‘Survivor: Edge of Extinction’ season 38 debut recap

How did Ron Clark do?

Originally posted Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Nobody likes to say there’s age discrimination on any competition show. But on “Survivor,” it’s legitimate. 

If you’re over 40 among a group of people mostly in their 20s and 30s, the generational difference may quickly put you on the outs. The only way to trump that is pure likability. 

Unfortunately, Reem Daly, who was 46 when she came on the island last summer with the Manu tribe, quickly alienated her much younger castmates. 

Her sin? Being too “motherly”! But she is more that hardened, nagging mom as opposed to the gentle, sweet mom people tend to prefer. Her energy was also “old” in comparison to the others. 

The only two Manu tribemates who liked her even a little were actively seeking mother figures: 19-year-old pre-med student Keith Sowell and 25-year-old Wendy Diaz, who has Tourettes and is admittedly socially awkward. 

While Reem thought she was being “caring” and “helpful” by moving people’s clothes around to dry or to remind them about hydrating or put on their shoes, many players simply found her annoying.

And unfortunately, in Tribal Council, she didn’t do herself any favors by coming across as upset after hearing her name bandied about. Survivor 101 tip: poker face during Tribal Council because Jeff Probst called her out on her negative attitude and she ran with it.

Reem instantly accused the tribe of “age discrimination.” (Yes, insult the tribe as a whole. That’ll help!) Then she bitterly said maybe they should have a wrestling match to prove that she’s as strong as the young’uns. None of this swayed the majority already gunning for her. It probably only solidified their views to get rid of her. 

Once it sunk in that she was toast, she admitted she might have done things differently in retrospect because she broke another basic Survivor rule: indiscriminately touching people’s stuff even under the guise of being helpful. “It’s like a nightmare!” Reem said. “I’ve been watching since day one. This is terrible. I’m so disappointed.” (If she’s indeed a super fan, she certainly missed a lot of basic strategic points to avoid being eliminated first.)

In case Reem had an immunity idol, three of the majority voted for Wendy, a sign she is also on the outs because she defended Reem too vehemently. And to prove that Reem couldn’t even get her one ally to vote with her, she chose Kelley while Wendy voted for Lauren O’Connell, who appeared to bond with Kelley. 

Now is time for the twist: Reem sees an opportunity to get back in the game and decides to take it. So this may not be it for her after all. She is sent to an island with... what exactly? That’s for next week. 

Meanwhile, Atlanta’s rep this season Ron Clark, who thought he was the oldest person on the cast at age 45 when he competed (but wasn’t), didn’t appear to cause any ripples on the Kama tribe the first three days despite his age. He came across as energetic, enthusiastic and fundamentally social. If he plays smart, he could last awhile. 

Given that you only have 42 minutes and four returning players (David Wright, Kelley Wentworth, dreamy Joe Anglim and Aubrey Bracco), only a handful of players get a lot of airtime. And Clark’s tribe won the immunity challenge.

But he did get a couple of minutes because he happened to find a “secret advantage” on the boat while grabbing supplies. He later found out he had a choice: he could steal a reward from the other team, save himself from immunity or throw in an extra vote by the third tribal council. 

At first, he was just hoping to not get eliminated the first week, he said. Now he wants to win. Hopefully, he won’t need to use the advantage at all because at this stage of the game, it my needlessly throw attention on him and make him a target. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.