The penultimate episode of Survivor: HHH started off with six contestants still alive and vying for the million dollar prize. For one player, the odds were stacked against them, but as any fan will tell you: Anything is possible when it comes to the game of Survivor.
Caution, as spoilers from this week’s episode are to follow! Turn back now! If you want to get caught up, be sure to check out the Episode 13 Recap here.
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Things did not look good for Ben heading into this week’s episode, but it was Ashley Nolan, the 27-year-old lifeguard from Satellite Beach, Florida, whose torch ended up getting snuffed. Ashley began the game on the Heroes tribe, and it suited her well. But an early friendship (budding show-mance?) with JP made her a target, as others feared that she might be forming a “power couple” alliance with him. She distanced herself from him, and then laid low enough to where she ended up surviving both the tribe swap and the merge. Post merge, she proved to be a worthy and tough competitor, winning two individual Immunity Challenges and propelling her into the Final Six.
Down the stretch, her only real ally was Devon, but Devon entered into a Final Three alliance with Chrissy and Ryan that all but sealed Ashley‘s fate. She may have lived to fight another day, but when Ben miraculously found and played his second straight Immunity Idol, Chrissy was finally able to set her sights on Ashley, whom for whatever reason, Chrissy just never trusted. Ashley’s game came down to Devon, and had he and Ben voted along with Ashley, they could have voted out Dr. Mike. But instead, Devon’s vote may not have ultimately mattered, because Ashley received all of the other six votes, sending her to become the sixth member of the Survivor jury after 36 days in the game.
Ashley initially did not seem very happy with Devon, who she snubbed and gave the cold shoulder to after he tried giving her a good-bye hug. Has her feelings toward Devon changed? Is there anything she could have done differently that she thinks would have made a difference in her game? And why did Chrissy seem to have it out for her the whole game?
I had the chance to speak to Ashley today on the FilmSurvivor Podcast (the full audio of which you can find and download at the bottom of this article). But here were some highlights:
ASHLEY INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS:
On how her early relationship/friendship with JP affected the rest of her game:
Ashley Nolan: That was interesting because that kind of came out of nowhere. That was the first part of the game that made me realize just how crazy the game is. [Alan] saw me hand JP, like, a piece of fruit or something, and I remember looking at him and seeing the wheels turning in his head, and that turned into I must have handed JP an Idol and that we’re this budding power couple. I was just like, holy crap. It’s Day Two. They don’t show me saying this to him but I was like, it’s the second day out here. If you think that A, I’ve already found an Idol, and B, that I had confidence enough in another stranger to hand that Idol to someone else, then you think I’m a genius and an idiot all at the same time (laughs)…he could have completely ruined my game based on a complete fabrication of something.
On what her pitch would have been to jury had she made it to Final Three:
Ashley: Definitely the challenges, a lot of people overlook those things…I think it’s important because I was a physical player and good around camp, and those are the kind of things that are under-looked now that it’s become such a social game…but challenges are what make Survivor…I was in on every single vote essentially, other than when Joe blindsided Alan and also the Lauren vote. But if you compare me to people like Ryan, or Chrissy, or even Mike, who was not part of any vote, I was in on all of those things. And unfortunately it didn’t work, but I was the one that had started getting the wheels spinning on getting Ben out. He was one of my most trusted allies, and he trusted me a lot…I had good relationships with everyone, I formed good bonds with everyone. So it wasn’t these loud, dramatic moves necessarily that I made, but I feel like I played a good, confident, strong game, in order to get to the Final Three.
On who, other than Devon, she would have wanted to sit next to in the Final Three:
Ashley: That would have been Mike, definitely Mike. He wasn’t part of any votes, and it was amazing to everyone, including Mike, that he got as far as he did. When him and “Coco” Joe got together, they were just happy to be there at a certain point because they never thought they’d make it that far (laughs). So I think that would have been an easy one, getting them to vote for me to win over Mike.
For much more from Ashley Nolan, including my full interview, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.
Please don’t miss next week’s two-hour Survivor: HHH Finale Episode followed by the one-hour Live Reunion Show. We will have a full recap, a look ahead at Season 36 next Spring, and a mega-sized Podcast with exit interviews from all Final Five Survivor contestants, including the winner of Survivor: HHH.
TELL US: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ASHLEY’S ELIMINATION?
Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira