WARNING: Spoilers ahead from Wednesday’s season finale of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction”.
After 38 seasons, “Survivor” still knows how to shock fans with something new.
Wednesday’s season finale of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” began as truly anyone’s game. Rick Devens, Lauren O’Connell, Gavin Whitson, Victoria Baamonde and Julie Rosenberg started the episode as this season’s final five. But with the Extinction Island twist, all four returning players — Aubry Bracco, David Wright, Kelley Wentworth and Joe Anglim — had a shot of getting back in the game, alongside seven other players: Chris Underwood, Aurora McCreary, Eric Hafemann, Reem Daly, Wardog, Ron Clark and Julia Carter.
So, from those 16 players, who won the title of Sole Survivor and the $1 million prize? Congrats to…
After an emotional competition among the Extinction Island crew, Chris came out victorious and rejoined the game. Victoria was voted out at the next tribal council, followed by Lauren (whose exit came after she and Julie played fake idols constructed by Devens. He played a real one for Gavin, and Chris played a real one for himself).
Chris won the next immunity challenge, but in one of the biggest moves made in “Survivor” history, he gave up his necklace to Julie, sending her and Gavin to the final three while he battled it out with Devens in a fire-making competition. Chris came out on top, explaining to host Jeff Probst that the risky move was necessarily in order to prove his worth for the title of Sole Survivor, and take out the biggest threat in the game.
Julie, Devin and Chris made their case at the final tribal council.
“I spent 28 days at the Edge of Extinction… getting back into the game [was my big move],” he said. “I had to play the biggest possible game with three days that I could possibly play.”
“I came into this game and I wanted to control. I wanted to play this perfect game, and I got blindsided,” Chris continued, explaining how getting voted out was a learning experience for him. Making the unprecedented move of giving up his immunity was his proudest moment. “That was the million-dollar experience, whether I win or not,” he revealed.
In an interview with ET before the season started, Probst explained how Aubry, David, Kelley and Joe would face new challenges as returning players — and said that while viewers had big hopes for their success on the show, it all depended on the “Survivor” newbies.
“These four players illustrate how difficult it is to win this game. They are experts at different aspects of the game. Every one of them is a phenomenal player and yet none of them have won. That’s how tough it is to play “Survivor” because no matter how good you are, you are always hovering on the edge of extinction, your flame is always in danger of being snuffed,” he said.
“I think the new players will be enamoUred and also wary of the returning players, as they should be,” Probst continued. “They can offer a lot of early wisdom but let them stick around too long and they will become an adversary.”