Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 9 recap: Mammoth

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

It was teased from the beginning of last week, but now we see the explosive Tribal Council for what it is in our Survivor: Edge of Extinction episode 9 recap.

There’s something to be said about making a big move early, even if it’s not the smartest. With 12 people left in the game and one more set to return before it’s all said and done, Gavin and Julia would go on to shoot their shot last episode and try to take out the family visit-manipulating Eric and Ron. Although challenge threat Eric went home first, now we’re at a situation where barely anybody could trust anyone else.

The Kama tribe lost their mojo thanks to Wardog, and Ron immediately called Gavin to the principal’s office. However, he decided to create a new ride-or-die alliance with Kelley, Lauren and Wardog, hoping to bring in Victoria and Julia to create a commanding six. At the very least, we got to see Ron grovel after calling himself a puppet master just days prior.

David and Devens, meanwhile, found themselves working together again as they try to figure out who gets custody of their split idol. However, their decision to work with the players who were just blindsided and just put in the minority is a bold strategy, especially with David getting votes in recent episodes.

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Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 9 Eric Chris
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Eric woke up on the Edge of Extinction battered and bruised emotionally, but found himself starting to lose his mind, contemplating raising the flag on his first day on the island. However, all it took was for Chris to catch a stingray for Eric to turn his mind around, hoping to prove that he is here for the long haul. Still, it’s hard not to get Keith Sowell vibes from that edit.

Rick was working quickly to pick up the pieces with the blindsided Kama players on Day 23, talking to Julie about coming together after voting with them in their last blindside. David, Devens, Julie and Ron seemed to be the core of the alliance counter to Gavin and Julia’s six, but she was feeling emotionally wrought after what she had been through.

Gavin and Julia were trying to maintain the stranglehold of their power by suggesting either David or Ron would be their next voting target. Gavin noted that David seemed to be in the top four for each of the individual Immunity Challenges, planting the seeds for what we would come to expect for both sides before their fight for immunity.

Survivor Edge of Extinction Gavin Whitson Immunity Necklace 3
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Just 14 minutes into Survivor: Edge of Extinction episode 9 and we saw the Immunity Challenge come into play. It’s another dexterity-based “hold a ball up in an awkward way” challenge, with this one being the “hold a ball on a wooden bow and stand on a beam” version. Most players made it to the bottom, but Wardog was out first, and Julie fell shortly afterward.

It was at the final stage that everybody started to drop, where it seemed like a woman had an overwhelming advantage with the number of players left in. However, Lauren, Julia, Kelley and others fell one after another, setting the stage for a showdown between Gavin and David. Both players started cramping up in their legs, causing massive imbalance up top. Eventually, David was usurped by the Goliath that was Gavin, taking the first individual Immunity Challenge win by a male this season.

With the Immunity Challenge ended with 38 minutes left in the episode, it would be clear that the epic Tribal Council that had been teased in promos was not just a marketing ploy. This is where we saw utter chaos on the beach, with Rick’s pitch to Gavin, Julia and others to get rid of Kelley and separate the Lesu three.

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This started to get Julia thinking, as she was talking Lauren’s input on who to vote out and hearing Ron’s name come up. Why would she continue to target more Kama players if Lesu isn’t working with each other on the down low? That was her reasoning, which brought up an inconceivable idea; bringing back Kama strong.

Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 9 Tribal Council Lauren shocked
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Ron, with his head faced down and channeling Sandra’s “anybody but me” mentality, we started to see the idea that Kelley or David would be the Kama Six’s target heading into Tribal Council. However, Gavin wanted David voted out but found himself quickly outranked, calling it a dictatorship … because he didn’t get what he wanted.

With everything in flux, Rick and Devens worked out who they think should have the idol played on, with both agreeing that David seemed to be the vote target. This led to a spaghetti western of a showdown at camp, with players scraping pots, keeping their heads down and avoiding eye contact at all costs.

Kelley, being an expert and knowing something was up, noticed that players who she thought were good with a plan to vote out David or Ron would not even glance at her. She was suspicious that something was up and was ready to play an idol should she absolutely need to, especially when Julia gave her a hidden thumb’s up completely out of nowhere.

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Tribal Council started 20 minutes before we were expecting a player to be voted out, which seems like an impossible amount of time to get things hashed out. Julie and Aurora were talking about how trust can be crushed in an instant when you don’t believe David then made a shark versus minnows allegory (when taking an aqua dump).

Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 9 Tribal Council Kelley Wentworth face
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Julie then started to cry and talk about how she thought that if she gets blindsided again about her plan, she’ll never trust Kama ever again. That was, in essence, her dropping a huge hint about where she and the “majority” was supposed to be voting, which got Kelley motioning over to Julia about whether or not “the plan” was still in effect.

That was the moment where the train started to come off the rails, with Jeff asking Julia why she was smiling or laughing during Julie’s impassioned speech. It was here that Julia openly stated she was reassuring Kelley that “the plan” was still in play; an open admission of a plan set up to play. Aurora was downplaying Julia’s admission in the act of subterfuge, but Devens overheard that conversation.

This is where Rick Devens pushed his way forward; he suggested the Lesu Five, Julie and Ron work together to take out Aurora. Julia got very defensive towards Rick and started calling him a passenger. From here on out, it was a chaotic mess of players getting up to have discussions, with everyone whispering in groups of three, four, five, six, even seven in trying to come up with a voting target.

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Survivor Edge of Extinction episode 9 Tribal Council Ron Clark flummoxed
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Wardog and Rick were huge proponents of trying to find a voting target, with Aurora, Julia, Lauren, and Kelley on the outs of those conversations. Even those players were trying to figure out if the plan was off or not, with others like David and Kelley moments from embracing a conversation before being split apart.

One of the highlights was Julie openly arguing with Julia about what the plan was in effect, only for Julia to push back. This saw Julie openly scream out she’s jumping ship, showing that the player who best orchestrated last week’s Tribal Council blindside was effectively losing her power.

Just before it seemed like everything had settled down, Wardog agreed it was time to vote and Julia told her to shut up. This saw Ron and Gavin commune for one last whisper conversation before everyone finally went to vote. Before the votes were read, David and Devens came together to use their idol on David, although it only negated one vote.

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Everyone but Aurora and Julia voted for Julie in a 9-1-1 (idol voided David’s vote), and Julie was sent to the Edge of Extinction. We’re going to break down that crazy Tribal Council separately, but boy was this a messy vote that few but Rick looked great coming out of it.