Perhaps the most controversial winner in Survivor history, Chris Underwood had an up and down Edge of Extinction game. Should he return in the future?
One thing you should always remember when judging Survivor castaways: Don’t hate the player; hate the game. Chris Underwood, after being voted out just eight days into a 39-day season, had no idea he would have the opportunity to win his way back into the game via the Edge of Extinction, but he played the cards handed to him. It’s not his fault he was dealt the cards needed for a straight flush.
Early in Edge of Extinction, Chris wanted to play a very loyal game. He struggled to go against people who he was closest to early, wanting to push to keep Keith around so he could be a loyal voting number going forward. That fell through, but he didn’t want to leave Wardog behind in a plan to blindside Kelley Wentworth. Little did Chris know that Wardog valued Kelley more than Chris, and David and Rick were willing to wipe their hands clean and go along with voting out Chris.
Unlike Keith before him, Chris had no hesitation in heading to the Edge of Extinction, working to make amends with the people he voted out by fishing and providing for his fellow compatriots as they arrived. He also found an advantage that let him practice the first portion of the first Edge of Extinction challenge, although he did so fighting off Keith, who later used a disadvantage against Chris to give him more ropes to untie.
Chris didn’t make it back to join at the merge, but he did manage to become a member of the jury and talk with the other players as they revealed who had idols, who was likely winning the game as well as establish bonds with nine people who would represent the majority of a 13-person jury. This proved to be essential to his run after winning his way back into the game on Day 35.
After introducing himself to 60% of the other players left in the game, Chris got down to work. He applied his wealth of given information to pressure the right people to do what he wanted, including Rick holding onto his split idol gifted to him by production with the promise of working together and by telling Lauren to play her idol on him to further their games.
The Lauren idol play was more to prevent her from using it at Final Five, as with Rick’s safety guaranteed through Final Four he gave back Chris’ other idol half. The second-most clutch moment came at Chris winning the Final Immunity Challenge, giving him the power to arrive at the Final Tribal Council with one person of his choosing. Instead, he made an even more clutch move, giving up immunity to Julie and beating Rick in a fire-making challenge at Final Four.
With a majority of jury members getting to know him for weeks as a champion of their Edge of Extinction experience and the hardship that comes with it, as well as Gavin and Julie taking more old school approaches, Chris Underwood won Edge of Extinction with a 9-4 win. Vote here in our straw poll and let us know if you think Chris should return and defend his crown.