CBS' Survivor loves to come up with different themes for each season that can effectively shake up the social dynamics of the game. They’ve brought back iconic contestants, divided players up by age and race, and in Edge of Extinction, put a spin on the concept of eliminated players returning. Ironically, the Edge just so happened to be both the saving grace and the downfall for one of the season’s alums. No matter, he’s using his overarching season as a teachable moment for his kids.
Rick Devens was the standout contestant on Survivor: Edge of Extinction, though no one could really predict such a thing happening. He did save himself from a lot of near vote-offs – thanks to winning immunities, using hidden ones and having a really charismatic way of speaking. But before all of that though, he was first voted out on Day 11 and had to fight for re-entry via the Edge later on. Of all the things he accomplished in Survivor, that is what Devens believes his kids can learn the most from. He told Entertainment Weekly:
I think anyone who goes out there and plays has a lot to be proud of. If I have to pick one moment, I'd pick winning the Edge of Extinction challenge to reenter the game. It's such a tangible moment to show my kids and say, ‘This is why you don't give up. There's always a chance, and sometimes if you commit yourself and believe in yourself, you're going to find success.’
Fans who watched that season know that once Rick Devens returned to the game, he became an instant outcast, someone to quickly get rid of because he had to prove his salt to return. But Devens finessed the game and took his destiny into his own hands time and time again. Between him and David Wright, they saw an unprecedented comeuppance story that is what undeniably makes Survivor so dynamic.
But Rick Devens did not win Survivor: Edge of Extinction – because he was robbed, I tell you! Well, it was more that the Edge decided to take back what it gave and elevated another returnee, Chris Underwood, to Supreme Underdog status. Underwood was first voted out days before even Devens and returned four days before the final tribal council. Long story short, it came to a fire-making challenge between Devens and Underwood on the day before the jury votes. Devens ultimately lost in the end but apparently that was just another teachable moment for his kids. He said:
Unfortunately, my game also has a very tangible moment to show my kids and say, ‘Sometimes, even when you commit yourself and believe in yourself, you're going to come up short. But don't let that stop you from believing and trying again.’
Survivor: Edge of Extinction is one of the earliest iterations of what alums like to designate “elevated gameplay.” Rick Devens, even though he lost, helped write that blueprint for future players. Signing off now, from the Rick Devens stan account.