He was the only player in Edge of Extinction who both received zero votes and voted correctly until the finale. Should Gavin Whitson return to Survivor?
It’s hard not to feel for a second-place finisher in a season with wholly unfair, game-altering twists that made it near impossible for them to win. Such is the case for Gavin Whitson; the runner-up of Survivor: Edge of Extinction that didn’t hang out with the majority of the jury for weeks on end.
In the big movez era of Survivor, it’s hard to get any respect for making bonds, playing an “anybody but me” strategy and earn multiple individual immunities and win the game. That seemed to be Gavin’s strategy early on, getting in close with Eric in an attempt to get out the returning players and building a safety net of relationships.
He worked with Victoria and Eric to get out Aubry after he and the others swapped to Manu, effectively striking first blood in the season’s theme of newbies vs. returnees. The next tribal saw Gavin stand his ground in a 4-4 shootout in a Manu-Lesu joint session but ultimately conceded, allowing Wendy to be voted out and enter the merge with an 8-5 Kama majority at Vata.
Despite having Eric Hafemann as his closest ally, once Joe was blindsided, and David and Rick’s votes were valued over those at the bottom of the tribe, Gavin and Julia plotted his second big blindside, getting Eric out. From there through the finale, he jumped back and forth between groups to work and get out the biggest targets, being one of the few to vote out all returnees.
What solidified Gavin’s late-game edit was the Loved Ones’ Visit challenge, especially considering his wife, Carly, moved up her and Gavin’s wedding to two days before competing on Survivor.
It wasn’t until the finale where his votes against Rick at the Final Six and Chris at the Final Five where Gavin wasn’t in control, and only received four votes at Final Tribal Council out of 13 to win after Chris gave up immunity at Final Four to take on Rick and used an idol given to him by production to use at the Final Five, as well as living with the majority of jurors en route to winning the game.
Gavin Whitson had a dynamic style of gameplay that would work well to win almost any other season of Survivor. Vote here in our straw poll and let us know if you think he should have another shot at the prize.