QUICK NOTE: XFINITY.com is the place to be for all of your bug-eatin’, back-stabbin’, “Survivor” coverage. During the season we’ll have insightful weekly Power Rankings with Gabby Pascuzzi, occasional interviews, and full episode recaps. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute updates.
Last Week: Gavin made Aurora a reward voyeur, Devens proved to be a challenge warrior, and Lauren made moves to eliminate the lawyer.
39 Days, 18 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog
Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…
The Vata Tribe (wearing red)
Gavin, 23 – YMCA Program Director
Julie, 46 – Toymaker
Lauren, 21 – Student
Rick, 33 – Morning News Anchor
Victoria, 23 – Waitress
Return from the Edge Challenge: The players will be tethered to a rope. They’ll race around a series of obstacles, then create a rope bridge. From there they’ll need to complete a table maze with two balls. The first person to get both of their balls into the divots will return to the game.
Result: It was really close between Chris and Joe with Chris picking up the win.
Quick Aside: Wow, nobody has ever eliminated ten players with one move before!
When it's all over, each of the Edge of Extinction folks gets to say a farewell. Aww…it's the closest we'll ever get to a rites of passage again.
Welcome Back, Chris
Once we hit Vata beach, Chris smartly downplays his abilities, saying that the Edge of Extinction took a lot out of him. However, he also tells everyone that he has information and they should talk to him…which makes him seem more threatening.
He also says that he's cool if he goes home because he's shot all the way up to sixth place. Welp, that's a bold strategy, Cotton.
Sure enough, Victoria isn't buying it. Who would stay at the Edge of Extinction for that long just to be like, "Meh…whatever."
Devens takes Chris up on his offer to talk, but he's also very wary because he stabbed Chris in the back earlier. Chris asks Devens if his idol is real, Devens admits that it is and he'll be playing it at the next Tribal Council if he doesn't have immunity.
Later on, Chris tells Lauren that the jurors want to see her make big moves. And that Kelley wants her to play her idol correctly. I didn't think Kelley spilling the beans on Lauren's idol was going to be lost on whoever returned to the game.
Lauren listens, but she isn't sure if she can trust Chris. She then makes an analogy that if she's in a bar with her boyfriend and sees Ryan Reynolds, she's going to try to date Ryan Reynolds. Oof…that's uh…that's a pretty bad analogy there, Lauren.
She then asks him to keep her idol a secret, because it has more power if it remains between them.
Immunity Challenge Time: The players will race through obstacles while collecting puzzle pieces. The first person to complete the puzzle wins immunity and a steak dinner.
Quick Aside: Steak dinner? I hope Joe Del Campo doesn’t win.
Result: Julie picks up the victory. It didn’t seem like it was even close. However, when it looked like her puzzle was going to fall, Chris stopped doing his puzzle to give her some pointers on how to keep it vertical.
Julie gets to pick two people to share her meal and she goes with Chris and Lauren. Rick finds her choices very frustrating because he saved her at the last Tribal. Yeah, but if she feeds you, the others will murder her.
At the meal, Julie hammers home the point that they need to get rid of Devens. Chris says it's his mission is to find out if the idol is real. Chris then says that the jury thinks the biggest threats are Victoria and Devens, so they should split the vote between those two. Really? Or is Chris just using his knowledge of the jury to get what he wants?
I’m not sure I love a player having such intimate knowledge about what the jury wants.
Back at camp, Victoria and Gavin are thinking about getting rid of Chris because they're worried Julie wants to work with him. They bring these concerns to Rick, and while he doesn't like the idea of stabbing Chris in the back again, he's not so sure that he can trust him.
Later on, Chris swears complete allegiance to Rick. In order to prove his loyalty, Rick asks Chris if he received any presents in his bag. Sure enough, Chris was gifted the same two-piece idol that Rick got when he came back from Extinction. Here's an exclusive look at the idol…
Hey, if they can use the same idol, I can use the same joke!
Now, if you don’t remember the rules, Chris has to give half the idol to someone, then if he survives the next Tribal, he can use the full idol going forward.
Chris gives Rick half of the idol and he assures Rick that if the plan he put in motion at the meal is in effect, Victoria will go home.
However, this still leaves Chris in jeopardy. So, he makes a deal with Lauren where she promises to play her idol for Chris if Rick plays his idol for himself.
Awww…the jury is all cleaned up! Are we going to get ten Ponderosa videos tonight?
