Deshawn Radden, the last remaining member of “Survivor 41‘s” “All-Black alliance,” was revealed to be the runner-up of the season on Wednesday night’s finale. Despite being targeted from multiple ends over multiple days, narrowly dodging a “Do or Die” gamble in episode 11, and receiving four votes in the last two elimination ceremonies, he narrowly won the season’s final 4 fire-making competition against Heather Aldret, and secured himself a spot in the final 2.
Although Erika’s social acumen, strategic gameplay, and ability to avoid being targeted earned her the win in a landslide 7-1-0 vote, Deshawn still managed to secure his ally Danny McCray‘s vote and come in second.
Although fans and analysts alike seemed fairly confident as early as the final 6 that Deshawn had little chance of winning, in part due to his poor social management with a jury who seemed cold to him, as well as a fumbling strategic game, Deshawn recently revealed that he felt otherwise before the Final Tribal Council.
Here’s everything you need to know:
Deshawn Thought He Was ‘For Sure’ Going to Win
In his Rob Has a Podcast exit interview on Thursday, Deshawn revealed that he was confident in his chances of winning going into the Final Tribal Council, especially after winning the fire-making challenge. It wasn’t until the questioning process began that he understood he had alienated many of the jury members, and that his chances weren’t so high.
“It’s gonna sound crazy, but after I won fire,” he said, “I thought I was gonna win for sure…It wasn’t until I got there, and I listened to the questions…that I was like, ‘Oh crap, I lost the game.’ And that’s a harsh realization to come to…but yeah going into it I thought I had a fighting chance for sure.”
In retrospect, however, he believes the jury already had their minds made up, and he had little chance of winning from the get-go. He also revealed that Danny, who would end up being his lone vote, also tossed him some “softballs” in an attempt to increase his chances.
“I love the jury,” he elaborated, “but I kinda feel like they had their minds made up coming into it. Danny was trying to give me some softballs…to try to explain certain moves that people on the jury could’ve been upset with me about, and I was just flustered. Like there were just so many other things going on that I guess I didn’t pick up on his softballs…In hindsight, honestly with the jury that we had, I don’t think there’s much I could’ve said.”
Deshawn On the Fire-Making Challenge
Deshawn also revealed how he believed he would fare in the fire-making challenge against Heather. In RHAP, he said that during the intense challenge, he thought, “there’s no way I’m gonna win this.” He explained that he was side-eyeing Heather’s fire, and he thought, “Damn, this is an inferno! How did she get the fire so high so quick?”
However, despite the fact that he was almost certain he was going to lose the challenge, he simply decided to persevere. “In my head I’m thinking, ‘Just don’t quit.’ If you’re gonna take this L…make sure you’re going out as hard as you could possibly go.” He also said, unsurprisingly, that one of the most important lessons he learned during the game is to never give up, because, as he put it, “you never know when you could break that spark and hit the rope.” He is not the first Survivor to overcome unlikely odds; future and hopeful “Survivor” contestants should take note.
For those interested, Deshawn revealed in an interview with EW who he would have voted for to win, had he lost the fire-making challenge:
Erika, 100 percent. It’s not even close. Because like I said earlier, I really do respect her game…Every day she was on the island, I was on the island. We spent the longest time together. So I know the nuances of her game. I know that she was setting up that little minority alliance on the side. I know that she won those immunities. I know that she was really fighting from the bottom…I think Erika was the strongest player of the three.
Deshawn, as well as the jurors who did vote for her, evidently saw a game of Erika’s that many fans did not. This lopsided editing resulted in a bit of a backlash toward Erika’s win from some fans, and a backlash toward the editing department from others. Nonetheless, it is important for fans to understand the complexities of what happened on the island that the audience didn’t see, epecially when it came to the game that proved to be the most successful.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Season 42 will premiere Wednesday, March 9, 2022.