By People Staff
December 05, 2009 12:00 AM
Monty Brinton/CBS

Another Galu member bit the dust this week on Survivor: Samoa. After Santa Monica, Calif.-based mechanical engineer John Fincher, 26, earned a one-way ticket to Ponderosa, he spoke with PEOPLE about trying to outsmart Russell, whom he calls “the best player ever,” eating pie, gaining weight at home and his costar ‘Danger’ Dave Ball’s alter ego. –Carrie Bell

Jeff kept asking if the person evicted would be shocked. Were you?I wouldn’t use “shocked.” I was certainly a little surprised. You start to think you have a problem when it’s supposed to be Dave, but you haven’t seen Dave running around going crazy.

You seemed to be working with Russell. Did you feel that was as your only option or did you actually trust him?No way did I fully trust Russell! I was actually trying to get with Jaison to eliminate Russell and start controlling the game. That conversation on the rock was basically the two of us lying to each other’s face. That’s how you play the game. I’m telling him, “It’s me and you to the end. I really trust you.” In my head, I’m thinking, “I wish we’d been on the same team and could have worked together, but I gotta axe you.” He’s saying the same thing, but thinking, “This guy’s a strategic threat.” My goal was to get him to walk away thinking he had me in his back pocket so he’d turn his attention elsewhere.

Erik fell on the sword with your oust-a-Galu-girl plan. Did you feel guilty?Erik was my best alliance out there. I wish he had told me he had an idol because I would have told him to play it. But he was not blameless. I had Foa Foa teed up to vote for Monica and did it with more finesse, so Erik didn’t need to have that condescending conversation with them that sparked Natalie to do something. On the other hand, when dirty work has to be done, it’s better to have someone else do it for you because if it blows up, it does so in their face.

Didn’t you worry that breaking the tie that sent Laura home was going to be your downfall anyway?My flip may have been a contributing factor to my departure, but it’s not the largest. It’s so much more complex than Foa Foa versus Galu too. It was portrayed as me flipping on Laura to save my own ass, but I examined all potential rock-draw outcomes and made the best call.

Maybe you should have shared the pie.I know, right. That was an epic storyline: “He was selfish, ate the pie and then was voted off.” It’s like a morality tale to teach kids to share. The pie was good and I found myself thinking clearer and feeling stronger from the sugar.

The real question is how was Chefbo’s chicken?Almost as good as the pie! We had a real nice chicken stew with a fatty broth so Shambo knows how to cook a chicken with only a cauldron and a fire better than Dave Ball.

Did you go back to work as a rocket scientist?I work for a great company as a satellite engineer that could absorb my absence so I still have my job. I don’t think anyone in the world has a business card that says “rocket scientist,” but it would be rad if I did. On a similar but creepier note, my neighbor ran into ‘Danger’ Dave at a Coffee Bean and gave her a card that said “sex ninja” on it. I guess when you’re not doing it, it’s always on your mind.

Did the show wreak havoc on you physically?I’m fat now because you come back and eat a ton because you were starving for so long He lost more than 20 lbs. in Samoa and your stamina sucks so you can’t exercise like you used to.

How’d Dave look? Maybe the sex ninja workout could help?I’m not sure I want to know what one has to do to be a sex ninja especially if Dave is the teacher, but he does owe me as I bought him at least another couple of days in the game. Monty Brinton/CBS