Survivor: Edge of Extinction - Episode 7 Recap
There's Always a Twist
By Jim Van Nest
April 2, 2019
Hello good people and welcome back to the Edge of Extinction. I have to say, I'm much happier to welcome you back this week than I was last week. This week, I feel like there are signs of life for this season. At the very least, it has been taken out of the running for "worst season ever", so that's a good thing, yes?
In an action packed double episode last week we saw Aubry voted out with 2 advantages in her bag. We also saw Big Wendy go out in the Malcolm Freberg Memorial Double Tribal as both Lesu and Manu teamed up to send her to the Edge of Extinction.
With the merge looming - as well as the big reveal of the return of the voted out players - let's reset everything going into this episode, shall we?
Lesu is an absolute mess. They can't win a challenge and are one of the worst tribes in the history of Survivor. That being said, they've been through the ringer and despite having plans to vote each other out - I feel like they have a really good chance to be the one solid group of 4 heading into the merge.
Manu is a little shaken right now having lost Aubry and Big Wendy in back to back Tribals last week and while they claim to be a solid unit, we saw in the double Tribal that maybe they aren't. Of note - Victoria is playing a killer game, is not afraid to turn on anyone and from what we can tell, no one else knows this. She's one to watch, both as a potential finalist and a potential merge boot.
Kama is the tribe that cannot lose. Joey Amazing has them on top of the world with reward and immunity wins coming out of their ears. He's also target #1 should they ever go to Tribal - and tonight, they're going to Tribal. Since none of these 5 have had their torches lit yet, it's hard to say what they will do when finally pressed into action. Also, maybe now we'll finally get some time devoted to Ron, Aurora, Julie and Julia as they are all virtual unknowns at the midway point of the season.
And finally, the Edge of Extinction Loser's Brigade. Big Wendy will have a cup of coffee on Extinction and Aubry's had a little more time there. But the main 4 are Devens, Chris, Keith and Reem. They've been waiting and waiting for their chance to get back into the game and tonight they'll get the first (and only, hopefully) chance to do so.
Reem hates everyone and, as mentioned many times before, is the sorest, most bitter first boot in the history of the show.
Keith is right behind her in terms of bitterness and is an absolute negative in challenges.
Chris is the most likely to get back in the game tonight, even though Keith will use his challenge disadvantage against him tonight. (At least, he should anyway. But this is Keith. He may accidentally play it on himself.)
Devens is a fan favorite and probably one of the people that many viewers will be rooting for, but he has done nothing to distinguish himself in challenges.
Aubry is much better in challenges than you probably remember - she is a serious threat to win her way back into the game. And it totally fits her 3 season narrative to be completely on the bottom and always clawing her way back up.
Big Wendy - who knows what to expect from her? She's been very good in challenges, despite the banged up ankle. Further, she's spent the least amount of time wasting away at Extinction. Also, wouldn't it be a hoot to see the craziest wild card of the season work her way back into the game?
My quickie prediction for this is that the challenge (as we saw in previews) will be an obstacle course that will finish off (we haven't seen this in previews, just my guess) in the classic Survivor jailbreak. It pays homage to the original Outcast Twist as well as the first Redemption Island duel. It also fits with the materials they got to practice with; sticks and twine. Keith will hit Chris with the extra knots but it really won't slow him down very much as he'll be in it all the way to the end. But my pick for the winner is...drumroll...Aubry Bracco. Why? Because she's a 3 time veteran who will not crack under the pressure and I feel like she is going to be the most determined to get back and get some revenge on the tribe that turned on her. Close, but no cigar, will be Chris and Devens and possibly Wendy. I don't give Reem or Keith any kind of chance to win this challenge.
Ok, you done listening to me set this up? Me too...let's get to it.
And get to it we will. There's no Previously On segment, we go straight to a Probst Sighting!! Someone must not be happy with his screen time because we've seen more of Jeff Probst in this season than the last 5 combined. Not that I'm complaining - those dimples though!!
