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.
Reality TV World: Had you ever envisioned Chris would give up his immunity necklace and want to take you on himself in the firestarting challenge, or was it a complete surprise to you?
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Rick Devens: It was a consideration. I didn't think he'd really do it, but I did realize that -- in my thought process at that time, I thought he had zero chance of winning, no matter what. I big time misread the jury on that.
So, my thought process was, "Why would he give up Final 3 guaranteed to still not win?" But also, he really doesn't have anything to lose because if he doesn't make a move like that, he certainly has no chance to win.
But I didn't think he'd do it in the end. He spent all day training Gavin and Julie to beat me -- which was annoying (laughs) -- but then when he did it, it wasn't a shock, but it was not what I was expecting.
Reality TV World: I know you were upset Chris chose to face off against you in the firestarting challenge, but in a way, do you respect him for kind of meeting you halfway and jeopardizing his own spot in the Final 3 so you two could have a man vs. man showdown?
Rick Devens: Well, I didn't think about it much in that context as much as -- and they might very well say differently -- but I have no doubt I would have beaten anyone else in the firemaking challenge.
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Because I had been openly practicing that whole week. I mean, I had nothing to lose, so I was going off and making fire, and they knew it, whereas I'm pretty sure the fires you saw in that finale are the only fires Julie and Gavin made the whole game -- with Chris' help.
So, oh man! And again, this is about Edge of Extinction. Chris out there was literally making fire and practicing every day because there's nothing better to do and there's no repercussions.
That was something I was able to do while I was on the island because I was already on the bottom... That was another benefit of living on the Edge.
So, I wasn't more insulted [by Chris' decision]; I was just ticked because I knew he was the only one who could beat me, in my opinion! Who knows. Who knows what might've happened.
Reality TV World: Gavin tried to suggest the win was handed to Chris because he would've gone home immediately without that idol from the Edge. What do you think about that argument, that Chris wouldn't have gotten to the end of the game without that idol he never even found himself?
Rick Devens: I think the game builds in that he has to give that to somebody. So it's not like they gave him an idol. They gave him an idol, but then I had to give him that idol. If I didn't give Chris my half, Chris never would have won.
And he needed the social capital to do that, so I don't think he was handed that idol. I do think coming in with even half an idol that late in the game, I would probably be upset if I was Gavin.
But Chris built that social capital on the Edge of Extinction where there was nothing else to do but rebuild our relationship. So, if I was Gavin, I would be salty about it for sure. I think he has a legit argument, but if I'm Chris, that's the game and we all kind of understood it. So, good for him too!
And he got me to play it for him! That's no small thing! If [Chris] had been a jerk to me on the Edge of Extinction, I never would have done that for him and he would've been voted right back out.
Reality TV World: Yes, I was wondering what your relationship with Chris was like on Extinction Island. You two seemed to have such a loyalty to each other at the end of the game that I figured you must have developed a pretty solid friendship out there.
Rick Devens: Yeah! I have zero complaints about the Edge. I think they did such a good job [with the edit]. It's just so hard to fit everything, and with Chris, you couldn't tell what a big betrayal it was when I voted him out.
We were very close in the game, and I totally blindsided him and sent him off. Then, I had to face him on the Edge and he was very big about it. He was really forgiving and a lot less salty than the other two, who also ended up forgiving me, Reem and [Keith Sowell].
He was really big about it but he was also totally crushed. Like, I was really worried about the guy, and we're out there all day. I hear about how going out that early affects his family, his future.
And then we just became great friends. When Aubry came out, she actually performed a wedding ceremony for Chris and I. So we were very, very good friends. (Laughs)
And we didn't know if they were maybe even letting two people back in the game! So I said, "Chris, if there are two people going back, I promise you that I will not betray you. I can't do that to you again."
So when he came back in the game, that's really how I felt. I felt if I had betrayed him again, I would do long-term damage to this poor, beautiful guy. (Laughs)
I know now he was much stronger than I was giving him credit for! But I really could not -- because of the relationship we had built on the Edge -- possibly have not given him half of his idol back in that moment.
Reality TV World: I bet you feel differently now though. (Laughs)
Rick Devens: I do believe that's what cost me the game now. I would go back and take [that half of the idol] now! (Laughs) But in that moment, I couldn't even fathom doing it. Poor guy.
Now that I know how strong he is and I've met his support system, I would have screwed that guy!
To read the first portion of Reality TV World's exclusive Survivor interview with Rick Devens, click here. And be sure to check back with us soon for the last part! (Also, check out our Edge of Extinction show page for more interviews with the Final 6 castaways).