In episode 2, we saw Ryan Shoulders' fate get sealed. We had the opportunity to ask him some questions, and here's what he had to say:
Why didn't you give Osten's name at the Tribal Council?
I really didn't see the point in calling out Osten at Tribal Council. My fate was pretty much sealed at that point and there was no rationalizing with the four people that wanted Osten to stay and wanted me to leave. I felt the only purpose to name Osten would be to sound like a complainer or a whiner. Everyone knew who wanted to quit, and nobody was going to take steps to remove him except for Lillian and myself. It was just time to move on.
What was your strategy going into the game, and did you get an opportunity to use any of that strategy?
Honestly, most of the strategy I had prepared was "end game" strategy. That's how I play chess as well. I never have a solid beginning in chess. I open up the board, get a feel for the other player's game, sacrifice some pieces and think fourth dimensionally based on how the player is playing *their* game. I intended to use a similar route in Survivor. I wanted to see what kinds of games everyone was playing, and take advantage of them. For instance, I could tell by day 2 that the other Ryan was playing a flirting game and trying to get in good with the females by run of the mill flirt tactics. I also noticed that Darrah was playing a strict UTR (under the radar) game. I also picked up that Osten and Lillian didn't have very strong game plans at all. They both were overtly honest and gave away information to the wrong people. The only difficult reads were Tijuana and Andrew. But, they were basically playing a social game together. They had a pretty good friendship. I felt I could have easily taken advantage of them later in the game, by getting rid of the people that were in control, and pick up the weaker UTR players for my own alliance since they will be needing someone to cling to. It's basically a break an alliance to create an alliances tactic. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to use any of the things I was picking up on people. I was caught in the midst of a social struggle that I had hoped wouldn't happen. I was crossing my fingers that the three Alpha (read: arrogant) males would clash personalities and get on each other's nerves. I thought for sure there would be a power struggle since the tribe was in such disarray. I was hoping Lillian and myself could act as a swing vote and join which ever group I felt I could take advantage of easier later in the game. That never happened. The males bonded, and they brought in the younger girls. I was very disappointed in myself for not being able to come up with a sound plan for sticking around. I just couldn't get in socially.
What are your thoughts on being called "Skinny Ryan"?
I'm not fond of the nickname at all. I asked on a couple of occasions to simply be called "Ryan S." as my best friend growing up was also named Ryan, and so I was "Ryan S." my whole life. A few people obliged, but other's either didn't hear my request, or just chose to ignore it. Osten came up with the nickname "Skinny Ryan", but never called me that to my face. He mostly called me "Rye". Andrew was the only one that called me "Skinny Ryan" in person, which was fine. I didn't mind Andrew calling me that; it was just his thing. However, at the Tribal Council I got several votes for "Skinny Ryan" which was kind of odd. I know they were just trying to make the distinction, but "Ryan S." would have (and did) clarified just as well.
What was your role in the first Immunity Challenge, and why do you think there was such a discrepancy between the tribe's assessment of your performance and your own?