Anyway, the tribes come in and there's much relief among Kama that it was Big Wendy and not one of their numbers voted out last night. So clearly, the 8-4 Kama advantage is going to be huge coming into the, "Drop your buffs...we are merged." Everyone is all excited about the merge and the buff color and meeting new people and...wait a second. It's time for what Jeff Probst calls an "Iconic moment."
"Come on in!" And here come the Extinction players. Surprise, Reem is pissed. Everyone else is pretty smiley. Jeff explains the twist of the Edge of Extinction and it finally clicks for all the players why the season is named what it is. And here's how it works - today's challenge is for the Extinction players, not the in-game players. The challenge will have them climbing over a net and untying a pack of bamboo sticks. They'll then use those sticks to create the jailbreak pole to grab a key. They'll then get to the final stage where they'll have to use one of those 2 handed rope games to raise a ball up a snake maze. First to get their ball to the top and in the hole wins their way back into the game. Before we start, Jeff asks about the advantages found on the island. Chris practiced the pole tying quite a bit and Keith explains his disadvantage and tells us he's playing it on Chris. That sets it up - let's get to it!
Chris has a slight lead after the first section of challenge and gets to the bamboo pole first. Aubry, Wendy and Devens are right there with him. Oddly enough, the players still in the actual game are kinda rooting all over the place right now. And as I expected, Aubry is the first one to get her key and to get to the snake ball puzzle thing. Chris and Devens are right behind. But Chris now has 30 knots to untie before he can start the maze. Wendy and Reem now have their keys. Keith - not even close. There's a lot of focus on Wendy at this point, her Tourette’s tics are really hitting her hard as she maneuvers the ball and yet, she is solid and after Aubry's ball drops, Wendy is actually leading in the challenge. Chris finally gets through the knots and can start working his ball up to the hole. Keith finally gets his key and gets through the door.
Let's sum up now: Wendy tics and advances, tics and advances but right by the hole, she loses it and Wendy has to start over. Aubry drops, Reem drops, Keith drops. Chris is there for the win now and at the head of the snake, HE drops. That leaves Devens and when he gets to the head, he comes through. Rick Devens wins his way back into the game! Devens gets his red buff and now, "Extinction...begins again." Ok, so it's still in play and people voted out will continue to go to the Edge of Extinction. Jeff takes a few minutes to talk to the 5 losing players. We get teary eyed comments from all of them and THEN Jeff tells them that they can all go back to the Edge if they want to. And once again, these people have new life and all 5 of them agree to go back.
And now that I've seen it play out and then start again, I hate this twist. I tried to give it a chance, but at the end of the day, every single one of these people lost the game. They played and they lost. Fair and square. I'm sorry they didn't do as well as they wanted to, but they took their chance and they lost. I don't care where or how they lived or that it was filmed this time. The Edge of Extinction, like the Outcast Tribe and Redemption Island before it, does a complete disservice to the game. All of the other shit: idols, extra votes, medallions of power, tribe swaps, double tribe swaps, idol nullifiers - none of that stuff goes directly against the main tenants of this game that "...once your fire is gone, so are you." It's striking out the last batter in the bottom of the 9th inning and then having the umpire say, "No wait, we're gonna let the losing team bat one more time." I hate this twist and no amount of editing and production will change my mind. Don't @ me.
Ok, enough of my complaining, the commercials are over. We come back from break to the new merged tribe coming into their home for the rest of the game, the old Manu camp. And it's time for a Merge Feast! Julia is pumped to have Kama back together and with their majority they should have a good chance. Wentworth is not happy to have Devens back. She says, "Oh hell no." What? Where is this coming from? The last time she saw him it was all tears and goodbyes from the Lesu tribe who was so broken up to have to vote someone out. And now she can't stand him and wishes he didn't come back? This is the problem with spending so much time on people who've been voted out - you don't get to see the dynamics of the people that are, ya know, still in the game and stuff. It's like there are chunks of story missing. Hopefully the merge will help with this, but right now, it's a mess.
