Warning: This post contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of survivor.
Unless you’re wearing that highly coveted necklace, no one is ever truly immune to the epic survivor blind side.
Even Omar Zuhair – who many viewers thought was in the bag this season – couldn’t stop his teammates from recognizing his situation as a threat and acted accordingly. Thanks to Marianne’s tenacity, general coordination, and the added advantage of voting, Omar was satisfied to then find himself on the chopping block, having lost the confidence of some key allies and accidentally losing his sight of his very capable “little sister” in the game. (Read the full summary here.)
Below, Omar talks to TVLine about his relationships with Lindsay and Maryanne, and why Jonathan Brutal has turned against him. Plus he tells us all about the early idol scraping tool he found that was eventually left on the cutting room floor.
TVLINE | You played a great match, Omar, but why am I talking to you now?
Omar Zuhair | You’re talking to me because my house of cards collapsed in a matter of hours and I didn’t even know it was happening! The catalyst was Jonathan’s realization that Lindsey and I were closer than I and I at that point, and the reason is Jonathan and I found a hidden immunity-busting tool very early in the game. We promised each other we wouldn’t tell Marianne and Lindsey, and when knowledge came to power, we had to strategize around it. So I talked to Lindsay about invalidators and then confronted her like, “Do you know about invalidators?” And she said yes. I saw him take it aside, I knew it was a problem, and I think my own anxiety in real life manifested itself in the like game, “I’m not going to have that conversation and just hope you are OK.” I should have checked this info, and we knew Jonathan no longer trusted us.
That was right [first] Domino’s because Jonathan then went to Mike and said, “He’s got a nullification agent he’s planning to use on you” and then Mike also turned it on, because he was with Lindsey and I have an ultimate alliance 3 that I feel totally closed off until he finds out that info. Then Marianne saw the play she was doing with Derya, and that was a hint for her to make a move on me. It was like a small mob coming to me with a pitchfork at the same time, and I didn’t know until I answered the door and stabbed me in the stomach.
TVLINE | Stop! How did they leave the invalidator out of the amendment?!
I guess it was because it was never used, but it was the ring and I was Gollum. I was obsessed with doing Final 5 on Mike’s work, and I should have been a little more flexible. When Drea told me about her feature, I was like, ‘Oh, shoot. She’s taking my flight away,’ because she’s taking his idol that I’m going to nullify, and it’s too early for me to use the nullifier in a big move because then people are going to see what’s going on. So if I can keep the idol and whatever is in the game, whether it’s Drea or Mike, I know where they’re going and I can use them with them. It was very much! I should have gone with the flow, let Derya take the idol and remove her from the game. This is what I should have done in hindsight. You live and learn!
TVLINE | What do you say about this new era survivor When there are a lot of advantages in the game and they’re like, “Eh! We’re not going to show this, whatever!”?
[Laughs] I think it’s wild! I think this might be the first feature I realize it didn’t show up. I know Parvati found an idol in Micronesia [Fans vs. Favorites], but she did not bring it with her from the island of exile. So this may be the first person who hasn’t actually appeared in the game. Maybe they should reevaluate the number of advantages, I think? But I will say that in the game, the advantages didn’t feel overwhelming to me anyway. Probably because I knew what all of them were so I could strategize around them. But it took five minutes out of your day, and the rest looked like normal survivor to me. But on TV, it’s clearly a lot more important, so it sounds like it’s more weighty than you might feel at the moment.
TVLINE | Back on the blind side, did you ever think that Marianne had it?
I thought Marianne had it early on, and I think I lost sight because we got so close, and I wanted her to work almost like me, in a weird way, because she’s like my little sister. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, and I think this played into the game because I didn’t see my game as amazing at the moment. I thought people didn’t know what I was doing. I needed something as big as an invalidator to show them that I knew what was going on. So at that point, I didn’t think Marianne would ever see me as a bigger threat than Mike or Jonathan, and that was a mistake because she did. I knew that if she thought I was too much of a threat, she could do it, but I think I lost sight of her as the game went on due to emotional, personal, strategic reasons, and my own insecurities. It was the perfect storm for the blind side.
TVLINE | Lindsey Had An Expired Idol! Why didn’t she manipulate you, and how hard was it to convince you of her?
We had a conversation that I saw part of on the beach, where I said like, “It’s your last chance to use it. Maybe you should give it to me, and I’ll just play it.” But she said there was a line in a file [rules] who said she’s not transferable, so she couldn’t give it to me but she could play it on me as an idol. I think for her, the concern was that if she was going to make such a public display of loyalty towards me, people would see that we were too tight, and we’d been trying to hide how tight we were for so long. My whole game wasn’t very compelling, so I felt I would lose faith with her if I was like, ‘No, you should do that for me,’ especially if I didn’t think I was that much of a risk. In hindsight, it was obvious that he was stupid for both of us. We should have played it. It’s your last chance to play it. why not? Coming from a big step, I should have been more aware that the heat was on me. If you make one big move, you have to keep following it or you will be gone.
