Survivor: Edge of Extinction - Episode 13 Recap
Idol or Bust
By Jim Van Nest
May 13, 2019
Hello good people and welcome to the penultimate episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction. That's right, in 2 short weeks, this season will end and we can start obsessing over the rumored twist and cast inclusions in Season 39 ( hint - it's a couple BIG Survivor names ). Anyway, pulse check on the game:
We have 6 people left at this point: Devens, Aurora, Gavin, Victoria, Lauren and Julie as Ron was ousted last week in an epic Tribal. We can expect Devens to be dead man walking for the rest of the season. After that, I really can't put together who's working with whom. Which is either a testament to the fluidity of this season of it's the result of a not-too-well thought out theme that has forced a lot of time to be spent with pre-merge boots instead of building up the characters ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME!!! Anyway, I would expect some fireworks back at camp after Devens' big play. We should also remind everyone that Devens was again clueless to the vote as Ron went out instead of Aurora.
Ok, so we begin tonight at camp after Tribal. As expected, Gavin tells us that all attention is on Devens. But in an interesting move, Devens told everyone that he got his idol from someone over at Extinction, even though he found it on the island. Everyone is thinking all advantages are coming from the Edge, so if they all continue to think that, maybe they won't look around the Vata camp. Aurora tells us how connected she feels with her alliance right now. Really? You've been on the bottom since about day 5 and NOW you feel connected? Um...ok.
Anyway, once everyone goes to sleep, Devens starts looking for an idol. He wakes up before everyone in the morning and he starts looking again. At this point, Lauren reminds us that she has an idol, so she knows idols are hidden at camp. She doesn't tell anyone else, but she is looking for the new idol. She also spends a bunch of time following Rick around. Once free of her, he goes on a serious search and whadaya know - he finds another idol. I have to give him this; he has spent every waking moment searching. And where the hell was the rest of the tribe? He deserves this and they deserve what they get for being stupid.
Whoa - time for a Probst sighting already. Today's reward challenge involves balls, an obstacle course and one of those obnoxious basketball beam rigs where you have to land 2 balls in between a couple narrow beams. Winner will get a helicopter ride to a super duper resort for all kinds of food, fried chicken, and brownies. It's definitely worth playing for. The challenge, while actually interesting to watch, would be boring to describe. So I won't. What you need to know is that at the end, it comes down to Gavin, Aurora, Devens and Victoria. Gavin and Victoria each land a ball. Then Aurora lands her first ball. After a couple shots, Gavin lands ball #2 and wins reward and the chance to take people with him. He gets to choose two people. First, he chose Victoria. Then he chose Lauren. And play the sad trombone for Aurora who really thought she deserved to be picked. Devens and Julie also thought that and said it out loud. And why not, it lets her know where she stands and they're ready to point that out. As we head to break, Aurora is not feeling so strong about her alliance bond. See? Told you!
We come back from break to join the 3 on the reward. They all enjoy the ride. In a nice touch, the pilot does fly them right over their camp so the people who didn't get to go can be even more pissed. They get to the resort and enjoy the food. They talk some game and it all revolves around getting Devens out. And if he manages to win the challenge, they'll go for Julie. Lauren isn't so sure about this deal as she actually has a nice bond with Julie. She might be thinking of Aurora instead.
When they return to camp, Victoria heads right out to pull Aurora back into the fold and make sure that she'll be their 4th vote for Devens then Julie. Aurora isn't happy about all of this, but she knows that her only real play here is to stick with that group and fall in line.
Time for our favorite episode time killer, the Edge of Extinction. *sigh* Eric comes back with a box full of letters for everyone. Letters from home, you ask? Nope! Letters that the players wrote to themselves right before the game began. So, everyone goes off and reads their letters. We see and hear from Eric, then Julia, then Joey Amazing, then Chris Underwood, then Aubry and David Wright and finally Reem. Oh good, I'd have hated to not hear from frickin' Reem. So, we heard from 7 people out of 10 on Extinction. That suggest to me that those 3 (Wardog, Kelley and Ron Clark) have no chance of getting back in. I'm kinda wondering about Chris though, as they had him set up on a rock in the middle of the water in quite a majestic shot. I'm wondering if that's some foreshadowing. Then I'm wondering why I've devoted this many pixels and word to the Edge of Effing Extinction.
