align with ...
I really didn't know who was going. There were rumors and you'd hear that certain people were going to be there but we didn't know for sure. Then we got to location and looked around. I thought, from what I knew of them, that I'd want to be with Colby, J.T., James and Rupert but it didn't take me long to realize that Rupert and James were not people I wanted to play with - they're difficult to get along with.

I should've aligned with Cirie [Fields]. We both shake our heads at each other now. But she had people warning her about me and I had people warning me about her and we arrived assuming we'd have to do battle together. Plus, I figured she was part of James and Amanda group, which she wasn't.

Who is cooler than he/she seems?
I say Sugar [Kiper]. Let's show Sugar some love.

What was the luxury item got back for winning the challenge a few weeks back?
Photo of the family. A picture of the wife and three kids on our boat cruising out on the great South Bay.

You're driving across the country. Who rides shotgun? Who rides in the trunk?

Colby and Steph are in the front seat and James and Rupert are jammed in the trunk.

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