Whoa, we get a Julie confessional AND a Julia confessional in the same segment. She tells us that she talked to Devens a little bit and she likes him and she heard how horrible Extinction was. She couldn't imagine sending him back there so soon. And as she is talking about Extinction, we fade to ...Extinction? Really?
Ok - so there's action at the Edge of Extinction. Out of nowhere, with no warning of any kind to us, the viewers, Keith and Wendy are raising the sail to be taken off the island. Keith and Wendy are proud of themselves and they're also getting on a boat to go get some food. Probably a cheeseburger or fired chicken, right Wendy? This makes no sense. I swear, it's like the episode was supposed to be 2 or 3 hours, but they had to condense it to 1. Nothing is in sync here.
But anyway, we're back to the real game and Wentworth and Mini-Me are worried that they and Wardog are in trouble. Of course, everyone watching knows that they can pick up David and Devens and then Joe and Aurora and have a 7-6 advantage in the game. Let's see if they can figure it out. Nope - they're gonna target Rick Devens. The hell? I though Wentworth knew how to play this game. She goes to Joe to see where he is and Joe knows he's in trouble, he's in trouble. Joe even tells Kelley that he and Aurora were on the outs. So naturally, she pitches David and Devens as possible votes. So she gets together with all the Kama girls and Lauren actually suggests Devens as an easy vote. Of course, Julie already told us she doesn't like that at all. She doesn't feel it's right to dump him after everything he did to get back in the game. Aurora doesn't look into it either. Julie actually feels like Kelley and Lauren are so bad that maybe one of them needs to go. Interesting. Especially since they both happen to have an idol.
And we're back to see that the new tribe's name is Vata. Also, Devens finds a surprise in his bag. Looks like the returning player from the EoE gets an idol. "You get an idol, and you get an idol." But wait. This idol is in 2 pieces. He has to give half of it to another player and if both of them make it through the next Tribal, it grows up into a full-fledged idol. Um, ok. So that night, he shares this info with David and then splits the idol with him. Really, this is the only option for him. Who else could you trust with this, right? The only problem is, at least some of the players are targeting them. We'll have to think about this while the show flips to a...
Probst sighting! Today's challenge marks the beginning of the "Stand in one place for a really long time" portion of our program. This time they'll be standing on a beam with a long pole held overhead. At the end of their pole will balance a statue. You fall off the beam or drop your statue, you're out. Also, this gives Jeff a lot of chances to make plays on the word "pole." I eagerly await the "ball" challenge in a couple weeks. Sorry, while I was making a joke, Ron dropped out. Then Gavin. That was quick. We lose Wardog, Devens and Victoria. Then Aurora drops. Wentworth is next out and we're only 20 minutes in. At the final transition we lose Eric, Julia and David. Only 3 left. Joe, Julie and Lauren. At the 40 minute mark everyone is looking pretty strong. And out of nowhere, Joe loses his balance and it's only Julie and Lauren remaining. And honestly - with Devens, David, Wentworth and Joe out - does it matter who wins? Not really. So, let's skip to the end - Julie wins immunity!! As we head to break, Kelley tells us that everyone seems to be on board with the plan to vote out Devens. She does feel better having an idol though and she sounds like she's ready to play it, should the need arise.
And we're back from commercial and Julie feels great having the immunity necklace. So she starts to make a move on Kelley. She pulls in Victoria and they concoct a plan to let Kelley and Lauren think the old plan is on. She next goes to David and Devens and tells them they'll be safe and that Wentworth is coming for them. She won't tell him the whole plan, but insists that he and David are safe. David, "That is such bad gameplay on their part" when he learns of Kelley going after Devens. They split the idol and plan to do whatever Julie says.
