Word to the wise: if someone tells you to keep a blindside a secret on Survivor, you better keep that secret! At the end of the day, your current position and future in the game are more important than a friendship you made less than nine days ago. Chris experienced the blowback from this disastrous move in Survivor: Edge of Extinction’s best blindside yet. As viewers, we could see the train wreck coming, and the moment was equal parts facepalm disappointment and mesmerizing reveal.
After the Manu tribe chose to go with tribe strength over future threat during the last Tribal Council, they had the perfect opportunity this time around to finally vote out their big threat. Rick, David, Wendy, and Chris had the numbers to get out Kelley Wentworth, but Chris’ big mouth was the spark the opposition needed to flip the game. As David mentioned in the previous episode, blindsides only work if everyone is on the same page. Chris’ blindside will be a perfect lesson for future Survivor players: if you have the numbers to betray someone, don’t tell anyone. Loose lips sink ships!
Look, Chris wasn’t a bad guy. He was too trusting and naive with regards to his alliances, though. A more socially cunning player would’ve realized that Wardog was 100 percent on #TeamKelley, especially after he adamantly refused to vote out Kelley the week prior. Wardog would never betray Kelley to save someone like Wendy. And with Chris having only been friends with Wardog for only nine days, he owed him nothing. Survivor: Edge of Extinction is only on episode three and Wardog would’ve eventually forgiven Chris and this would have been forgotten. Let’s see if Chris’ time on Extinction Island will toughen him up and change his focus.
But was the Chris vote the right vote? Short answer: no. Survivor tends to do a tribe swap in the early rounds of the game. The members of Manu wouldn’t have known when it would happen. As viewers, we know the swap is coming next episode, but if it wasn’t happening, the tribe would be Wardog/Lauren/Kelley vs. Wendy, with David/Rick in the middle. The “outsiders” had a chance to shift the balance of power in their favor to become Wendy/Chris/David/Rick vs. Wardog/Lauren. And with desperation looming, Wardog would side with his friend Chris. Now, the outsiders lost their chance to get out Kelley and they might be all split, so there’s no telling if they’ll get the chance again.
Wendy dug her grave so deep that she should aim for only a jury spot at this point. Disregarding her feelings about not wanting to kill the chickens, her stealing the flint to stop the killing could’ve blown up in her face big time. Survivor is a social experiment, so personalities and ideals are bound to have conflicts. That part hasn’t changed for over 19 years. But the players are the ones who can maneuver the landscape to find some harmony and manipulation. She caused a bit of tension with her changing position, but if the others had found her with the flint, Wendy would’ve been voted out without a doubt.
Wendy needs to start playing with her head and not her spontaneity or emotions. Her good-natured, but eccentric, attitude could be her undoing and, with her swollen ankle, she doesn’t have many cards left to play to stick around. If she’s causing trouble at camp and can’t win a challenge, her days might be numbered.
Survivor: Edge of Extinction introduced two new challenges into the mix with their slingshot reward and the steering wheel immunity. Both games felt fresh and new since they offered up two mechanisms that we don’t see much on Survivor. The first is the purposing of challenge pieces – in particular, turning the wheelbarrow into a slingshot to knock down the targets. I loved that the castaways had to move around this heavy piece of equipment before treating it like a Transformer to turn it into something needed for the challenge. Regarding the immunity challenge, I loved the players being tied to the boat and moving it themselves with their own swimming. This rule forced them to use their own strength and get everyone involved. Hopefully, these two games return again sometime in the future.
Over at the Kama tribe, congrats to Aubry for finding her first hidden immunity idol! After three different seasons, her luck was bound to turn around. Survivor’s editing makes it seem like the idols are easy to find, especially with just looking into trees for colorful bags. In actuality, searching for idols takes hours and you might never find it. This edit gave Aubry some redemption for her lackluster introduction; you started to feel for her and the predicament she came into with Survivor: Edge of Extinction. Now, she has to be cautious about when to use the idol. Also, I LOVE that two women found the first hidden immunity idols of the seasons! This cast is already breaking down barriers and records.
Victoria needs to start being cautious and acting like a savvy castaway. Regardless of tribe numbers, you never blatantly tell someone that they’re at the bottom or the outsiders. Joe, Aubry, and Aurora might be the outsiders now, but it only takes one conversation to shift everything. Victoria and Ron’s conversation with Joe came across as awkward and uncomfortable. They should be building those bridges with Joe instead of burning them. Her overconfidence and lack of gameplay will be her undoing.
Between Reem and Keith at the Edge of Extinction Island, Reem’s odds of survival are better. She seemed ready to quit at first, but when Keith arrived, her outlook completely changed. Let’s face it, Extinction Island is basically Redemption Island. Since more people will be arriving and someone will no doubt go back in before the jury, the eliminated players will stick it out. It’s a bit underwhelming if that’s ultimately what happens.
“Betrayals Are Going to Get Exposed” capped off with a great blindside that could’ve easily been avoided. For as much as these players are hungry to play and win, they’re making some egregious blunders. Survivor: Edge of Extinction is turning into a messy season. And if these players want any chance to survive, they need to play smart and start using strategy.