By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
In the game of Survivor often those who live by the sword also die by the sword. Danny Massa, the New York City firefighter, successfully blindsided both Brandon and Frannie. Last night, it was his turn, Robert DeNiro impression and all.
“I have a lot of respect for Jeff (Probst) and the show in general. Tribal is sacred. Jeff ‘big ups’ everyone. There are characters like Yam Yam, Carolyn, who kind of take center-stage. What I like to see are characters grow like that and he just loves to watch people perform. I ran it by him out of respect. He was like…’This is YOUR tribal’. I appreciated it so much that he let me go out being myself and being a clown,” laughed Danny.
As Survivor 44’s big game hunter, Danny was stunned that his prey escaped at tribal council when the Tika Trio voted together and Jaime and Lauren backed the scheme targeting Heidi with their combined votes.
“It was kill or be killed,” said Danny who doesn’t regret taking that shot against Carson. “Let me tell you something. Carson is an absolute assassin, an absolute assassin! When you’re going after somebody like that you’d be silly not to not be like ‘Alright, well, this guy isn’t going to come in defenseless’ and he didn’t. His alliances, his bodyguard, he’s got Carolyn, are ready to come for you. You don’t get you don’t go after a cub and not think the mama bear and isn’t going to come clawing you.”
What Danny wasn’t expecting on the island is for who he thought was his ‘ride or die’ to take a shot at him. At the last tribal council, Heidi voted against him. Yam Yam ratted on Heidi to Danny but in the end Danny believed Heidi’s lies, her cover-up. Danny is somewhat understanding of the move. If that tribal had gone the way Heidi wanted it would have been considered a great move.
“At the time was really difficult for me to put together the logic of why she did it so it was hard for me to believe Yam Yam. I said to myself: Who does it benefit to vote for me? To me, it was Yam Yam,” he said about why he trusted Heidi so much.
Part of that trust was because as parents, Heidi and Danny bonded strongly on the island together as they shared personal details and feelings about their lives back home. They spoke about the guilt they had as parents for leaving their families back home. They worked through those emotions together. It is part of the reason why at first Danny took her betrayal as hard as he did when he eventually found out what had happened.
Danny admits he made a crucial mistake when he told Heidi that her vote didn’t matter when it came to voting out Frannie. It was a message that came out the wrong way, not as he intended at all.
There was also a huge flaw in my game that I didn’t understand how I was being perceived,” he said. “It (the conversation) was rushed because I was trying to talk before somebody came around the corner. My goal in that situation was to say ‘Hey, Heidi. We have the numbers right now to vote Frannie out whether you vote with us or not. Carson and Yam Yam don’t want me to tell you but I am telling you because you’re my number one.’ My plan was to empower her with the knowledge of she could vote for whomever she wanted to.”
Another castaway who Danny just rubbed the wrong way was Carolyn. In Danny’s mind, she never got over being treated as a third wheel at that reward.
“She had her cake and ate it too. At the lunch she openly admitted that she manipulates people with her emotions saying ‘I’m playing everybody’ and ‘Everybody thinks I’m all over the place.’ She convinced me and Brandon that she’s going home, she doesn’t have strong relationships with her tribe and that she doesn’t have an idol. She sold it! She manipulated us! When we figured she wasn’t invited to the alliance because she was going home tonight, she had her cake and ate it too,” he said of what happened at the reward.
As a juror who had a voice in picking this season’s winner Danny wanted to vote for someone who played like he did.
“Calculated risks and leaving no doubt. Playing the game to win. There are no participation trophies,” he said.