We approached that challenge in possibly the worst manner thinkable (standard Morgan behavior). Ryan O. thought that the cannon would get "stuck in the mud" despite Jeff Probst's directions that the cannon was meant to be pulled; so he insisted that we disassemble the cannon and carry it for the length of the course. I was simply to help pull the platform along, while Osten and Andrew carry the cannon. However, we didn't get too far when it was realized that it was a silly plan. At this point I ended up in the front left spot, pulling the cannon. It's simply not good strategy to have your weakest male up front pulling in a challenge like this. I would have served better in the rear, helping push, while Ryan O. was up front. I did a great job at the ladder part of the challenge as I had to quickly put on the front right wheel, and re-assemble the back right wheel because Darrah put it on incorrectly and it had to be adjusted. This is where I ended up in the front right position pulling the cannon for the remainder of the game. I stayed focused through-out the remainder of the challenge, especially when we got to the final stretch as I was more tired than I had ever been in my life. I didn't notice anything else other than the rope, the cannon, and moving straight ahead. I was completely focused on what was happening, which makes me wonder why Andrew was so worried about what *I* was doing than rather what *he* was doing. I don't think there was a discrepancy in the "tribe's" assessment of my performance. It was simply Andrew's opinion. If you refer back to the first episode, the feminine trio of Darrah, Nicole, and Tijuana approach Andrew to discuss the Tribal Council vote (post-challenge). Andrew said something like, "Well you ladies saw what we saw," and continued to explain that he felt I given up a third of the way through. Tijuana immediately disregards this assertion and suggests that they thought Lillian should be the one to leave. She didn't take time to acknowledge that I had given up, because this obviously wasn't her view point. I asked several other people what they thought, and nobody knew what Andrew was talking about. Lillian was right next to me for the majority of the challenge and she said she only remembers us both doing everything we could. I think Andrew "saw" me giving up because he thought in his mind I was unathletic and weak. I honestly believe he was just rationalizing an excuse for the loss to get me booted. Remember, we lost that challenge by inches, to an extremely physically strong Drake tribe. I don't think that challenge would have been that close if I had given up a third of the way through as suggested by Andrew. But, that's just my opinion on the matter.
Was there a plan between you a Lillian to keep the location of the water a secret, to ensure you couldn't be voted out?
That was actually just a joke that we made one time to ourselves at the water hole. We offered to show people where it was and Andrew made it up with Lillian once and Darrah and Tijuana took a trip together. But mostly it was just Lillian and myself that went. It was better that way because we had long pants and shirts. The mosquito's were awful at the water hole. But, it was a choir I knew I could do efficiently and take the burden off the other's, so I filled in that role. There was no evil plot, just a fun joke. Lillian was the only person that seemed to want to have fun and joke around.
Going to the second Tribal Council, did you think Osten had enough votes against him to be eliminated?
Not a chance in the world. The Frat-5 would stick around to see another day as they had a bond that wasn't going to be broken that night, despite Osten's pleads. I was feeling hopeless and upset with myself for not remedying the situation since the first Tribal Council.
If there was one more thing you'd purchased at the market before going to camp, what would it have been?
I was really lobbying to grab some more fruit. There were bunches of bananas that were ripe and would have been a great supplement! We probably could have doubled our rice and bean supply also, which means twice as many meals.
Was your tribe catching any fish, or eating any other source of protein?
The entire time I was at camp, we didn't catch any fish. The only protein we had were some crab legs from the crabs that were running around our beach and I believe we had some oysters also. I never learned how to find them as the oyster excursions were always going on when I was busy with something else.
Nicole said that Lill sacrificed her to save you, during the first Tribal Council. Was that your perception as well, and what are your thoughts on that?
Everyone knows how much I love and respect Lillian, but I never got the impression it was a strategic move. If it was, then I owe her a huge apology. She really liked Andrew early on (or as she called him "the married guy"). I had to tell her not to trust him; after all, he was my only enemy at that point and she was my biggest ally. However, I wasn't as adamant about it as I should have been. I think she was a little confused and anxious about how the vote was going to go and wanted some insight on some information she had stumbled upon. I think she was just trying to get an opinion from Andrew, but instead she had sold out Nicole by accident. In hindsight, I really should have taken measures to ensure Lillian didn't discuss Nicole's plans as it might have turned out to be a solid alliance, which I was lacking. However it was so early in the game, and I didn't know Nicole well enough that once the vote got changed from me to Nicole, I had no problem following along, as I was banking that more personalities would clash in the future.
You were the only male on your tribe that didn't get naked during the first Immunity Challenge. Do you think that hurt your chances to become part of their "inner circle"?
The decision to get naked was made before the challenge, not during. They never dicussed the plans with me, or anyone else that I am aware. That's simply a testament at how little the three other males regarded the rest of the tribes' opinions. Getting naked wouldn't have helped me; in fact it probably would have hurt as they might have been annoyed that I was trying to break in to their secret pact!
I'd like to thank Ryan S. for taking the time to answer our questions, and again thank CBS for allowing us to ask them. Good luck with everything, Ryan, and we'll see you at the finale.