Back at camp, while everyone is sitting around the fire, Rick gets up and goes out to look for an idol. Gavin starts following him around. When Gavin turns his back, Rick takes off running. He's all over the island and the jungle. He's hiding behind trees. Jumping out and scaring people. He's just making a game out of all this. It's actually a pretty fun scene as the rest of the group cannot keep up with him. And at the end of it all, he's already got the idol, so this is for nothing more than his own good time.
And like that, it's time for another Probst Sighting! Today's immunity challenge will see the players sliding letter tiles on a table. They then have to carry them with a couple carriers over some balance beams. At the end, they need to solve a word puzzle. This challenge is actually as boring to watch as it is to write about, so I'll skip the bulk of it. Devens and Aurora are the first ones to get to the puzzle. Then Lauren. Eventually, everyone ends up on the puzzle. And oddly, Jeff's commentary starts dropping hints. When he stresses the word "tonight", Devens picks up on it and he quickly finishes the puzzle and Rick Devens wins immunity! In an interview after the fact, Probst admitted that when puzzle challenges like this go long, he will start dropping hints to help the players. As we head to break, Devens feels like Julie is with him so his goal tonight is to keep her in the game with him heading to the final 5.
We come back from commercial to play, "It's Anyone But Julie." Knowing that Julie will be the vote, Rick just asks to chat with her. Aurora is just pissed that Rick won. And she really trusts her final 4 to take out Julie. Rick and Julie decide they're voting for Aurora and they're hoping that someone will join them. So she goes to talk to her buddy, Lauren. Lauren is actually receptive, as we know, she was already thinking of this move. But she's only #3. They need one more. Lauren wants to talk to Gavin. And she does and he can be on board with this, but he won't blindside Victoria. He wants to bring her in on the plan. So, he heads over to do that. Victoria feels that Aurora is the wrong choice to make. As he's telling her about this, he lets her know that Lauren is ready to make the move with or without Victoria. So, she's not really feeling this plan. As they prepare for Tribal, Rick tells us that he has plans up his sleeve to try to get the alliance of 4 questioning themselves. He just wants to find a way to keep his only ally in the game.
Jeff starts with Devens and the fact that he was going home without immunity. He says that a lot of people were unhappy with his victory. Julie confirms that she and Devens are all they each have. Everyone pretty well agrees that Devens has to go and they just want the opportunity to take him out. So Devens just whips it out. His idol. His IMMUNITY Idol, I mean. He tells everyone that he is playing it for Julie and that they will be voting together for 1 of the other 4. Aurora questions whether he'll actually play it and whether or not it's even a real idol. Gavin suggests that even if Rick plays the idol, he still won't have the numbers. Rick fires back that someone will be coming back from Extinction soon and it will likely be 3-3. There's some more back and forth and finally Jeff declares it time to vote.
We see Aurora vote for Julie and Rick vote for Aurora. Jeff goes to get the votes and then asks about any idols. After a long, long pause, Rick stands pat and keeps his idol. Jeff reads the votes. Aurora. Julie. And then the flood of Aurora votes come in. Aurora is voted out and Rick Devens is in the final 5 with an immunity idol. Aurora is floored that everyone fell for the bluff, but let's be perfectly clear. This vote was happening with or without Rick's theatrics. The plan was in place and the switch was on. However, as he has done several times this season, Rick's antics at Tribal Council get him all the attention and most of the credit for all of these moves that are really not his. Lauren and Victoria have been masterminding this post-merge but Rick has been getting all of the credit. If they don't get him out, there's almost no way he doesn't win the season.
Next time on the season finale of Survivor: Five people remain and 1 more will get back in the game. That's it, everyone. That's the preview. Since they didn't give me anything to work with, allow me to bitch about the Edge of Extinction one last time. Coming into the finale, there are currently 16 people that could potentially win this game. Think about that. 16 of 18 are still in this. Is this REALLY what they wanted? They haven't been able to develop more than half the cast this season due to all of the time dedicated to NOT the game and now they're going to have to deal with 16 people in the finale? I mean, come on. Someone will get back in the game and that will end the journey of 10 other people. I guarantee we'll hear from all 10 of them. More time wasted on people that have little impact on the rest of the game. Sure, they're the jury and they'll vote. But they're not actually playing the game anymore. I love me some Survivor, but I just feel like the Edge of Extinction really missed the mark for me. Thankfully, Season 39 will be coming in the fall. Til next week, take care.