Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 1 recap: Dinosaurs

Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

For the first time ever in Survivor, a player was voted out in Edge of Extinction episode 1 that has a secret chance of getting back into the game.

After the unbridled excellence that was Survivor: David vs. GoliathCBS has the herculean task of topping it with Edge of Extinction episode 1. With just 60 minutes to tell the story of 18 castaways, it was a bit of a muddled mess as newbies competed with the likes of David Wright, Joe Anglim, Aubry Bracco and Kelley Wentworth for screentime.

Make no mistake; the 14 new players deserve their own time to shine, even though a few characters were introduced to us through the lens of their adoration for others. As we learned the names of these new players, quickly boating in were past favorites, reminding us all just how hard it is for seven collective seasons of gameplay reduced zero winners among them.

Jeff Probst reminded us all of these returning players’ accomplishments, effectively adding huge targets on their backs from the start. He even managed to provide a compelling why the season is called Edge of Extinction not long before telling everyone to gather supplied and jump off. Players like Reem were quick to jump off the boat, while Ron Clark was eager to find an advantage on the boat (which he did).

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As the Manu tribe arrived on the beach, we learn that Kelley and David (especially David) are playing the game early on. While Kelley is providing feelers and building relationships, David Wright is … wait, is David offering shelter advice? And the newbies are listening to him? That just goes to show you just how much of an advantage being a returnee is.

On newbie watch, we have Rick Devens explaining the power of getting people to underrate him with his dad bod and Big Wendy Diaz providing a touching moment explaining her Tourettes and mild OCD. The more we get to learn about the newbies, the more we can appreciate the full extent of the season’s cast, and the Manu tribe struck a great balance.

Over at Kama, it seems like everyone is on Joey Amazing’s side. He tried to ditch his namesake nickname, yet there he was building a fire without flint in the first half an hour, getting players like Aurora on Team Joey (even if she is a lesbian as if that matters for being on Team Joey).

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Of course, it wouldn’t be an early episode of a new Survivor season if we weren’t talking about advantages, and Ron Clark has a lot of upside for him going early. He found himself holding onto a brand new advantage; the advantage menu, which gives him the option of one of three advantages to use before the third Tribal Council including individual immunity and stealing a reward.

It’s not all hunky-dory, as Eric tried to get Gavin on his side in voting out Aubry if the tribe was to lose immunity. Considering that returnees have a huge advantage early on and Aubry average 38 days across her first two seasons, I have doubts in Eric’s plan.

Over at Manu, Keith talks about his youth and even gets Reem to help teach him how to swim alongside Wendy. As Aubry mentioned about lying low in the grass, having three of nine players go off on their own early creates an early separation of the tribe by poking their head out, with players like Rick and Kelley targeting someone from that trio should they go to Tribal Council.

Half an hour in, and we received our first Immunity Challenge of Edge of Extinction. A variety of strength, dexterity and maneuvering through ropes, Chris Underwood gave Joe a run for his money in climbing up the rope to ring the bell, allowing the tribe to reach the balance beam portion. However, it was the Kama tribe that took the lead on the balance portion, as David was the first player after numerous attempts from Manu to cross the beams. Kelley even bashed her head!

This gave the Kama tribe a leg up heading into the all-important puzzle portion, as it was the “slide the big block through the end” puzzle that we’ve seen before. However, since it all comes down to the puzzle, even a short pause from the yellow tribe gave Manu an opportunity to make up ground, with David Wright yelling out orders. Unfortunately, Aubry knew her puzzles, too, and the strength of the Kama tribe’s block-shoving gave Kama the first win of the season.

As the Manu tribe reached camp, it was scramble time for the swimmers’ alliance. The three brought Rick aside and grilled him instantly on his thoughts, with Reem especially pushing voting out Lauren and Kelley. Keith, despite being a shy, reserved guy, took a big step early and played the game in his best interests, relaying that information to the majority alliance to avoid being targeted.

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For some reason, being brash and standing up for your friends of three days was a theme of the Manu tribe, as Wardog and David outright asked Wendy about her thoughts of voting out Reem. Instead of going with the flow, Wendy dug in and told them straight up she will go down with that ship, voting in her favor.

That gave David and Wardog pause, as Wendy’s stubbornness proved to be scary. Meanwhile, Reem would not go down without a fight, laying it out on the castaways at camp how she did not like how people were throwing her name out as a target. It’s the kind of thing you want to say with tact, not while wielding a machete at the returning players!

When Tribal Council arrived, it was pretty much a long fuse leading to an explosive stick of dynamite. Reem pretty much laid the cards on the table as the tribe tried to explain that it’s not that nobody likes her; it’s just that she rubbed people the wrong way.

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What Reem heard was, “I’m being voted out for being the oldest person in the game and being others’ mothers,” which wasn’t that far from the truth. However, she made sure to twist peoples’ words to extract the worst possible message out of them, and that’s not going to help you win friends and influence people in Survivor.

Unfortunately, near the end we saw Reem at her lowest, accepting defeat early and talking about how much it sucks to be the first one voted out of Edge of Extinction. As the players split votes between Wendy and Reem in case an idol was played, it became clear that Reem was going to be the first one voted out. However, Jeff Probst didn’t say, “Once the votes are read, the decision is final,” which could be a hint for the remaining players.

Of course, the Edge of Extinction can bring players back from the brink of total failure, as Reem walked off into the darkness leading to light. She opted not to give up the game but to take a torch, head onto a boat and get sent to an island of her own in the pitch of darkness. It was quite horrifying as the editing evoked horror vibes as Reem prepared for the mystery ahead; she’s on her own.

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CBS has been tight-lipped on the extent of Edge of Extinction’s play in this season, but it seems like she and others who follow suit will have the opportunity to win their way back into the game. Will we see someone voted out on Day 3 make it all the way to the end and win? If so, can we even call it Survivor at that point?