On December 15, 2021, it was announced that Canadian communications executive Erika Casupanan had won “Survivor 41” in a landslide 7-1-0 jury vote, defeating the last member of the season’s “All-Black Alliance” Deshawn Radden and fan favorite Xander Hastings. This caused some 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 editing gave fans a somewhat misleading impression of Erika and Xander’s gameplay.
Recently, ninth place Evvie Jagoda – who voted for Erika as a member of the jury – conducted a “deep dive” interview with Rob Cesternino, in which she discussed the reasons for her own vote and even revealed fan favorite Ricard Foyé might not be like that a threat to victory as the cut suggested.
In the interview, Evvie revealed that after her own elimination, she began to worry that it might be an uneventful season by simply watching Shan Smith dominate her path until the end. “When Naseer was voted out,” she explained, “I thought, ‘Oh my god, will Shan just play this game all the way? Is it just getting super boring? ”She added that she, Naseer Muttalif and Tiffany Seely – the three previous judges – were even starting to“ joke ”that Erika would be next.
As a result, when Shan was caught off guard, Evvie became the next Tribal and Erika remained in the game, becoming “the earliest adoptor” of Erika, who was playing “a really good game.” “It was very, very clear to me that Erika was the target,” explained Evvie, “so for me the Erika game really takes off.”
Evvie, who said she was primarily looking for who would have the most control over the game as a judge, said that as the game progressed the turning point for her came two tribals later. This was the last 6th Tribal Council where Deshawn dropped his infamous “Truth Bomb”. For one thing, she was very impressed with how Erika reacted to the whole situation, especially considering Evvie knew what it was like to be on the other end of a Deshawn “truth bomb”. “Erika’s reaction to that was amazing,” Evvie explained. “I really thought, especially as a non-male in the world, I felt like she was just very powerful in her response like, ‘Why did you do that?'”
Also, during this tribal, it became clear that both Ricard and Xander, who had a strong bond with Deshawn’s lonely ally Danny McCray, wanted Deshawn to get over Danny. But nonetheless, it was Danny who was sent home. “She came off so well,” Evvie explained. “I’ve felt that way for a long time [the jury] it was like, “Okay, Erika really has a lot of power in this sphere.”
Evvie also shed some light on fan-favorite Ricard Foyé, who has been the audience’s biggest threat to victory over the course of the episodes beyond the Shan vote if he makes it to the end. Not only did Evvie describe it as a “wide open playing field” after Shan was eliminated – meaning it was everyone’s game, not just Ricard’s – but the jury didn’t see Ricard as the number one danger, at least at that point. Had Erika reached the final tribal council with Ricard, Evvie said, “I know Erika would have gotten attention. I don’t think it would have been 100% Ricard if it had been the two of them together.”
With the caveat that Ricard would have made it to the end had he had more moves – e.g. e.g. won the last 2 immunities, won the last 4 Make Fire challenges or otherwise successfully maneuvered your way to the end – Evvie said as it was , there probably would have been a rift between the judges who were voted out earlier, and those who were later voted out. Evvie explains:
Evvie added that Erika’s final Tribal Council performance was “amazing” which was a bonus for her, although it’s possible Ricard could have overwhelmed the judges with a dominant performance as well. Nevertheless: “I don’t think you can rule out that Erika could have made a very good argument for herself,” said Evvie, “even against Ricard.”
Evvie also failed to mention Heather Aldret – Erika’s number one ally – who would also likely have voted for Erika over Ricard in this scenario. Once again it becomes clear that everything that happens in the game is far more complex than what meets the eye of the viewer and fans should be aware of the complexity of the game that may not be able to be translated through the screen.
“Survivor” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS. Watch season 42 when it premieres on March 9, 2022.