Let's check in with Joe as he paints the flag. That's right; Joey Amazing lost immunity and is not even thinking about playing the game. Ron comes to him to see where he stands and asks Joe who the vote is for. Joe gives him absolutely nothing. I swear it's like he's never played the game before. What do you suppose happens? That's right; Ron feels weird about it and resets his sights on taking out Joe. There's some chicken stuff going on, but bottom line, Ron is trying to change the vote from Kelley to Joe. Victoria still prefers Kelley as the target and she tries to bring in Eric and Gavin on this. They hook up with Ron and Julie and Julie restates the case for Kelley. She has a great line here that really shows how an alliance needs to think. She says, "It could go a million different ways, but at some point, the 6 of us have to come to a consensus." Yes, yes they do. And at the end of the day, if you have a big enough alliance (which they do), all the rest are going home, so does it really matter in what order? No, it doesn't. Put away your personal preferences for the betterment of the group and you can go far. Let's see if they figure it out.
We get to Tribal Council and the Kama folks who hadn't been yet, all dip their torches and get fire. Jeff even skips the whole "ritual of Tribal Council" speech and that's good. It doesn't mean shit anymore anyway. Oh yeah, let's bring in the members of our jury. Reem, Chris and Aubry. Yep, everyone one still at Extinction is on the jury. The first person voted out of the game is on the jury. Two of these people have never met half the cast. And they'll have a vote for the winner. This just gets worse and worse. Also, Reem on my screen for the rest of the season is infuriating. David summed it up best with a completely disgusted, "Oh boy."
Let's get to it. Julie's happy to have immunity. Kama's one big happy family. Devens is shaking in his boots. Victoria thinks Sending Devens back to Extinction would be evil. Joe is finally starting to get worried. Ron doesn't think anyone seems like they have an idol. Wardog is pretty sure they do. Joe and Ron lay it out there that when you have the solid majority, there's no reason to scramble or even worry. Ultimately, another yadda yadda Tribal Council and it's time to vote.
Jeff tallies the votes and asks about hidden idols. Both Lauren and Wentworth stand pat. That's a ballsy move by Kelley Wentworth. She's gotten votes at almost every single Tribal. Let's read the votes. Devens. Kelley. David. Devens. David. Kelley. David. Wow - David has 3. And here they come. The Kama Strong votes, 6 in a row all come out Joey Amazing. There are a lot of shocked faces in the group and on the jury. As he walks down the path, "They made a BIG mistake." And I'm left to wonder why he didn't throw that in their face. "Yeah, go ahead, vote me out. Send me to Extinction. I'll come back stronger than ever. I'll win my way back, kick all your asses in the challenges and most of you will have to vote to give me a million dollars." Instead, nothing. Like, can you imagine how Ozzy would have handled that? On a different note, some kudos need to be given to this Kama group. Not only did they all come together and vote out Joe. But they completely dismantled everyone else. Wardog, Kelley and Lauren voted for David. David and Devens voted for Kelley and Joe and Aurora voted for Devens. So, somehow not only did a group of 6 take down a potential group of 7, they had all their signals crossed and were an absolute train wreck. The question now is who's the mastermind in this group? Ron? Julie? Victoria? They're all playing well. Another question, will we ever get to know the rest of them? Probably not - we need more time listening to Reem bitch and Aubry declare that she's still in this over at Extinction. Oh yeah, and Joe takes the torch to had to Extinction. "Worst thing they could have done." And he just might be right.
Next time on Survivor: Ron is the puppet master and is feeling large and in charge. Which can only mean, he's not. Doesn't this happen all the time? One group thinks they're the end all be all and get cocky, meanwhile, the 3 people at the bottom of the 6 start to learn they're at the bottom and decide to take you out? Yeah, it does. Trust me. They all need a copy of the Boston Rob Rulebook, which would tell them to not get cocky and to keep their feet on the throats of the other tribe. Oh, and it looks like Dr. Joe will get a cameo in the next episode as someone appears to be injured or passed out at the next of the "Stand real still in one place" immunity challenges. Who could it be? Better tune in next week to find out! Til then, take care kids.