TVLINE | Were people really unaware how close you were?
I think we hid our relationship pretty well, until I told her about the abrogator and Jonathan checked our story and said, “Oh, there’s a problem here.” I told him I wasn’t going to tell her, so I snuck in and told her because she was my best strategic ally meaning: We’d talk through every scenario, and it was socially acceptable to be together because we weren’t under the microscope. In an effort to talk her through all the scenarios, I wanted her to know that information so we could make the best decision as a husband. I just didn’t expect Jonathan to catch up, and he did a really good job of picking up that we were closer than we were letting go, and that triggered a chain reaction.
TVLINE | What is the defining moment or best move in the game in your opinion?
I feel like the best step in the game for me was to vote for Lydia. Marianne died upon reaching that vote because she was excluded from the Eight Alliance. Once Toure won immunity, all eyes were on Marianne and she decided in the challenge, “You should be Lydia, that’s the only option.” Then I spent the rest of the afternoon figuring out how to do it.
It was a kind of three-step plan. first thing [I said was]”I’m OK with Marianne going. We’re not that tight. But if she plays an idol, Lydia has to go because she’s already plotted against the Eight,” which was mostly true, I say. Mike and Hay jumped at the idea, but we still voted for Marianne. Then I went to strangers and said, “Let’s vote for Jonathan,” because I knew Hay wanted to protect Jonathan. So when all the strangers were voting for Jonathan, I could go back to them and say, “Oh, we have a problem. If Marianne plays her idol, it’s Jonathan and not Lydia. So do we turn them all over to Lydia, and make Marianne feel paranoid enough to play her idol?” What they didn’t know was that I also told Marianne that “pineapple pizza” is what you’ll hear at the Tribal Council if you want to play your idol. If you haven’t heard it, you are good. So this was kind of how that reversal happened. Taco has really given his grip on the game.
TVLINE | Why did you decide that Derya should go, and how did your plan to secure Mike’s idol come about?
Drea hinted the day before that she had something that could handle an idol Mike, but she didn’t tell me what it was, so I didn’t press it. It was very clear after the challenge that Derya was going home. when you told me [about her Knowledge Is Power advantage]This actually made me want to keep her, so I actually wanted to vote for Mike, let her take the idol, and I wanted her to keep the idol so I could put her out of the game. But she told me she would take it and play it.
So while talking about all the scenarios, Jonathan and I decided to vote for Mike, but when I talked to Lindsay – Mike and I formed a Final 3 – she was like, “If we vote for Mike, it’s really going to be bitter” because we formed that with the bonus and we were with the family, so it was emotional moment. Additionally, Lindsay had great confidence in Mike because they were both from Jersey. I made a decision with Lindsay that Drea might have been better off getting her out of the game, and we could take Mike’s idol and save him. At that point, I was like, “Well, if Mike thought we were so loyal to him that we took his idol and saved him and put him back in, he wouldn’t see the abolitionist coming,” but he was so fond of. Really, Jonathan has deciphered this whole house of cards, but what can you do?
TVLINE | There was a lot of talk about whether or not Drea should be allowed to say what she did on her way out of the game, because she drew a huge target on you. What do you think that?
I think it’s something worth appreciating in the entire grand scheme of the game. I would say that for me, when I made this move on it, I knew that was a possibility. For me, I didn’t feel out of bounds or wronged. It seemed like part of the game and something I expected. After this happened, I was really relieved that it wasn’t worse! A lot of people out there already know that she told me [about the Knowledge Is Power]Because I told them. The only people who didn’t know were Romeo and Marianne, and I felt like I could explain that to Marianne. Romeo used to be neglectful of information, so I don’t think that affected him that much.
But I do think it’s something worth evaluating going forward, but when I did what I did, I knew it was a possibility, and I have to take responsibility for it. I don’t think it has much to do with my reasons for leaving, because Jonathan and Mike have already turned on me for independent reasons. I may have alerted Marianne of what was happening a bit, and she was oblivious to why I was going because she executed the plan perfectly, but I think it could have happened without that too, so I don’t know!
TVLINE | Now that you’ve watched the episodes and seen what other players have done and said, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned?
Everyone talks quite a bit afterward so most of the things you kind of do, but the biggest thing that surprised me I didn’t really know, was that Tori had caught Doria with red paint on her arm. I had no idea what happened! That was fun and I was like, “Wow, Tori is really smart as an observer.” She is probably one of the most underrated players of the entire season. They made her seem like a brat, but she is actually the warmest, most caring, kind, and sweet, “hire you in a second as my therapist” person I’ve ever met.