Even though Rick Devens may not have won Survivor: Edge of Extinction, he is certainly leaving the game with easily more popularity than any other first-time player. He amassed a huge following for his aggressive style and bravado throughout the game; we can certainly tell you from being at the finale that he generated the most consistent cheers throughout the studio audience!
Ultimately though, no immunity idol or last-minute save could spare Devens from what he fell victim to at the final four Wednesday night: A fire-making challenge. He put up a good fight, but he was thwarted by the season’s eventual winner in Chris Underwood — a man Devens ended up helping beforehand after he gave him back his half of an immunity idol at the final five.
In our interview below, Devens goes through that painful elimination, a possible move from earlier in the game he could do over, and also his sudden surge in popularity after the show. For more information and video discussion on next season of Survivor, check out what we have for you below and subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube for some of the latest. We also have a Survivor playlist so you don’t miss any other updates.
CarterMatt – Was it hard going back and re-watching the fire-making challenge? Beyond that, do you even want to make a fire ever again after that?
Rick Devens – It was painful to watch. It was the first time I’ve seen it, and it was the whole destruction of your game right before your eyes. I haven’t made a fire since! (Laughs.)
I thought you and David had a good thing going, a little Survivor bromance, but then the tribe swap happens. Did you think that you were in danger almost immediately after that?
I didn’t right when the swap happened. I thought ‘okay, this is our chance to finally win challenges and we can make it to the merge and have a fighting chance.’ Then, we lost and I thought ‘oh, this could be iffy. This could come down to Wardog.’ Wardog and I had a really good relationship, but he knew how close I was to David and I was really worried about it. It is what it is.
I don’t think you’re too upset about it now because you found your way back, but I want to talk about some of this competition prowess you had. You and I are the same age, and I don’t think either one of us would be called professional athletes; yet, you were able to go out there and do extremely well. Was there some sort of secret you had to pulling these off?
There’s having muscles and being athletic, but then there’s using your muscles. I’m not a workout guy, but I play pick-up basketball and play t-ball with my kid. I think these challenges reward that, being able to control your muscles and having hand-eye coordination. Then, I just got focused in! I knew I needed to win. I was probably just as surprised as you.
Other than the obvious moment with giving Chris back the half of the immunity idol, is there any other move where you wish you had done something different?
It’s always interesting to look back. Another Chris mistake I might have made goes back to when he was voted out the first time — we could’ve gotten rid of Kelley right then and Chris and I were really close. That could’ve given us the numbers in that tribe and kept that tribe strong. Who knows how the swap would’ve worked? That could’ve changed everything, if I had kept Chris initially and got rid of Kelley way back when. Kelley is tough, man, and she gave me a real hard time until she left the game.
You’ve had a really interesting path with Survivor in that a lot of people after the game can just go into a cubby hole. But with you, you have to go on TV and you’re still in the public eye. Do people come up to you all the time and try to get you to do news reads?
(Laughs.) Yeah, people come up to me and do the whole [hums the news theme music] thing. It’s hard coming up with this stuff off the top of your head! I definitely did want to hide in my hole for a while but couldn’t. It was probably a good thing to be pushed back out into society, because it does take you a while to adjust when you’re back home.
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