Rick calls Julie out for not taking him on the reward, he actually gets really emotional because it’s tough being the target for so long.
Victoria thinks Chris is an easy vote, but there's someone else they're going for. Rick takes this to mean him.
Voting Time: No votes are shown.
JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…Devens does. Not surprising.
But then, Lauren plays one as well…for Chris.
Alright, we’ve got three votes for Devens, one vote for Chris, one vote for Victoria, and the fifteenth person voted out of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” and the eleventh member of the jury is…Victoria.
Rick starts his fortieth idol hunt while also taking the time to plant two fake idols. Wow…what a mess.
And of course, Rick finds the real idol in front of Chris and Julie. Ugh…
Quick Aside: Too much! Too much! Too much!
Another Quick Aside: I’m not annoyed with Devens. He’s just playing a game by the rules.
Anywho, Devens then hands the half-idol back to Chris.
Later on, Julie and Lauren go searching for a second idol and Julie finds Rick’s fake idol.
But then, Lauren discovers Rick’s other fake idol.
Oh my gosh…this Tribal is going to have two real idols and two fake idols and me cursing and rubbing my temples.
Immunity Challenge Time: The players will race across six different obstacles while collecting puzzles pieces. The first person to complete their puzzle will win immunity.
Another Quick Aside: Is poor Gavin the only person who’s going to really try?
Result: Devens wins immunity. La Cheeserie!
So, Gavin probably thinks he's the only person who is in jeopardy. Devens tries to make a deal with Gavin, saying he'll use his idol for him if Gavin takes him to the final three if he wins the next immunity. Gavin agrees to this deal.
Then, Gavin, Lauren, and Gavin decide to vote for Chris.
In other news, Lauren is suspicious that one of the dozen idols found earlier is a fake. She approaches Chris with the idea of getting rid of Julie in the hopes that her idol is a forgery.
This was an odd one, with people dancing around what was really going on. The main theme seemed to be; how do we beat Rick?
Voting Time: Once again, no votes are shown.
Probsty tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…Julie plays one for herself. But, it's fake. Hilarity ensues.
Lauren plays one for herself. But, it's also fake. Hilarity continues.
Devens plays one for Gavin…and it’s real.
Chris pretends to be annoyed, then plays his idol for himself…also real.
OK…we’ve got three votes for Chris, one vote for Lauren, and the sixteenth person voted out of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” and the twelfth member of the jury is…Lauren.
Immunity Challenge Time: The players will walk on a rocking beam while trying to balance blocks on a ledge. The first person to get all of their blocks in place will win a spot in the final three and will get to choose one person to sit with them.
Result: Chris picks up the win and it wasn’t even close.
The players are greeted with a variety of fire-making equipment back at camp. That's kinda funny.
Devens pleads his case, saying he's been loyal to Chris since he's returned to the game. But, Chris counters saying Rick has to make fire because he's been playing the million-dollar game. That's a heck of a response. Taking Rick to the finals is like asking the jury for second place.
Chris decides to work with Gavin and Julie to help them make fire and he'll choose whoever is the best at it. Julie and Gavin are both up for it. Good for them.
However, Chris is talking about pushing all of his chips in and being daring. Is he thinking of doing the fire himself?
Both Julie and Gavin say they want to be the one to square off against Devens. Nice. I like how everyone appreciates how important it is to win the fire challenge.
However, Chris decides to step up and do it himself! That's awesome.
Fire-Making Challenge: The first person to make a fire that burns through a rope will be the last member of the final three. However, because of the Fijian winds, the challenge will take place in the voting booth.
Result: Chris wins it! No cheeserie…
So, the seventeenth person eliminated from “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” and the final member of the jury is…Rick.
The final three is greeted by the customary brunch items. Julie lets us know how important it was for her to prove that she was capable of bigger things. She's hoping the relationships she has built will help her in front of the jury. Oh, Devens might have a thing or two to say about that.
Chris really tries to sell how hard things were on the Edge of Extinction. He's also proud of the fact that he was able to return to the game and outplay people who had played longer. Yeah dude, that's what bothers me. You didn't have the daily in-game stress of challenges, backstabbing, blindsides, and other things. That's why I hate this twist.
Finally, Gavin thinks his biggest challenge is going to be the jury thinking he just went along with the votes.
The Outwit Portion
David asks which relationships were the most important to them. Gavin says it was his partnership with Victoria, Chris says it was Devens, and Julie went with Ron, Eric and kinda Lauren.
