Ricard Reveals Heartwarming Story of How He and Shan First Bonded on ‘Survivor 41’

Ricard Foyé and Shan Smith on Survivor 41

YouTube Ricard Foyé and Shan Smith on "Survivor 41."

Shan Smith and Ricard Foyé were two of the most highly influential players of “Survivor 41.” The sole survivors of the ill-fated Ua tribe, Ricard and Shan formed a tight bond and solid alliance which lasted until episode 10, when Ricard finally decided to cut Shan loose and orchestrate her blindside after she hedged about voting out her ally Deshawn Radden. The dissolution of their informal alliance made for one of the most dynamic and dramatic episodes in “Survivor” history, according to many fans.

However, how did the famous friendship between the pair actually begin? Due to the rather lopsided editing this season, fans didn’t get to see much of how their relationship first blossomed. Luckily, Ricard recently shared some insight into the their famous relationship in some post-season interviews.

Here’s what you need to know:

Ricard & Shan Bonded Through Their Mutual Disabilities

In an interview with EW shortly after the season finale, Ricard said that he found it “pretty jarring” that the edit of the season didn’t showcase how his bond with Shan formed. In the interview, he revealed that after a while, he decided to reveal his partial deafness to his tribe, because otherwise his lip-reading might come off as “creepy.”

“Day one, I was not going to tell anybody I was hard of hearing and then I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do this’,” Ricard explained. He then said that after he did so, “Shan took me on the beach, and we had been there maybe three or four hours, and she told me that she was living with an autoimmune disease and that she had just gone through chemo.”

Ricard then revealed to Shan that he also had a cancer scare, where he “had some lumps removed.” After that, he explained, “we just bonded and we were tight.” He expounded on their relationship, and what he wished the edit would have shown:

We were so in sync in every capacity, even when we fought. I also wish they showed that we instantly made up. We were just these two alphas that just wanted power and I knew I was going to lose to her with the power struggle and I was like, ‘You know what? It’s fine. I can play under the radar.’ But I wish they had shown how deep of a connection we really had because we weren’t just allies — we were absolute best friends out there.

The ‘Survivor’ Audience Is Upset About the Season’s Edit

Although the “Survivor” fanbase has responded warmly to the relationship between Shan and Ricard, they have not been shy about criticizing the season’s lopsided edit. In this case, for instance, fans are vocalizing their frustration in what the edit has prioritized over this heartwarming and fairly significant moment in one of the defining friendships of the season.

One fan on the series’ subreddit expressed a popular sentiment about Shan and Ricard, saying, “I found this duo so dynamic to watch. They were like an old married couple: such a strong team with a deep-rooted respect for each other. They’d bicker and both be stubborn with each other yet had that love at the end of the day.”

They then added, “I would have given anything to see them duke it out at the end in the top 3.”

Others voiced their criticism of the season’s lopsided editing in favor of the season’s abundance of new twists and advantages, with one fan joking, “We had to see 30 minutes of advantage explanations! No time for this!” Another said, “I found the theme for this season, Survivor 41: Not In The Edit.”

Others expressed another popular sentiment that many fans have felt in recent seasons; that fans shouldn’t have to read external media, like exit interviews, to get a comprehensive understanding of the season’s most significant dynamics. “If I didn’t listen to all the exit interviews and read supplemental articles about [Survivor], I would have had no idea what was going on,” one user wrote. “I really did enjoy this season but I can’t believe how much of the relationships and bonding we didn’t see.”

Much of the “Survivor” audience has made their criticisms of production’s priority of twists and advantages over human relationships and strategy clear throughout the airing of the season, and even previous seasons. However, if any change is going to come out of it, it likely won’t be until at least season 43, given that season 42 has already completed filming and editing is currently underway.

“Survivor” airs Wednesdays 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.

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