The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
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No. 20 – Devon Pinto (Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers)
Devon Pinto was something of a chameleon on Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers. The show has cast quite a few “surfer bro” looking dudes like Devon (he was even billed as a surfing instructor!), but throughout the game, he proved to be more cerebral and strategic than at first glance.
Laid-back and easy-going, Devon used this demeanor to get in good with many different people throughout the season and pull off some pretty big blindsides, proving himself to be a formidable threat heading into the endgame. Unfortunately, an unforeseen twist would ultimately doom Devon’s chances of securing the victory, ending his journey on Day 38.
One of the best aspects of Devon’s game was his relationship with Ryan Ulrich, which he struck up during the early days of the Hustlers tribe. If Devon fell into the “surfer bro” archetype, Ryan was the “nerdy superfan.” Those two types wouldn’t seem to get along on the surface, but Devon and Ryan were fast friends, their relationship cemented when Ryan disclosed to Devon about the secret Day 1 advantage he found.
That advantage may have brought them together, but it would be a different one that would cause a rift after the merge. When Ryan blabbed about a new idol that he had found to a few more people than Devon would have liked, this served as motivation for Devon to seek new alliances elsewhere. Devon would team up with Ashley Nolan, Lauren Rimmer, and Ben Driebergen, making a move against Ryan and taking out his close ally JP Hilsabeck.
From that point on, Devon was in the best spot out of anybody in the game, well-positioned to go any way he pleased. He rode it out with Ashley, Lauren, and Ben for a while before pivoting back to Ryan and his other close ally, Chrissy Hofbeck, and locking in a final three deal he hoped would take him to the end, but alas, it did not.
Unfortunately for him, Devon had a string of bad luck befall him during his Survivor game. Of course, there’s the instantly iconic “This is not an advantage” moment from the pre-merge, but even worse was the final four.
Devon, Ryan, and Chrissy found themselves there with Ben, the number one threat to win who had staved off elimination by playing idol after idol after idol to stay in. Devon had narrowly avoided being voted off himself in the previous round. Still, he had survived and was set to go to the final three, especially because Ben had lost the final Immunity challenge.
Then… BAM! A brand-new twist hits the game in the form of an automatic fire-making challenge, giving Ben one last shot to survive. Suddenly, Devon and Ben’s final obstacle to making the Final Tribal Council was each other, and this is where Devon’s game would end.
Ben won the fire-making challenge and went onto win the game, while Devon had his torch snuffed on Day 38, with the Survivor fanbase, along with Devon himself, left wondering what could have been.
The finale of Devon’s season stands as arguably the most controversial one to date. While it was a bummer to see Devon lose his shot at the million so suddenly, we should all be thankful we got to ride the wave of Devon Pinto, earning his place in Survivor history along the way.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.