Ricard Foyé, a popular contestant on “Survivor 41,” was perhaps one challenge away from winning the season. However, as fans saw on Wednesday night, eventual winner Erika Casupanan barely edged him out to win the final 5 immunity challenge. Given how much of a threat he was, the remaining four castaways decided to cut him loose and send him to the jury.
Ricard was understandably upset by the decision, voicing his feelings in the Tribal Council he was eliminated, as well as in his Ponderosa video afterward. Now, after about seven months to reflect on his game, Ricard has spoken out about how he is coping with his loss, his thoughts on second runner-up Xander Hastings, and what happened during the game that we missed.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ricard Reveals His Last-Ditch Effort to Save Himself
In his Rob Has a Podcast exit interview on Thursday, Ricard revealed that he knew he was going home the moment he lost the immunity challenge. He added that despite Xander’s suggestion that he play his idol for him, he “never believed it was actually going to come to fruition.”
Ricard elaborated that he made an argument to Xander that fans didn’t get to see: that Xander should have played his idol for him because it would have actually helped Xander’s game. He described it as a “Tony and Woo” situation, referring to season 28, “Cagayan,” in which eventual winner Tony Vlachos argued for Woo Hwang to take him to the final 2 after winning the immunity challenge, despite the near-certainty that Tony would win. Although the plea worked for Tony, Ricard knew it was a long-shot for himself, despite the fact that he genuinely believed his own argument.
Ricard argued that Xander playing the idol for him would be beneficial because it would show the jury, especially Xander’s former Yase tribemates Tiffany Seely and Evvie Jagoda, that he actually had a plan in place to use the idol effectively, especially after they may have felt bitter that he never used it for them. He elaborated in RHAP:
[I told] him, “if you use your idol, you actually have a chance of winning, but if you don’t, you don’t win!” And I believe that with my whole heart. I think it shows Yase that he was willing to actually use his idol and not be selfish…and them kind of realize, “oh it was just the fact that we weren’t a good enough alliance to him that he wasn’t willing to use it, but he was a good [player] and he actually used it in the end.”
Ricard went on to say that afterward, Xander could have personally taken him out in fire, which would have been an “amazing move” (per Parade). As he explained in RHAP, “That could have been 100% his move. Because me going home, that wasn’t his move. That was Erika having Heather [and] Desahwn in her pocket, and he was just a part of it, but it wasn’t his. He got no credit.”
Ricard Says Xander Had Little Chance From the Get-Go
Ricard, along with 6 of the other 7 jury members, voted for Erika Casupanan to win the game. Danny McCray, the lone juror who didn’t vote for Erika, voted for runner-up Deshawn Radden. This led to a bit of a backlash from some fans, who were rooting for Xander the whole season and believed he had played a better game in the end. Luckily, Ricard elaborated on why he and the rest of the jury voted for Erika over the 20-year-old fan favorite.
As Ricard divulged in an exit interview with Parade, he wanted to work with Xander the moment he met him. “He was so odd,” Ricard said. “When I met him at the merge, I loved him. The way he talks is so funny. I just was obsessed with him.” However, by the end, things had changed.
In an interview with EW, Ricard revealed that he believed that Erika and fourth-place finisher Heather Aldret played the best games out of everyone in the final 4. As a result, he said that had Heather made it to the final 3 instead of Erika, he would have voted for her, confirming some fans’ suspicions that Heather was actually a better player than the edit portrayed.
Ricard also revealed that much of the jury perceived Xander as “inauthentic” and lacking in gameplay, which led to many players wanting to take him to the end. As he explained in EW:
All of these things [that Xander does], they just come off as inauthentic. And so he just didn’t really have the deep relationships with people nor the gameplay, because he was getting input and intel from everyone else on when to play his idol, when not to play his idol, where the votes were going to go. So he didn’t really have to be all that savvy in the game, which I hate. I don’t want to diss on him in any capacity, but that’s just how I felt.
He added that Xander misreading the jury on multiple occasions and making the decision to take Erika to the end probably wouldn’t have even made a difference anyway. “I feel like he could have possibly gotten a vote or two from Yase,” Ricard said, “but I don’t think that was really a possibility at any point. I felt like his game was over a while before that.”
He also said that Xander taking Erika to the end in order to prevent her from securing a fire-making victory was a mistake in its own right, given that Erika’s fire-making skills were poor and the entire jury knew it. “We all knew she couldn’t make fire!” Ricard explained. “She never made fire at camp. She told us how many hours it took when she was on Exile, but there was never this misconception that Erika knew how to make fire. So I don’t really know where that even came from.”
Ricard Says He Is Still Struggling Over His Loss
In RHAP, Ricard explained that he was still coping with his loss, especially because there was no one specific moment that he regrets. “It hurt the whole time,” he said. “I didn’t think I would struggle so much…I feel like there was really nothing I could have done. I played a great game. I had really great ebbs and flows.”
Ricard added that he was “just processing the disappointment but not necessarily the gameplay.”
He also explained that he believes he almost certainly would have won the final 5 immunity challenge had it not been for Eirka. “There are so many factors,” he said of his loss in the challenge. “The stress of not being first to the puzzle I think can really alter the game, and you’re looking at the other person they’re ahead of you, you’re freaking out. I’m really phenomenal at puzzles and I think I had a really good shot at winning it, I really do.”
Ricard tweeted the night of the finale that he is “proud of my game & I truly wouldn’t change a single move…Love you all, now time to start press interviews! ♥️♥️ 🥱🥱”
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Be sure to catch season 42 when it premieres March 9, 2022.