Survivor Edge of Extinction: Three takeaways from the merge episode

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

A packed merge episode on Survivor: Edge of Extinction brings a castaway back and clarifies who’s really in control of this game.

It’s official, Rick Devens is back in Survivor: Edge of Extinction thanks to a clutch challenge performance. The dynamics of one merged tribe and a previously eliminated castaway returning to the game made for some interesting but rushed drama. Here are three lessons we learned from the merge episode.

The Kama 6 has taken over

Later this week we will award one player as the episode’s MVP, but honestly, it belongs to the Kama 6 alliance as a whole. They made all three returning players look silly in just one Tribal Council! They convinced Wentworth, Lauren and Wardog to vote for David, and got Rick and David to vote Wentworth.

Not only did they make the old Manu vote against themselves pointlessly, but they also persuaded Joe and Aurora, the outsiders from Kama, to vote for Devens. The remarkable part about this plan is that these three groups were convinced they were voting for the person who would go home. They never got wind of the actual plan.

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It’s true that this alliance controlled the vote masterfully, but voting out Joe now, does leave them vulnerable for a counter attack, as Fishbach stressed on RHAP. So we’ll have to see if the Kama 6 can do it again, or if they made their move too early.

Rick is back and is going deep

Arguably the most deserving player on Extinction Island returned to the game. I say most deserving because the others were all blindsided, while Rick was voted out on good terms. What’s great about Rick’s position is his flexibility.

Yes, he was left out of the loop for the vote, but his strong social game and solid relationship with Julie could enable him to work his way in the Kama 6. Plus, he still has ties to old Manu, with David being his most trusted ally.

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After a shocking vote, both David and Rick survived the first Tribal Council after the merge. That means that Rick’s two halves of an idol now make for one official Hidden Immunity Idol. With that in his back pocket, Rick and David have the power to surprise the overconfident Kama 6.

The Edge of Extinction twist is made for Joe

We learned a lot about the Extinction Island twist during the merge episode. Similar to the Redemption Island twist, the eliminated castaways will have another opportunity to get back in the game, probably around the Final Six.

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Many speculated before this season began that this twist was built to keep Joe in the game. To be honest, it does feel like that, sort of similar to Ozzy’s situation in South Pacific. With Chris still there to contend with though, Joe doesn’t have an easy road back. We’ll see if he can make the most of this bonus opportunity.