On December 15, 2021, it was revealed that Canadian communications manager Erika Casupanan won “Survivor 41” in a landslide 7-1-0 jury vote, beating out the final member of the season’s “All-Black Alliance,” Deshawn Radden, as well as fan favorite Xander Hastings. This caused a bit of controversy in the “Survivor” community, with some fans arguing that Xander should have won instead. Others, including some contestants themselves, argue that the season’s edit gave fans a somewhat misleading impression about both Erika and Xander’s gameplay.
Recently, ninth-place finisher Evvie Jagoda – who cast her vote for Erika as a member of the jury – did a “Deep Dive” interview with Rob Cesternino in which she discussed the rational behind her own vote, and even revealed that fan favorite Ricard Foyé may not have been as much of a threat to win as the edit made it seem.
Evvie Saw Erika’s Game ‘Take Off’ After the Shan Vote
In the interview, Evvie revealed that after her own elimination, she began to worry that it might be an uneventful season, simply watching Shan Smith dominate her way to the end. “When Naseer got voted out,” she explained, “I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, is Shan just going to run this game all the way to the end? Is this just gonna be super boring’?” She added that her, Naseer Muttalif, and Tiffany Seely – the three members of the jury thus far – even began “joking” that Erika would be the next one out.
As a result, when Shan was blindsided the following Tribal and Erika remained in the game, Evvie became “the earliest adopter” of Erika playing “a really good game.” “It was very very clear to me that Erika was the target,” Evvie explained, “so to me, this is where the Erika game really takes off.”
Evvie, who said that she was primarily looking for whoever was in most control of the game as a jury member, said that as the game progressed, the turning point for her came two Tribals later. This was the final 6 Tribal Council, where Deshawn dropped his infamous “Truth Bomb.” For one, she was highly impressed by how Erika reacted to the whole situation, especially given how Evvie knew what it was like to be on the other end of a Deshawn “Truth Bomb.” “Erika’s response to it was amazing,” Evvie explained. “I really thought, especially as a non-man in the world, I felt like she was just very powerful in her response of like, ‘Why did you do that’?”
In addition, it became clear during that Tribal that both Ricard, as well as Xander, who had a strong bond with Deshawn’s lone ally Danny McCray, had wanted Deshawn to go over Danny. But nonetheless, it was Danny who was sent packing. “She came off so well,” Evvie explained. “I feel like that for a lot of [the jury] it was like, “Okay, Erika really has a lot of power in this sphere’.”
Evvie: Ricard’s Game ‘Just Didn’t Translate’ to Much of the Jury
Evvie also shed a bit of light on fan favorite Ricard Foyé, who it became clear to the audience as the episodes progressed beyond the Shan vote was the biggest threat to win if he made it to the end. However, not only did Evvie describe it as a “wide open playing field” after Shan was eliminated – meaning that it was anyone’s game, not just Ricard’s – but that the jury, at least at that point, did not see Ricard as the number one threat. Had Erika reached the Final Tribal Council with Ricard, Evvie said, “I know Erika would’ve gotten consideration. I don’t think it would’ve been 100% Ricard if it had been the two of them together.”
Giving the caveat that had Ricard made it to the end he would have had more moves – e.g. winning the last two immunities, winning the final 4 fire-making challenge, or otherwise successfully maneuvering his way to the end – Evvie said that as it was, there likely would’ve been a divide between the jurors who were voted out earlier, and those who were voted out later. Evvie explained:
I think Danny and Deshawn – if Deshawn had been on the jury – and probably Xander…I think would’ve all voted for Ricard. But [Ricard’s game] just didn’t translate as much– just cause again, obviously he won the challenges, but the challenges are not in front of the jury, and we get to all the votes, and it seemed to me like Erika’s driving a lot of the votes. Maybe Ricard would’ve won, but for me personally, it wasn’t so obvious.
Evvie added that Erika’s Final Tribal Council performance was “amazing,” which was a bonus for her, though it’s possible Ricard also could have swept the jury with a dominant performance of his own. Nevertheless, “I don’t think you could rule out that Erika could’ve made a very good case for herself,” Evvie said, “even against Ricard.”
Evvie also neglected to mention Heather Aldret – Erika’s number one ally – who also likely would have voted for Erika over Ricard in this scenario. Once again, it becomes clear that whatever happens in the game is far more complex than what meets the viewer’s eye, and fans should be well aware of the complexities of the game that may not be translated through the screen.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.