Last night saw Caleb Bankston throwing his buff into the fire, ending his Survivor: Blood vs. Water journey, but he reveals to ET that he has much bigger plans – building a house, getting married, and bringing a new life into the world with his partner and fellow castmate Colton Cumbie! Read on to hear about his Survivor regrets, his take on Colton's hasty exit, and their plans for the future.
ETonline: You flew under the radar for a lot of the game, was that your strategy going into it?
Caleb: It wasn't a strategy, I'm generally a quiet guy. Unless Colton's there to bring me out, I'm not gonna have much to say. So yeah, when we got separated on day one, it wasn't a plan to fly under the radar but I'm just generally quiet, so it just happened that way.
ETonline: It seemed like though that you were having a lot of one-on-one conversations with people, especially Hayden. So it seemed like you were doing strategizing behind the scenes.
Caleb: Yeah, me and Hayden had a relationship [where] … we would just hang out, not really stress out about anything and then every couple days we'd check in with each other strategy-wise, and as time went by, we kind of did it more and more. … But yeah, I had a good relationship with everybody separately, and some people maybe not as strong as the others, and that may have been my downfall, but yeah me and Hayden were definitely the closest.
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ETonline: So last week, you and Hayden were in a tight spot when you tried to get Ciera on board with your Tyson plan, do you think that there's anything you could have done to keep both of you in the game?
Caleb: At that point, no, because, thinking about it, we decided to go with Ciera because she had turned on us, and I was thinking, well if she wouldn't have turned on us, and we didn't go that way, and we did get Tyson out, would he have played his idol anyway? Would he have went home with it in his pocket? … So the plan might not have worked out after all. It was rough watching it back just because, I kind of knew … it was gonna be me or Hayden, unless we could convince Tyson to vote Ciera with us, and he said he was, and Hayden felt comfortable with it. And I didn't trust [Tyson] still, I felt like he was still playing us, but I decided to trust Hayden that time.
ETonline: I also wanted to talk to you about your big move against Brad. You said that you decided to do it right in that moment, did you really decide to do it [right then] or was it in the back of your head that you kind of wanted to make a move against him?
Caleb: Walking into Tribal Council… back home, working outside all the time, … whenever I'm just not in a good mood… the weather changes. You know, it's gets cloudy or it rains and it's just weird how it works out that way and walking up to Tribal Council, it started sprinkling, and I was thinking, 'Okay Caleb, wake up, something's not right, something's off.' So I was thinking about it and, you know, I was a hundred percent voting Ciera, I was gonna stick with my alliance and vote the way they wanted to go. And then Jeff just asked the right questions. … I just thought, you know, I don't trust Brad. And so I'm gonna try this and it worked out.
ETonline: So if there was anything you could go back and do over again, is there any one thing in the game that you would change?
Caleb: Yeah I would probably not vote out Laura M. when we did after the merge, and use her to try and get Tyson out. Sitting there … she was making the case of why she shouldn't [go home], why she would be an asset. And she was kind of looking to me, I would look at her and she would look straight at me, and I actually tried to look over at Hayden to kind of feel him out and be like, should we pull something? Should we change it right here? … I was thinking, should I trust Laura M. over Tyson, should I use her now to get him out, and that would probably have been it. Maybe I should've gone ahead and got Tyson out then when we had the chance.
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ETonline: Going back to earlier in the game, what was your first reaction when Colton announced that he was going to quit?
Caleb: I was shocked. I wasn't hurt or upset. I knew that was quitting the game and not quitting me. A lot of people asked me, 'How is it that Colton quit you,' and I was like, 'He didn't quit me. Let's get that straight.' He quit the game, and it is a game. You're hungry, you're not comfortable, you're grumpy, you're not sleeping. And he can't sleep unless I'm with him, so it was going to be difficult for him on day one when we learned that we were going to be playing separate. … And I just wasn't going to overthink it, I was just going to let him go, and realized that this was the best thing for us, that maybe I would go further without him in the game because I wouldn't have to worry about him. … If you noticed, the couples went out first. … The couples, they chose each other. Blood, they didn't get a choice in choosing who they're related to, so they might decide to vote each other out and obviously that was apparent with Laura and Ciera. Whereas the couples were not going to vote each other out, I mean it just wasn't gonna happen. This season, if you were a couple, you had a bigger target than if you were a blood relative.
ETonline: In terms of your life on the farm, do you still work on the farm these days?
Caleb: I do. We actually moved into a house not too far from my parents, it was just an old family house that I'm fixing up. We've got plans after we get married to build a house and start the surrogacy process, we've been saving up some money to do that. [Farming is] my hobby, I love cows. Love to deal with cows.
Survivor: Blood Vs. Water airs Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.