Survivor: Defending the less touted winners in Survivor history

"It All Boils Down to This" - Jeff Probst awards Michele Fitzgerald with the Immunity Necklace on the three-hour season finale episode of SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR, airing Wednesday, May 13th (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
"It All Boils Down to This" - Jeff Probst awards Michele Fitzgerald with the Immunity Necklace on the three-hour season finale episode of SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR, airing Wednesday, May 13th (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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Winner Chris Underwood attends the Red Carpet Event for CBS’ “Survivor” Finale (Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images)
Winner Chris Underwood attends the Red Carpet Event for CBS’ “Survivor” Finale (Photo by Tasia Wells/Getty Images) /

Chris Underwood – Winner of Survivor: Edge of Extinction

Oh man, now it’s getting fun! Chris famously won Edge of Extinction despite being voted out on Day 8 in a 5-2 vote and being the third person to land on the Edge. Season 38 invented the Edge of Extinction twist, so Chris was down, but not out. He was a provider for those also on the Edge with him and while he didn’t get back into the game at the merge, he did so at the final six.

By this point, Chris had been out of the game for nearly 30 days, as it was Day 35 and he was re-entering the game. He and Rick got together and made a pact to do what they could for each other and it worked out well for Chris. He gave Rick half of his idol and Rick returned it to him after that first tribal council.

Prior to that tribal council, Chris had approached Lauren to inform her that he knew about her Hidden Immunity Idol, thanks to Kelley Wentworth. He told Lauren that Kelley wanted her to make a big move and he gave her that chance. He told her to play the idol on him, which would give her a big move, protect him, and the two could continue to work together.

Lauren did so, and Victoria was bounced from the game as a result. Shortly after, Chris played his idol at the final five and Lauren was sent packing. Chris knew he had to win immunity at the final challenge to do what was going to potentially win him the game. When he won the challenge, he announced at tribal council that he’d be giving up his immunity necklace and would be making fire against Rick.

This was HUGE at the time, but as time has passed, it’s been discovered that everyone on the Edge had planned to do this if they were in Chris’ shoes. It was a move that had to be made in order for Chris to have any shot at winning and as we saw, it worked. Chris won in a 9-4-0 vote to make him the first ever winner who had previously been voted out earlier in the season.

I won’t lie – Chris is dead last on my winner’s rankings because of the fact that he was originally voted off on Day 8. What I will say though is that Chris made the most of his return game and did everything he needed to do to ensure a victory. We saw the difference between his return game and Natalie’s in Winners at War and now future Edge returnees will know that Chris’ is the game to model if they want any shot at winning the game.