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Survivor's Chris Hammons on Who's Really Pulling the Strings (It Might Not Be Who You Think!)

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Monty Brinton/CBS Entertainment

Safe to say Chris Hammons’ Thanksgiving dinner came with a side of humble when last week‘s episode of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X revealed that he was one of two players ousted in back-to-back episodes.

The 38-year-old Oklahoman thought he had a solid alliance with Millennial player Zeke, only to be blindsided by the fellow Boomer Sooner — though Zeke isn’t necessarily the competitor Chris blames for his sudden ejection from the game.

Find out which castaway convinced Zeke to make the move Hammons deems a “mistake,” how it was to watch the intense next tribal council from the jury and what he considers his biggest regret on the show.

Before we get to the specifics, it seems fair to say that your and Jessica’s exits have put this season of Survivor among the greats. Is this the most cutthroat game of Survivor yet?
Definitely. They’re all gamers. We all are Survivor fans, and it definitely seems to me to be one of the most cutthroat seasons there’s ever been. So it makes me feel a little better — or maybe I’m just telling myself that to make myself feel better — that all you can kind of cling to is, “Hey look, they take out threats,” and I think I was seen as a threat to win the game. If that vote had gone my way, I very well could have been at the end. You just gotta take it for what it is — a very good season with a lot of good players, and they took me out because I was a threat. 

Looking back on your blindside, did it feel like a betrayal?
Oh yeah. Zeke and Hannah changed the game for me for sure. If they’d stayed true to what we were going to do, Jess would have gone home. Zeke and I would have been pretty hard to get out that point — we would have been running the show the whole rest of the way. I think Zeke made a mistake at that point.

We’ve seen a lot of different types of players in 32 seasons of Survivor, but Zeke really seems to stand out. Having been aligned with and then blindsided by him, how does it feel to watch him?
Zeke’s definitely a good player, he’s making a splash in the game, and he’s a way interesting character — there’s no doubt about it. But the way I see it is, Dave’s pulling the strings. Dave formed that relationship with Zeke and Dave put himself in the position to get in between Zeke and I, and to really spell out, “Hey, Zeke, maybe it’s time to take out Chris.” And if Zeke said, “No, I’m not going after Chris,” then Dave would have stayed with us. I just feel like Dave had more to do with it than Zeke. Zeke’s the one who backstabbed me the most, but Dave set it up and Dave’s the one who was pulling the strings.

From your time on the show, did you have one major regret?
Yeah, not voting Dave out at the swap when we voted CeCe. I should have just stuck with my original thought, which was take Dave out back then, and I didn’t do it. 

So let’s jump forward to your first tribal council on the jury, with several deadlocked votes and going to rocks. How was it to watch that from the outside? Were you happy you weren’t mixed up in all the craziness?
It was fantastic to have a front-row seat to that. I had a blast watching all of it. I was actually jealous — I wanted to be in the middle of it. I wanted to stick my hand in that bag, too, or make a change in my vote or do something. I wanted to be involved.

Erik Reichenbach
Erik Reichenbach

Looking ahead to the road to the end of the game, you mentioned Dave and Zeke already as two power players — do you think they’re the most formidable?
Definitely, they’re the two highlights right now, for sure. After I’m gone, now Zeke has control of my alliance, and it was matchup of Dave and Zeke at this point.

People have to take notice, if they haven’t already, that Dave is the most powerful player in the game. If you’re in the game, you gotta take notice of that. Of course Jay’s a threat and Zeke, so you have a lot of players there that other people need to take a really hard look at going forward.

After you headed off from tribal council, can you share some ponderosa memories?
I actually really bonded with Taylor and Michelle right off the bat. I love both those two to death. We had a blast at ponderosa, just getting to eat some food and have conversations that don’t really “matter.” Having some people to talk to and eat what you want and drink some beer, it really helped. But there’s also about every 10 minutes, you have the sting of wanting to be back in the game, and tribals bring it all back up.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X airs Wednesdays (8 p.m. ET) on CBS.