Rick, a 33-year-old morning news anchor from Blacksburg, VA, who currently resides in Macon, GA, was seemingly seconds shy of making the Final 3 because Chris, a 25-year-old district sales manager from Myrtle Beach, SC, who currently resides in Greenville, SC, managed to build a fire that burned through his rope first when the two men had competed in the season's highly-anticipated firemaking challenge.
During an exclusive interview with Reality TV World following the finale broadcast on Thursday, Rick talked about his Survivor experience and heartbreaking loss. Below is the first portion of what he had to say.
Reality TV World: Why did you vote for Gavin to win instead of Chris? Did you really believe Gavin had played the best game or did you just feel someone from the Edge of Extinction shouldn't be eligible to win Survivor?
Rick Devens: I certainly don't feel that ALL Extinction Island folks should be ineligible to win -- just one of the guys (Laughs). But yeah, no, it was the fact Chris, in my opinion, did not spend enough time in the game -- the game, game.
Because I spent six days on Extinction Island and I know that it's really hard on you, but it's not hard. There's literally nothing you can do to get kicked off Extinction Island; you have to quit.
And also, I was in the game the entire post-merge and I know how hard it is to stay in the game and how you're grinding constantly. I could just wander off and take a four-hour nap on the Edge of Extinction without any worry or consequences.
And that's not something I could ever do in the game. So the fact Gavin and Julie were able to do something and get to the end of the game without ever being voted out -- which was something I certainly wasn't able to do -- that was the difference.
But it was close! I think Chris is a worthy winner for sure!
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Reality TV World: Were you surprised Gavin didn't receive more than four votes as a result?
Rick Devens: I wasn't surprised in the end, but when I got to Ponderosa after losing the firemaking challenge and found out that Chris had a chance [to win], I was absolutely shocked! I really didn't believe Chris had a chance.
And I was actually really mad at him for putting me in that firemaking challenge with him (laughs), because I thought he was tanking my chances just so he could get second [place] to someone else.
So when I found out he really did have a chance [to win], I was a lot less upset with him. Because at that point, it became the right strategic move.
Reality TV World: Do you think you would have beaten Chris had you both made it to the Final 3 together? I'm wondering if you think maybe the jury would've felt some loyalty to Chris and wanted "one of their own" to win given he had been on the Edge of Extinction much longer than you.
Rick Devens: My understand from the jury is that I would have won no matter what, as long as I got to the Final 3.
Reality TV World: Well, that must have been nice to hear, I guess. (Laughs)
Rick Devens: It's a blessing and a curse to know this, Beth! (Laughs) It's very hard to know that you played that sort of game and then it's like, "Oh, so it really was about 30 seconds of fire that was the difference between a million dollars."
Reality TV World: Since you voted for Gavin, what's your take on Chris' suggestion that Gavin was a goat and people wanted to take him to the end all along? It is interesting that no one ever wrote his name down at a Tribal Council, but one could also argue no one ever viewed him as a threat.
Rick Devens: Yeah, I think that there were definitely thoughts going through some of the jurors' minds. I think some of those jurors were certainly upset with Gavin because, as much as they might want to think he's a goat, he was responsible in a lot of ways for their ousters.
So, I think Gavin played a really good game. He and I were never on the same side strategically, and I still really liked him and I still played my idol for him -- even though I didn't think he would come through for fire.
So, I don't think he was a goat at all. I think he played a very subtle game and I think that he, Julie, Lauren and Victoria all played a similar, subtle game and all made moves kind of within that.
But I think it's a respectable game. I think Julie could've won! She was so good at Final Tribal, and she's just as deserving, not to mention they both had two Individual Immunity Challenge wins, which is something only Aurora and I can say, also.
So, no, I don't think it's fair to say he's a goat at all, and that line was actually the worst thing Chris said in the whole thing because that did not make people happy! But he recovered beautifully.
Reality TV World: It sounds like you were surprised Julie didn't get at least one vote.
Rick Devens: I'm kind of surprised. I think if people had all been independent of each other, she might have, but I think there was a sense it was going to come down to Gavin or Chris. So it's almost like voting [for Ralph] Nader, you know what I mean? (Laughs)
As much as you might want him to win or think he's the right person, it's like maybe your vote doesn't count. But I think there were a lot of us that went into Tribal kind of open between Chris and Gavin and by the end were really considering Julie. She was really good.
Be sure to check back with Reality TV World soon for more from our exclusive interview with Survivor: Edge of Extinction's Rick Devens, as well as for more interviews with the rest of the Final 6 castaways.