With the finale of CBS' Survivor: Fiji airing this Sunday and one of this season's most strategic players out of the running, it's anyone's game.
You can't say Alex Angarita didn't give it his all. He desperately tried to stick around by explaining to people that Yau-Man was a huge threat.
Yet he had already wasted the hidden immunity idol trying to save himself a few tribal councils back. TV Guide sat down with the smart guy and savvy Survivor - who seems like he'd be a good fit for a future season of The Apprentice with the likes of Donald Trump - to find out what went wrong.
TVGuide.com: Got to say, I admire the "go down swinging" strategy.
Alex Angarita: You've got to. You can't just give up at the very end. That's just not the way life works.
TVGuide.com: Did you think you had a shot?
Alex Angarita: Were I a betting man, would I have placed a bet on me? No.
That's dumb. But to convince others, I think you have to believe in yourself. So to a certain degree, as delusional as it might be, I did believe that my strategy might work. But from a bird's-eye view, I knew I didn't stand a chance.
TVGuide.com: Cassandra seemed at least interested in what you had to say.
Alex: At least I riled things up a little bit. Yau-Man wasn't as safe as he thought. I did something.
TVGuide.com: I think outing Yau-Man's idol, as you and Mookie Lee did, will really change things.
Alex: I do, too. In a game as intense as Survivor, with such little time in between pivotal events, any small thing has a ripple effect. That is magnified by the way the game is played.
TVGuide.com: You kept saying the others didn't know what they were in for. Are you a big Survivor fan?
Alex: I am now! [Laughs] Part of what I felt was an issue throughout and something I didn't take into account was that I always assumed in my strategy that I was dealing with rational [people] who could see more than one or two steps ahead. I think I was wrong in thinking that. A lot of people who played that game think only about staying there week to week. I kept trying to explain to them all throughout the show. I'd say, "Listen, this will happen three steps from now if you do this now." Had I to do that over again, I would probably focus on explaining to people the immediate impact of their decision rather than the long-term impact. That might be a better way of persuading others.
Alex: Yeah. That was Yau-Man and Earl, who do think several steps ahead. But for Dreamz and Stacy, going back on the alliance they had with Edgardo, Mookie and I bought them [a couple of weeks]. Now if they make it to the end... none of us are ever going to vote for them. They are going to be on the outside of an already tight alliance. If you start flip-flopping you are going to piss off too many people to win this thing. I don't think they thought of it that way. Sure, they got further than I did, but on a long-term basis, I don't see that working out for them.
TVGuide.com: Then they both lamely tried to apologize to you and Mookie.
Alex: Right? Oh, no big deal. You screwed me over. What, I accidentally lied to you and stabbed you in the back? My bad.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you picked the right guys to be in your Four Horsemen alliance?
Alex: I did get along with those people, at least on a personal level. I was [worried] about going into the merge with low numbers, so I chose people who I thought might be able to pull in someone else from the other side. I felt like at least each of us had a chance. I would have kept Lisi instead of Dreamz had she not proven herself to be so unreliable in terms of her commitment to the game. I didn't want to be in a situation where there were seven of us left and Lisi was like, "Guys, I just want to go home."
TVGuide.com: Mookie did want to go home at the end, though.
Alex: He did. But that was when we had no chance whatsoever. He was just throwing in the towel.
TVGuide.com: Do you have any regrets about voting Mookie out?
Alex: No, I don't. It was my only move. Once I had made an agreement with my alliance, I never betrayed that alliance. When it was down to me or Mookie... if he had thought it all the way through, he would have put my name down. I've talked to Mookie since then, and he's in complete agreement about that. What can you do? My back was literally up against the wall.
TVGuide.com: Why call it "Four Horsemen"?
Alex: I think it might have been something I remember from watching wrestling back in the day. I just thought it was catchy.
TVGuide.com: Why'd you want to do this show instead of something like The Apprentice, where you can use your legal skills?
Alex: For exactly that reason, because this was going to test me on a level that I couldn't replicate in the real world. It was not about the million dollars for me. It was about testing myself and putting myself in a crazy environment and learning as much about myself as possible. I think this was the single best way to do it.
SCOOP NOTE: We didn't see any Kristine Lefebvre types in Fiji. Just saying.
TVGuide.com: What did you learn about yourself?
Alex: A lot of things, but above all else to trust my instincts. And I learned that given any situation, my ability to presevere is definitely real. I don't stop, I don't give up. I go after what I want and this experience, as extreme as it was, solidified that in me and made me a stronger person overall.
TVGuide.com: If you had it all to do over again, would you use the idol when you did?
Alex: Well, hindsight is 20/20. If I knew that I was getting screwed over, no. It was a 50/50 chance. Ed and I talked about it just before tribal and we knew it was going to be one of us. When I was sitting there I saw them writing the names and it was taking them a long time to write "Alex." One of the lessons I learned was to always go with my gut, because my gut told me to give the idol to Ed. It was screaming at me, "Give it to Ed! Give it to Ed!" And I just couldn't do it, because if I was wrong, I was done. I think I made the rational choice, but if I had listened to my gut, Ed would have stayed in the game and we would have taken out Cassandra and it would have been different altogether.
TVGuide.com: What is next on your agenda?
Alex: I've started an academic consulting company to get high-school students into law, medical and business school. I was pre-med as an undergrad, went to law school and went through the business-school process, waiting to hear back from Wharton and Stanford. I know how to get people into school. I've put together a team of top consultants and this is what I'm doing.
TVGuide.com: Are we going to see you giving people heck on the finale?
Alex: Oh, you have no idea. No idea! I'm like, "Oh, man, I hope I wasn't too harsh." I let it out.