The winner of Survivor: Edge of Extinction is …


Heading into the Survivor: Edge of Extinction finale, it was a two-horse race with one player taking a late lead. Then, the truly unpredictably happened.

Never in the history of Survivor has a season ended as unpredictably as it did in Edge of Extinction. For 27 days, Chris Underwood lived a partial Survivor life, living on the Edge and failing the first challenge to get back in. However, he kept the faith until the end, fought his way back in at Day 35 and took the ultimate gamble, securing his win as the Sole Survivor of a crazy season.

Chris wanted to play an honest game, keeping faithful to his allies in Rick Devens and Wardog. This didn’t become an issue until the plan to blindside Kelley Wentworth came into play, as Rick Devens approached him (and him alone) with the plan, telling Chris not to tell Wardog. Immediately, Chris had to tell Wardog, since he didn’t want to blindside his friend.

Of course, this resulted in Wardog keeping faithful to Kelley, telling her Chris’ plan as they both decided to flip the vote against Chris. Rick and David managed to slink away from the blame, voting out Chris and essentially getting away with treason in a powerful Manu alliance.

As we learned today, Survivor: Edge of Extinction is not about predictability, as players voted out in 37 seasons prior before the merge would not have an impact on the end results as members of the jury. This season, however, Chris was voted out with the secret chance to win his way back into the game; a choice he took without hesitation.

He became the first member of the eventual jury that really encountered abrasiveness, as Keith and Reem were less than cordial. However, he never gave up the fight, playing into the social politics of the Edge of Extinction by becoming the provider few others could be. He even tussled Keith for an advantage to practice the first Edge of Extinction Challenge.

He was the overwhelming favorite to win his way back into the merge, using his practice to prepare. He even overcame Keith’s extra rope disadvantage to make it to the snake puzzle, but one slight hesitation saw him drop the ball figuratively and literally as Rick Devens earned his way back from the Edge of Extinction.

Did Chris give up? Of course not. He may not have been playing the modern Survivor game, being someone who was voted out, but he was a provider for others and found himself closely aligned with the power players as they arrived on the Edge. He could be seen looking for clues with Joe and often found himself in others’ good graces.

Must Read. Survivor: Ranking 36 Survivor seasons of the show. light

This proved to be a key strategy, as the second and final Edge of Extinction Challenge gave Chris Underwood redemption. Even with challenge threats such as Joe, Aurora and even Kelley opposing him, Chris found himself conquering them all, earning his spot back into the game at Day 35. For 27 days, he had been living a meager, strategy-free life, and now he finally found himself back in it.

After failing to secure immunity on Day 36, he found himself vulnerable. However, he immediately applied his sales skills in selling information and playing into the mindsets of the players left in the game. He gave Rick his trust and promised a Final Four, allowing him to secure Rick’s trust and give him his second half of an idol gifted to him by production. That’s right, skipping 27 days of the drain of strategizing wasn’t an advantage enough.

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  • Chris also pressed on Lauren for trust, too, selling himself on the ability to beat Rick in the end. He got her to use her idol on him, which also worked to flush Lauren’s protection at the Final Five while securing his own safety through the Final Four. Rick Devens even gave him back the second half of his idol at the Final Five even though he had an idol of his own, securing the trust built between them.

    At the Final Four, Chris finally won an Immunity Challenge, securing his spot at the Final Tribal Council. However, the one thing he couldn’t secure is his shot at beating Rick Devens at the end, so he did the move only Domenick Abbate thought of pulling off; he gave Julie the Immunity Necklace and he challenged Rick to a fire-making challenge, of which he won.

    Arriving at the Final Three with Gavin and Julie as his competitors, it seemed as though Chris’ underdog story could not be thwarted. At the Final Tribal Council, Chris explained how he was able to play the game even when living on the Edge of Extinction and argued that he was capable of playing hard with the few days he earned back by taking out Rick Devens.

    However, he faced criticism from others for being voted out on Day 8, even if he did play within the rules. He defended himself by playing into his sales skills, getting Lauren to confirm he played her in giving him her idol to keep him safe. Gavin gave Chris a little bit of a challenge, however, as players like Rick confirmed that his social strategy to not receive votes was worthy of recognition.

    Next. Survivor winners: Ranking 36 Sole Survivors by season. dark

    In the end, the jury wanted to award one of their own the million-dollar prize. and so they did. Chris Underwood won the vote 9-4-0 over a second-place Gavin and a third-place Julie, making him perhaps one of the most controversial winners in Survivor history.