When Rohan and Phoebe came back to Aganoa's camp with a tall tale about a small bag of beans, Evan Jones became suspicious, retracing their route until he found a hidden immunity idol clue that had fallen out of Rohan's bathers.
But unfortunately for Evan, trying to explain Rohan and Phoebe's deceit to mates Lee and El ended up casting aspersions on him, and Phoebe saw an opportunity to exploit that tension to take him out.
When Aganoa lost yet another immunity challenge, puzzle-solvers Evan and Kat became easy targets. Tribe leader Lee made it overtly clear he wanted to get challenge-weak Kat out, but Phoebe made covert moves to oust strategy-strong Evan instead. On Day 8, the 30-year-old high school teacher became the third person voted off Australian Survivor.
WHO spoke to Melbourne-based Jones on the Survivor superfan's early exit.
Q: You live and breathe Survivor as a blogger. How was it to actually play the game?
A: Listen, it was everything I dreamed of and probably more. I loved it and I think going home earlier than I would have liked was probably the toughest part because you just want to keep experiencing it.
When I left, I felt physically good, I felt mentally good and I just wanted to keep rolling. It was fantastic, too, to see how hard the crew was working. I can't speak more highly of it. It was fantastic.
Q: So this compares favorably with the US edition?
A: Yeah. I can't believe actually how well they've done in terms of making it Australian as well. We've got to be proud of our country and do what is us but at the same time really paying respect to a true format that works. So to hear the same music and to see how slick it looks and all the camerawork, I'm stoked.
Q: We noticed you trying to get Jonathan LaPaglia to say things Jeff Probst would say, like 'Got nothing for you' after a reward challenge loss. So what was your impression of the host?
A: Oh, I think Jono, and I can't wait to see how he progresses throughout, because he's like all of us, we're learning as we go, I think he's terrific. He demands a lot of respect just from his demeanor and how he goes about it. He's a very caring person, too. He wants us all to succeed, but at the same time, he's the ringmaster. He's calling all the shots, he's probing us, he's part psychologist and part coach, so he's doing a great job.
Q: Is there any reason you didn't go straight to Rohan and Phoebe to say you found the stray hidden immunity idol clue and propose a tight alliance of three?
A: Yeah, I know. The problem was I got the vibe that Pheebs didn't really trust me to being with anyway, so I think if I went to them, they might go, 'Hang on, this guy's rocking the boat.' Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and maybe that would have worked, but I think my fate might have been the same. I was playing my cards with El and Lee and I still think they've got the ability to go really far and they are very strong. They value honesty and mateship and loyalty, so I thought if I am showing them that two people they are close with have actually lied to them, I thought that might not tip the whole apple cart but maybe they'll go, 'This guy's looking out for us.'
Q: So Phoebe made the right move in getting you out?
A: Phoebe — she's very, very good strategically. She sort of had Rohan doing what she wanted and El, once El has a bit of a strategy and a group, she really doesn't like going against that, so when she says he word once, that's really it for her. I tried really early with El, but Phoebe got in first and set up a really good run for her.
Q: With 22 players still by Day 8, was it too early to think about the long game? Or is it never too early?
A: It's funny, isn't it? If I was on another tribe, they might have respected it. But in hindsight, at that time and with that group, it was too early. But on the other side, Ro and Pheebs and El and Lee strategised by saying they were going to be a Four together.
Q: Kat let that out during tribal council that there was a core four. Was that reveal exciting for you as a fan?
A: Well it was, and I was also excited for me because I'm thinking, 'Kat, why would you rock the boat?' So I knew after I had outed Phoebe and Rohan, that I had to earn some form of trust or understanding back. I could have blown things up. I could have brought in a fake idol, I could have lied and said I had something, but I really wanted to prove to them that I'm still a team player. Like, I worked incredibly hard out there. I did a lot of morale building for the group to try and make them laugh, so I was trying to say I still had worth, so when she said, 'These guys are a four,' I was like, 'this is brilliant. Can't they see she's calling them out?' I never said they were a four. I never tried to out their little alliance, but yeah, just didn't work.
Q: In watching the show now as opposed to playing in it, who are your favourite contestants in the other tribes?
A: When I was out there, I really admired Barry because what you see is what you get. I'm a teacher and Nick's a teacher, and I appreciate that even he had a few mistakes the other night like me and he's a fan like me. It will be interesting to see how Matt goes and Kylie is from Melbourne, she's a firefighter and she quite strong. She's not in the best position right now, so I'd like to see if she can get herself out of that. And Sam is pretty well respected by everyone at the moment, so he can do some damage.
Q: What do your students think of your appearance on the show?
A: They're amazing. When you come back to reality, you always feel, 'What are people going to think?' But you forget about how innocent, optimistic and wide-eyed students are. They really only want the best for each other and for people to succeed, so they've been terrific, so supportive, jumping for joy when our tribe won immunity or anything like that, so they've been great.
Q: What did your wife think of your making promises on her life?
A: [Laughs] My wife is an absolutely beautiful woman. She's amazing. And I'm not trying to make up ground although — it sounds as though I am — she knew when she met me I was a bit of a rogue, that I would probably do anything so we'd win, but I think the difference is I would never have sworn on El or Lee's kids, or Rohan's family or Phoebe's family. That's something that's private and means something to them. But for me, knowing my family, I was more than willing to do that because they know me and I was just trying to do whatever it takes to win.