Well, that was a letdown.
Let’s just get this out of the way. I am not at all happy with what happened during the finale of Survivor: Edge of Extinction. From the minute that Jeff Probst said that the Edge of Extinction twist would last the entire game and that a second player would be allowed to return and compete, my main concern was that — at the last minute — some nonentity would reenter the game and basically ruin the entire season.
And, amazingly enough, that’s exactly what happened!
Listen, I’m sure that Chris is a nice guy and he made some pretty good moves during the finale. Convincing Lauren to use her idol on him was clever and, even more importantly, it left Lauren vulnerable at the next tribal council. (What exactly was Lauren thinking, though?) And giving up immunity so that he could battle Rick Devens in the firemaking contest was a big move.
But none of that changes the fact that Chris essentially only played the game for 11 days. Meanwhile, Gavin and even Julie played the full 39 days. Devens may have been a returning player but, unlike Chris, he wasn’t just dropped into the finale. He returned when the teams merged and he had to fight every day after that to survive. If anyone proved himself this season, it was Rick Devens. If Gavin or Julie had been the player who finally sent Rick home, it would have been a big Survivor moment. Instead, RIck was sent home by some guy who most of us had forgotten about. To lose because you didn’t win immunity is one thing. To lose because of a twist is another.
I know, I know. Even though Chris was voted out, he was supposedly still playing the game on Edge of Extinction Beach. That’s what Jeff Probst kept telling us, anyway. Chris spent 28 days at the Edge of Extinction before reentering the game. Yes, he had to survive on rice and he had to listen to Reem whine. But you know what he didn’t have to do? He didn’t have to compete for immunity. He didn’t have to search for an idol. He didn’t have to make alliances. He didn’t have to fight to survive tribal council after tribal council. He didn’t have to get any blood on his hands in any of thhe votes. He didn’t have to do any of the things that every other Survivor winner has had to do. Instead, he reentered the game at the end and was given an immunity idol for his trouble!
In the end, of the final three, I think Gavin deserved it more than Chris. When you look at the people who voted for Chris, you see that he got the votes of everyone who was voted out pre-merge. Essentially, the people who spent the most time on Edge of Extinction Beach voted for Chris to win and why shouldn’t they? They spent nearly a month with Chris. Reem never even talked to Gavin before the final tribal council.
(For the record, Rick, Lauren, Aurora, and Kelley voted for Gavin. Reem, Aubry, Eric, Joe, Julia, David, Wardog, Ron, and Victoria voted for Chris. Considering that Aubry previously lost the game to someone who, like Eric, didn’t actually do anything in the game until the final three days, I’m especially surprised by her vote.)
Chris winning was a truly disappointing end for a season that had its share of great moments. Even though the majority of the players weren’t particularly strong, this was still a season of great tribal councils. This was a season that featured some of the greatest blindsides in Survivor history. Even the finale featured the spectacle of both Lauren and Julie attempting to play fake immunity idols. This was a season with potential but it could never quite overcome the Edge of Extinction twist.
Oh well! Hopefully, they won’t do this Edge of Extinction thing again. Survivor 39 will feature Boston Rob and Sandra as mentors and, even though I’m tired of both twists and returning players, I know that I’ll definitely be watching!
Thank you everyone for reading and commenting over the course of this entertaining but frustrating season! The Amazing Race will be back next week and then, sometime in June, Big Brother starts!
See you then!