Aubry wants to know how Chris was being strategic while he was on the Edge of Extinction. Chris says that he tried to make genuine relationships with everyone and did his best to find food.
Devens inquires as to what Gavin was doing while Chris was at Extinction. Gavin says he was building relationships with everyone to get information and to keep himself alive. Chris counters by asking if he was driving the ship or if he was a goat.
Oof…gloves are off.
Gavin says he wasn't anyone's goat. Also, Kelley didn't like that Chris asked his own question. Well, this is a loose format. I don't think Chris countering was unprecedented.
Devens asks the same question to Julie. She knows that she was neurotic, and she wasn't going to hide that. Julia, however, wasn't a fan because she was a victim of one of her breakdowns. Julie thinks her most clever move was when she swayed the vote the night Julia went home.
Wardog doesn’t buy this, saying that he and Devens were the ones who made that happen.
Gavin thinks his biggest move was helping to get rid of Aubry and Joe. He knew they were respected players, but still wanted them gone. Aubry appreciates this because Gavin was one of the few people who attempted to work with her. Kelley also agrees that Gavin was the only one she trusted.
Chris says his biggest move was the time he spent on Extinction, even pointing out that Julie didn't go to Tribal for a long time. Wha-huh? She won the right to not go to Tribal.
Victoria calls him on this, wanting a big move. He brings up the time he convinced Lauren to play her idol for him. Lauren thinks that might actually be her big move.
Probst breaks in to ask who is undecided, and nearly every juror raises their hand.
I have to admit, I have no idea which way this is going. Maybe…Gavin?
The Outplay Portion
Devens gives them all grief for not finding idols. Julie says she was looking, she just wasn't having any luck. Gavin claims he didn't have to find them because he was on the side with the numbers.
Rick then asks if it's fair that Chris can return to the game with three days left, with a weirdo idol, and all the information he got from the jury. Good…friggin…question!
Chris says he had to play the biggest game he could possibly play in those three days. He flushed an idol, played an idol, won immunity, then gave up his necklace and beat Devens in a fire challenge.
Gavin thinks it is an unfair advantage because he was given the idol. He would have been voted out without it. Touché.
Aurora wants to know how he convinced Rick to give back the half of the idol. Chris says he didn't treat people like chess pieces and his relationship with Rick was real.
Gavin counters by saying “Survivor” is surviving 39 days, not getting voted out on day nine and coming back on day thirty five.
Julia says the game has evolved and he did what he could with his days in the game.
Gavin responds saying he'd love to have a chance to reconnect with the jurors he wronged in the game. And, Devens has his back saying there's a stress that leaves when you're voted out.
Finally, Devens asks who hasn't had their name written down. Gavin is the only person who raises his hand.
The Outlast Portion
Gavin says that being on "Survivor" was his dream, but now his dream is to be the best son and husband he can be. He played for his wife who moved up their wedding so he could be on the show.
Chris wanted to play a perfect game, but he was blindsided. So, he knew he had to do everything he could do to make his second chance count. He also says his Edge of Extinction experience was worth a million dollars no matter which way they vote.
And finally, Julie says the show has been life-changing. She says she's not aggressive, she doesn't like confrontation, but those things don't make you worthy of a victory. She's proven to herself that she is strong and valuable. She also thanks the jury for being so respectful.
My Take: It’s between Gavin and Chris. Both did a great job arguing their case, but it’s clear that it’s going to come down to if the jurors think someone should win who was out of the game for weeks. Oh…and Julie did her best, but she isn’t going to win.
Voting Time: No votes are shown.
JPro tallies…then magically warps to Los Angeles, California. Amazing.
Alright, we’ve got one vote for Gavin, one vote for Chris, one vote for Gavin, one vote for Chris, one vote for Gavin, one vote for Chris, one vote for Gavin, three votes for Chris, and the winner of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” is…Chris.
Verdict: The truth? I wouldn’t have been able to pick Chris out of a line-up earlier this morning. So, him winning this season is a disaster in my mind. And again, this isn’t a reflection on Chris as a person or a player. But, the whole point of this show is for the people you vote out to appreciate your game enough to reward you in the end. Chris didn’t vote out very many members of the jury at all.
At the end of the day, I support "Survivor" taking risks. But I feel like this theme is one that should go extinct.
Power Ranking Results: Gabby Pascuzzi and I both picked everything wrong. Every…single…thing. So, the final score is Team Pascuzzi 95, Team Holmes 96. Super big thanks to Gabby for being awesome Power Rankings competition!