Can Caleb And Tai Still Be Friends After A Tense Tribal On Survivor: Game Changers? Beast Mode Cowboy clears the air after his recent (and unexpectedly early) departure.
Posted on Mar 17, 2017 12:20pm

On the newest episode of Survivor: Game Changers entitled "Survivor Jackpot," Tribal Council cut deep for the show's latest cast-off, Caleb Reynolds, as a conflicted Tai wrote down his friend's name in order to keep himself in the game for another week.

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We recently caught up with Caleb while he was pumping iron at the gym—between reps, of course. They don't call him "Beast Mode Cowboy" for nothing!

And, during our chat, the Survivor returner revealed whether he's still on good terms with Tai and why he knew he wasn't going out "horizontally" this time.

First off, what was going through your head when your name was called at Tribal?

Caleb Reynolds: I saw it coming. I was waiting for my name to be read. When you have a buff drop like that and you just draw the wrong buff and your odds are very horrible and you're not the manipulating type, I guess it's one of them things; it's either "find an idol" or "you're going home," and I could not find [an idol]. After hours of searching. I could not find an idol.

I was expecting it. When you go up to everyone and they say you're good, that's normally when you're not. So, that's what happened.

When I talked to Tai, he was kind of looking all over the place, like, "Nah, Caleb, you're good, man. Don't worry about it. That would be dumb, to get rid of you."

You can never feel safe in the game. I don't care how close you think your friends are in the game. So, I went to Tribal with all my stuff, because, honestly, I was 95-percent sure I was leaving.

Are you and Tai good now, or is there still some resentment there?

Caleb: I mean, everyone's seen it. Even though he wrote my name down and I knew he did, I still kissed him on the head and wished him luck. I understand he put a knife in my back, but he had to.

In real life, I don't think he would do that, but in a game situation—for a million dollars—I would have done the same thing if someone said, "If you don't write his name down, you're going next."


He had to do what's best for his game; his individual game. It's not a partnership, so I totally understand.

Because you had friends like Tai in your tribe, do you think the others wanted to break you two up?

Caleb: Yeah, I believe that was pretty much the case. A lot of stuff was said at Tribal. Basically, I went home become Tai was at my waist and I don't feel like that's right.

You know, you come in to play a game, and you leave your family, and you put your life aside to play a game. And you go to the game, and then your outside life hinders your game.

To me, it's just not fair, because at Tribal, basically what happened was, Sierra was like, "Tai was at your wedding. Why in the world would we want to keep you here?" Those were her exact words.

For me, I said, "Well, you have matching tattoos with Hali. Why would we want to keep you?"

For me, I didn't think [it] was right to bring my everyday life into Survivor. It was the wrong reason to send me home—outside of Brad Culpepper being the only other alpha male there.

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I believe that's kind of what happened, and—you know, of course they wanted to split us up! That was part of all of it. Yeah, [Tai and I] played on the same season, and [we're] really good friends, but that doesn't mean Tai won't stab me in the back, because he did.

We all put our everyday lives aside... and I came into the game [putting] my normal life aside, yet you put my normal life in and send me home due to it.

During your first season on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, you were removed from the game for medical reasons. Did you worry that might possible happen again during Game Changers?

Caleb: Not really. I was actually prepping for one of my [bodybuilding] shows when I left [for Kaôh Rōng]; so, I was already down to, I don't know, six- or seven-percent body fat the first time I went to play, and I even told Jeff Probst that.

I told him, "I don't think I'm in [good] health to play right now," and he said, "Well, let me know."

They basically said, "You have about two weeks to let me know if you want to play or not."

I did some thinking, and I just said, "You know what? I may never get this opportunity again," so I took it, but I wasn't in the best health going in.

But, this time, I had about three months [to prepare], so I did my best to fill up and eat.

I mean, heck, I looked like I had a dad-bod going out there this time. Wasn't worried about a heat stroke or any type of health reasons to go home. I knew I wasn't going out horizontally

Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

Caleb: I think I played the best I could. I don't think I'd done anything wrong. I believe the first time playing I'd probably say that maybe my social game wasn't as tough as some of the other players, but you know, each player has their own strategy.

I guess if there's one thing I would have done differently—maybe—when we did our tribe swap, [I would've tried] to do a little more lying and conniving.

In all reality, I feel like I've done my best. I tried to sway people's votes, I tried to fool Debbie and Hali with me and Tai trying to send home Sierra. I'd done it all.

How did your second time on Survivor differ from your first?

Caleb: I would say it was similar. My strategy in Survivor was honestly just to be me [and] not pretend to be someone that I'm not. I'm not the manipulating, conniving, backstabbing type.

For me, it's more so jumping at people's minds and grabbing hold of their hearts, and let them in on who I really am outside of the game, and make it so hard for them to want to get rid of me.

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I let people in; that's just my strategy. I let people in on my personal life, and I let them go, "Wow, this kid has been through a lot in his life, and no one really knows it!"

But I want to let them in so much, where they go, "Oh, there's no way in the world I could vote this kid out. There's no way. He's too good. He's too awesome." That's kind of my way of keeping people around.

I gave it all at every challenge I played. I'd say, socially, I did a little more seed-planting this time around, but that was only due to people saying I didn't have a strategy. There's a lot more to me than physical, and that's what I wanted to show this time around playing the game.

More than anything, I wanted to be able to plant some seeds; I wanted to be able to draw people in and bring 'em in close. I feel like I started to do that.

With Mana [Tribe], I feel like I did just that. I had dang near everyone on my side. No one was going to send me home, other than Sierra from Day 1. But other than that, I had dang near Final 3 deals with everyone else.

We just had a tribe swap way too early, and it screwed my game.

I was completely outnumbered; you can only do so much. You can only look for an idol for so long, and when you don't find one and you're heading to Tribal, you're just sitting there going, "You know, I've done my best."

When you're playing these games, all you can do is do your best.

Would you come back for another go-round at some point?

Caleb: Sign me up! I'm ready to rock 'n' roll.

Watch all-new episodes of Survivor: Game Changers on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.