Survivor: 7 reasons why Edge of Extinction twist is an institutional failure

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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Survivor Edge of Extinction Episode 1 Manu Reem Keith
Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

After reflecting upon the season at large, we have several complaints levied at Survivor’s Edge of Extinction twist, how it was implemented and more.

The 38th season of Survivor has come and gone, and the 37th person to win has been crowned to cap off the 2018 – 2019 cycle. We’ve seen great highs and lowly lows the past eight months, but nothing in the show’s history could prepare us for the Edge of Extinction. Not only did the players not know of the twist until they were voted out or at the merge but the two real winner threats 20 minutes into the finale both were voted out before the merge.

Say what you will about the winner’s game, even if that same person made it to the end, the path to getting to the end would be much greater due to the lack of the Edge of Extinction. Never has the show ever been more unfair to the players, unclear to the audience, and unfulfilling to the spirit of Survivor.

Here are some reasons why we could do without seeing the Edge of Extinction twist ever again.

Players didn’t know the rules would be fundamentally broken from the start

"We did a haphazard version of Redemption Island a few years ago called the Outcasts, and it didn’t work and it didn’t please the audience and there was one fundamental flaw: We didn’t tell people up front it was going to happen. I just told everybody [at the opening] it’s going to happen. Make no mistake: When you’re voted out, you’re not going home, and somebody that you vote out could come back and bite you in the ass. So I have no problem with people coming back into the game because everybody knows up front. A rule can’t be unfair if you know going in. It’s an equal opportunity."

That was Jeff Probst describing how unfair the Outcast twist was ahead of Redemption IslandThe fact that the players of Edge of Extinction were unaware they were voting out people that could affect their game down the line is a breach of trust; they had no idea a foundational rule would be violated because Jeff Probst said that kind of twist was unfair in his own words.

Yes, there’s a certain amount of dynamic gameplay and bending of (or the introduction of) rules in each Survivor season. However, nobody could prepare for something that could not be conceived, especially those who had a hand in voting those players out.