The following contains spoilers from Survivor‘s Season 43 premiere.
We now know who became the (un)lucky recipient of the Sonja Christopher First-Out trophy.
Which is not a real thing at all. But it feels like there should be some sort of consolation prize for enduring a lengthy casting process, flying across the world, quarantining for two weeks and getting booted only three days into one’s lifelong dream. Well, if there was a Sonja-specific medal to be awarded, Survivor 43‘s Morriah Young would’ve taken the cake.
In Wednesday’s season premiere, it was all kumbaya for the Baku tribe, who really seemed to connect and enjoy one another… until they lost the season’s first immunity challenge. Despite aiming to celebrate “girl power,” Elie and Jeanine turned on Morriah Young, opting to oust their buddy instead of Morriah’s assumed target, Owen. (Click here for a full recap.)
Below, Morriah talks to TVLine about what we didn’t see in the premiere, commemorating her late mother and the almost-move she thought was “complete bullcrap.”
TVLINE | Tell me what it felt like when you pulled up to the beach for the very first time.
MORRIAH YOUNG | It felt like Christmas day! It’s like I told my parents what I wanted for Christmas, I’m going underneath that tree, I’m ripping off that package and it’s like, “This is what I wanted!” It was that moment of screaming and excitement and running around the house. You want to hold on to this gift for the whole day, it’s the only thing you want to occupy your time and you’re happy with it. That’s what it felt like.
TVLINE | It looked like you, Jeanine and Elie were going to be tight! What happened there?
I don’t know if anything necessarily went wrong. I think it was just the perception of me being the weakest one on the tribe. I think the mindset of me and the ladies shifted and we went in two different directions. I had this mindset of like, “I want to keep the tribe positive and I want to keep us uplifted and we got this and let’s keep going!,” and I think my ladies wanted to start being a little bit more strategic. They saw me [being] out of the game as the best route for them to get further.
TVLINE | On your way out, you told the tribe it was OK and that you loved them… but is it really OK? Any hard feelings at all?
No, there are no hard feelings. It really is OK. I was immediately missing my tribe. I definitely miss all of them. We were truly like a family out there, and of course, for people at home it feels so silly. And I know people get really annoyed about it because they’re like, “We want to see a cutthroat game!” But we built these genuine, authentic connections while we’re out there marooned on this island in the middle of Fiji, and that doesn’t just go away. We came into the game knowing that it’s a game, but the connections you make are genuine and true. So there truly aren’t any hard feelings on my end.
TVLINE | Who did you perceive to be the weakest out there?
I don’t perceive anyone to be the weakest and I don’t perceive anyone to be the strongest either. I think that we all bring our own different strengths and weaknesses to the table. And I truly think it depends on the challenge. It can be a challenge where brute strength is the most important thing, and so then Sami might be the strongest one at that moment. It might be a puzzle, it might be a brain teaser. It might be something where you need a lot of adrenaline or steam for stamina, or you might need to be agile. I think it just depends on what the challenge is that constitutes what strength is needed in that moment. I don’t see myself to be the weakest, so it didn’t really sting to hear that at all. I think it was just their truth, and that’s what they lived by and I’m happy they stood behind it and did what they thought was best for them.
TVLINE | The first immunity challenge looked like a doozy! What was the hardest part?
Seeing! You start us out in mud! The whole challenge I could not see. I was trying to wipe the mud off my face, but the mud that’s on my hands was getting in my eyes. Then going into the wood chips just made the rest of the challenge that much harder. I think if it was reversed and we had to do the table maze first, then climb the wall, then go under the sand, then we could’ve cooled down with the mud. That would have been a lot easier!
TVLINE | When Gabler told the tribe he wasn’t going to use his idol, but rather opt for the Shot in the Dark, what was your reaction to that sheer insanity?!
It was b-u-double-l-crap. “This is complete bullcrap! Gabler’s nuts. What is he talking about?” I wanted to step outside of my body and say, “Sir, play your idol. What are you doing?” I just didn’t believe it. And I was scratching my head because I was trying to understand like, “Wow, either Gabler is a wild card or he is duping us.” Those were my two thoughts. It just didn’t make sense. Then when he brought up the Shot in the Dark, I was like, “Wow, this is really cuckoo.” So, I definitely didn’t believe it. I was very confused. I just didn’t think that he wasn’t going to play it.
TVLINE | Baka did a random draw to select the player who went on the boat ride. Did you want to go?
I was so unsure in the moment. I was so indecisive. I was kind of like, “Ooh, I want to go because I want to try everything!” but then the other part of me was like, “But I don’t want to have a target on my back,” because if you go, we know there’s going to be an advantage out there. So when it didn’t land on me, I had an initial feeling of relief, because now I didn’t have to worry about navigating what I was going to tell the tribe when I returned. It was something that I didn’t have to worry about. But then when Gabler came back and had the idol, I was like, “Dang, I wish I had that idol,” so it was twofold.
TVLINE | What’s something we didn’t see on TV from those first three days?
I have two things. The first thing for me was when we got back from losing that challenge, the first thing we did before we even started strategizing was get the fire together. We saw a glimpse of it because we heard Elie say, “Let’s put a pin in it and work on the fire.” Our fire was completely out. Jeff had taken our flint as a penalty, so we all decided it didn’t matter who was coming back. Whoever was coming back, we wanted to make sure they had fire. All six of us huddled around and blew on those embers. We worked on that fire for an hour and a half before we started strategizing. If there was anything to encapsulate the essence of our tribe, it was that moment. We truly were a family and we truly loved and cared for one another. It was a beautiful moment that I wish the world could have seen.
The second thing was my reason for playing. I wish that it had a bigger role in the episode. I came on to Survivor, yes, because I love the game and I’ve been watching it since I was a kid, but I also came onto Survivor to commemorate my mom. [Watching it] was something she loved to do. I had this bucket list of things I wanted to do to honor her memory. My mom was a teacher, so I became a teacher. She wanted to go to Hawaii, so that’s where I went to scatter her ashes. And so Survivor was the last thing that I wanted to do to commemorate her because I know it’s a game she always wanted to play. I wish that that reason for playing had a little bit more space in the episode.
TVLINE | What do you wish you could’ve done differently? Any regrets?
No, no regrets. Nothing I wish I had done differently. Sometimes, I will say this, I do have dreams about me playing my Shot in the Dark and getting up and pulling it from my little kangaroo pouch of my overalls and being like, “Jeff, hold on!” and he unrolls the Shot in the Dark scroll and it says safe. Sometimes I think I should have done that, but who knows? It’s a one-in-six shot, so the chances were really slim, but it’s not really a regret. It’s just a wonder. That would have been really cool and interesting. But other than that, no. No regrets.
TVLINE | Going into Tribal, was it on your mind at all that maybe you should play it?
When I was going to write Owen’s name down, that’s when I was thinking, “Should I write his name down or should I play it?” Going into Tribal Council, I didn’t have any initial thoughts of playing it. Once I felt the shift in Tribal Council and I started to get that deep gut feeling, I started thinking maybe I should. But I didn’t listen to my gut, so I got voted out!