Survivor Edge of Extinction: Could all four returnees make the merge?

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

Despite all the talk on Survivor: Edge of Extinction about blindsiding the returnees, all four are still in the game with a shot at making the merge.

I am genuinely surprised that Joe, Aubry, Kelley, and David all made it to the first tribe swap. We know that in every season similar to Survivor: Edge of Extinction, a returning player has always made Final Tribal, but that doesn’t mean all of them will make it far. Both Russell Hantz and Russell Swan got taken out before any swaps when they returned to play against newbies.

Coming into the third episode of the season, that looked to be the case for Aubry or Wentworth… but they both survived. A tribe swap could also mean new life for them. It offers the chance to get away from castaways who were plotting to blindside them. Could we actually see all four veterans battle it out at the merge? Let’s took a look at each returnee’s odds at surviving the tribe swap.

Joe Anglim

There are two things working in his favor: his tribe has the numbers, and he’s Joe. It’s much easier to win a challenge when you can finish in second and still be immune. With Joe’s ability to dominate challenges, he might not even have to go to a Tribal Council until the merge. Now that Chris is out of the picture, there’s not really any other players that can go toe to toe with Joe.

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However, if there is some type of puzzle at the end of a challenge, there’s no guarantee Joe’s new tribe can win it. With production having to squeeze in time for someone from Extinction Island to return, there’s a good chance we could see a double elimination meaning the two losing tribes would have to vote someone out. It definitely depends on who ends up on Joe’s tribe, but if they lose a challenge, it’s a perfect opportunity for these returnee hating newbies to get him out before the merge.

Aubry Bracco

It was amazing to watch Aubry go from the brink of extinction to the safest returnee heading into the swap. Now that she has her first Hidden Immunity Idol, Aubry is secure for at least one Tribal Council. Yes, there is still a chance that she could go home with it in her pocket, but I think she’s too savvy of a player to have that happen to her at this stage, especially if her new tribe consists of all first-timers.

It’s true that she can find herself in trouble if her tribe loses more than one challenge before the merge, but with a smaller group of people to work with, Aubry has a better chance of creating a dialog. She just needs to convince two people to get a majority, and we know from Kaoh Rong that she has the power to do so.

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Kelley Wentworth

Out of the four returnees, Kelley’s position entering the swap depends the most on who she ends up with. She’s built great relationships with Lauren and Wardog, playing a solid social game so far, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s a massive target. David and Rick were so close to blindsiding her until her social game kicked in, thanks to Wardog.

If Wentworth isn’t with Lauren or Wardog, then she could be in serious trouble. If a few of the Kama newbies land on her tribe, you can bet that they’ll be gunning for her. Even with her strong social game, Kelley has still been vulnerable, receiving votes in every single Tribal Council so far! A swap isn’t going to change that.

David Wright

Similar to Wentworth, David’s status is really tribe dependent, especially if he ends up as the only returning player amongst a bunch of Kama first-timers. That being said, David has mastered the art of controlling the vote while still flying under the radar.

His name hasn’t even come remotely close to the chopping block, as everyone has turned to David for advice instead. So even if he has to go to Tribal once or twice, I wouldn’t put it past him to sneak out of the crosshairs and survive until the merge.

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Overall Rundown

It’s impossible to tell before we know the new tribes, but my prediction is that three out of the four returnees will make the merge. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe or Wentworth get their torches snuffed in the next couple of episodes. With Aubry’s clutch idol and considering how great David has played so far, they both have the ability to survive one or two Tribal Councils. Now that 12 and 13 person merges are more common, the returning players don’t have to hang on for too long to make the merge.