Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 7 recap: Avengers

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The merge is here, and 12 players are set to be joined by a once-eliminated player as we provide our Survivor: Edge of Extinction episode 7 recap.

The time has come for the other shoe to drop. For two weeks since Reem Daly’s elimination back in the first week of this season, players have been secretly active in a game that adds twists upon twists. It seems like the show has been rushing to get to this point, as we just jumped right into the start of Survivor: Edge of Extinction episode 7 in a cold open.

We abandoned yet another standard of the show by dropping the “Previously on …” recap from the last episode. Instead, we saw the tribes walking into a challenge setup, told to drop their buffs and shocked beyond all belief; the Edge of Extinction players have shown their faces once more.

“There’s always a twist,” Joe declares, as Reem, Keith, Chris, Rick, Aubry and Wendy step onto a mat that shows them have the option to win their way back into the game. They’ve come a long way through a lot of tears, heartache, rain and just a small amount of rice, but this was what they fought so hard for.

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Officially dubbed the Edge of Extinction challenge, the players needed to go through a series of obstacles slowing them down en route to a final winding snake puzzle, maneuvering a ball to the top signaling their entry back into the game. Chris had the power of testing the middle portion of this challenge, while Keith had the option to slow Chris down with extra ropes at the end.

Aubry took an early lead, but as always, it all comes down to the ending puzzle. As all but Keith found themselves at the bottom of the snake puzzle, you could see each player’s difficulties with the challenge. Reem kept dropping, Aubry rushed and dropped so many times, Chris got so close only to drop late and Wendy’s OCD and Tourrette’s-related ticks eventually got to her near the end of the snake puzzle.

Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 7 Vata arrives
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

In the end, Rick Devens took things slow and steady to win the race and earn his shot back in the game. It also seemed like Jeff Probst was forthright in telling the players that all future vote-outs will go back to the island, but instead, he was telling a half-truth; the players who just lost to Rick have the option to stay in the game.

Jeff Probst has said numerous times in the past that Survivor has screwed up in the past by introducing players to twists they had no idea in planning against, yet they’re doing it once again with the Edge of Extinction. Thankfully, the other shoe dropped rather quickly at the end of the episode, but that leads us asking why did Jeff lie in the first place?

As the merge feast came around (Julia got the merge feast confessional), we saw Rick happy to be back in the game, playing up his status as a free agent to players like Julie, who sees the merit in bringing a voted-out player to her side. It’s great to see Julie get more strategic content in recent weeks, especially in this crucial merge episode.

For some reason, we were sent immediately to the Edge of Extinction, only to see Keith and Wendy raise the sail on the beach and quit the game. It made sense that Keith quit; we saw him struggle with purgatory earlier. However, for Wendy to spend roughly 17 hours on the island and quit immediately is insanely disappointing. She quit with little effort.

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Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 7 Gavin Rick Joe Wardog
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Back at the merge, Kelley and Lauren started to get to work, talking about how they could use their immunity powers to control the game. This saw Kelley pitching Joe once again, harkening back to Cambodia days. When it seemed like she was keeping all options open, the two gathered the six women left in the game to target either Devens or David, showing how silly it is to send a player back into this game without a round of safety.

Julie, however, saw cruelty in sending Devens back out the door after working so hard for another shot at the game. Though she opted a very direct option to Rick in telling him he’s on a need-to-know basis, it did give Rick and David new life in a game where their number felt short otherwise.

On Day 18, Rick Devens found that he was gifted an advantage for being an Edge of Extinction player. He received a half idol, needing to give the other half to a player and survive the next two Tribal Councils in order to stay safe. He was an easy vote, yet was given a chance for power only when he didn’t immediately need it. Seems like a half-assed way of going about another game twist.

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It felt like we barely scratched the surface on the Survivor: Edge of Extinction merge episode before arriving at the Immunity Challenge. It was a merge classic; hold an idol on a stick for a long time at intervals of increasingly narrow portions of a beam. Ron, Aurora, Wardog, Devens, Victoria and Gavin could not make it through the first two portions of this challenge, as a windy day made this challenge difficult.

Survivor Edge of Extinction Julie Rosenberg wins immunity 1
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Twenty minutes into the challenge saw the hardest portion, with Eric, Julia and David losing idols just transitioning into the end. Joe, Lauren and Julie were the final three competitors, standing as steady as possible through 40 minutes. Joe dropped out suddenly, giving us a standoff in gusts of wind between Julie and Lauren. Ultimately, Lauren dropped and Julie, tied for Ron and Reem for the oldest player in the game, won the first Immunity Challenge of the season.

All pretense of lovey-dovey merge talk quickly vanished, as Julie sought to bring Rick and David in to further her idea of getting out Kelley. They didn’t know that at the time, so Rick gave David his other half of the idol to solidify their bond as they awaited further instructions. It seems like of the Lesu players, those two are being brought along for the ride while the others are left twiddling thumbs.

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Joe isolated himself painting the merge tribe flag while shooing away Ron. This put Ron in an uncomfortable position, wanting to vote him out and present a third voting target for the merged tribe to discuss. This all happened as the tribe continued to search for the three remaining chickens, as we’re still talking about this ridiculous storyline after the player responsible for it quit the game.

Victoria, Eric and Gavin were of one mind, Julie, Rick and David were part of another contingent and Kelley, Lauren and an unknown number of others wanted to get out David … or Devens, we’re not quite sure who. This merge was all over the place, as it didn’t seem to be presenting a reason why one player was an obvious target over another.

Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 7 merge Tribal Council
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

As we arrived at Tribal Council, the players left in the game were introduced to the jury; the Edge of Extinction players still competing. A number of targets were floated about, from Devens openly discussed as being voted right back out (Victoria counted that as an evil act) to Joe taking Victoria’s words of “going after a bigger threat” to mean him.

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It was interesting to see just how comfortable Kama members seemed to be in their “Kama strong” mantra, especially those who weren’t making active plans to create secret alliances. This had an effect immediately once the voting began, as it seemed like there was a weave of votes where Kama seemed to create the perfect vote split across four targets.

Joe Anglim, the person who sat at camp and slaved over the tribe flag, was deemed the biggest threat of the game, as Ron’s blindside plan worked. He was sent as the fourth member of the jury in a 6-3-2-2 vote, with David and Rick voting Kelley and Kelly, Lauren and Wardog voting for David.

Aurora was also on the outs, too, as she and Joe voted for Rick while Eric, Gavin, Julia, Julie, Ron and Victoria voted out Joe in the majority. It seems that group of six is the first true alliance of this game, as Survivor: Edge of Extinction has been waiting for a power play to be enacted like this.

Survivor Edge of Extinction Joe Anglim voted out
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

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This episode brought us a few moments that showed our feedback is working, as we now know who has an idol in their lower-third Chryon, we know who voted for whom and we heard Joe’s final words and thoughts as he arrived at the Edge of Extinction. It’s going to be one hell of a bumpy season if Reem, a Day 3 boot, is determining the winner.